Just Because You Practice Yoga, Doesn’t Mean You Are a Yogi

The idea of yoga as a spiritual discipline has been thriving for thousands of years, and that’s because it is a way for people to seek meaning, balance and peace. It makes sense then that the discipline would thrive as an integral part of modern life, and that’s exactly what it has done.

Yoga is a diverse discipline that’s gaining in popularity. It is practiced by people of different religions, occupations, and ages, and it’s not always as healthy as it’s portrayed. For example, the yoga positions are called poses, but they don’t always mean what you think they do. Yoga is more than just a workout. It’s a lifestyle that you can adopt to increase your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Just because you practice yoga doesn’t mean you are a yogi.

Just because you practice yoga doesn’t mean you are a yogi. And just because you do it to help with your anxiety doesn’t mean it is working. Yoga used to be a for-profit industry, but now it has become a for-benefit industry, where profits are the result of the yoga, not the yoga itself. Which means that the yoga is, in a way, just an instrument to help you get what you want.

Hi. Toni is my name… I’m also a yogi who makes snap decisions. So, maybe I’m not a yogi after all, but I am a yoga practitioner. I’m perplexed. Please take my hand.

Here’s the deal with the yoga community: In nearly every class, there are yoga archetypes that may be recognized, and I evaluate each of them. Sorry, there was an autocorrect error — I intended to write I accept them completely as they are on their path.

Type 1 Warrior

This is the person who attends class and engages physically, but rejects the heavenly philosophical teachings entirely. Before hooking up in a toilet bar after a line of blow, they sat on their mat talking with a buddy about a night out drinking Jack and Cokes and eating a GMO-filled, pesticide-laden, hormone-sprinkled, factory-farmed meat burger.

They claim to be yoga at a cocktail party but don’t go to any lengths to prove it. They are viewing yoga as a kind of exercise rather than a way of being as a result of its breakdown in their daily lives. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but as I drink my Kombucha, I’ll be quietly sneering at you from the corner.

Type 2 Warrior

I like the erratic hedonists over the Warrior 2 type vegans who fart flax seed dust while wearing hemp-colored hemp trousers yet are unpleasant when you ask for a block. These are the same individuals that only wear recycled tire shoes yet scream at the juice bar waiter for pressing their wheat grass too slowly because they don’t want to be late for meditation.

There’s this sense of self-righteousness that you’re the second coming of Yogi Bhajan, yet you still fall short when it comes to treating people with respect in difficult situations. Sure, when they’re in a good mood, they can embody their yoga, but after too much green tea or 90 percent cocoa nibs, they’re as snippy as a teenage princess.

Warrior 2s, like everyone else, may be irritated by life, but they believe that simply because they have a profession, they are above it all. I want to push my yoga mat up their bottoms because this willful ignorance to think you have transcended the ego while still being controlled by it makes me want to shove my yoga mat up their butts (note: this is probably the category I fall into best….so if you need me to bend over later, I will).

Type 3 Warrior

Then there are the Warrior 3-s, who have completely dedicated to yoga as a lifestyle. These are the yogis who could alter their name to Trika Asana, wear a turban, meditate at 4 a.m., refrain from all things except sugar for 21 days, and only eat beets until the moon waxes into a waning full crystal salt water bath…

I want to shake these Warrior 3’s into reality because they never express negativity, and the solution to all their issues is “I shall trust the ways of the universe” as they stare off into the cosmic fabric of existence between the molecules of time.

It’s great that you’re “one with everything,” but can’t you simply be a real person for two seconds and say something I can understand? As if I didn’t know…my mother can be a jerk during the holidays, or I believe these mala beads make me seem obese.

I get the impression that they are taking life too seriously because of their extreme earnestness and unwillingness to laugh at themselves. I simply want them to lighten up and have a glass of biodynamic water with a dash of honey way.

The Yoga-Western Relationship

The problem with the Western connection with yoga is that most of us didn’t grow up with it and only discovered it in our adult years. We live in a world where Western culture is spreading like an infectious virus of capitalism throughout the globe, yet many of us Westerners are looking to Eastern knowledge for solutions to existential questions.

The reality that old civilizations are being physically destroyed by national contemporary expansionism while modernized people gravitate to ancient wisdom in search of the truth is a cruel irony. Just though Western culture has come to define contemporary technical “development,” it doesn’t imply our iPhones understand what life is all about.

I questioned Siri, and she simply gave me a snarky response about how she “Kant answer that” and then a lot of Gandhi-related links.

What Motivates Us to Practice Yoga?

We come to yoga because something is lacking in our life, or we want to have a more contemplative connection with ourselves and the world. Yoga’s teachings answer questions that conventional thinking doesn’t, and there’s real insight hidden behind the curtain.

Yoga has the potential to become a pseudo-religion in order to cope with the existential crises of our present predicament. Yoga has become a spiritual identity for many people, as well as a means to provide some higher worth to our otherwise mediocre consumerist society. Yet, since contemporary culture isn’t designed to accommodate Yoga, we must learn how to incorporate it into our daily lives. It’s almost hard not to be a yogic hypocrite in America.

So, what qualifies someone as a yogi?

In my view, a yogi is someone who grew raised as a yogi in India. It was never something they became, but rather what they were from the beginning. For the 15 years I’ve practiced, I’ve wondered whether we in the West could ever become genuine yogis, rather than simply adaptations of our interpretations.

But, as much as I want to dissect people’s integration techniques, I know that doing so is not only counterproductive, but also un-yogi. We may be fumbling along our yoga journey because we are experiencing it for the first time, but there is no perfect way to do it.

We’re all seeking balance in our own unique ways, and everyone who embarks on the yogic road does so with the goal of creating beauty. The most inspirational aspect of today’s yogis, flaws and all, is the world they are building for the future.

Consider how our children will be raised if yoga is a part of their daily routine. They are hearing and feeling mommy and daddy’s words of acceptance and understanding, as well as the consequences of our parenting styles. Even if you don’t have or desire children, the inflow of individuals who are forging a mainstream route of yogic teachings is having an impact on the future.

Yoga is increasingly included in educational curricula. Today’s youngsters are not only aware of yoga, but some have even begun to practice it. The message of these old teachings is infiltrating our society, just as McDonald’s has done in poor countries… Except that the East’s offerings are much more significant than chicken nuggets—which, according to rumor, include chicken vaginas.

Yoga is a very popular physical and spiritual practice that has been around for thousands of years. As with any other practice, it can be difficult to say whether or not you are a yoga practitioner. Some people who practice yoga can also practice other forms of meditation, some of them quite similar.. Read more about yoga practitioner and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a yogi someone who does yoga?

Yes, a yogi is someone who practices yoga.

What makes a person a yogi?

A person who practices yoga is called a yogi.

What do you call yourself if you practice yoga?

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