Yoga & Honoring All Life

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This Inspirational Short was contributed by Sati (Lisa) Chappelle    

My intimate concepts have been under scrutiny in many ways, but particularly via food since joining the yoga ranks in 1998.  I'd always thought I enjoyed a healthy diet, until several illnesses, leading me to yoga, indicated that wasn’t true. Born in the early 1960’s, my generation was part of the Depression-War-Economic Resurgence era that brought us such things as the Food Pyramid.  I was taught it in school, & our plates at home reflected it: a certain percentage of meat, dairy, starch, vegetables, fruit & dessert (my mom had a serious sweet tooth) comprised our lunches & dinners. In the mid 90’s I developed Severe Hypoglycemia & my concept of food shifted.  Assigned a state nutritionist, I struggled for months trying to get my sugar under control.  Consuming 11 meals each day & barely functioning, I sought a holistic nutritionist & was eating only 6 meals per day in 3 short weeks.  A vegetarian, she was my second encounter with non-carnivores.   The whole thing got me thinking: how do folks live healthy lives without meat?  As social psychologist Melanie Joy states, most people believe the “three N’s of justification”, siting that “eating meat is normal, natural, and necessary.”

I was a justifier, & I had the perfect excuse: as a recovering hypoglycemic, I had to have protein at every meal, which is true.  Obviously, I didn’t know enough about what actual protein was to be able to change my diet without dire consequences.  So, after ten years of disastrous vegetarian attempts, I gave up.  Then I became close friends with one of the teacher trainers at my school.  Not just a vegan, she wrote her main college thesis on factory farming…which was a game changer for me!  As author Jenny Brown says in her book The Lucky Ones: “We can become prisoners of our earliest indoctrinations or we can look critically at our assumptions and align our lives with our values.”  So I looked at things critically.

Factory farming and animal abuse are unrelated topics, because animals live free, happy & full lives in farms on rolling green hills where the sun always shines, the cows moo & the birds sing!  Jessica, my vegan factory farming naysayer, dispelled that notion.  Cows don’t see rolling hills; chickens don’t squawk due to having their beaks cut-off; & live pigs & goats rot away on top of heaps of dead friends who have the same incurable diseases as they. Honestly, I didn’t believe it – or more accurately, I couldn’t.  My thoughts were so much easier to live with!  Like Robert Grillo says in 5 Reasons Why Meat-Eating Can’t Be Considered A ‘Personal Choice’ “there are no visible, negative consequences to eating meat…the victims remain invisible and silent to those who eat them.”  And so they were, until I went with Jessica to see Sharon Gannon & David Life, co-founders of Jivamukti.  Beside my dear friend, I took their vegetarian-activist yoga class wisely accompanied by a song that spoke about how many chickens were being slaughtered at that very moment.  It seemed to play aud nausium & I was pretty angry.  My carnivorous belief had gotten the celestial hammer since the chickens had, for the very first time, spoken – thanks to Jivamukti Yoga.  While I reeled, Jessica understood & embraced me, but that song haunted me.

I really began to look into the facts, only one of which I’ll print here.  Why?  Because my darling Jess taught me an important lesson that day: Love IS the Answer.  Factory farming facts are beyond grim, beyond depressing – they’re a social abomination…at 60 billion land (only) animals killed annually, it’s a holocaust of animals & a deep scar upon the soul of humanity.  When you’re ready, those facts will be there.  Until then, consider what a once die-hard now reformed carnivore might say about diet & nutrition: it’s far more than eating too many fats or sugars, more than eating too much at one time or too little, it’s more than body image, bikini’s, six pack abs, or even the Food Pyramid,.. it’s about the choices we make when we decide what constitutes actual “food”.  Animals are a huge part of this equation, but so are GMO’s, organics, pre-processed foods, & the future of soil & water.  &, yes, that’s way too big a mouthful for one sitting.  So don’t choke it down!  Bite off the piece that you can handle & go on to the next, but whatever you do, please choose your next mouthful carefully.

Sati (Lisa) Chappelle, a yogini, sacred activist, & vegetarian, currently lives with her husband in North Carolina where she writes professionally & teaches at & owns a yoga/pilates studio & 7 year old yoga teacher training program.  You can find her at: Studio: or Teacher Training School:

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