The Conspirituality Report

How Yoga Journal Set Off an Anti-Vax Backlash

Yogis are enraged by an article on vaccination as an act of nonviolence

Matthew Remski
6 min readJul 18, 2021


On July 14th, Yoga Journal, the flagship English publication for the $88bn global yoga industry, published “Getting Vaxxed Was My Act of Ahimsa”, an essay by Denver-based columnist Wolf Terry.

“Ahimsa” is a Sanskrit term that goes back millennia in Indian yoga literature. It’s usually understood to mean “non-harming”, or “non-violence”, and has for generations influenced complex debates around diet, the treatment of animals, just war theory vs. pacificism, and attitudes towards conflict resolution. Wolf’s COVID-era contemplation of ahimsa guided her towards viewing vaccination as a public health virtue, and an empathetic duty.

“While the concept of ahimsa’s direct command is not to kill,” Wolf wrote, after detailing the medical and social benefits of vaccine intervention, “its wider, and more positive meaning is simple: to love.”

Indeed, her essay is subtitled “Protecting myself against COVID-19 was my way of showing love for the people in my community.”

But according to the backlash to the essay on social media, a large proportion of yoga consumers aren’t feeling that love. They…