Yogis are cool in many ways. You are either a Yogi or you are not. We explore this much debated topic as to how to differentiate between a good Yogi and a bad one. This profile of a Yogi might actually surprise you. Read on.
So, what kind of Yogi are you really? Are you a good one? That question sometimes gives us modern Yogis a couple of sleepless hours. But then, we go back to our 'zen' by practising some kickass Yoga meditation. Yeap, that's all it takes - a willingness to learn and an openness to accept all kinds of Yoga practitioners.
It's surprising that the talk of 'good Yogi' and 'bad Yogi' even exists within a community that relies on the foundation of 'Good Karma' and meditation techniques to manage inner thoughts. So we decided to fix this challenge once for all.
We have tried to profile a Yogi here. We get to interact with all kinds of Yogis and that experience is enough to tell you this: there's nothing like good or bad Yogi but that you are either a Yogi or a regular fitness enthusiast.
Ouch. We hope that didn't hurt because that's not what we intend to do here. We just want all the outside world to start noticing Yogis and the existing Yogis to evaluate themselves, albeit with a pinch of salt.
Without further ado, let's go see a Yogi, shall we?
How to identify a Yogi?
There are four ways of identifying a Yogi:
- In terms of knowledge
- In terms of behaviour
- In terms of focus
- In terms of diet
1. In terms of knowledge
Combination of contemporary and ancient knowledge
True Yogis are actually pretty cool people. They know the roots and the actual purpose of Yoga. As you know that Yoga is not just “a bunch of Asanas for exercise.” It is a way of living, a way of self-exploration. A Yogi will know the roots i.e the philosophy behind not only the Asanas but also behind major Yoga practices such as meditation. Once a Yogi, always a Yogi. As a result, most Yogis will find the contemporary touches to Yoga quite interesting. Yoga has evolved with changing needs and modern life. So, you have some really cool modern twists such as beer yoga, vino yoga, naked yoga, goat yoga and even doga (dog yoga!) A Yogi will know what those forms are and why they have come to be, he or she may not necessarily be practising those forms.
Self-exploration is the zen
Know thyself. That’s what it’s really about. Most Yogis see Yoga as a means of exploring their strengths, weaknesses of mind and body. A Yogi may or may not be deeply spiritual before or even after starting Yoga. However, once he or she has explored Yoga, ideally the Yogi should be on the path of self-exploration. It may be as simple as just understanding one’s own breathing or the process of calming one’s mind but the overall inclination of a Yogi is self-exploration through Yoga.
At peace with body-image
A true Yogi has explored enough forms, postures, philosophies of Yoga so as to know what has worked for him/her. Such a person knows how to listen to their body Yoga Asanas sometimes may lead to micro-tears or ligament fractures as well, if you push yourself too hard. A true Yogi has been there, done that. True Yogis listen to their body, they know how to utilize breath and calm their emotions. They are mostly quite at peace with their bodies.
In terms of behaviour:
Compassion towards oneself and others
Since Yogis understand the Yogic principle of ‘ahimsa’, compassion is a quality they are constantly pursuing through the practice of Yoga. You will notice most Yogis to be generally compassionate towards themselves and the world around them. Yoga practitioners develop a stronger sense of empathy because they have gone through a process of inner transformation.
A true Yogi is at peace with his own knowledge of Yoga and of others. He or she is open to new ideas and is very encouraging of anyone pursuing Yoga in any form. He or she is not judgemental of what he/she thinks is the correct way of practising Yoga.
Yogis are also often identified through their mental age than their physical age. There are Yogis as young as 18 year olds and as old as 80 year olds. Yet when both these age groups of Yogis meet, they will feel an instant connect because of what Yoga has done to them in terms of inner transformation.
Energy v/s serious demeanour
Most people visualize Yogis as super serious beings who don’t crack jokes or have fun. A Yogi is probably more woke and having more fun than most non-practitioners. Yogis are so one with their inner being that they come across as extremely normal and calm individuals. However, they do radiate a distinct energy. Even when they are not wearing Yoga pants or an orange rob, it’s easy to notice their inner energy through the way they listen or talk.
In terms of focus:
Focus on flexibility over figure
A popular myth about Yogis is that they have flat stomachs, and they look like Greek gods and goddesses. This is definitely not true. In fact, this mind-set is in many ways against the basic tenets of Yoga. Yogis practice mindfulness instead of a blind obsession towards fitness. They will discuss controlling thoughts instead of controlling body because the latter comes with the former automatically.
Acceptance towards their body and mind
There are several Yogis in India who look like regular people. But they have been Yoga Gurus teaching thousands of learners. Many of them may be over weight but they have a great flexibility with their body. They are accepting of their own body and mind and are at peace with what they have been given.
Open to learning
A true Yogi is so much at peace with what he/she knows that new knowledge or change does not threaten his/her understanding. As a result, you will find most Yogis to be extremely open to learning, exploring and finding out new paths.
In terms of diet:
Yes, Yogis do splurge once in while on pizzas and burgers. And they are chill about it. However, they do understand the importance of a ‘Saatvik diet’.
The word ‘Sattva’ means pure and you will find Yogis emphasizing a lot on natural fibres through fruits and vegetables. They prefer things pure. Some Yogis are vegan, others are not. But the larger idea is they consume what’s best for their body most of the times.
A vital factor about becoming a Yogi is anyone can start from anywhere. The beauty of Yoga is it can meet you where you are. This is the reason why it has been globally accepted as a path of leading a more fruitful life.