Living in the modern era and keeping up with the world and its ever-changing trends and techniques can cause our spirit to falter until it completely crumbles. So slow down, smidgen a bit, take a deep breath, inhale all the positivity the outside has in store, and let it stomp out all the negativity you have been withholding for the last week. Take a moment to replenish what you have lost to a 9-to-5 job, which you can’t just avoid out of the blue because it pays your bills. Can you, sit down and learn how to become a yogi!
What is the simple meaning of yogi?
We coexist with people that are smitten with the idea of falling into a category that sets them apart from those that don’t fall into any. Can you be classified as a reader if you happen to pick up the book lying on your desk because your data has been exhausted and you don’t have cable? Can you be called a cook if you cooked last night because your maid was on a vacation? No. Likewise, you are not a yogi if you performed a few rounds of Surya Namaskar and a few other easy-to-do poses this morning after abandoning yoga for a week or so. Conventionally, a Yogi is someone who diligently and passionately adheres to the practice of yoga and doesn’t skip it a single day unless they are physically incapable due to a certain issue. So all you need to do to inaugurate your journey into becoming a yogi is wake up early in the morning every day and practice yoga. However, practice isn’t a word that means undertaking or performing something every single day. It means performing or undertaking something with undeterred consistency, meaning you can do yoga every alternate day and still call yourself a practitioner of yoga, for you’re being consistent. Furthermore, yoga is not just a set of asanas like Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)or Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) in fact, it is a fusion of yoga and pranayama or rhythmic breathing. Being a yogi transcends just the physical performance and ascends to some sort of spiritual and outlandish state of mind where you attain sheer peace. You must also possess a thorough knowledge of meditation, mudra ( a movement or pose in yoga), tapas (the conditioning of the body through the proper amounts of diet, rest, bodily training, meditation, etc.), mantra (a word or sound that is believed to have a special spiritual power), and other terms incorporated into the lengthy yogic philosophy. Yoga is the unison of the physical and the metaphysical, a synchrony of the real and the ethereal. A yogi is someone who brings about this unison and causes this synchrony to take place.
How to become a yogi?
Now that you’ve begun your journey as a yogi, let’s see what other things you ought to learn to become the yogi you’re meant to be. Below is a list of things you need to take into consideration to achieve your goal:
1. Know about the basic yogic poses
The first step to becoming a yogi is learning the foundational poses or asanas to begin from scratch. On the internet, you will find a ceaseless abundance of articles on yoga and numerous asanas. YouTube too is the storehouse of tutorials. These websites can kickstart the yogi breathing in you. Here are some of the simple asanas you can do every day without actually doing any sort of arduous physical labor:
- Mountain pose ( tadasana)
- Raised arms pose ( urdhva hastasana)
- Forward fold pose or standing forward bend ( uttasana)
- Legs-up-the-wall pose (viparita karani)
- Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
2. Incorporate these asanas into your daily or weekly routine
The only way to be a yogi is by doing yoga. Have your coffee and grab your mat and lay it on the floor. Start with warming up your body by jogging around the house or yard and get to business. Imagine the gentle breeze caressing your body as you stretch your limbs and muscles. You, your body as well as your mind will be completely replenished for another hectic day.
3. Inculcate a habit
The key to attaining anything is inculcating a habit that refines and trains you to fit the criteria for it. The key to inculcating a habit is consistency. If you ever desire to become something, you must respect the process of becoming it. And to do that, you must learn to be consistent. Say you practiced yoga yesterday morning but this morning you overslept and couldn’t manage time. Here, you’re deviating from your regime and by extension, your previous attempts may go futile. Even performing the simplest of asanas for half an hour lets you stay true to the much-needed consistency. Once you have dragged yourself from the bed onto your mat early in the morning for 21 days straight, you will wake up with a new productive habit on the 22nd morning.
4. Cultivate mindfulness
What is mindfulness if not harboring a reckless amount of awareness that you are emotional, angry, sad, good, bad, angsty, and so on, and the ability to channel your emotions in the most refined way? Mindfulness helps us connect with our core and lets us into the psyche of our spirit. But how do you cultivate this so-called mindfulness? Here are two easy ways/steps:
- Firstly, you will need to open up your mind to everything and every single possibility that you can achieve through simple meditation, which is basically closing your eyes and breathing in and out while fixating your attention on your breathing in this context.
