Bad Yogi.

Via Zahara Jade
on Sep 23, 2013
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my yoga

What species of modern-day yogi exists between austere yogis living extreme lifestyles and everyday people dipping their toes in the water?

I have been a bad yogi in my day, and I am proud to break the mold. For my uniqueness is what allows me to be a trailblazer in the world, to inspire others.

From the perspective of some extreme, judgmental yogis (spiritual leaders, healers, gurus), the vast majority of practitioners, including myself, may be considered “bad yogis.” We simply do not live up to the strict standards of how to live according with ancient values of the Yoga Sutras.

I get it; the yogis following this path to a tee deem others as “wrong,” “bad,” “unworthy”; but, isn’t that the opposite of yoga? I experience judgment, separation, condescension, a better-than-though attitude from many a yogi who often cannot help but impress upon unsuspecting people their views, opinions, beliefs and way of life for others.

Often my experience of such yogis is a genuine desire to “help” that is—unfortunately—delivered without consideration of an individual’s path, journey, uniqueness or brilliance. The delivered dogma suggests a “Bad Yogi” who does not live up to certain standards.

I’m here to say that these people, this philosophy, these judgments, are simply wrong. A true yogi knows that no one can formulate the path for another person.

No one, for that matter, can dictate how yoga should look, feel or manifest in practice; yoga simply is. Amalgam of ancient Eastern ways and Western beliefs, we spiritual folk must develop new way forward in modern society.

Bad Yogi

1. I’m distracted by hot men in yoga. And gorgeous women. I allow my drishti to wonder on occasion. I’m human, not super human.

2. I’m a Vipassana dropout.

3. I eat meat. Veganism and vegetarianism, or any extreme dietary restriction excused by the yogic based on arbitrary ancient rules are too outdated for my modernized body.

4. When faced with time on my hands and a choice:

a) Sit in silence,
b) Read philosophical book,
c) Read a fashion magazine,

I happily choose c). Pretty please let me look at those beautiful pictures I so rarely see. I am not so weak-minded that images will “alter my vibration,” contrary to belief amongst some austere yogis.

5. If I wake up at 8:00 a.m. and do my asana practice, the world will not end.

6. I love yoga gear as much as the next person, for I am not beyond the material realm. Lululemon, give it to me!

7. I wear makeup. And I love wearing it.

8. Practice yoga four hours a day? Hah, no thank you! My 1.5-hour daily practice is P-L-E-N-T-Y. Some days this gets cut in half. It’s way too long as it is, let’s be honest.

9. I don’t do silent, seated meditation every day. Not by any stretch. I’m still shining bright.

10. I judge others and myself, daily. I am not free of negative thoughts. What I find important is committing to a process of self-awareness, observation, compassion, forgiveness, and letting go.

Yoga can be practiced while making music. Yoga may be practiced to music. Yoga is practiced in conversation. It is experienced in a sunset, a balmy afternoon, a cold snowfall. Yoga is not restricted to sitting in lotus position in silence or powerful vinyasa flow in a heated room or serious studies vacant of fun. It is not restricted to meeting checklists of “good” yogis.

Yoga is acceptance of self and others.

Yoga means living in peace with the world around, accepting what is, being empowered by one’s own path.

Yoga means living a practice, which allows one to be present.

The more tolerance and love we put out in the world for ourselves, one another—including others’ yoga practices—the more the world will live in a true yogic state. Om hari om.

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Ed: Sara Crolick


About Zahara Jade

Zahara Jade is a visionary and creator with traditional education from University of Michigan and Master's from Kent State in Clinical Psychology. World traveler, yogini, artist and writer, Zahara has spent half a decade immersed in the Far East learning different cultures, religions, and practices of yoga, meditation, energy and bodywork. Her passions of healing through movement, energy, and art began as a personal journey and now extend to help global mankind. Along with writing and teaching yoga, Zahara's passion is ZAHARA JADE, her brand of socially conscious fashion & jewelry - Fashion For Your Soul. Zahara's work extends into the world of content creation and social media with HireInfluence website All related work, blog, short films and social media links may be found on her website.


7 Responses to “Bad Yogi.”

  1. Prasad says:

    Jade, interesting read. But it seems you are judging yourself more than anyone else judging you. True yogis do not judge other yogis. In that sense you are a good yogi irrespective of how think yourself.

  2. Prasad, greatly appreciate your keen insight and perspective Glad you picked up on the point of the article: true yogis do not jude other yogis. "Bad Yogi" is a sarcastic angle to take a look at extremes in spirituality and yoga. In some senses it's a spoof, in other senses whether according to myself, others, or the yoga sutras, I truly do not comply with traditional yogic creed and I'm surrounded by yogis on all ends of the spectrum. Much gratitude for your kind words & support.

  3. Romina says:

    I guess that it is ok to be as you are, but what worries me is that you feel proud of being the way you are, and I guess pride is something to get rid of, disregard from the fact that you are practizing according to the Yoga Sutras or not. And, by the way, Yoga Sutras are not "wrong" they are not working for you, at most. All the best.

  4. @amydcushing says:

    The yogi world needs more "bad" yogis like you to show compassion and humility. Judgment is part of our nature, but it is how we use that judgment that defines it. Great article!

  5. Romina, Amy, thanks for your support & love.
    Bad is simply a controversial slant on this topic; no one is truly good or bad for these do not exist but in the mind. If I were better at humor writing perhaps the sarcasm in my article could be detected, I'll work in it ;).

    I'm simply living my truth and courageous enough to share it with others. This article was born out of frustration with the extremists who judge, ridicule, or feel they must change anyone who doesn't follow "yogic law", shall we say, to a tee. It is a movement against "perfectionism" [in yoga]. Case in point, when I posted this article in one of my online yoga communities, I was torn apart in the foulest of ways. On my journey I have learned that yoga is about being one's own guru, finding yoga practices that makes sense for each individual. It is the yogi that stands in judgement of another who truly moves against all true fundamental yoga practices. May all of us find peace on our own paths of truth and awakening.

  6. Dharam Deep says:

    Zahara, from one bad yogi to another, keep being bad! What is bad, anyway? 😉 I think you have clearly defined it in the article and yes, we are not all perfect. I said I would comment on this thread after sending you a PM, but I got caught up doing bad things again. The strive for perfectionism is one that has been bred in many cultures, religions, and circles. The black/white divide of race, culture, and religion has bred judgment, division, and competition. In the Kundalini community, it is often whose beard is longer or looks more like Yogi Bhajan. Are you in Sikh Dharma or are you just a regular Kundalini Yogi? Not everyone is like that, but it can certainly seem that way at times. I think the article is definitely valid and doesn’t necessarily place any self-judgment, but rather, addresses the problems of judgment by certain members in the community. My ex-wife once asked me why a senior teacher was overweight. She said, “I thought all yoga teachers were skinny.” She later leveled the same criticism at me, “Oh yeah! You are so yoga!!! So yoga!!! Yeah, Dharam!!!” Oh man! The criticisms and judgments never stop. You might as well get used to them and keep moving forward with a smile and grace, that is what I say :).

  7. Love your perspective, your approach to life that is oneness, acceptance of all, appreciation of all. It's refreshing to also hear of others reveling in "being bad", though I believe we mean it in the BEST of ways. Your support is incredible, I must join the bandwagon now that my cpu is no longer on the fritz. Thank you for the inspiration & love. <3