Last month, a yoga vegan festival took place in Strijp-s. It was held by Yogific, an organization advocating yoga as a lifestyle, and veganism. The organization regularly holds yoga vegan events in many different places, hoping to spread several notions: yoga is not just a physical posture, but a way of life that stands for compassion and non-violence towards all living beings. Veganism naturally comes with this concept – if you have compassion and advocate non-violence towards people, why don’t you have that for animals too? Therefore, the idea behind the event is to raise awareness about the benefits of yoga and veganism.
I’m neither vegan nor yogi, but the idea was interesting and intriguing. I went there to see what it was like.
Going inside, I could see that there were various kinds of products that seem to be related to either veganism or yoga.
You could also get a massage there.
During the event, there are different yoga lessons going on throughout the day. You can choose the time slot you want to participate.
Personally, I really like getting henna – an Indian temporary tattoo that lasts about 6 days or so. The material is made from a plant called Lawsonia inermis, and it smells good. I once participated in an Indian wedding, and there were a lot of people hired to do the henna. That’s where I first got my henna on me, and I loved it. I saw this in the event, and without hesitation, I just dived right in and got one.
People working here are all volunteers. Jyaysi Desai is a neuroscientist and a researcher at a hospital in Leiden. She saw this event and volunteered to work as a henna artist for the day.
Indian style art was very pretty as well.
There was a vegan food section. All things looked delicious, but unfortunately, it was cash only. I only had a pin card so I couldn’t try, but I would have loved to.
There were interesting Indian arts too.
On the left is Irene Martens – the chief editor of Eindhoven News, and I’m on the right. Kriti Sachdeva Kolbusz (in the middle) is the organizer of Yogific, therefore the organizer of this event. She started it in London and has been holding these festivals in many places like here in Eindhoven, Belgium, and Dublin.
A meaningful experience
Participating in this event, I started thinking about the relationship between yoga and veganism. I assume that yoga is a way of living that focuses on finding inner peace by having compassion towards yourself, the world, and all the living beings. If you have empathy towards all living beings, it is natural to think about veganism. You wouldn’t want to hurt other animals. You live a happy life only by finding happiness inside of you, not by hurting other living beings.
People I talked to at the event seemed to be quite relaxed and easy-going. I actually ordered food there without knowing it was cash only. Only when they served me, I learned about the policy and I didn’t have any cash so I couldn’t pay. It could have been annoying for them because they already served the food on the plate. However, they were very understanding. I was quite surprised about that and could see that people were in peace under this roof.
Anything that bothers you, bothers you only because you let it bother you. Let’s say you’re perfectly in peace, then no external influence would bother you. It’d be unrealistic to expect anyone to be in 100% peace, but I think at least you can achieve some level of peace by learning from the spirit of yoga and veganism.
It was a meaningful experience for me to learn that yoga is not just an exercise but one of the ways to find true happiness that you don’t know you already have inside of you. As for the veganism, I have given it thought. Unfortunately, I still don’t know where I should stand on veganism. I’m neither vegetarian nor vegan, but I do think it’s the right thing to do. I just don’t have the courage to do it, especially because I am from South Korea where there are barely any vegan foods. When eating with family or friends, I would need to ask them to avoid many restaurants because of me. I do know that most of them would find it unpleasant that I become very selective.
However, I completely agree that veganism is the right way for the world to go. What makes a society an advanced one, in my opinion, is empathy. In the past, survival was difficult. People had to be savage to make it through the day. You were supposed to have empathy only towards the ones in your community so that you grow a bond. However, as the world advances, it has been getting easier for more and more people to survive, which means that we should have some space to look out for those who are weaker than us, including animals. I do believe, as many people say, that there will be more vegetarians and vegans as the world advances more and more. In that sense, the yoga vegan festival can be one of the attempts to make the world a better place.