- Dissociate yourself from your memories from the past and associate them with what is present in and around you. Then listen to your heart beating in your chest and sync your breathing with it.
5. Join a yoga club
Having people with the same motive as you will keep you motivated to do what you’re doing. Investing in a yoga club will allow you to surround yourself with more and more people interested in yoga or being a yogi just like you. If you’re not in a financially well off state, you can also opt for looking for friends who would be interested or acquaint a friend with the benefits of yoga so they, too, can join you in the venture. Either way, you will have someone to motivate you and in turn, you will motivate them.
6. Read books about yoga and spirituality
There are innumerable options of such books to choose from on the market. These books are not just a tutorial for learning all the asanas but a gateway to spiritual awakening. You will have a better, more insight into the working of your mind and body and how they can get in sync with your soul. Just a few days into reading these books you will see that your soul is beyond just vague, cryptic imagery.
7. Impart your knowledge
The last step to becoming a yogi is imparting what you have picked up from the books, yoga clubs, articles, essays, and yoga instructors. Teach your loved ones about yoga. Train your baby sibling into becoming a yogi (only if they consent though). Enlighten your acquaintances about the benefits attributed to yoga. Maintain a blog documenting your miraculous transformation to inspire others to do the same.
8. Implement the yogi in you
Now that you’re a yogi, implement it in your day-to-day life. This definitely doesn’t imply that you should relinquish the pleasures of life and go to the Himalayas to live off the bare minimum like a hermit. Consistency is enough and beyond. However, if by any chance the yogic flame in you continues to burn, try living a moderate lifestyle. Let’s be honest here, having the most is deeply inscribed onto our nature and it’s beyond impossible to sever. And you don’t have to unnecessarily do staunch penance. Just wake up at a consistent hour and implement your yoga-filled regime.
Beyond the physical
Mind is pivotal to the body and the other round is also true in every way possible. Each can’t even imagine existing without the other because if it’s just the mind, what will it command? On the other hand, if you wipe out the brain, what will command your body? And this is what you must remember while doing yoga: that yoga is when the mind and the body fall in perfect synchrony and you’re able to transgress the limits of the physical body and reach a state of sheer spirituality and the ethereal. And when you do, you finally see the physical manifestation is anything but the unbothered truth. This truth lies beyond the grasp of your hands, your vision, and your earshot. It takes an astronomical amount of mindfulness to see it and that is exactly what being a yogi brings along. The question still lingers though. What really lies beyond the physical manifestation? Something ethereal and beyond human comprehension or just a vague hoax trying to fool us. But we know for sure whatever it is, it is a state of utmost mental prowess. The physical manifestation of “Adi” and “Anth” teaches us to possess physical and mental well-being but beyond the philosophy of the physique, you will see spiritual well-being which is as crucial to the furtherance of a fulling life if not more. Furthermore, we are all composed of atoms but have you ever wondered what our souls are composed of? Consciousness. Our souls are composed of consciousness and it is the elixir that not only keeps us alive but on the right path. We know all of this might come across as flimsy and irrational but once you start experiencing these miracles yourself, you’ll look back and think how foolish you were to not believe it. So what lies beyond the physical? Well, that’s for you to discover through yoga.
Existing far off from the anatomy
The body is not the final destination of any creature. It lies beyond the body. After we die, we are buried in our caskets and the natural processes decompose our bodies. Or we are cremated and we become ashes which are in turn dumped into a holy river. Either way, what remains is nothing but memories and a lingering sense of the places we have been where we were once alive. And yoga assures us that we will be safe and sound beyond the body. It’s as though the moment we start practicing yoga and make it a custom, we are carving a safeway to our ultimate destination, which remains vague until we become yogis.
8 most crucial stages of a yogi
At different stages of life, we get to notice our bodies and minds changing no matter the gender. Likewise, a yogi goes through 7 stages in the Vedic and Yogic philosophies. These are mentioned in vivid detail by Vyasa in the Yoga Sutras.
This is the nascent stage for any yogi. This stage is all about realizing that the ultimate knowledge lies within oneself and one must look deep down one’s soul to attain it.
