This year, VegfestUK celebrates the first anniversary of its partnership with yoga and vegan organisation Yogific in hosting yoga classes, and is delighted to continue working with them at this year’s VegfestUK London on October 26-27 at Olympia London.
In this blog, we interview Yogific founder Kriti Sachdeva, who spoke to us about the inspiration behind the founding of her organisation, the relationship between yoga and veganism, the benefits of yoga, yoga classes at Vegfest previously and what visitors can expect in this year’s Yogific area at Vegfest.
What was the inspiration for you to found Yogific in the first place?
I am a vegan Yoga teacher. I found it very surprising that even though Yoga is rooted in the principle for ‘Ahimsa’ (non-violence), a lot of Yoga teachers and Yogis are unaware of the violence involved in eating animal products. I started by organizing small gatherings of Yogis in London and Brighton to educate them about the link between Yoga and veganism – I called it ‘Yoga and vegan food evening’ but then I realized that I need a bigger platform to bring the Yoga community face-to-face with veganism. This is how the idea of organizing vegan themed Yoga festivals was born and we named it Yogific.
Those who follow the path of Yoga and spirituality are more likely to be conscious of their actions — they are the perfect target group. We aim to make all yogis vegan 🙂
How many individuals are involved with Yogific’s classes and events currently?
So far, we have organized 28 events in 5 countries and collaborated with over 200 teachers and 120 volunteers. We travel from city to city to spread the message of Yoga and veganism.
We are a very small organization and rely on the kindness of our volunteers and teachers to help us organize the events. Fortunately, we make enough to keep the festivals going.
What are the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle in relation to yoga?
There are plenty of scientifically proven health benefits of eating a plant-based diet that can help improve and health and fitness level of an individual – enabling them to excel in Yoga postures. However, the biggest benefit of following a vegan lifestyle is that it clears our conscious of the guilt of harming another species for our taste.
How does veganism tie in with yoga?
Ahimsa (non-violence), the first and foremost of the five yamas (restraints) described in the Yoga Sutra by Patanjali, the author of the most ancient text on Yoga ever known. Yamas precede Asanas (postures) in the eight-limbed (Ashtanga) theory of Yoga proposed by Patanjali. It is advised to practice Yamas before attempting postures. Is Ahimsa (non-violence) only limited to prohibition of obvious use of physical force against a human? Shouldn’t it also apply to our behavior with animals? It’s time to take Ahimsa to the plate.
It is a well-known fact that animals are killed, abused and tortured for meat and dairy – this amounts as violence – the difference here is that we pay someone to do it for us every time we buy meat and dairy. By going vegan, we can stop the circle of violence against these sentient beings.
Yoga means ‘union’ – to unite your mind, body and soul or to unite your individual consciousness to the supreme consciousness or being in oneness with the universe. How can we achieve such a unity without respecting the living beings who co-inhabit the world with us?
Is there a danger of yoga being misappropriated? How important do you think it is to retain the traditional teachings of yoga?
It’s already happening. It is very unfortunate to see Yoga becoming just another Instagram hashtag making people uncomfortable with their body image. Yoga is and was always supposed to be for everybody. While forcefully pushing our bodies to do jaw-dropping postures might get a few hundred ‘likes’, it doesn’t help in inculcating a state of calmness and internal joy. It is very important that we go back to the ancient text and understand that doing postures is just one aspect of Yoga. Read Yoga goes beyond Yoga mats.
Tell us more about the Yogific area last year…
The Yogific area at Vegfest London was buzzing with positive vibes all day! The best part was that a lot of newbie Yogis attended the Yoga and tai chi sessions. It was great to see so many happy faces. Visitors also asked many questions to the teachers after classes and explored the link between Yoga and veganism.
Besides the Yogific area, what are your favourite parts of Vegfest?
My favourite part of the Vegfest is the vega shopping experience. Going to Vegfest is like going to a vegan shopping mall where you can buy anything you wish from hundreds of stalls without fretting about the ingredients because you know that everything is 100% vegan! It is also great to support various independent businesses by buying their products. The selection of stalls at Vegfest is very varied and a treat for all vegan shopaholics out there.
Tell us more about plans for Yogific area at VegfestUK London this year, in particular, will there be sessions suited to all levels?
We are planning a fantastic line-up of classes to ensure that we offer something to everyone. From slow yin style class to a challenging arm balance Yoga class and also a Yoga Rave – we are going to make a Yoga extravaganza!
Could you tell us more about your future plans for Yogific?
We will continue expanding to more cities in the UK and Europe. We are on a mission to celebrate Yoga and veganism with as many people as possible and creating lots of Vegan Yogis along the way.
For all latest news, events and updates from Yogific, or more info on the link between yoga and veganism, visit Yogific’s website here; also follow Yogific on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @Yogific.
The full list of teachers and schedules for the Yogific Yoga Area at VegfestUK London will be announced on this page here closer to the event.
The Yogific featured area is part of the Natural Therapy Zone, located on Level 2 of Olympia Central, which brings together a number of brands and influencers in the world of natural health and wellbeing. See the blog post here for the latest exhibitors and speakers confirmed.