“If your goal is to become a yoga teacher, five-and-a-half months are good enough. If your goal is to become a yogi, it may happen in five-and-a-half seconds, or it may not happen in five-and-a-half lifetimes, because it is not of the physical nature. It depends on how an individual being allows it to happen.” – Sadhguru
Just this past weekend, I graduated from Yoga teacher training and I’m now an RYT with Yoga Alliance. It was an amazing experience with incredible people! And Sadhguru is spot-on; it was five-and-a-half months. But does that make me a Yogi? Hmm …
What does it mean to be a Yogi?
Is it practicing and performing poses and breathing deeply? Is this Yoga? Well, if the effort and action (hatha and karma) of performing asana brings us closer to synchronization with the energy of the universe, then yes. Because Yoga means union. Union with the universe and all things that are, including all of us humans.
But to be a Yogi, it’s about living the way, not just knowing it. No easy task, because our reality is dynamic with its infinite number of variables and circumstances, multiplied by about eight billion humans, all with our own baggage of shit and opinions.
But, we do our best to be Yoga, living the eight limbs: non-violence, truth, non-stealing, moderation, non-attachment. It’s cleanliness, contentment, discipline, self-study, and surrender to a higher power. And yes; it is the postures and a lot of breathing. It’s withdrawing from the external world through the senses. It’s concentration, meditation, and … bliss.
Sadhguru goes on to say, “Even if you are not like that (Yogi-like) 24 hours of the day, at least a few moments in a day you should be a yogi. If you keep it alive, things that you do not understand, things that you have never experienced, will happen to you. That means you are allowing another dimension to function.”
I know, I know, it sounds quite mystical and if you know me, I’m not one for mysticism. In all my years of training and teaching martial arts, my mission was to clear the fog of mysticism with down to earth language that everybody could easily understand (there’s a song in there somewhere). So to be clear, being a registered yoga teacher does not necessarily make one a Yogi.
Knowing and teaching the knowledge is merely academic. Being able to do a one-handed hand stand with our legs in a pretzel is quite impressive, but that’s not Yoga. The practice of living and being Yoga is true yoginess, no matter our acrobatic prowess.
So … am I a Yogi? All things considered, yes. But don’t tell anyone. I have a reputation to maintain.
Photo by Hans Vivek on Unsplash