Upon reaching this stage, the yogi realizes what is causing him/her pain and adversities. Then the yogi uses the acquired knowledge to sever ties with these causes and by extension to sever ties with the pain adversities itself.
In this stage, the yogi attains comprehensive knowledge about it and gets engrossed in the inner self.
At this stage, the yogi is liberated from all religious ceremonies and customs.
This is the second stage of liberation but this time the yogi is being liberated from all the beautiful distractions and illusory dreams the fickle mind creates. Simply put, the yogi is now free from the shackles of the mind.
This stage is the emancipation of the mind from the stimulation in nature.
At the final stage, the one aspiring to be a yogi has become a full-fledged yogi by chiseling his/her identity into that of Purusha (“spirit,” “person,” “self,” or “consciousness”), the primordial being according to many sects of Hinduism. Also, this is the stage where the yogi achieves sheer freedom. As per the same Yoga Sutras authored by Vyasa, a practitioner goes through 4 levels, which are theoretically quite akin to the stages with little variations.
- The first level is an abode for beginners. The practitioner at this level is known as a Brahmacharya who is guided towards spiritual enlightenment and disciplinary habits.
- The second level is for the modern yogis who choose not to sever ties with earthly pleasures while still being competent enough to proclaim themselves as yogis. A practitioner like that is called a Grihastha.
- This is the level of transition where the practitioner recedes from worldly gains and social ties. The practitioner at this level is called a Vanaprasthya.
- Upon reaching this level, the practitioner decides whether s/he wants to remain a modern yogi or one who is nigh conventional living a minimalist life away from hustle and bustle of modern living.
6 important steps that can help you become a yogi
1. Practice yoga for a variety of reasons but above all for your betterment. Yoga can be done for well-being, inner tranquility, or enlightenment. If you practice yoga for health, healing, relaxation, or aesthetic purposes, you are a yogi or yogini. If you practice yoga for enlightenment, happiness, and inner peace, you are a yogi or yogini. When you reach enlightenment, you become a yogi or yogini. Living in God, the light, and cosmic consciousness are all definitions of enlightenment.
2. Either have faith or none at all. Your preferred religion doesn’t have to hinder your practice of yoga. Yoga teaches that all religions are one. You can practice yoga and be a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist. If an atheist wants to experience happiness and inner serenity, they can practice yoga without actually diverting from their atheism. Christian yogis are welcome if they want to. The Desert Fathers and Mothers were the most influential Christians who practiced yoga. Their wise leader was Holy Antonius.
3. Yoga, meditation, and optimistic thinking are recommended. The Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika by Goraksha, the Bhagavad Gita by Krishna, and the Yoga-Sutra by Patanjali are the three greatest writings on yoga. Thus, according to Patanjali, the fundamental principles of yoga include loving all living things, praying to Krishna, and thinking positively (Krishna).
4. Learn the five fundamental principles of truth, peace, love, self-control, and happiness.
5. Put an end to your journey of laziness and a start to a life full of the alive. Getting a spiritual master who is enlightened to initiate you is an excellent idea. Your enlightenment energy’s entrances (kundalini-energy) will be unlocked by him or her. You must, however, accept that you are on your own to practice and achieve enlightenment. Keep calm; when the time is appropriate for you, enlightenment will manifest.
6. Make yourself holy and you’ll be content. Humans can be compared to onions spiritually. Layer by layer, tension, and conflict must be resolved. When one layer is removed, the next one soon follows until the inner core is exposed. The yogi or yogini lives in the light at this time after discovering a long-lasting inner delight (despite the reality that there is still much to be done).
Most prominent characteristics of a yogi
1. A true yogi possesses the art of neutrality. S/he knows the depth of one’s self and understands the repercussions of giving in to the temptations of life.
2. A real yogi is forever poised and maintains equilibrium in every situation life has to hurl. One who succeeds to become a yogi maintains a balanced regime that includes yoga ( of course), waking up early in the morning and going to bed similarly, inculcating refreshing and mindful habits like journaling and meditation, eating a balanced diet, and so on.
