It all started with the wonderful David Robson‘s visit to Ottawa in August. David is one of my favourite visiting teachers. He’s great at explaining things and making them simple without making them banal. He’s got a wonderful sense of the philosophy of ashtanga yoga and embodies it in his practice and his life. He was here for a week, and during one of our afternoon philosophy sessions, the topic turned to food. David explained, clearly and simply, why he’s vegan. He explained it as ahimsa – for animals, yourself, and the planet – a way of explaining it that really resonated with me.
I’d often thought about going vegan before, but always thought that I’d miss my favourite foods too much. I guess in a lot of ways, despite the obvious health and moral benefits, I was too attached to the foods I enjoyed. I was attached to the activities around eating (going out to dinner with my husband, grabbing a bite with friends, and the simplicity of it) and couldn’t fathom how it would work if I was vegan. So I didn’t do it even though I could recognize what was holding me back as attachment to physical things….not very in line with the yamas and niyamas…..
Anyway, another interesting thing that happened while David was here was that I was super super emotional on the mat. I was more frustrated than I have ever been practicing – and way more caught up in the asanas, specifically the ones I couldn’t do. A couple of times I started crying during suptakurmasana and didn’t stop the whole way through my second series practice. Kindof intense. It was interesting, because David is the only person who has ever gotten me into that pose…but getting into and realizing that it’s achievable, but still a long way off, really sent me off the deep end. David also cut back my practice – I’d been going up to leg behind the head, but he wanted me to stop after kapotasana. No problem. Fewer asanas are better. 🙂 He wanted me to wait for more changes. That resonated with me a bit too….I wasn’t sure what changes I was waiting for, but I was up for waiting.
Anyway, a couple of weeks after David left, I woke up thinking that I would try going vegan for a few days and see what happened. I eased into it – we were travelling a bit at the time, so I ate what I needed to eat while on the road but made a good effort. And then when we got back it was full on. It was probably one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done in my life, no word of a lie. I feel absolutely amazing. I have more energy, sleep better, my mood is better, my brain is clear (no more brain fog!!!!). My physical body is also completely different. There is so much ease in my practice it’s amazing. My joints hurt way less than they used to (even my bum knee is holding up okay in the cooler weather). My spine is more supple. I’m able to feel my bandhas more. And asana? I can bind by myself in marchyasana D for the first time in my life. Easily. And I’m starting to get a sense of how suptakurmasana might happen. I can’t believe it.
And it’s not that hard. And it feels great to make choices that are better for me, animals, and the planet. And Ross is super supportive, and we’ve been cooking amazing food. And I’m actually eating the right number of fruits and vegetables. And I don’t feel so attached to food. Wait, that’s not quite true. I’m still attached to it in the sense that I’m always a bit concerned about where my next meal is going to come from or what it is going to be, but it’s less about making sure that I’m eating the most delicious thing possible. Now it’s about what my body needs. And if there’s room after I’ve eaten all the good stuff that I can, then there are always vegan cookies somewhere. But I rarely have room.
So if you’re thinking about it, I say take the plunge. It’s a bit of work, so prepare yourself for lots of food prep, but it’s so good for you you’ll love it. You’ll feel amazing. Here are some resources:
Love those cookbooks so much! Another fav (but not 100% vegan, so just check the recipes) is:
And did you know that it’s world vegan month? It is. And it’s my birthday month. It’s a birthday miracle!