What it Means to Live as a Yogi
Once a friend of mine said to me, “In my next life I want to come back as a yoga teacher.” I think what she meant was that she wanted to live like a yogi – but in her mind, her career and lifestyle did not fit the image. First of all – our career is not what defines us as a yogi. Lifestyle? Definitely. But that might not be what you think. What is that image all about? Are we super fit and able to do yoga gymnastics? Are we wearing mala beads, flowy clothes and sitting peacefully? Do we maintain our cool and appear serene? Do we have to give up coffee?
How about just plain – HAPPY? Maybe you don’t even need yoga to help with happiness. But this is why I practice and I do not want to wait for another life to find it. Life’s challenges can be stressful. They did not teach us happiness and self-reliance in school. Quite the opposite! We have learned to be dependent on others for approval. We let the drama of life influence our happiness. So, how can yoga help us find the happiness we all seek?
Yoga gives us tools. Tools to be less reactive, find stability, treat ourselves as our very own best friend, and gain an appreciation for all the lessons of life. This brings us happiness and contentment.
What it means to be a yogi has changed for me over the years. But I can tell you what I believe being a yogi is about and what I try to emphasize above all else to my students: awareness. If we can gain greater awareness in all facets of our lives, then we can practice self-reflection, use the many tools of yoga to overcome what keeps us from being self-sufficient and self-loving, and recover more quickly from the push and pull of life. Seeing ourselves more clearly and cultivating love & gratitude for this life we have been given is the work. It doesn’t matter what your career is. A fulfilling, happy life is what we are after.
I love yoga asana – it has made me more aware of my body and energy. I love meditation because I am more aware of my mind, heart, and the divine nature of life. I love the teachings and tools of yoga – they help me transform and grow.
So, here is a little tip for bringing all this into your life and living a yogic lifestyle: awareness, consistent PRACTICE, and self-reflection.
When we dedicate the time for these – the benefits will start spilling into every area of life. We start seeing with new vision. All of us have challenges and are at different places in our personal evolution. It is very individual. That is why it’s super important to have a teacher who can help guide us. The teacher can reflect back to us where we need to concentrate and help point out what is holding us back.
I am not talking about your average yoga studio – although going to classes and gaining awareness around the physical is a wonderful beginning. I am talking about the real yoga. Real yoga used to mean meditation, and asana was the physical practice. Somehow that has changed, but all the teachings are still there. We just need the right teacher from a living lineage to help us.
We have developed so many patterns in our lives. We have become immersed in our own way of seeing things. We have lost so much of the self-awareness we need because of this outwardly focused lifestyle. Let’s start by just asking ourselves which lessons we are sick of learning over and over again. Or, how are we judging ourselves? We beat ourselves up daily. Living the yogic lifestyle helps change this. We have been given an amazing life. No matter what our circumstances, or in spite of our circumstances – we are here and it’s miraculous!
Like I said above – practice and consistency are key. So, let’s all practice happiness and contentment together. Let’s unearth what is holding us back from our best possible life – not the situations, but how we respond to them. We do have a choice in that at least if we look deeper. Let’s find the right practices for you. I am so passionate about this work because of how it has helped me. It has helped me overcome sadness, pain, trauma, and illness and has brought me self-acceptance, self-love, and joy. Through my practice, I chart the course of how I want my life to be. Don’t wait for your next life to learn the tools to chart your own course there. No new-age-y, made-up stuff here. The tried-and-true living path of yoga leads us to contentment and happiness...