by Hannah Faulkner
How yoga cultivated a karmic awareness of life in all its forms and started my journey of veganism.
Read the full version of this post on Hannah’s blog, Half Moon Yoga and Art.
The other day a friend, Ashlee, told me that I must have been a cat in my previous life. She was trying to make sense of the phenomenon of why animals, and oftentimes cats, are so attracted to me. But, I haven’t always been this way. I used to be afraid of animals and tried to steer clear of them for most of my life.
It wasn’t until I started doing yoga (at Yoga One in San Diego), that I’ve made a connection with these beings. The more I became centered and found inner peace and awakening, the more animals liked to be in my aura.
One of my favorite animal experiences was when I was walking along the Camino de Santiago in 2014. JoAnna and I were both missing our pet cats from back home when suddenly, out of the brush, five little kittens approached us. We stopped and started petting and holding them. They just wanted to be loved. Our hearts were filled with so much joy to share this connection with the natural world.
We stayed there for about thirty minutes then JoAnna said, “We should probably stop wasting time and continue walking.” I abruptly snapped back, “This is NOT WASTING time!” We still tease each other about that statement, but the truth is that taking time to stop and connect with nature and our inner source of love is really the best way to spend our time and our lives.
Our crown chakra, Sahaswara, is our source of enlightenment, consciousness and spiritual connection to all that is. This connection takes the form of a circle, like a crown. Feeling enlightened with a balanced crown chakra means experiencing unity that everything is connected at a fundamental level. The other day, when I was meditating and bringing my concentration to this place of inner peace and connectedness, my cat walked over to me and pressed the crown of her head into the crown of my head. Moments like this are enthralling!
At the Living with Animals exhibit in the Museum of Man San Diego, we are reminded that all animals can be our friends. Pets used to be wild creatures that have developed a relationship with humanity over time. We have made friends with dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, mice, and even beetles.
However, sometimes the way we live causes separateness and we lose connection with creatures when we label a certain creature as a pest or a taco. Why is it that in the West we can develop laws to protect the treatment of dogs, but we are blind to the way cows, pigs and chickens are treated and manufactured in a factory? The Living with Animals exhibit takes a look at how a pet can become a pest, a pest can become a pet, and a pet can become a pest that ends up on our plate.
Up until six months ago, I have been guilty of disconnecting the animal with the flavor. Then, I became confronted with some yoga philosophy of Ahimsa (non-violence) and how it relates to karma. I finally opened my eyes and heart to the documentaries available on Netflix and other platforms that are trying to awaken us to how we are responsible for torturing animals every time that we buy meat or animal products.
I used to think that we “needed” to eat animals for protein and have since learned that we can find much more healthy nutrients and proteins in a plant based diet. Leo Tolstoy announces, “A man CAN live and be HEALTHY without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he partakes in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite, and to act so is immoral.”
Like an ex-smoker who still desires a swig of cigarette every time they smell one, my mouth still waters at the smell of crispy bacon and tasty hamburger, but then I close my eyes and visualize the whole creature and how it is being treated today, under horrible conditions, with the purpose of companies making more money, and I can no longer partake in this bad karma. Peaceful Mohandas Gandhi, past leader of India proclaimed, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Join us for Yoga in the Rotunda at the Museum of Man San Diego and visit the Living with Animals Exhibit to awaken connectedness and inner peace.
I will be leading the class on Saturday, September 9th, 2017 from 8:30-9:30am in accordance with Yoga One San Diego.
We will be flowing through animal poses like Cat/Cow, Dog, Beetle, Mouse, Pigeon, Fish, Turtle, and more as we cultivate Crown Chakra Connectedness and Ahimsa for all creatures!
Hannah Faulkner draws inspiration from her surroundings and seeks to find relationships between the ordinary and extraordinary daily life through her writing. With 4 years of experience as a flight attendant, and many more travels preceding, Hannah’s curiosity and adventurous spirit have soaked in elements from worldwide cultures while growing in her spirituality. As a yoga and visual arts teacher, she combines her passions to create beauty in a variety of ways through her inspiring stories, bridging connections with deeper yoga philosophy and wellness concepts at HalfMoonYogaandArt.com.