Deciding to Be a Yogi

“If you fall out of a posture you are human.  If you get back in you are a yogi.”

I have heard this countless times over the years – during my first Bikram Yoga class, during teacher training, last week, yesterday. But I only truly connected with it two weeks ago, as it came ringing from the teacher’s mouth through the microphone hitting me over the head in a new way, with a new meaning and clarity I didn’t even know I was seeking. For years now I regarded this statement as something we tell students newer to the practice to motivate them to try again and as a teacher I found that it only works with about half my students, so I very rarely use it when teaching class.  Instead, “Guys, you have time, get back into the posture,” is the way I deal with it, appealing to them as the partner I am in their practice and will continue to be as they hit the hot room.

Many students are turned off by the word yogi, though I’m unsure why and this is the reason I have avoided it for years.  Yogi, by definition, simply means someone that practices yoga.  I have had students say they appreciate not being called a yogi during class or at the studio as they are there to workout, and sweat a ton and don’t consider the class a practice that can affect every aspect of their life…yet. I have had students from India tell me that to them the term yogi means the spiritual men found throughout their childhood cities, skin dusted in white and donning orange robes. That they are definitely not a yogi.

I understand the disconnect, but this week I’m going to offer you a new way to look at it. Yoga is the study of yourself.  In fact, for many of us, a yoga class is the first time we connect every facet of our Self into one being.  We are the body that houses the spirit and the mind and when we work in asana practice, or meditation, or practice the yamas and niyamas we are closer to realizing our worth and our beauty.  When you commit to a regular yoga practice you find you can let go of the goals of perfectionism because that’s not what is needed anyway.  You came here, to this planet, to be your Self, not perfect, but perfectly you.

Deciding you are a yogi means that you know that this whole journey you are taking within the hot room is way more than a workout, but a work in.  You see, I am human and I do fall out of the postures even 10 years later.  And, yes, I guess I am a yogi, because even though my heart is beating out of my chest and at times I feel I have nothing left to give, I will get back in, even if I have half a second to do so before we move on to the next posture. Why is that?  Because it’s good for my mind.  I have told myself I don’t quit even when things feel uncomfortable and tough.

So, when you fall out of a posture, or simply have a wibbly wobbly moment, decide to breathe, steady yourself, maybe even smile, and then try again.  That’s what being a yogi is.  To realize you are not perfect and love yourself anyway and love yourself enough not to get mad at yourself or beat yourself up, but to simply try again. In this way you find a new way of being – to be your whole Self, everything you are and can be. You can be more than human this week, maybe it’s your time to embrace being the yogi you already are.

fall-seven-times-quote-views-from-the-podium

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy reading:

Born to Backward Bend

Have You Hugged Your Studio Owner Today?

The Perfect Yogi


 ***Email & RSS Feed Subscribers:  Be sure to stop by viewsfromthepodium.com and check out the latest Transformation Story, as well as, theOff the Mat Chats Column, and the Beyond the Podium Column. Also check out the Facebook PageTwitter, and Instagram for daily inspiration. Stop by often, get inspired, and get to class!

5 thoughts on “Deciding to Be a Yogi

  1. Thank you help me realize that I’m a yogi, and proud of it.

    Lou Fasullo

    It’s hot yoga… you’re going to sweat. It’s not a yoga mat, it’s the Hoga mat, it’s better.

    >

  2. This is seriously one of the most beautiful and thoughtful takes on yoga I have ever read. There are so many lines I’d like to cut out and put on my mental pin board… The most outstanding one is: it’s not a work out, but a work in. What a great way to put it! Makes me want to get right onto the mat, despite or maybe even because of my previous failed attempts at accepting that I would fall out of postures over and over. Thanks for the nudge!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s