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Yogis and foodies unite at Brussels’ first Yoga and Vegan Festival
Most people might not make a link between practicing yoga and eating a vegan diet, but Kriti Sachdeva certainly does. She is the founder of Yogific, a London-based organisation that hosts yoga and vegan festivals. The next one is this coming weekend in Brussels.
“Both yoga and veganism share the underlying philosophy of non-violence,” she says. “Yoga is not limited to doing poses on a mat, and veganism is not limited to eating yummy food. Both concepts encourage a compassionate way of living.”
Sachdeva is a yoga teacher by trade, and when she went vegan six years ago, the link soon became clear. According to the ancient text on yoga philosophy, Yoga Sutras by Patanjali – produced around the year 400 – there are eight basic principles for one to become a yogi.
One of those principles is Ahimsa, or non-violence. Sachdeva doesn’t think that principle should be limited to human beings.
“It should also be applied to other living beings with whom we share the planet,” she says. “Billions of animals are slaughtered around the world in the name of food; we can break the circle of violence by going vegan. Our festivals are a fun way to bring the concepts of veganism and yoga together.”
All abilities welcome
Yogific has organised its Yoga and Vegan Festival across the UK and in Ireland, the Netherlands and India. It also has Finland and Australia on the schedule. But this weekend, it’s Brussels’ turn.
So next Sunday at La Tricoterie, you’ll find food, yoga (hint: do the yoga first) and a wealth of cruelty-free products on show and for sale from local and international vendors.
Classes include both yoga and meditation, and all abilities are catered to. There are a good many to choose from, with several kinds of yoga on the programme. You can, for instance, follow Fundamentals of Ashtanga Yoga in the morning, move on to Om & Bass Yoga Rave at noon and finish up with Breathe and Flow through Hatha-Vinyasa Yoga at 16.00.
If you don’t know what any of that means, it’s all described on the event website. You can also register for classes on the site ahead of time – which could save you from disappointment on the day.
All classes are 45 minutes long and all are taught in English, with French translation available. Classes cost a very democratic €4 for adults; children under 14 can attend them for free. (There are also classes especially for them.) Signing up for a class gets you into the festival, where the rest is freely accessible.
The festival also includes talks on health and wellness and workshops like laugh yoga, partner yoga and Bollywood dancing. Sachdeva herself is a Bollywood dance pro and takes part in a performance at the festival.
Bring your own fork
The other half of the event – veganism – is equally well represented, with stands offering lunch, desserts and drinks and experts discussing how you can take your first steps towards veganism. Market stalls offer products that are completely animal-free, including cosmetics, chocolates, jewellery and yoga accessories.
Here’s an interesting twist: You can bring your own plates and cutlery should you wish, and vendors will load them up rather than give you the throw-away kind. Although the stalls are required to use eco-friendly dishes, that’s still waste.
“Many people have gone vegan after attending our events because they see the goodness of a vegan lifestyle,” says Sachdeva. “We do not need to harm another life in order to live ours happily and healthily. This is the message that we deliver through our festivals.”
9 September 9.00-18.00, La Tricoterie, Rue Théodore Verhaegen 158 (Saint-Gilles)
The stands, talks and workshops are free to access with the purchase of at least one class (free for 13 and under); you are asked to bring your own yoga mat