Pose of the hypocritical excuse-itarian: yoga IS veganism »
I was halfway through writing an article on yoga as it relates to veganism when this article appeared in my inbox, courtesy of the head honchos at Vegansaurus. Suffice to say it only fueled my agni (Sanskrit for “fire”).
Sometime in the 1980s yoga took over the Western world. Suddenly everyone was in downward dog, from 20-something administrative assistants to hardcore fitness fanatics to stay-at-home moms to Wall Street suits. Yoga and its followers, myself included, have carried the practice into the 21st century and the culture continues to grow. I’m all for staying in shape, but what most folks overlook is that yoga is much, much more than a 60-minute workout. Yoga is upwards of 2,400 years old, and is deeply rooted into the spiritual world, leading true practitioners—or yogis/yoginis—to attain enlightenment.
Between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D., Patanjali, the “father of yoga,” wrote the Yoga Sutras, also referred to as The Eight Limbs of Yoga. The sutras provide yoga with a thorough and consistent philosophical base, and is considered the foundational text of Yoga.
The Yoga Sutras are (in Sanskrit and English):
- Yama (restraints or ethical disciplines), consisting of Ahimsa (nonviolence), Satya (truth), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (sexual responsibility), and Aparigraha (non-coveting/non-greed)
- Niyama (observances), consisting of Saucha (purity), Santosa (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya (study of self/holy scriptures), and Isvara-Pranidhana (devotion to God)
- Asana (physical postures)
- Pranayama (breath or life-force control)
- Pratyahara (sense-withdrawal)
- Dharana (concentration)
- Dhyana (meditation)
- Samadhi (contemplation).
Ahimsa, the first yama, means non-violence/non-harming, or more simply, peace and love. Essentially, the true yogi believes that to kill or destroy a being is to insult its creator. This is about as black-and-white as it gets: unless you are vegan, you support the idea that an animal’s life is worthless and invalid in the face of our desire for its flesh and secretions. Breaking rule number one? Check.
At the Yoga Journal Conference in 2009, Dharma Mittra, a celebrated yoga teacher and director of the Dharma Yoga Center in New York City, stated, “It is a sin to eat animals. Why? Because the ability to put oneself in other’s place is the path to enlightenment. When you eat meat, you make your stomach a graveyard.” He added, “You must take compassion more seriously.” Sounds clear to me, but after reading Briana Ronglin's article "Yogis Don’t Have to Be Vegan, According to the Masters," it seems some people are sincerely confused about rule number one. Dancing around reality with very convenient information gathered from a panel of “Yoga masters that would make any devoted Yogi tremble with awe” from 2011’s Yoga Journal Conference, Ronglin outwardly eschews the very foundation of yoga. What’s worse, these “experts” only assist with their oblivious commentary. Ana Forest and Aadil Palkhivala both boldly venture into excuse-itarian territory, claiming that a vegan diet left them feeling “ill” and “sluggish,” and complaining about weight gain. Ana actually confesses to “rearranging her beliefs to accommodate the needs of her body.” Sounds to me like these two health-conscious “masters” didn’t pay much attention to basic nutrition at all.
Another expert, Seane Corn, is vegan. However, she states that “living in judgement of other people’s choices is absurd.” In theory, I agree—except when said choices have far-reaching consequences for my planet and its other inhabitants, my future, my tax dollars, my health care, and so on. Everyone agrees, of course, that the most realistic solution must be to indulge in “non-factory farmed” meats, or just a “sliver” of chicken if it’s “what you need to feel whole.” Absurd, indeed. If it’s acceptable to ignore the very first of the Yamas and eat another being’s flesh and secretions, what does it matter how happy or well-fed that being was before slaughter? Declaring that a yogic diet is made up of “whatever works for you” is in blatant and arrogant disregard of yoga’s most basic principles and foundations. Talk about bad Karma.
[Recommended reading: Yoga and Vegetarianism: The Path to Greater Health and Happiness by Sharon Gannon. Sources: Vegan Girl Next Door, ElephantJournal.com, Wikipedia, Vegan Outreach. Image via TwiggyJane on Flickr]
You know that idiot, Iowa state Rep. Annette Sweeney? She’s trying to outlaw the filming of animal undercover investigations and it’s the wack attack. And, oh look, she’s the former executive director of the Iowa Angus Association. Quelle surprise! If I could throw up on one person today (and it’s looking like it might happen, too much party-hardy for Laura), it would be that woman.
The video above is pretty amazing. In it, she talks about how undercover animal investigations are staged, right before pulling apart a display from opposing activists. OH THE IRONY. Even trying to backtrack she sounds like the idiot she is.
Unfortunately, the bill passed the Republican-dominated Iowa House, but its passage remains uncertain in the state’s Democrat-controlled Senate. It could possibly be discussed in the Senate as early as today. If you’re in Iowa (or can pass this on to people who live in Iowa! Along with this message: GET OUT. I joke! Looks like a great place.), please contact your state senator, and let them know that you strongly oppose the passage of S.J. 727.
Fur hair extensions: what’s hot for privileged exploitative asshats! »
No, seriously. What will these wacky rich idiots think of next!? Since we’re already devolving into a dystopian society, let’s just say FUCK IT and eat dead baby gorillas and start using the backs of orphans as our main mode of transportation (eco-friendlier!). Actually, you know what, the eating gorillas and riding around on orphan backs makes MORE sense than these fucking hair extensions, because people need to eat and get places.
