I just finish reading Yoga and Vegetarianism by Sharon Gannon. I had heard of it after seeing her video about the subject on My Yoga Online. The book made me reconsider veganism and I will do my best to follow an ethical vegetarian diet from now on. When Gannon speaks of Vegetariansm she is referring to veganism.
The book investigates how the yamas, the five ethical restrictions, from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra’s relate to vegetarianism. I give a very brief resume of some of the chapters below. I highly recommend the book to find out more.
1. Ahimsa, nonharming
Through kindness, strength comes. Yoga Sutra III.24
What we do to others affects us all. Eating a vegetarian diet causes the least harm to the planet and all creatures.
2. Satya, truthfulness
We are not told the truth about where food comes from. The meat and dairy industry spend millions on advertising. We aren’t told things such as the conditions the animals are kept in and the impact that factory farms have on the environment. By eating meat, dairy and eggs we support the industry. It’s like supporting a hit man but we lie to ourselves thinking it’s ok as long we aren’t the ones doing the killing.
3. Asteya, Nonstealing
Simple… To kill and eat animals is to steal their lives from them.
Before you eat something, put it to the “SOS” test devised by Ingrid Newkirk. “Was anyone Slaughtered Or Stolen from to provide this food for me?” if the answer is “yes,” then don’t eat it.
4. Brahmacharya, To respect the creative power of sex
Animals on factory farms do not have normal sexual relationships with other animals. Most never even see a member of the opposite sex. All the animals born in factory farms were artificially inseminated. The mothers are forced to become pregnant over and over again until they are no longer fertile and then get slaughtered and eaten.
5. Aparigraha, Greed, Excess and Poverty
No other animal besides humans would destroy a whole forest or cause the extinction of species while imagining that it has no negative effect upon them or the lives of their future children.
If you visit www.abolitionistapproach.com you can see the number of animals killed in the world every second. It’s hard to know how many sea creatures are killed because they are are not counted as individuals but by tonnage.
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Sharon says “Inaction is not an option for the yogi.” My hope is that you are now more aware of how your diet impacts our world and that you will practice the SOS test more often or better yet, always.