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Yogis Rally to Protest Yoga With Whales at Vancouver Aquarium

in YD News


Not all yoga flash mobs are created equal. When the Vancouver Aquarium  announced monthly yoga classes with the whales, local yogactivists mobilized to put a stop to it. About 20 people showed up last Thursday to protest the event holding signs reading “Yoga does not make whale jails okay!” and advocating ahimsa an compassion.

“We’re protesting captivity and we’re also protesting the use of yoga as a gimmick in order to get the Aquarium more money,” protest organizer and local yoga teacher Corie Kielbiski said. Kielbiski has been an animal activist for years and has been fighting for the release of whales in captivity, including and especially those at the Vancouver Aquarium.

“Stretching, breathing, connecting and finding peace, while two beautiful creatures are trapped in glass boxes around you would be entirely impossible, unethical and ridiculous to entertain,” the facebook event page for the protest says.


Other protestors said that the monthly yoga classes beside the beluga whales would be an oxymoron and against what yoga stands for as far as ahimsa and non-violence are concerned.

The protest reached major news outlets and the Vancouver Aquarium has issued a statement in response:

”We have offered three public yoga sessions at the Vancouver Aquarium. Future sessions have not been confirmed. The Vancouver Aquarium is a non-profit society dedicated to the conservation of aquatic life. All proceeds directly support the Aquarium’s conservation, research and education programs.”

We’ve heard about lots of yoga classes being held at aquariums over recent years, but this is the first time we’ve heard about a protest. Do you agree that it goes against the concept of ahimsa?

[Global News]

11 comments… add one
  • Chris

    Yes, these YogActivists are certainly correct. Restraining whales in aquariums is indeed Himsa to these great mammals, and the whole concept of Yoga at the Aquarium is in jarring-dissonance with the core Yogic Principles of Ahimsa.

    Meanwhile, one hopes that each of these YogaActivists is also a Vegan, or at least a Vegetarian. For one can’t have one’s YogaMat and one’s Meat too ! It’s either Mat or Meat, and one must choose wisely.

    • Jenna

      Are plants not alive before you kill and consume them? I understand the difference between consuming “live” foods (Ital) and “dead” food (meat), but if everything in our universe is connected, no one person or thing of greater importance, if we are truly “one” – I as human in exact equality and equally connected with the cow or a carrot – why is the cow of more importance than the carrot? If it comes down to harm – suppose the animal is given a good life & clean death, is this still a violation of ahimsa? Why is the poisoning of vegetables with pesticides and harvesting with machinery and shipping it often far distances in vehicles that contribute to the detriment of the planet different? Are these vegetarian & vegan yogis also maintaining a high standard of local organic produce only??

      I fully agree with your comment Chris, I am truly being earnest in needing some clarification in this matter. I feel a bit stupid or at least misinformed, but philosophically I can’t find my way around placing animals of higher importance than plants.

      As far as the aquariums go, these yogis are absolutely correct in not supporting captivity! I am proud to say I have never once in my life been to a zoo or aquarium.

      One love :))

      • Carlee

        @Jenna The difference is that plants do not have a nervous system, meaning they do not feel pain like animals in factory farms do. The treatment is the same, and equally cruel, but plants are unaware of it. Humans need to survive, they need to eat something to live. Animals and animal products are not a necessity. Animals are a ‘food group’ we typically thrive without. And even if the animal is given a good life, we do not have the right to play God and kill them before their time. Many vegans and vegetarians luckily are very earth friendly by nature, and do look for local organic produce. Shipping methods are very harmful.

  • Stacey

    If you ever had a doubt, please watch the excellent documentaries “Blackfish” and “The Cove”
    You will never ever want to see a marine mammal in captivity again.

  • Chris

    Jenna, it’s like this :

    The Hindu concept of Punar-Janam (re-birth) is as follows : The Atma (Soul) is born, lives, dies, and is reborn several times, each time taking life upon Earth as some living creature (plant, animal or human). The Conduct of an Atma during its life upon Earth as a living creature influences the Cumulative-Karma (The sum total of Good and Bad Karma earned by that Atma, across all of its numerous Rebirths thus far). If properly guided, each Atma is capable of improving its Cumulative Karma, enabling it to be reborn each time in a nobler birth (progressing from animal to human to evolved-human), and living a nobler life, till, eventually that Atma is so blessed with Good-Karma, that it becomes self-realized (perfection), and attains Moksha (Liberation from the endless cycle of Birth, Life, Death, Rebirth). Thus, an Atma that so attains Moksha is no longer present upon Earth, in any form. Thus all Atmas that ARE present upon earth are part of this imperfect World, and are not devoid of some Bad-Karma. Thus, each Atma that is present upon Earth, has within it some measure of imperfection, and will inevitably end up committing some amount of sin (Bad-Karma) during its stay on Earth. Thus, even the saintliest of humans will end up committing some Bad-Karma, and this may take the form of causing the death of a few plants, by eating them. However, the more evolved the Atma is, the less Bad-Karma it will commit. Thus the killing of a large, sentient, intelligent mammal like a cow or a pig, so as to consume its flesh, is a far, far graver offence than the eating of some plants. There is a difference of degree. The one is a lesser sin, the other is a Major Crime !

    JC ( the World’s first Semitic Hindu) also recognized that all Atmas present upon Earth have in them some measure of Sin. Thus did JC declare : ‘Let him throw the first stone, who has not sinned ! ”

    Consider that the plucking of an apple from the tree causes the seed of the apple-tree to get propagated, while the tree itself continues to flourish ! OTOH, pluck the head off of a cow, and the cow does a horrible, gruesome death ! It is clear that Vegetarianism is clearly the Nobler Path, compared to being Carnivorous.

    It is indeed true that some Rishis (Sages) of ancient India would voluntarily enter into a state of Samadhi (Total Renunciation), wherein they eschewed the consumption of any food or water, and devoted their entire time to sitting in meditation, subsisting on air alone, by virtue of their miraculous Yogic-Powers, till their Atma would eventually cast off the Corporeal Body, and enter the Great-Beyond. Whilst in this state of Samadhi, these Rishis consumed neither Plant nor Animal, and could therefore be regarded as being Truly Sinless, thus explaining their ascendance to a State of Moksha !

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  • Mrs. Randall Matthis

    Nuts!!! The lot of you! Yoga is exercise for God’s sake!!! You idiots that take it as a religion are just that….idiots that nobody takes seriously! Dosen’t it bother you that people all over the world see this and LAUGHT at your fool ass?

  • Jenna,
    For what it’s worth I’ve struggled with the same thoughts. If life and consciousness exist on a continuum then where and why does one draw a line? The presence of a nervous system doesn’t resonate with me as it assumes we know what causes pain and/or awareness and I just don’t feel comfortable that we do. We do in terms of humans and how we experience reality but what is to say that a plant doesn’t experience something akin to joy at the morning sun or misery at drought? Nonetheless I’ve been a long time vegetarian sustaining myself on vegetable matter with the belief that such a path reduces the amount of misery in the world relative to that of the carnivore.

    • Chris

      Exactly correct, Jeff ! Vegetarians must, of needs, tread upon Mother Earth, as must Carnivores, but Vegetarians tread far more lightly upon Planet Earth. There is a difference in the magnitude of the Misery caused by Vegetarians and by Carnivores. Read my earlier comment.

      Meanwhile, there has never, ever been a Carnivorous Yogi.
      A Carnivorous Bendy-Person on a Yoga-Mat ? Maybe, but never, ever a Carnivorous Yogi !

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