Are you a yogi?
Yoga is about so much more than beautiful postures, in beautiful settings. Yoga is a complete lifestyle, a way of being present in every moment. A constant journey towards yourself.
There is a lot of confusion in Western media about what a yogi is. The biggest problem is that the definition of yoga has become distorted over the past 30 years. We see images of beautiful women dressed in lycra making using their magnificent bodies in the most magnificent ways. Are they yogis? Absolutely, yes they are. They practice at least one aspect of being a yogi – asana. Proper excercise. They probably practice other aspects from the 8 limbs (aspects) of yoga and they are yogis.
But… you may never have been to a yoga class yet you have a daily meditation practice. You too are a yogi.
What about the crossfitter who is a vegan and doesn’t wear leather, he’s also a yogi, he’s practicing Ahimsa – do no harm.
How about the the family that goes to church every Sunday, they worship Jesus, have faith and live life according to Christian morals and values. You got it, they’re also yogis! They are practicing Svadhyaya, the study of sacred scriptures.
How about the person who takes a deep breath in and counts to ten when she’s upset? She’s using pranayama (breath control), also a yogi.
Yoga is awareness, we spend so much time in our heads that we can get caught in the hamster wheel of our minds and practicing Asana is a tool that we use to focus the mind, strengthen the body, allowing ourselves to sit for long periods without discomfort. Once we begin to master the body we begin to focus on the mind, scriptures and all aspects that are needed for a full and complete life. We begin to see ourselves as part of and not separate from the Universe.
The obsession with Asana is good because it does get a lot of people on the mat who probably wouldn’t otherwise take the time to explore their bodies and minds, bringing awareness to breath, focus to the mind and helping people to create more self-awareness and begin the journey towards themselves.
So take a moment to reflect on your life, are you a yogi?
Cover image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net