by Jen Vallens
Have you ever heard someone say Yoga changed their life or in some cases, saved their life? Ask anyone who claims they have been transformed by Yoga and chances are you will hear the phrase “Yoga is a practice” or “I practice Yoga”.
It is a common misconception that a Yogi is someone who does Yoga. You may love Yoga and go to a class once or twice a week, but without embracing it into your life, you will never be a Yogi.
A Yogi is not a master or a guru and doesn't need to live on an Ashram devoting his life to surrender, but rather, a Yogi is someone who is committed to practice Yoga everyday, not just on the mat, but in life.
See....Yoga is something that becomes a part of who you are. Only when you embody Yoga as an ever evolving daily practice, can you truly call yourself a Yogi or Yogini.
You know you’re a Yogi/Yogini when:
You are able to meet others where they are. You no longer try to convince or cajole someone to try a class or do something they are not ready to do. You accept them as is and meet them where they are.
You realize that when someone dismisses you, underestimates you or judges you, it has nothing to do with you.
You live unapologetically. You no longer feel a need to explain, defend your thoughts or behavior to anyone. (unless of course you have wronged someone and are making things right.)
You speak up when something is bothering you and give someone else the respect to respond rather than make assumptions and sit in your own suffering.
You show up to Yoga without makeup. You wear clothing that is comfortable and does not necessarily “match” or show off your six pack midriff.
You do not look around the room to see if you are doing the pose right. You instead listen to your body and take what you need.
You begin to give others the benefit of the doubt. You trust that most people are doing the best they can at any given moment.
You let go of expectations. You learn to ease in to what is.
You start to sit in Lotus while seated for dinner or do dancer’s or tree while doing the dishes without even realizing it.
You become acutely aware of any imbalance in your body. You are able to predict “coming down” with something before illness begins.
You no longer take a class because you like the teacher. You take the class because you know what your body and mind needs.
You begin to actively draw and reflect on intentions set in class off your mat.
You consciously stop throughout the day and just breathe.
You check in with how you're feeling throughout the day. You notice when you are being triggered and are better able to pause and wait before responding to others.
You no longer judge whether you like a teacher. You begin to notice and respect that each teacher has something unique to offer and are able to appreciate the differences.
You start to see a bigger picture of your world. You are able to see that we are all part of the greater whole.
You begin to focus on “the journey” and less on the outcome.
You begin to have a sense of humor about your foibles. Little things have less of a hold on you. You notice your thoughts and let them go.
You begin to appreciate the little things. You notice the beauty in the veins of an autumn leaf or the sounds of a hummingbird chirping and you begin to feel connected.
You start calling Yoga a Practice.