Even fur coats can have a use, but this is for absolutely no reason. It’s like using meat to wipe your ass. These fur hair extensions are like two idiotic tastes that taste worse together. Kinda like putting those chrome balls on your hummer.
I especially love that the blogger calls it a “pain-free process.” Really, bitch? Tell that to the chinchilla who was anally and vaginally electrocuted so you could wear tacky-ass cultural appropriation creepiness in your stringy hair. The only reason I regret writing this is that their TERRIBLE blog might get some hits today. SF Indie Fashion, go fuck yourself.
Sonja from Rubio & Raven Salon, where the fur hair extensions were sold, wrote this on Yelp:
"I never expected this kind of response and cruelty to animals was honestly the furthest thing from my mind. My purpose was not to upset so many people and so, I will no longer be offering this service. Thank you for your passion and I hope that you will take down your review as I am now on your side. Thank you and sincerely, Sonja Ritchey"
This is rad! Yay, Sonja!
Does this article make me look like an asshole? »
Even though Chelsea Clinton’s wedding wasn’t as vegan as it was made out to be, it was vegan enough to prompt the New York Times to tackle the pressing social issue of vegetarian weddings; specifically, whether or not a vegan or vegetarian bride should serve meat at her wedding. Not to miss an opportunity to add their reasoned opinions to this important discourse, both Gawker (The Vegan Wedding Article the NYT Doesn’t Want You to Read) and Jezebel (Is It Selfish to Throw a Vegan Wedding) followed suit. Oh goody—I can smell the bullshit from here.
First up, The Times. In what is the most reasonable article, The Times actually doesn’t say much beyond giving a few examples of vegan/vegetarian (or half-vegan/-vegetarian) couples who have either had or not had meat at their weddings, and then thoughtfully relating the story of one poor soul forced to endure a vegetarian wedding back in 1999 (which he is still talking about—can we say first-world problems?). Thankfully, this mensch was able to sneak out and find a chicken parmesan sandwich mid-reception, so he didn’t wither away and die. What a trooper! Unfortunately, the experience scarred him so much that he’s still sore about it 11 years later. Isn’t that just like vegans—forcing you to eat their stupid vegetables and then refusing to foot the bill when you have to spend the next decade dealing with your PTSD in therapy!
Next up, Gawker. Oh, Gawker. First they say vegans are a good lay because we’re, um, “sinewy”? And then they say that the food “dilemmas” that inevitably occur when vegans get married are boring (and then write an article about them). A couple things come to mind: 1) Those dilemmas pretty much ONLY come from butt-hurt meat-eaters who can’t handle eating a single veggie meal; 2) “Sinewy”? Yeah, I guess I don’t expect much better from Gawker on the topic of veganism, but still. Couldn’t they at least be snarky in a way that makes some sense? I’m the one who’s supposed to have the B-12-deficient brain fog, amirite?
Finally, Jezebel. Jezebel thoughtfully posits whether or not having a vegan wedding is selfish. Hmmm. What a good question! Let me riddle you this, Jez: is it selfish to have a feminist wedding? I mean, why would you impose your kooky beliefs on your wedding guests who spent ALL this time showing up for the free food and booze? HOW INCONSIDERATE THAT YOU EXPECT THAT THE GUESTS AT THE WEDDING YOU’RE PAYING FOR TO RESPECT ONE OF YOUR DEEPEST-HELD BELIEFS! Jesus fucking Christ! So it’s okay to ask/demand that folks refrain from imposing their gender-role fuckery on your wedding, but it’s totally selfish and unrealistic to serve vegan food. Ooooo-kay.
Maybe I’m not the best person to be writing about this, as while I am married, I have little tolerance for weddings (mine was 10 minutes long at city hall; the bride wore Levi’s). I don’t really see why it’s so hard for the vegans getting married to lay down the fucking law and tell people what’s what in the same way all couples tell people what the dress code is or where to sit, and I don’t see why it is apparently such an offense to ask a meat-eater to eat a single vegan meal. Are all meat-eaters such huge whiny babies, or just the ones who write/comment on the The Times, Gawker, and Jezebel? Do their moms still cut the crusts off their bread for them? What do they do when the vending machine is out of their favorite beef jerky? How the fuck do they survive when they are only able to function when every single thing in the universe is perfectly tailored to their preferences?
In the end, I know these kinds of articles are cheap comment/page-view grabs by blogs/publications that should be able to do better but usually don’t bother to. I know that responding to these kind of cheap blood-pressure-raisers doesn’t really do much except probably garner me a few more uptight comments (hi, commenters!), but whatever. Vegans, go forth and have vegan weddings. Fuck the haters, and make ‘em eat broccoli. The New York Times will see them in 11 years for their story.
Direct quote from Sarah Palin’s new book: “If any vegans came over for dinner, I could whip them up a salad, then explain my philosophy on being a carnivore: If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?”
Hey everyone! Just in case you were wondering how Sarah Palin would behave in a hypothetical situation in which you were invited to her Wasilla meth mansion for a tasty meal, now you know. Also her book is going for NINE DOLLARS on Amazon right now. That is a discount of $19.99 off the list price. Not linking because, gross.