Every morning first thing you do You roll out your matt. You do your disciplined practice that ends with meditation. You massage in your sweat with herbal oil combination and enjoy your little vegan breakfast. Every day the same. Nothing but striving to get more pure, more flexible and more enlightened.
Recently I read this Really long Facebook posting about ”People being hypocrites about being yogis when they don’t live like one…”. If you smoke, use alcohol, wear branded clothes, eat meat, eat any unhealthy things, aren’t hard core raw vegan and aren’t doing your at least 90 minutes yoga practice each day, aren’t flexible,the list goes on and on and ends up with ”don’t teach Yoga if you aren’t real Yogi, then my friend you are just a hypocrite wannabe…”
This post made me quite sad, because in my eyes one of the basics of a Good Yogi is non judgement. We all have our own paths. So I own this post to ALL these ”BAD” Yogis around the world. And of course as everything, also this is just my point of the view.
Let’s start, shall we… What makes a real Yogi? Or am I just a hypocrite…
One of the fundaments of Yoga is to be kind. To everyone and everything around us. I know that we all are human and we all make mistakes and we don’t always manage to control fully our minds and habits. BUT it’s a constant practice of being aware of your thoughts and reactions, to study the quality of them and when we notice that we end up to have wicked and negative thoughts we can easily choose to change them. Are these thoughts real or just reflecting some part of me that I don’t like in my self? I’m I being true to my self? Am I hiding behind these words? How can I turn it to better?…
Being kind means also in my Yogic world to practice Ahimsa (non violence) as in many ways as possible. For example; I don’t use fur, I don’t eat meat, but I eat fish and sea food sometimes, I eat very little milk products, I use as much as possible Organic and fair trade products. And that is Ahimsa towards both for me and others when I choose products there people get paid for their work and they don’t have to poison themselves or nature with chemicals. But to be clear about something, I do use alcohol and I do eat (Vegan) candy, and sometimes I just have to get me a nice gluten free vegetarian pizza. Not often and not much, but it happens and I don’t believe that it makes me any less of a Yogi 😉
What comes to eating meat… I don’t eat it because my body don’t like it. I feel stagnated if I eat meat. I’m also mainly Pitta and just on based on that, I don’t need meat to eat and feel well. Rest of my family eats meat but not every day. When we buy meat to our house, we are always striving for local products to be sure that the animals has been taken care of in fine way (Even though that think that every farm could make some improvements). So, if you are a meat eating Yogi, just choose your products wisely; small local, organic farms that takes care of the animals with respect and love.
That comes also to any products. Clothes, tea, wine, coffee, cocoa… Everything! You can always choose the organic and fair trade products that are both good for you but also for the environment and the people that work in producing the products.
So, Conscious choices are definitely part of being a good Yogi.
What comes to branded clothes, well now I feel repeating myself but if it’s fair trade and I need it, Why not?? It pays someone’s salary – everyone needs food on the table for their families, roof over the head.
And what comes to the daily practice of Yoga… As You may already know the Yoga practice is so much more than just the asanas. Yoga is in every choice you make, every moment when you stop to listen to your inner self, every moment when you are kind towards yourself or someone else, it’s in every moment you choose love before anything else, Yoga is whenever You listen to silence and find peace within it, because that is finding peace within You.
SO, even when the asana (yoga positions) practice is good for your body and mind, it’s impossible for most of us to do it 90 minutes every day. It’s better to do 15 minutes than not at all. Sometimes that ”not at all” hits us when the Life happens and it doesn’t make you less Yogi anyway. It’s not like your license for practice Yoga is withdrawn in because you missed your daily Virabhadrasana A.
I have myself 3 children, we have a minor zoo with 4 cats and a rescue dog and both me and my husband are entrepreneurs, sometimes the time kind of slips between your fingers and you have to choose between rest and practice. For me as a former Cancer patient the choice is always rest.
What comes to being flexible or the teaching if you aren’t flexible. Everyone is not an acrobat artist and that isn’t the meaning of yoga either. There are tons of different kinds of bodies, bodily histories, health conditions and they don’t make anyone less of a Yogi or teacher. If you just measure a Yoga teacher in base of how acrobatic this is You can as well go to study to circus. It’s the inside that matters. It’s the thirst of digging deeper in your own self and sharing your knowledge drawn just the right kind of students to You.
And even if your Yogic path has started because all these challenging poses, I’ll promise, in some point there will appear deeper thoughts and questions that you need to face. And with out being religious, that is when the path starts to be spiritual. Spiritual in my eyes isn’t the same as being religious.
I don’t believe in puritanism or fanaticism in anything. Not in Religion or belief systems, diets, training forms or Yoga forms and ideologies.
We all need to listen inwards find out what works out for us, what is our purpose, what makes us feel good and what makes us to be better persons. These needs are what makes everyones path different and we need to respect everyone’s own path. I have mine, You have Yours.
”You can not travel the path until you become the path itself.” – Buddha
To bake this all together. What makes a real Yogi?
If you are person who aims to be kind and true towards yourself and others, working on to be non judging and constantly makes consciously better choices, taking time to learn and accept yourself as you are – Congratulations! In my eyes You are a one Amazing and Real Yogi!