What does it mean to be a real Yogi?
Being a real Yogi is not about practicing asanas day and night on the mat, posting cool poses to Instagram, wearing trendy yoga clothes or even teaching yoga. It's about hard work on transforming attitudes, habits, and general ways of life to become more congruent with the principles, morals, and ethics of yoga.
Yoga became a cool trend over the past years, which is highly promoted by worldwide yoga brands and personal development coaches, however without an understanding the purpose of the practice and conscious effort to apply yoga when you leave your mat, it becomes just another form to exercise.
Yoga is not a destination to drag you away into a magical spiritual world, but a tool, which can help you to achieve greater awareness, live more connected life and make better choices for yourself. However, it requires a certain amount of self-awareness, self-training and self-discipline. The transformation begins only when we learn how to manage our actions and reactions.
Swami Sivananda, who was a Hindu spiritual teacher and a proponent of Yoga and Vedanta (1887– 1963) has written a song “18 ITIES”, which describes all the characteristics that a Yogi must have.
Here they are:
Be tranquil within. Feeling the inner peace not only when everything goes according to the plan, but more importantly when we experience quite the opposite.
Be regular with your practices, watch the clock. Practice makes everything perfect, and the secret is in the regularity. Staying true to your healthy routines and being on time will free you from the anxiety, worry, and fear.
3. Absence of Vanity
Don’t boast about our qualities, qualification, position or spiritual attainments. Cultivate humility towards every creature. Treat everyone as equal.
Let your words agree with your thoughts. Let your actions agree with your words.
Be simple in your speech, dress, food. Get rid of material and mental baggage which doesn't have a handle for a while, but you still carry it around feeding yourself with an excuses you might need it later. You won’t. It’s that simple.
Be truthful in your words and actions. Keep your promises. Don’t exaggerate or twist facts. Think thoroughly before you speak.
Never let anything disturb your inner peace. Perceive equally with calmness and tranquility both hardship and opportunity, success and failure, praise and criticism, pleasure and pain.
Stay focused on your goal and don’t let it go. You won’t achieve anything if you are jumping from one thing to another
Be patient. Let it go. Destroy the seeds of anger while they’re still little to avoid an aggressive outburst.
We bend, so we don’t break. Adjust yourself to people who you interact with. Keep in mind that everyone is different and amazing in their own way.
Be respectful to everyone. Don’t feel superior to another people.
Never compromise on your fundamental principles. Never give up until you reach your goal.
Be honest and have strong moral principles. Always try to reflect ethical standards and do the right thing regardless of the circumstances. Keep your promises even if it takes extra effort.
Appreciate the good qualities of everyone and don’t focus on someone’s defects
Forgive the person who has done the wrong, ignore the faults of others. Avoid gossip and silly talk. Focus on bigger picture
“Give and you shall receive”. Give and share the wealth, knowledge and spiritual wisdom with the world
When you give, do it generously with an open heart without expecting anything in return
Be pure in your thoughts, words, intentions and actions. Observe the rules of physical, moral and spiritual hygiene.
Even if it's not possible to be like that all the time, at least we should dedicate a few moments in a day for becoming a real yogi.
Which values do you think are the hardest to practice in our real world?
Share in the comments.