Yoga has become increasingly popular over the past few years. In fact, approximately 36 million Americans regularly practice this discipline. Many of these individuals and recreational practitioners wonder: What is a yogi?
People sometimes throw the term around loosely, not knowing there’s more about the word’s meaning than doing yoga once a week. Being a yogi involves integrating the mind, body, and spirit, not just doing yoga poses correctly.
This article will discuss the yogi meaning in a deeper context and five essential steps to becoming one.
The Definition of the Word Yogi
There is no definite set of rules to becoming a yogi, but these individuals have several universal qualities. More than practicing yoga regularly, they adhere to the philosophies behind the practice.
Societal norms do not define yogis. They can be married or single and may or may not be part of any religious group. Instead, they consciously integrate yoga principles into their lives, including poses, breath work, meditation, respect for all living things (ahimsa), and ancient ethics.
What Is A Yogi? What Qualities Do They Possess?
In a nutshell, yogis observe practices to transform into the best version of themselves physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Yes, they practice yoga as an exercise, but they also apply its teachings in all aspects of their lives. Below are the common traits of yogis worldwide.
To begin with, yogis are self-reflective of their character, actions, and motives. They have the mental strength to look at themselves objectively, making it easy to identify improvement opportunities. Just as they know their strengths, they do not hesitate to address their weaknesses.
In addition, these individuals observe kindness. They are considerate, compassionate, and selfless. These people are unconditionally kind because their light emanates from within. They treat everyone with love and respect — even a toxic boss, rude client, or demanding friend.
Furthermore, yogis practice non-judgment. This trait is one of the most challenging to achieve because it includes not judging oneself. Remember, judgmental thoughts can ruin a person’s confidence and remove them from the present. On the other hand, non-judgment fills an individual with love, peace, and gratitude.
Yogis are also extremely mindful of what they eat. According to the yogic diet, the right food types promote holistic health. For this reason, they usually prefer vegetarian or plant-based meals. They also avoid processed food, fried food, and alcohol.
Lastly, yogis understand their worth as well as other people’s. They accept that people have varying beliefs, views, and preferences and respect everyone’s journey. This mindset minimizes conflict and harm and instead promotes self-control and cognitive flexibility.
Myths About Yogis
Before discussing the essential steps to becoming a yogi, it’s best to go through the common myths about these individuals. Some practitioners immediately feel intimidated after hearing the word yogi because of these misconceptions.
Myth 1: All Yogis Are Vegetarian
No, not all yogis are vegetarians. Yoga enthusiasts can pave their way toward the yogi path even if they enjoy the occasional cheeseburger, barbecue ribs, or chicken and waffles. Event attendees will often find food vendors selling pork belly noodle bowls, Cincinnati chili, or fish sticks at massive yoga-themed gatherings. They attract just as many people as the juice bar and smoothie bowl stands.
Myth 2: All Yogis Are Flexible
Some yogis have tight hamstrings — and that’s okay. Some people think they need to be naturally flexible to achieve the title of yogi, but that’s nothing but a misconception. Yoga helps build flexibility, but yogis don’t need to be contortionists to practice.
Myth 3: All Yogis Are Leftists
Contrary to popular belief, yogis come from different political, educational, and family backgrounds. While they may want what’s best for their countries, their values vary. Yogis will, however, respect people no matter where they fall on the political scale.
How To Become a Yogi
Now that you know what yogis are and what they’re not, it’s time to discover how to become one. Below are the first five steps you should take to achieve that dream.
1. Practice Yoga Regularly
Performing yoga regularly is part of a person’s progress in their path as a yogi. While two to three yoga asanas weekly are ideal for physical health, it takes more than that to elevate your practice. It’s best to find time daily for salutations, breathing exercises, and meditation.
2. Find a Mentor
Finding the right mentor can do wonders for any discipline — including yoga. Having a knowledgeable and qualified teacher can be instrumental in your yogi transformation. These individuals can help spread yoga teachings in your daily life.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Yoga is as much a mental and emotional practice as it is physical. Practicing mindfulness in everything you do enables you to connect with your core spirit, making you feel less attached to fleeting emotions. Once you learn how to observe your thoughts without interpretation, you’re well on your way to achieving mindfulness.
4. Expand Your Yoga Knowledge
Yogis understand how vast the yoga practice is, so they never stop learning. Since it’s challenging to access great gurus nowadays, you can delve deeper into the yogic discipline through books. Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Light on Yoga, and Meditations from the Mat are some of the most popular materials you can try.
5. Start Yoga Teacher Training
Yoga teacher training can help take your practice to the next level. After 200 or 300 hours of training, you will receive certifications recognized by the top yoga organizations.
Begin Your Yogi Journey Today
At Zuda Yoga, we offer over 45 weekly classes in two Sacramento, CA locations: Folsom and Roseville. You can join us in person or from the comfort of your home via live stream. We are a Yoga Alliance-registered organization, and our skilled teachers can help you elevate your practice.
More than the intense workouts, we focus our classes on self-discovery, meditation, and community. Get in touch with our specialists now to begin your journey to becoming a yogi.