Veganism – an application of yogic values


Raja Yoga, a traditional branch of yoga, gives us a comprehensive ethical foundation that is easily applicable to today. Starting with Yamas and Niyamas, Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras, lays down ethical guidelines for everyday life. Values such as Truthfulness (satya in Sanskrit), Non-stealing (asteya), Non-violence (ahimsa), Non-greediness(aparigraha), Brahmacharya (conscious relating) and others are relevant for yoga practitioners and teachers today. 

A topic so obvious yet not often talked about is the consumption of animals and animal products. Food choices are being made daily, and they directly impact our health and wellbeing, the planet and the animals that are sacrificed for our choices. 

Values such as Ahimsa (non-violence) and Asteya (non-stealing) are in direct conflict with animal farming; breeding animals and keeping them alive for the sole purpose of either stealing from them (milk, eggs, honey) or to eventually kill them violently (meat, leather, fur). Let’s look at some facts to see the bigger picture. There are three reasons why people choose to change to a vegan diet: for the love of the planet, for their own health, for the love of animals. 

I choose to be a voice for the voiceless. If you continue reading you will definitely leave your comfort zone.



Cruelty to hens:

  • Extreme confinement (chickens have more space in an oven than they do when alive).
  • De-beaking and de clawing without anaesthetic
  • Extreme laying cycles that leave bones crippled and broken from lack of calcium (in the wild chickens lay around 12 eggs a year; humans have bred and forced them to lay over 300).
  • Confinement causes insanity which brings about cannibalism
  • Birds lose feathers due to ammonia burns from urine
  • Broiler hens (used for meat) are engineered to be clinically obese, their legs often crippled under their enormous weight as their bones are bred to be soft to prevent human choking
  • They frequently suffer premature heart attacks due to their grotesque proportions

Cruelty to sheep & cows:

  • Tails, horns and testicles are removed without any pain relief
  • Cows are forcibly inseminated to create unnatural lifelong pregnancy and milk production which often causes udder problems, early death and calcium deficiency
  • Emotional cruelty – dairy calves are removed from their mothers usually around 1 day old, and bobby calves sent to slaughter while they are still just a few weeks old at most, as they are of no use to the dairy industry
  • Veal calves are intentionally weakened and malnourished to keep their bones soft
  • Merino sheep have their buttocks sliced off (mulesing) without pain relief, to reduce fly strike

Cruelty to pigs:

  • Extreme confinement for almost all of their life causes pigs to go insane and cannibalise
  • Pigs often reside in absolute filth, with dead siblings nearby as permitted by New Zealand law
  • They frequently suffer abscesses and tumours
vegan artist Norina Merkabah animal sanctuary Auckland


This excerpt is taken from:

A World Watch report showed that 51% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide can be attributed to animal agriculture, land clearing for livestock, by-products and animal transportation. [1]

Livestock covers 41% of the planet’s land [2] and has resulted in devastating habitat destruction and consequent extinction of hundreds of species.

Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of Amazon destruction and is the cause of 80% of all globally threatened bird and mammal species, largely due to deforestation for livestock feed or grazing. 

The health of our oceans is crucial to our survival.  Over 300,000 whales and dolphins are killed as a result of ‘bi-catch’ each year and we are heading towards fishless oceans by 2048

The global demand for horticultural products is expected to double by 2050 due to population increases. Right now 82% of starving children live in countries where food is fed to animals, and the animals are eaten by western countries. The conversion of animals to meat/milk/eggs is extremely inefficient because most of the energy is used up in raising the animals. 

Soy often comes under criticism for deforestation, especially if genetically modified, but 90% of genetically modified soy grown worldwide is used for animal feed. Soy is actually a very sustainable food when fed to humans, and nutritionally excellent – it produces 15x more protein than beef for a given amount of land, has all nine essential amino acids you need for healthy muscles and bones, is low in saturated fat and high in fiber, potassium and iron.


This excerpt is taken from:

The World Health Organisation has classed processed meat as a group 1 carcinogen, which is the same category as cigarettes, alcohol and asbestos.

A plant-based diet has been proved to lower the risks of:

  • Obesity – eating a vegan diet can help overweight people reduce body fat and promote weight loss without even restricting calories! This is because eating high fiber foods changes gut microbiome composition which boosts metabolism. 
  • Various forms of cancer – eating just 50g of meat per day (the equivalent of two rashers of bacon) increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%, and vegan diets have been linked to a 35% lower risk of prostate cancer. Even consuming more than one glass of milk or one egg daily can increase chances of ovarian cancer by over 70%
  • Cognitive decline – consuming more than one glass of milk a day increases the chance by up to 33%
  • High cholesterol and blood pressure, which increases risks of strokes
  • Heart disease – 15 million people die from heart disease every year. Meat, especially red processed meat, increases the chances of this by over 20%
  • Type 2 diabetes – eating meat increases this risk by over 20%, which can lead to a multitude of further complications
  • Mortality – a global move to a vegan diet would avert over 8 million premature deaths every year

Fresh organic vegetables and fruit (high in Prana, low in toxins) and meals prepared with love support optimum health best. Avoiding processed food – even when vegan – supports vitality and a healthy gut. 


Considering the above facts we can say that adapting a vegan diet is the single most effective way to have a direct positive impact on the environment, your health and the animals

There are different feelings, conditioning and opinions when it comes to eating animals or using animal products. Acknowledging the facts – the well hidden truth – behind animal factoring is the first step to make an informed decision. It pulls us up on our responsibility. It empowers us to make our own choices. It gives us power back to make a difference – at least 3 times a day!

It is a fundamental paradigm shift to acknowledge that animals are sentient beings just like us, and that they deserve to live. Animals are here with us, not for us – we do not need to consume animal products in our western society today. 

There are excellent movies and documentaries that shine a light on industries that deceive the public through their marketing and hide the truth. Hopefully, veganism is just the humble start, and together we will be able to tackle other existential issues. 


The vegan society of Aotearoa: research, information, recipes, inspiration

WaterBear: free movie portal with documentaries for positive change

Milked: documentary uncovering the NZ dairy industry & their lies

Watch for free on WaterBear

Cowspiracy – the sustainability secret

This documentary changed the world when it came out in 2014, shining light on animal farming practices. 

The Game Changers: veganism, athletes and nutrition

Eating our way to extinction

In cinemas and online. 


The oceans are being emptied for profit.


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