What do you think of when you hear the term yogi? The term yogi has many connotations. I used to think a true yogi was someone who could perfect all the yoga poses and had aggressively handed over their life to meditation in order to get the ultimate Zen mentality.
However, since more than 20 million women alone practice yoga in the United States, and with men jumping on board too, either we all secretly want to live the Buddha lifestyle — seeking inner peace under a tree — or a yogi is anyone who is dedicated to her practice.
Yoga can help heal our bodies and minds in a myriad of ways. I hear all the time that yoga can assist with weight loss, which is why I first came to the mat seven years ago. Since starting yoga though, I no longer obsess over the little things. My regular practice has given me more clarity, the desire to eat healthier, and ultimately led to more self-love regardless of the number on the scale. My relationships are less superficial, and I'm more present for all of life.
For me, yoga became a safety net; it was my calm place in a sea of chaos. No matter what was happening in life, in culture, at work, or in bad romances, I could count on my mat being there for me. When I showed up, it was always there to show me what I needed to see: more compassion, forgiveness, self-love and respect.
Recently a curious friend asked me, "What are your intentions with yoga?" This question caught me by surprise, because I never thought about why I do yoga, I just know that when I do it I feel better. In essence, yoga has become my lifestyle. There is no intention assigned to my yoga because an intention makes me think that there is a destination, a goal or some type of final outcome. My practice is a journey, a daily dedication to self-love and to detaching from what doesn't matter. It is a practice, and it is a forever-long journey that allows me to grow and learn on a daily level. She laughed and said, “Spoken like a true yogi.”
Then it hit me: I am a yogi. I am what I used to think was so unattainable.
If you're wondering if you could be a true yogi, here are some things that might tell you that you are...
You pack your mat when you go on vacation.
You've downloaded songs from yoga class.
Your Pandora playlist is mantra music.
Your yoga clothes take up 95% of the laundry.
Your Facebook feed is loaded with messages from your yoga instructors and people from class.
Instead of taking a lunch break, you go to a yoga class.
You read yoga magazines in the checkout line instead of gossip and fashion.
You leave your jewelry on in class.
Your day doesn't feel complete unless you’ve made it to your mat.
You have dreams at night in which you're perfecting poses.
You skip happy hour with your friends to make a yoga class.
You own more than one yoga mat.
You cross your legs at your desk.
It feels weird to wear socks and shoes.
You randomly practice poses throughout the day… at break time, at work, while making dinner, or during commercial breaks.