3. Yogis accept themselves the way they are. This does not mean one must succumb to bad habits or hopelessly accept a disease. It means one must realize a few things are best left unchanged. It means one must know one’s strengths and weaknesses and utilize both of them in the most lucrative manner.
4. Abstinence is the primary quality a yogi ought to possess. This doesn’t imply by any means that one must abstain from the vital pleasures of life. You can revel in such pleasures but what you shouldn’t do is let them drive you. Have the pleasure but don’t let yourself get so absorbed in it that its deprivation causes you to lose self-control.
5. The secondary quality to ensure as a true yogi is self-control. Yogi knows how to control themself, regulate emotions and dictate reactions to day-to-day negativities
6. Truthfulness is a must-have in this context. Of course, we are not talking about being a yogi in the Satya Yuga( the first epoch according to Hinduism) in the modern era. Hence, there is some level of leniency. You don’t have to speak the truth every time. Sometimes, a lie that saves someone from destruction is equal to a thousand truths. What you must learn to avoid are unnecessary, selfish lies.
7. This last one is like a no-brainer for someone who practices yoga consistently .i.e, durable health and flexibility. A yogi is also seen to have such endurance that rivals that of a sportsperson.
8. The penultimate essential quality of a yogi is contentment, meaning a yogi must be/ is satisfied with whatever s/he has at home. Now there’s a thin line that helps you tell contentment apart from complacency. A yogi sees that line and never crosses it.
9. Lastly… yes, you guessed it right. It’s discipline. Discipline is not just pivotal to becoming a yogi but to living as well. Through discipline, one can attain the most impossible of goals by just adhering to a healthy lifestyle that encompasses proper eating habits and a generous amount of sleeping and relaxation f on along with a job that fetched money. In a way, discipline is your first step to yogic living.
The lifestyle of a yogi
Have you ever wondered how a yogi lives? How does s/he eat and how much and how many times a day? Well, a pure yogic lifestyle includes the yogi shaping the spiritual and physical trajectory of his/her life. Apart from this, yoga is like an oath and yogi never breaks this oath. To delve deeper, we read the memoirs of some of the most prolific yogis and came up with the following:
- A yogi wakes up early in the morning, normally before sunrise, and bathes.
- A yogi devotes a certain portion of the morning to yoga.
- A conventional yogic diet is either vegetarian or completely vegan.
- Yogis are the masters of clear minds, which are a product of diligenty done yoga and meditation.
- An accomplished yogi always plays by the rules of nonviolence.
- When she/he fails to comply, it’s his/her duty to get back on the path.
- Lastly, a yogi respects and gets respect in return.
What does it mean to be a Yogi?
Yoga is the process that unifies the body and mind and strengthens their ties with the soul and with its existence. Simply put, yoga is the very elixir of your life and the way to replenishment. So being a yogi is being in a state of physical and mental presence where you fit the criteria to deserve this elixir; it’s the ability to make it like the abode of your body. To be a yogi means you possess a certain kind of insightful intuition that others don’t quite possess.
Don’t you worry? We are past the era of yogis living a segregated lifestyle in some solitary forest teeming with wild animals to meditate on a deity for several hours. We are modern yogis. We will wear the latest trends, watch Netflix with our besties and still wake up early in the morning and stick to what encompasses games, meditation, and healthy eating.
A yogi knows that happiness is not all that life has to offer. Sadness is as inevitable as it is painful and a yogi knows that. A yogi knows how to tackle obstacles and herald in another age of happiness. S/he eventually learns to come to terms with every aspect of life and its pros and cons.
Lastly, when you become a yogi, you start thinking like one and your fear of death disappears into oblivion. You see that oblivion where everyone is headed. You begin to make the best out of life instead of trying to avert death.
So how do you become a yogi? In the least complex words, you just do it by doing everything necessary (things and steps explicitly mentioned above) and understanding the subtle intricacies of life via yoga. Becoming a yogi isn’t renouncing the life you have been blessed with; it’s seeing that there’s more to it than what is visible to the eyes and audible to the ears. When someone starts talking like this, people start giggling and mocking the picture she/he is trying to portray. We’re sure you’re stifling a laugh, too. But you’re not to blame. It’s a human tendency. But once you have reached the right level of mindfulness, everything on this blog will make sense. And you’ll see what it means to be a yogi.