Yoga and dolphins, maybe beautiful on their own, but together they’re a more than questionable pair, say those who are petitioning against a yoga with the dolphins class at The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Yoga teacher Amy Ippoliti started this Change.org petition to put an end to classes, calling them out for “exploiting the dolphins they have in captivity by using them as a “serene” backdrop for a yoga class,” echoing the protests over Yoga with Whales at the Vancouver Aquarium not too long ago.
The Yoga Among the Dolphins class began about two years ago when hotel management wanted to add this popular yoga thing to their spa offerings. There was no space elsewhere, so they decided to make use of a small underground room with a big window view of the dolphins (see pic below). Since then, the class has become a popular tourist attraction at The Mirage, earning a 5-star review on Yelp, where reviewers describe the experience as “very cool,” a “gem,” “one of the most beautiful and memorable experiences of me and my finance’s lives,” and “the best thing that I did during my 5 day trip to Vegas.” Clearly these majestic, aquatic beings had an impact on the practitioners, but is it at the expense of their safety and freedom?
According to The Mirage website, the dolphin aquarium is part of Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat where they claim the animals are “ambassadors for their species and their ecosystems” and the purpose of the the Dolphin Habitat is “to provide a healthy and nurturing environment for dolphins, as well as to educate the public about marine mammals and their environment – including their role in the ecosystem.”
But Ippoliti argues that dolphins in captivity, no matter what it’s for, is wrong, not to mention practicing yoga in front of them for profit an abomination — the 45-min class costs $50, by the way.
The petition’s message reads:
Krista Gilbertson, MGM International
MGM Corporate ResponsibilitySay NO to yoga with dolphins at The Mirage in Las Vegas
I can understand why people might like the idea of beautiful dolphins swimming silently next to their sticky mat as they practice yoga, but this concept misses an important point. Yoga is about non-harming, interconnection with nature, and compassion. So how can it be OK to take highly intelligent marine mammals, stick them in captivity in the middle of a Las Vegas casino, and then use that unnatural and cruel situation as a vehicle to raise one’s consciousness?
Though we doubt this petition will stop the exhibition of dolphins and marine animals at aquariums, it may give a stronger voice to a community not OK with yoga lending its support to the captivity of these beings by staying silent. The classes are currently on hold due to construction and those who object are hoping they won’t return. The $199 painting with the dolphins class is still on, however.
The Secret Garden also houses panthers, tigers, leopards and lions. No word on the Yoga Among the Wild Cats class, yet. We’re not sure why.