October 31, 2013

Don’t Be a Yogi for Halloween.

I’ve always wondered if I was a yogi, or just a person who went to yoga.

So I decided to ask myself: what is a real yogi? Is there such a thing, or is yoga just a costume I put on to fit in to a community that loves yoga?

Like most people who regularly attend yoga classes, I fall in and out of love with yoga. I take pride in setting aside time to go to an hour and a half of Vinyasa Flow or Hot Yoga classes every day. I take pride in my practice.

Right now I am stuck in a rut—I can’t get myself to go more than once a week. But I know that it will end, because it always does. This is a pattern, like the basic face of a Jack o’ lantern. Am I scared of practicing in front of others? Am I spooked by the appearance of my less-than-toned body? Am I just lazy? Maybe I am all of these things, but I know that I am, indeed, a real yogi

But I started noticing ways to get myself out of these physical-emotional ruts, and it starts by recognizing these things—the characteristics of a yogi:

1. We care about going to yoga.

2. We will go to yoga by ourselves, even if our friends don’t want to go.

3. We think about other, deeper things in yoga. We don’t view other yogis as silent ghosts around us, but rather as individuals trying to accomplish the same goal in a safe environment.

4. Our intention in going to yoga is to become a better person, and the practice stops revolving around sticking poses or nailing headstands, but rather enjoying those things for ourselves and others without ego.

5. We need to go to yoga (i.e. our back hurts, we are trying to develop leg strength, etc.)

6. We have the desire to go more when we start going to yoga regularly.

7. We never regret going to a yoga class.

8. We know what poses feel good for our bodies at certain times.

9. We want to make the world better when we exit a yoga class.

10. We read articles like this.

The best news? Everyone can be a yogi!

You just have to develop the strength and the open-mindedness that allows you to be receptive to everything yoga has to offer. You have to love other practitioners, and invite the possibility that they may nail a pose that you can’t get today. But someday you will, if you put in the time.

And don’t be fake. Don’t wear the yoga as a costume. Do it because you want to. 

Now go out and enjoy a yoga class, and feel the love of the practitioners around you. Chances are, they aren’t wearing their yoga shorts just for Halloween. They’re real people. We are all living on the same planet, and the yoga studio is a microcosm for that interdependence we share. Each practice is unique, each individual has strengths and weaknesses, and anyone who regards their practice as more than a mere physical workout is, indeed, a yogi.

So stop pretending, and believe in yourself—you can be whatever you want to be. Stop feeling like a yoga ghost, and start believing in your strength because it is real!

Happy Halloween!


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 Ed: Catherine Monkman

{Photo: Jenna Penielle Lyons.}

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