News / Vancouver

Yoga with whales at Vancouver Aquarium sparks yoga protest

When yoga teachers Cynthia Ganatra and Corrie Kielbiski first heard of a monthly yoga practice at the Vancouver Aquarium they thought it was a joke.

But after finding out its very real, the two women decided they had to do something about it. Not just for the animals they believe are unjustly held in captivity, but for the spirit of yoga.

That’s why these two yoginis decided to host a protest and free outdoor yoga class outside of the Vancouver Aquarium on Thursday, at the same time the class inside was taking place.

“They’re using yoga for marketing for the aquarium,” Ganatra said. “There’s media that comes and takes photos and they post it online of people doing postures in front of these belugas in captivity, basically in cages, these whale jails. And they’re doing yoga postures in front of them, it’s just such a disconnect.”

Kielbiski and Ganatra say yoga is about unity and liberation, and it’s an insult to the core values of yoga to be doing it in front of these animals inside the aquarium.

“We hope to really spread the message that captivity is not OK, and yoga does not make that OK,” Kielbiski said. “We don’t want to allow yoga to be a gimmick to exploit the whales any further, or any other animals for that matter.”

Vancouver Aquarium staff and two police officers were on site to make sure the protest, which involved a dozen people, was peaceful.

The Vancouver Aquarium refused to comment on the story.

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