A blog post by Mary Moscarello. Images by Mary Moscarello. Banner image by Marian Florinel Condruz on Unsplash

Chaos theory teaches us that even the small change in air movement caused by the flap of a butterfly’s wings can start a ripple effect that leads to significantly large impact down the line. This is a gross simplification of a concept that has become part of our lexicon.

Each time we come in contact with someone, some animal, some messaging, some knowledge, some imagery, some thing, be it real or imagined – that person or thing can alter our afternoon, our day, our week, our life.

I find the notion fascinating.

When I ponder it in terms of yoga, I believe it (as the saying goes) “holds water”. 

For example, five years ago I began practicing yoga on a regular basis, sometimes visiting the studio seven days a week. One of my favorite teachers, who taught Jivamukti style yoga often said, “you may one day just stop eating meat, because you learn about ahimsa and find it resonates with you”. 

Ahimsa is the first of five restraints or ways to treat others. Of the eight limbs of yoga – it resides on the first, called the Yamas. Ahimsa essentially means non-harming. It asks of the yogi to refrain from thoughts, words or actions that harm. (That includes negative self talk y’all!)

About halfway through my second year of practicing regularly and hearing this teacher in particular speaking about Ahimsa in class – hearing many yogis say “lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu” (which translates to “may all beings be happy and free and may my thoughts, words and actions contribute to that happiness”) at the end of class; I decided to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle. About a year after that I transitioned to a mostly vegan diet. There were many personal reasons that factored into those shifts but it would be extremely narrow minded of me to act as if my yoga practice had no effect on my decision. It did.

Pretty strong butterfly wing flap, wouldn’t you say?