I have a yoga studio that I love that is about a 3.5 minute walk from where I live. That’s part of the love! But it is a great studio overall. A green focus, as is common in the yogic crowd, and the owner and main teacher of the studio is vegetarian, which is also common in the yogic crowd.
But she’s not vegan. And yes, that is also common among yogis who are vegetarian.
I think she even knows a lot of the issues. Or maybe she doesn’t look into them too deeply.
It is cases like this where I end up not really saying anything at all. Yoga class isn’t really the right time for a discussion on animal rights, or the reality behind eggs and dairy. And that’s the only time I see her.
I did give her a calendar. She hasn’t said anything about it, but then she doesn’t know the stories, and how would a picture of Heidi turn you off milk if you didn’t know her story?
So, the yoga studio. She has a great mix of classes, and about once a month does something completely different. A discussion on chakras, a knitting class, or like tonight, a jivamukti yoga class.
I’d never done jivamukti before, had heard of it, but didn’t know much about it. The very brief history is that it was started by people in NYC who thought that we (in America, that is) had lost the root of yoga, and they developed Jivamukti as a way of getting back at the roots, at the core value.
(Anyone else see the irony in this?)
Jiva means “soul” and mukti means “freedom”, more or less.
They have a sort of spiritual aspect, where they focus on ahimsa, non-violence. They have the asanas, which are the physical poses that most people think of as yoga. And they have a lot of chanting.
It was all interesting, and I love having these chances to experience different things, and having them come almost right to my door. Easy is sometimes a good thing!
So, why am I talking about this? Because it blew me away that in the beginning when they were giving us the talk on what Jivamukti Yoga is, and they talked about the focus on ahimsa, they talked about ethical vegetarianism and animal rights.
What I mean is that those very words “ethical vegetarianism” and “animal rights” and yes! even “vegan” were words that were mentioned in this class.
Maybe others aren’t as excited about this as I am, but I thought it was amazing. I’m so curious now as to whether all the instructors are vegan. Maybe that’s part of their teacher training, that they have to commit to that? Okay, I doubt that’s the case, in reality. I hope that most of the teachers are vegan. And I wonder how many of the students of Jivamukti are vegan, or are at least working towards that.
It was like finding out that there is this whole other group of people doing advocacy for one of your causes, and you hadn’t even known before. That makes it feel like a bonus to me, an extra helping of advocacy.
And there is a book recently published, Yoga and Vegetarianism.
I believe they are using “vegetarian” but are referring to “vegan”, and while I don’t know their specific reasoning behind that, I do know that there are more people in this “movement” than you might think who believe that we should “retake” the true meaning of vegetarianism, which apparently WAS veganism? I’m not up on that argument, and personally feel it is a bit of a lost cause, but when people say “ethical vegetarianism”, which is the phrase I heard over and over, I take that to mean “veganism”. Or at least the food portion of veganism.
Does it include products other than food?
I don’t know that answer, but I’d be interested in finding out.
Meanwhile, if you’re in NYC, go to their organic vegan cafe and take a class and tell me what you think.