What Does a Yogi Look Like?
Our minds may be filled with images of Yoga, Yogis, and Yoginis. When you think “Yoga”, what comes to your mind?? It could be a fit, thin muscled, man or woman standing on hands, accomplishing shapes and incredible feats while making it look as simple and graceful as can be. Is this yoga?? Well, in some ways… yes.
Yoga makes us strong, AND more balanced and graceful. Being in a “state” of yoga one may recognize their limitless potential. In addition, moment to moment awareness in process, paves the way to accomplishing things that at first may seem impossible.
But still…this is NOT what yoga looks like.
Yoga looks like the real you and me
Yoga is the successes and setbacks of everyday living. Yoga is not a pose or a body type. Yoga is a lifelong journey, practice, and pathway to greater understanding.
I am going out on a limb here….
I want to bust the myth of yoga perfection!
I once had a student of mine in the parking lot of White’s, overhear me reprimanding (ok…yelling) at my child for running away from me in the lot.
She said, “You shouldn’t be yelling….You are a yoga teacher”! Another time, I had someone tell me that because I was a yoga teacher, I shouldn’t wear colored lip gloss…. Hmmmm… Obviously, there are some pretty strong ideas about what a yogi should or shouldn’t do!
Here is what I think:
You don’t have to be flawless and thin and flexible. You can be a yogi AND
Have the tendency to overeat occasionally, drink some alcohol, be imperfect, get sick, have a messy house, have cellulite, loose your temper, have a melt down, and basically BE HUMAN.
Yoga is what we strive for right in the middle of living. Sometimes life can be messy, look imperfect, and have LOTS of room for refinement (I know mine does)!
Yoga invites us to better discernment. With the objectivity we cultivate through awareness, practice, and meditation, we start to see the power and creative energy in our choices. We make CONNECTIONS. Yoga allows us to break free from the habitual grooves of our thinking and acting to align with true authentic power (your Divine birthright) In yoga we evolve from victim mentality to accountability and Self Empowerment.
Does this mean we need to be perfect? No, BUT, we want to love who we are.
What allows you to live the life you want to live?
What supports that?
What do you need to feel good in body and mind and offer the BEST you can to this world?
What is your motivation?
In the traditions of Tantra Yoga, we practice not to attain” perfection” but to be able to fully celebrate, express, and exalt in who we are!
It is possible that a yogi could appear perfect and fit the “picture” of a yogi just right, on the outside with everything from the fashionable messy “yoga bun” on top, to the sleek leggings and expensive mat on the bottom, BUT still, have no connection to the joy and freedom inside themselves. Is this still yoga?
A yogi might have every advanced pose under their belt along with tongue scraping and Ayurvedic rhythms BUT does this make a person invulnerable to injury or sickness? NO… Does it mean they have complete control over their lives and what happens? No. Does it mean they have no fear in performing their brave feats? NO. Does it mean that they don’t struggle with their children or argue with their partners? NO.
Being a Yogi REQUIRES the following:
A willingness and desire to “see” yourself. To be imperfect, on the outside…Loose the mask of control. But, simultaneously, and from a deep and authentic place, know your own inner perfection and wholeness.
An ability and desire to see through outer form, and not excuse, but recognize perfection, wholeness and essence in others, no matter who they are.
When we find ourselves drawing conclusions about ourselves or others Stop. CHOOSE not to waste your time in contracted energy. Bless and release (say a prayer for their best life)
Notice habits and limited thoughts. Investigate. Sit with all that you are, even the undesirable aspects. Come back to what is most real.
A willingness to deconstruct the conditioning that we have been exposed to from very early on. A seeker of Truth has to be willing to recognize and release the stories (good or bad) that we become very attached to.
A willingness to ACT. Take baby steps to shift what blocks and limits us. Learn to engineer your life for greatness. You are WORTHY. Failure is key to your success. Recognize but refuse to let doubt and fear stop you.
Know what you need to be as healthy as you can body, mind, and spirit. When your body is healthy, you will be happier, and able to take the bold steps toward personal growth and freedom.
Get help when you need it!!
We must not look at another and assume they have it easy or they are “all together” simply not true. We are all here to learn. We are all in the flow of a LIFE that is bigger than we are. Life will present changes, and challenges -for Anybody!
An understanding that to grow often means to be perpetually “thrown” from the comfortable nest, and discarded from our comfort zones. Remember it is here you are truly alive! Breathe, be brave, and keep on going!
You are a yogi when:
You are living the best life you know how! (Every breath is a new beginning.) We do the best with what we have, from where we are in an intentional way.
You can be radically and unapologetically yourself (most of the time).
You do not need outer approval to feel validated.
You know that you have what you need already inside of you. Your wisdom waits to be revealed. Your power wants you, just like you want it. As a yogi, your job is to find the connection, the pathway into this wisdom. (The heroine’s journey).
It just DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT to blame others and hold resentment.
You know your practice is working when:
- You feel happier
- Experience more joy
- You can experience the “ups” AND the “downs” with less attachment and reactivity
- You are less afraid “to fail”.
- Comfortable in your skin whether its smooth and youthful or lumpy and older. Because you know the beauty of what’s BENEATH the surface as changeless.
- You notice when you are off track, study that. Be accountable. Find strategies to track your triggers. And choose to grow.
- You feel greater love for yourself and all of humanity.
- Keep trying.
- Forgive yourself.
Be a yogi on YOUR OWN TERMS. We can be REAL and perfectly imperfect. Surround yourself with people who want the same things you do! Let go of what you think you know, and START WHEREVER YOU ARE. Find the support you need. Sometimes you have to “leave the pack” to find your own WAY!
Find out more about how you can Live Like a Yogi at my new website:
With blessings of Love, Light, and infinite possibility,
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