Why are you vegan? Do I need to be vegan to practice yoga?

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga_Animal Rights.jpg
 

It is well understood and accepted that the diet of a Yogi is a vegetarian diet. Not necessarily a vegan diet, but a vegetarian diet. This is for many reasons but one of those reasons it because meat is very heavy in the body. It takes a lot of energy to digest. Meat is also the result of bringing harm to another creature and for those of you who are familiar with patanjali's yoga sutras, you would know that a non violence is a very important part of yoga.

So why am I vegan?
Well, in all honesty it has absolutely nothing to do with yoga. I have been a vegetarian from most of my life and at the time of writing this, I have been vegan for about 6 or 7 years. My decision to be vegan was not to better my practice although it certainly has helped in many regards. My decision to become vegan was purely a moral and ethical decision. Many of you who have gotten to know me over the years would already know just how special animals are to me. The idea of bringing harm to anything or anyone is extremely disturbing to me on so many levels.

I believe as human beings we have a responsibility to take care of other creatures. I don't know why but for whatever reason so many of us have used our intelligence as a means of taking advantage. An abuse of power if you will. I don't care what people say about us being the greater species, and that we as humans have the right to kill and eat other animals. For one, humans are not meant to eat meat. We don't have the teeth for it, nor do we have the digestive system for it. Our bodies find it extremely difficult to digest. This is going to get a few people up in arms but the reality is, and when you start looking into the research even deeper, you will find that our bodies are absolutely not meant to eat meat or other animals products.

But regardless of whether we are or are not meant to eat animal products, which is a huge discussion in itself, I personally cannot be responsible for inflicting harm on another creature. Simple. And just because meat comes nicely wrapped in plastics in the supermarket, does not mean that the process of it reaching the supermarket was in any way a nice process. In fact it was no doubt horrific.

So this is why I choose to be vegan. I want no part of that industry. In saying that however, as I've gotten older and a little wiser, and let's be honest a little less judgemental, I have come to accept other people's decisions to eat meat and other animal products. Whilst I do not agree with that decision, I accept those decisions. Of course my dream would be for the world to be vegan l, which we all know would lead to a much kinder world, but if I remain in a place of judgement then I am constantly harming myself. Rather, my hope is that those people who do decide to eat animal products are making kinder choices around where they get those products from.

So whilst in the yoga world a vegetarian diet is recommended for many reasons, it is not a requirement of the practice. If you eat meat, it should not be a reason not to practice. Of course the more consistent you are with your practice the more in tune you will become with what your body does and does not want (and so your diet may change), but no it is not necessary to be vegetarian/vegan to practice yoga.

Sending love and warm hugs to you all,

Jessica xx

To Lola. You are an inspiration.

 
 

We have a new furry friend in our family. Little Lola.  Lola is a pug and she is just divine. A gentle soul who follows me around like a duckling follows her mum, we just adore this special girl. Lola is special for more reasons than her beautiful nature. Not only is Lola a rescue who has had a very traumatic eight years of life, but as a result of a lifetime of neglect and abuse, Lola is now permanently blind. She needs three different medicated drops in her eyes, multiple times daily, as well as ‘fake tears’ as often as I can put them in. Her eyes no longer produce tears on their own to keep them moist – so I need to do this for her.

But despite her awful beginnings, this special little girl is just such a joy to be around. She follows our other pug x through the park and is guided to the best places to sniff. She uses big steps, which is adorable for such mini paws, to feel it is safe to move. Lola is one tough girl and it is heartbreaking when I think about the lack of love she has received but deserved and craved.

 
Hanging out with big brother Tyrone.

Hanging out with big brother Tyrone.

 

As I watched her potter around this morning, my mind went to the teachings of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra’s. A universally studied text that is understood to guide yogis to the path of enlightenment.

Within the text, Patanjali speaks of Yamas, which include five ethical rules that can be thought of as moral imperatives. Of the five rules, the first is Ahimsa, which means nonviolence and non-harming of other living beings.

Whilst the interpretation of Ahimsa can be vast, some obvious examples of nonviolence are showing kindness to ones family, ones animals, being vegetarian or vegan. Not wearing furs or products that are tested on animals. Not being the one to test products on animals… I think you see my point. And I wonder how many people really do truly practice Ahimsa, and how many studios cultivate this philosophy into their community.

So whilst I was watching this precious little soul enjoying her life despite the hell she has had to endure (we can learn so much from animals if we stop and observe), I felt so saddened by the number of people out there who fail so badly to show kindness to those who are vulnerable. I’ve never understood how someone can be so unkind as to allow an animal, any animal, to suffer.

 
 

It is not hard to be nice. It takes much more energy to be an angry, uncaring person than it does a kind and loving one. For me, the practice of Ahimsa is natural – it always has been. This has left me vulnerable at times for ridicule from those who lack kindness and struggle to feel love or be loved. To be clear, their behavior, their righteousness and need to be cruel says a lot about the person they are and absolutely nothing about me. I have no issue with being judged about being kind. I would much rather be the kind one than not. Those who are violent are nothing more than weak, insecure bullies. People who fail to care for those who are more vulnerable are not cool. They’re not tough or ‘the boss’. Instead, they are the weakest of them all, and I pity them as this is a very sad, lonely path they are following.

As you all know at Jessica Dewar Yoga our mission is to build a kinder world through the practice of yoga. I believe yoga has the power to help even the most troubled of us all by unlocking and revealing the shadow parts of self that keep them, us, small. I know it is through this vulnerability people can experience happier lives. And when we feel happier in ourselves, I am hopeful this will extend to sharing kindness and love to all that surround, including our furry family members.

 
 

To little Lola – thank you for choosing us as your forever home. We have already learned so much about what it means to see the positive side of life no matter how dire the circumstances have been. You’re spirit has not been broken and that is a testament to just how strong you are. We promise to show you unconditional love and kindness for as long as we are together.

Sending hugs,

Jessica xx

NB: To support the rescue and safety of other pugs like Lola, head to Pug Rescue and Adoption Victoria to donate. Your contributions will be so greatly appreciated.