What Makes Someone A "Yogi"? and The Truth About My Practice


It’s a huge misconception that people who practice yoga live in a constant state of zen. It’s 2018, the world is scary, we are stressed out, and there never seems to be enough time to catch up with the insane pace of everything around us.



This is WHY we do the yoga, people!








I’ll admit it, at times I feel like an imposter.

Some of my behavior can be very un-yoga like…




Here's what I mean:


My vocabulary includes a lot of swearing

I eat meat

I’m not very good at meditating

I don’t live in a van or a tiny house

I'm not always the most pleasant



The thing is, people have some unrealistic assumptions of who or what a yoga practitioner or teacher should embody.



You do not need to wear expensive brand name yoga attire, rock un-shaved armpits, be a vegan, have a ballerina body, be able to do a handstand, believe in chakras, have an om symbol tattoo or have a million followers on Instagram in order to be a yogi.



I do not sit around in lotus pose all day, chanting.


And I'm still a yogi.



If you have an authentic and dedicated yoga practice, that means more to you then just folding your body into shapes... you're a yogi.



That's the problem with stereotypes. They try to cram you into a box.


We may share common beliefs and interests but we are all separate beings with separate minds and separate histories.



When I look around before or after yoga class, I notice all different kinds of people in the room. That's what makes practicing with others such a beautiful thing. Yoga brings us all together, for a common purpose.







Here’s The Truth About My Practice








I do practice some form of yoga every. single. day.

Sometimes it might be only 3 sun salutations, other days it might be 2-3 hours of practice.


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No I don’t take pictures of myself everytime I do yoga.

But yes I take a lot of yoga selfies, and I refused to feel ashamed for it.


Taking a video of yourself practicing can be really beneficial, when your practicing alone. It allows you to see what your posture and alignment looks like, so you can identify mistakes you might be making. Catching these mistakes is crucial to preventing injuries, and will help you advance in your practice. It’s also a great way to track your progress.


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I have not committed to one style of yoga, and I may never.

I’m still exploring.

I really love any old hot power vinyasa.

But there's a part of me that really benefits from the regimented and disciplined style of ashtanga.


...And then there’s also a part of me that likes to put music on and just flow it out intuitively.

This freestyle form of yoga is the most freeing for me.

It’s where my dance roots come out to play.


oh andddd I can't forget about aerial yoga.

This is a really fun and playful yoga niche, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s easy. There’s a lot of core and upper body strength put to work in the hammock.


It’s all about balance. Do what feels good.


How could I ever just choose just one?



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I try to take a class in a studio at least once a week, sometimes twice.


Maybe even three times if I'm feeling like a real baller. Actually no, I don't think that's ever happened.


Taking classes with a trained instructor is the safest and the most beneficial way to practice.

In this setting I am more focused, pay more attention to proper form and have more patience compared to when I practice at home.


Not only can the teacher make physical adjustments or give you verbal cues to show you how to improve, it's a good way to meet new people and become part of the community.


Locally, (in Lehigh Valley, PA) I take classes most frequently at:

West End Yoga, The Antigravity Yoga Lab, Sharon Schnyders community classes,

and occasionally The Yoga Loft. I get around ;-)

If you live in the are I recommend checking one or all of them out!


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The majority of my practice is done at home

With free YouTube yoga. Often still in my pajamas.


The top 4 teachers I follow on YouTube are

  1. Yoga by Candace

  2. The Journey Junkie

  3. Boho Beautiful

  4. Yoga with Adrienne


During my home practice my dogs like to join me by stepping on my hair, standing on my mat, licking me, sniffing me, barking at the mailman or scratching at the door to go outside.


I can't even be mad because they are the cutest.


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Unfortunately, I don’t always listen to my body

This is pretty much rule number one!

Not listening to your body and pushing yourself too hard means paying for it later with muscle aches and strains.


One day I can do an advanced pose and the next day I can't. It’s part of the process.



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I still flip over in headstand all the time


Therefore I get nervous to take the inversions in class out of fear I’ll embarrass myself in front of everyone. Not that anyone would really point and laugh if this happened, but still - only if the feelings right will I go for it.



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I’m A Human



Yoga has not cured me of depression and anxiety but it has made living with the two a hell of a lot more manageable.


Do I still convince myself on a regular basis that people are judging me?

Yes. Because they are.


Do I still lose my patience and snap at others in frustration?

Yes, unfortunately.


Do I still lose hope, have break downs and ugly cry?

Yes. I’m human.


If I could do yoga all day long every day, I’m convinced I’d be the most pleasant person ever. I feel so good while I’m practicing, and afterwards I feel like I’m floating around in a soft fluffy cloud of accomplishment. The endorphins are flowing, I’m loving myself, I'm feeling positive...


And then on the drive home I have someone cut me off, or I go to work and get degraded by a customer, and I feel all the familiar negative feelings resurfacing.



This is life.

It's a cycle.

Move forward.

Reflect.

Grow.


We're all a work in progress.







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