Hey, what makes “Me” a Yogi, anyway?!

Via Saraswati J.
on Jan 31, 2010
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What makes you a yogi?! Do you call yourself one?!

by Sarah Miller

Oh how the ego loooves itself and oh, how the ego gets carried away at times.

Yogis take themselves far too seriously [note to “Self”]. What constitutes a yogi anyway? Do you use this word Proudly? Flippantly? Sparingly? Do you refer to your Self as a Yogi? Does it depend on the company you are with?

Being the list maker that I am (early childhood Montessori training perhaps), I’ve asked my Self many times if these are the qualities required for distinguishing modern yogis from the rest of the masses. Or are these just attributes associated with the natural evolution of the yogic path?

Do you….

  • Eat daal and rice at least 3X a week.
  • Do you have perfect form in Chaturanga Dandasana?
  • Have you gone to India at least once?
  • Do you know as many Sanskrit words as possible?
  • Are you a vegetarian for ahmisic reasons? Have you struggled with this?
  • Do you have a tradition, a lineage or a Guru?
  • Do you look good in your yoga pants?
  • Do you have a regular asana practice and meditate daily?
  • Do you know your Yamas and Niyamas and try to live accordingly?
  • Do you see the world through the lenses of Vata, Pitta and Kapha and/or the three Gunas?

If you answered “yes” to four or more of these, then you may be running the risk of being called a “yogi.” However, I prefer the formless approach to yogidom. My teachers Sharon Gannon and David Life reminded us on our TTC that everyone is a yogi- whether they know it or not. We as teachers are helping the inner yogi awaken in our students, friends and families. Your students and friends may very well be more evolved than you even without ever having done Nadi Shodhana.

Humble thyself dear yogi. It’s a pathless path.

Om Shanti!


About Saraswati J.

Saraswati J. is a Jyotish Coach and Consultant, bridging ancient Jyotish wisdom with Embodiment and Expressive Art Therapy resources. Her Jyotish work is especially well suited to the extra sensitive artists, mystics and healers—and those who need insights for their dharmic path and personal transformation process. Check out her website and find her on Facebook. You can join her newsletter for special astrological insights or register for her weekly Jyotish Basics classes for an extra dose of healing wisdom. Additionally, she creates unique adornments with the urban goddess in mind. Check out her jewelry at Swati Jr* Jewelry and also on Facebook.


9 Responses to “Hey, what makes “Me” a Yogi, anyway?!”

  1. Hi, Sarah. Great question.

    I don't call myself a Yogi because whenever I do my daughter makes fun of me with some crack about Yogi Berra, as in the following exchange:

    "My Daughter Doesn't Understand Me" http://wp.me/PlUox-eI

    With that kind of abuse, it just doesn't pay.

    Bob Weisenberg

  2. Oh, and YogaDawg just showed a video proving levitation:


  3. swati jr* says:

    thank you for the link! the documentary style play by play is rather amusing, no?

  4. Yeah, I wonder why no one thought to ask him if he would repeat the feat during the day. But I'm guessing the energy fields just aren't right then.

  5. swati jr* says:

    exactly. those dang energy fields will get you every time. damn them!

  6. Farnoosh says:

    Bob, hilarious :)!!!!

  7. […] After licking my wounds for a bit, I realized that perfection in asana (poses) is not why I became a teacher. I became a teacher because, somehow, this practice of learning to touch my toes made me a better person. It made me more honest with myself and others and more conscious of how I lived in this world.  I became more responsible for my own actions, particularly toward others. And innocently, I assumed that all yogis, particularly yoga teachers, had this same outlook. […]

  8. Dylan says:

    Pathless Path.

    Love that.

    Shine on.

    -THe Mad Yogi Poet

  9. Carlton says:

    I am one of those people who is friend to a lot of yoga-driven individuals, and to many who find affinity with the religions of the East.

    I am neither. I do pray. I do fast. I do exercise. And I do believe that titles are quickly appropriated in this modern age of texting and blogging and promoting… And that too often, this causes problems not only for the person sporting the identity, but for innocent persons along the way, who are earnestly looking for a guide or a mentor.

    To me, as a devout Catholic, who has great respect for the mystic traditions of my faith, I have always cherished those saints who were not particularly historic or 'famous', the gate keepers, the nobodies, the unpublished, the ones without titles or great stations, yet who are remembered because of the grace and the miracles they silently and humbly issued forth.

    Perhaps this will give some perspective of this title of Yogi from afar, from my little perch across an ecumenical divide.