Yoga...with DOLPHINS? You read that correctly. The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is exploiting the dolphins they have in captivity by using them as a "serene" backdrop for a yoga class. I saw some news coverage of this and felt motivated to speak up. It's time to put an end to this lifetime of cruelty for dolphins, and also raise awareness around the problematic issue of keeping wild animals in captivity for human entertainment.
I’m a yoga teacher who focuses on bringing the wisdom of yoga into modern day life. I can understand why people might like the idea of beautiful dolphins swimming silently next to their sticky mat as they practice yoga, but this concept misses an important point. Yoga is about non-harming, interconnection with nature, and compassion. So how can it be OK to take highly intelligent marine mammals, stick them in captivity in the middle of a Las Vegas casino, and then use that unnatural and cruel situation as a vehicle to raise one’s consciousness?
I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty or ashamed. My goal is to shed some light on this issue, inspire empowerment, and build awareness among the public.
Those who want to make money at the expense of animals are also taking advantage of well-intentioned people who are likely ignorant of what is at stake. Most people are unaware of how tourist attractions like dolphins in Las Vegas create demand for captivity worldwide -- including the bloody dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan.
A tourist doing yoga in front of captive dolphins probably isn't considering where the dolphins came from, what happens when they get too old to make a profit, or how much their lifespans are shortened from living in unnatural conditions.
If you teach yoga, please think twice about accepting teaching positions in similar programs at aquariums and tourist attractions that hold marine animals captive.
This is a perfect time to let The Mirage know that yoga with dolphins is a bad idea. The website states that the area they use is currently under construction, so it’s unavailable for this gimmick. With your help, we can tell The Mirage not to bring this program back and ask them to reconsider keeping dolphins in captivity for human entertainment in the future.
Please join me in asking The Mirage to stop its yoga with dolphins program.
(photo credit: Isaac Brekken/The New York Times)