What is a yogic lifestyle?
If I wear ali-baba pants, light an incense stick, do a shot of wheatgrass and sit in lotus pose for a few hours, does that make me a yogi?
These attributes are associated with yoga because the lifestyle surrounds these sorts of fashion, foods and general lifestyle. But a “true yogi” can’t necessarily be defined in such terms.
Yoga is a lifestyle.
Yoga and the “inner” life
And that means it does not rely on what you eat, what you wear, or how you appear to the outside world.
It is all about what goes on inside.
When we consider “lifestyle” it simply means taking yoga from the mat, into your daily life.
The things you learn from yoga are applicable to many situations in life. Yes yoga is a physical practice, and there are many beneficial effects to be found both mentally and physically in yoga, however, we can use the emotional benefits to our advantage within daily life.
Yoga is about one’s internal values, what motivates us in our lives, and what can we learn about ourselves on the mat?
Yoga and mindfulness
The peace and tranquillity we find on the mat can also be translated to our daily lives. The mindfulness we aim to achieve during meditation can be hugely beneficial to us. The 8 limbs of yoga are guidelines for our pathway through life.
One example is ‘ahimsa’ which means ‘non-violence.’
We practice ahimsa on the mat, but whilst our physical practice is temporary, yoga is a lifestyle or a way of being, and if we follow this through to off-the-mat, that is when the true yogi comes into being.
It might not be easy.
However, as you begin to quiet your mind and listen to your heart, the natural sense of compassion and non-violence awakens, and then there’s no stopping it!
Each time you face a difficult situation in life which might make you angry, frustrated, upset or simply conjure negative emotions; think of the 8 limbs and the lessons learnt on your mat. The physicality and breath work can so easily translate to your emotions, if everyone in the world followed the yogic lifestyle, humankind would flourish beautifully.
So remember the things you learn on-the-mat when you’re out and about!