At a very young age, Mary learned that the food on her plate was actually the body of a dead animal. She refused to eat it and declared herself a vegetarian. She grew up never knowing another vegetarian and thinking that she was weird. When she grew older and learned that animals were hurt to produce dairy products and eggs, she went Vegan.
Yoga showed up many years later. As her practice developed she felt the call to teach but even louder was the call to teach veganism. During her 500-hour teacher training, she was given the task of presenting to the class an aspect of yoga that was “in her pocket." She knew that she had to do a talk on Veganism but in the past any time she started to talk about the animals she’d get a huge lump in her throat and shut down.
She had just started working with a teacher named Ramana who helped her find her voice. For her talk, she used Sharon Gannon’s book ”Yoga and Vegetarianism” as the blueprint.
She started teaching for a studio, Breathe Yoga as well as being hired by Dr. Ted Barnett to teach at Rochester Lifestyle Medicine, where she learned the health benefits of a vegan diet from some of the best doctors in the world. She also had the opportunity to teach for Dr. Thomas Campbell in his lifestyle medicine practice.
Mary was elected Vice President of a local animal rights nonprofit for three years, co-founded Rochester’s wildly popular VegFest, and founded our local chapter of Anonymous for the Voiceless, a nonprofit that brings the terrible truth of animal suffering to people on the street.
One fateful day, Mary came across a news story about a cow who had escaped a slaughterhouse who was now living at a sanctuary in New Jersey. A few months later she traveled to NJ to meet that cow, Freddie and Mike Stura, the man who rescued him.
Freddie inspired her to design a T-shirt with his image. When she opened the Rochester Vegan Community Center his handsome face was their logo. A couple of years ago Mike asked her to move to Skylands. She did and now helps take care of Freddie and the other kids that live at the sanctuary.
In this episode, Mary Barletta and Yoga Is Vegan's Holly Skodis discuss the following:
Skylands Animal Sanctuary and Rescue
Rescuing dairy cows and the darkness inherent to the industry
Jaime Surya Episode 46
Jivamulti Yoga and Sharon Gannon
Rochester Assisi Institute
Yukio Ramana Radical Healing
Dr. Ted Barnett & Rochester Lifestyle Medicine
How to introduce veganism to a yoga class
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