When I began to shift my consciousness surrounding my dietary patterns to Ahimsa, many personal things shifted too. I began eating vegan as a part of my Life of A Yogi Teacher Training with my beloved teacher and Guru- Sri Dharma Mittra. It probably took about 3 to 4 weeks for my body to totally detoxify from all dairy and processed foods. I was meticulous with this change; avoiding even any milk-based products that may have snuck into baked foods. There are 8 limbs of yoga, following the Yamas (ethical rules of yoga) is one of those limbs, Ahimsa, compassion is the first concept of the Yamas.
Ahimsa is now the platform for my life- both in personal relationships, eating and where my food comes from. Cultivating a strong determination of non-harming, compassion and love extends beyond my pet golden retriever Rocco. It is as if my yoga practice has now blossomed with regard to my asana, pranayama (breath work) and meditation practices. In Dharma Yoga there are those challenging inversions, deep intense twists, long holds and binds. Now those poses are even more enjoyable and my body feels totally awesome! In addition to that, my endurance level for length of comfortable pranayama and depth of hatha yoga postures have increased, which brings the duration of my self-practice to longer spurts. All this ads to deeper levels of focus and concentration in my daily life –both on and off the mat!
It’s very interesting how this all comes together: asana involve using the core strength as well as a compassionate mind, digestion happens in the solar plexus region enlisting core strength and the compassionate mind embodies and extends to the ahimsa in my diet.
I have been lactose intolerant since my teenage years and had been avoiding most milk my whole life, but I wasn’t really avoiding yogurt. Ahhhhh, that creamy smooth sensation on my palate and in my mouth that added finesse to my daily smoothies. Now, I am able to substitute the creamy yogurt with avocados, hemp seeds and chia seeds -my new favorite friends in my smoothies and even vegan creamy soups. Asana, a practice is not the only component of a my peaceful Dharma Yoga practice. It also includes pranayama and meditation. My daily alternate nostril breathing Nadi Shodhana , Kapalbhati and Bastrika breathwork are very smooth and I feel more content. This peaceful, content feeling is definitely enhanced by a vegan diet, it breeds waves of compassion. Also, my meditation seems to have a true serene quality. I had never experienced anything like this before. Meditating with serene quality, I go into a sense of gratitude- gratitude for my practice, gratitude for mother earth that provides us all with delicious foods and vegetables, gratitude for my friends and family that support me and bring me to a point of higher being. There is minimal to zero agitation – space where there was discomfort, I now feel relaxed and zen.
Feeling relaxed in a compassionate mindset, truly came into being since I switched to a vegan diet. I really attribute positive sensations to my vegan diet. I love this beautiful level of eating! An immense amount of gratitude for becoming vegan poured over me during my 500 hour Life Of A Yogi Teacher Training at the Dharma Yoga Center in New York City. This sense of gratitude dispersed itself to people, places, food and personal sentiments. I asked myself, how do I feel when I eat vegan? Immense amount of gratitude! The support of talented yogis and teachers as well as other vegans encouraging and showing me the way have transformed and evolved both my mind, body and especially my yoga practice. Hence, I am here to assist you during your transition!
Another concept that greatly affected me is that when you don’t eat dairy products, you don’t take part in the cruelty part of milking cows and acquiring their dairy products. It is where my compassion for animals extend beyond my pets. I owe this perspective to my teacher Sri Dharma Mittra, who infused this concept into the Life of a Yogi 500 TT, 700 LOAY TT and also in my 800/100 LOAY TT. My compassionate heart extends to all animals, they are all sentient beings (not just my 2 golden retriever doggies). This level of compassion for the animals and not ingesting their pain strengthens my spiritual heart. If you have any questions or concerns that come up in your practice, dietary patterning or grocery shopping, please do not hesitate to touch base with me!
So, here are3 foods that I eat instead of yogurt are:
- Kite Hill Dairy Free Almond Milk based yogurt
- Silk Dairy Free Vanilla Yogurt Alternative
- Homemade smoothie-– ½ an avocado, one or two bananas, almond/ rice/ cashew milk or Hemp, sprinkle chia seeds, sprinkle hemp seeds. Chill well or freeze!
If you live in the North East Ohio area – stop in and visit me at Spa Walden (yourwalden.com). I am the Spa Director, proprietor and resident yogi; Yogini Hari- Pria Om.
Barrie Kane Rosencrans, MS, RD, LD, 500 E-YRT, 700 DYT
Dharma Yoga Teacher and Registered Dietitian
Instagram: @dharmayogaohio, @barrieroseyoga