Tag Archives: Bhakti Festival

The Spiritual Vegan Diet

21 August

Ahimsa The Spiritual Vegan Diet

Last year at Bhakti Fest, one of the MCs talked about a lifestyle challenge he entered as a way to improve his health. As he started the new vegan raw diet, he realized that his new diet is part of what Ahimsa in the yoga world means: Non-violence towards animals. I connected to that because being a vegan for me now is more of a choice-of-energy that enters my body than non-cruelty towards animals. But I knew Ahimsa meant much more beyond food. I was inspired by this topic and wrote about it on my post for MentalBlox.com. Here is a copy of the post:

 

Ahimsa | The Non-Violent Spiritual Diet

If you are a student of Yoga, whether it’s the asana practice only or all the other parts of yoga, you have heard the term Ahimsa. It means non-violence and avoiding harming ourselves and others including animals. Many yogis and yoginis are vegetarian or vegan, because, a true practitioner of yoga will take a vow of non-violence. Eating animals is part of Ahimsa because of the suffering and the violence animals are submitted before they died to become food on a plate. Vegetarism is a start, but Ahimsa is much more beyond being a vegetarian.

You Are What You Eat

I chose to become a vegan many years ago, at the beginning for health reasons, but now I choose to stay vegan for energy reasons. I don’t want the energy of another being in my body; I feel it affects my spiritual path, especially if the animal was hurt and tortured during the dying process to become food for humans. I’m fortunate to be allergic to eggs and dairy and therefore I’m not able to eat those either. Many of my friends have been able to get deeper once they adjust their diets to the principal of Ahimsa. And it’s no surprise that many religions avoid eating certain animals because they might not be as “pure” as others or because some animals are sacred and cannot be consumed.

Walking The Walk

When I started learning more about yoga, deepening my practice thru my teacher training, I became more aware of the term Ahimsa and why it was important in order to advance in my spiritual path. I felt great I was a vegan and thought that was all to it. Ahimsa doesn’t just refer to food and the killing of animals for food. It refers to everything in our lives, not having harmful thoughts about ourselves or others and other violent actions that lead to negative emotions like anger, frustration, fear, rage, and anxiety. So I had to stop wishing people on the road traffic tickets for bad driving, getting angry at my cat for spitting hairballs on my white couch, or killing roaches that come in to my house after a rainy day.

But the most difficult part has been not wounding and hurting me with my thoughts. Every time we judge ourselves and say mean things, we hurt our souls and self-esteem. I know it sounds corny but it’s true. Saying “I’m fat and ugly, nothing fits me”, or “I have a horrible hair day”, or “I’m so stupid”. Even not saying it out loud but thinking it, we are hurting ourselves. And if you have children or siblings that look up to you, they are learning from you to say those things about themselves too.

The Process

It may take a while for us to get used to being more loving towards ourselves and others. I started moving to the middle lane when I see a car coming fast behind me on the left lane, so instead of wishing them a ticket, I let them pass me. I stop telling myself how “fat I feel” when clothes don’t fit or calling myself “stupid” for closing a drawer on my fingers. One might be clumsy at times but it doesn’t mean we have to call ourselves a name or attach a negative feeling to that. Love your clumsy curvy self and the roaches or other animals that share this earth with us. That is the first step to Ahimsa.

Are there other ways you have come to realized Ahimsa applies in your life? Share with us!

From Mayhem to Bhakti

02 October
Bhakti Fest

Bhakti Fest

That’s right! Last month I went to Mayhem Fest here in Florida with headliners Korn, Lamb of God, Rob Zombie, and Fiver Finger Death Punch. This month, I went to Bhakti Fest in California with headliners Krishna Das, Bhagavan Das, Deva Premal & Mitten, Jai Uttal, Wah!, and Geoffrey Gordon to name a few (very few).

Two very different festivals, but both very similar to me. People gather, complete strangers, to enjoy music that transport them to a different place, that elevates their spirit. I enjoy all music, except country music; (don’t ask me why, it just doesn’t do anything for me).  So going in, I had similar goals to accomplish at each festival that relate to spiritual growth and the intentions I had set on the last Blue Moon.

Independence

I’ve been working on becoming more independent and trusting the universe that nothing will go wrong if I do things on my own. I used to be scared of being away from Denis too long because I always felt we would loose precious time being apart. I also feared that something would happened to us and I wanted to spend as much time together. I got inspired last year to work on this issue and so far I’ve been able to accomplish it. Proof is I went to Mayhem Fest without Denis and at Bhakti Fest we had different schedules, and last week, I went to a concert by myself. Just me, myself, and I had a blast!

Fear

I don’t have many regrets in life, but the ones I do have are all tied to fear. Being afraid of doing something. Well no more! I decided to evaluate whenever a fear surfaces and tries to stop me from doing things I want to do. For example, when I first got tickets to Mayhem Fest, I was afraid for Denis. It was going to be his first “rock” (metal) concert (for 8 hours!) and I was afraid. So instead of selling the tickets or giving them away, I went with someone else. At Bhakti I was scared of doing yoga for 5 days (including the intensive) and of going to LA. I had heard so many scary stories of the police, etc in LA that I almost wanted to skip visiting the city.  But I didn’t let that fear stopped me and jumped in to each class for 5 days and went around LA trusting our GPS!

Let Go – Clearing Mind Clutter

Most people know that I. LOVE. CLEARING. CLUTTER! I’m now convinced is one of my talents I was born with! But clearing the clutter in the mind is much more difficult that cleaning your space. So I went to both festivals hoping to clear some of the clutter in my head and it worked!

Dance

I love dancing but I almost never have time to dance. So this time at both festivals I took every opportunity to dance. Well, yes at Mayhem there isn’t much “dancing” but jumping and throwing your hands in the air count as dancing. Oh and who can forget rocking your head and hair back and forth to the sound of any Lamb of God song? Yeah that’s dancing in my book!

Guilt

Mayhem Fest - Korn

Like Korn’s song says: “Let the Guilt Go“, that is one of my BIGGEST issues I’ve been working out this passed 10 months. As any person brought up in the catholic religion, we are made to believe everything is our fault and we must feel guilty for everything. When I was getting ready to go to Mayhem Fest (10 minutes before I left the house) I felt guilty for not taking Denis with me. I finally talked it out loud and expressed myself and realized how stupid of me. I would have felt guilty taking him because metal is not his cup of tea and for not taking him. At Bhakti Fest, I felt guilty leaving early, at 1am, and not staying for the later kirtan even though I was exhausted and sleepy. I felt guilty for not buying more things to support the vendors, and felt guilty for not going to more yoga classes. Finally, I talked to myself and reassured myself that it was OK to rest and not overwork my body and overspend beyond my traveling budget.

At each festival the music, energy, and situations helped me overcome different issues I had to deal with. As different as both festivals were, I went in with the same goals. Best part of both festivals, I had a great time!