In honor of tha official launch of my new online course, Livin’ Like A Yogini, I thought I would give you a behind the scenes look at the basic principles for living a more yogic-centered life.
To clear away any misconceptions, a yogini is simply a female yoga practitioner; however, practicing yoga covers much more than the physical practice. In fact, it doesn’t have to include the physical practice at all. Living like a yogini is much more about choosing to live a conscious lifestyle. It’s about choosing curiosity and flexibility over rigidity and being open to the idea that life is a constant experiment. It’s about finding optimal health, wellness, relaxation, and balance amidst our modern lifestyles.
Since successful yoginis live in this world and not outside of it in some cave in the Himalayas, there are plenty of temptations to sidetrack us. Living like a yogini is about becoming aware of our habits, triggers and situations that sidetrack us from living the way we want to live – living the way that makes us feel our best for the majority of our time on Earth. Who wouldn’t want to feel great their whole life?
Unfortunately, feeling great is not a given. In fact, most of us feel horrible a lot of the time and even more of us don’t realize it! It is so sad to see people accept a way of life that causes pain and suffering when there are so many things you can do to help yourself and others live a life full of joy, abundance and happiness.
Living like a yogini is about moving away from suffering and truly believing that happiness is our birthright. (click to tweet)
Don’t get me wrong – all those happy-go-lucky people really annoy me sometimes soon. Living like a yogini is not about ignoring the sadness, hurt and pain that life throws at us sometimes. It is about learning how to sit with these emotions and treat yourself and others with compassion when those times come around. Is is not about wallowing in self-pity and drowning yourself in drama. It is not about drinking away your pain and it is certainly not about turning to other numbing modalities. Living like a yogini is about feeling every emotion in its entirety and then moving on.
So how do you learn to live like a yogini? First, it helps to understand the philosophy behind this whole concept of yoga. Then, you put all the intellectual stuff into practice. Having support and guidance along the way from those who have walked the path is a must.
In my upcoming Livin’ Like a Yogini online course, we’ll cover four aspects of the yogini life and help you integrate them in a way that fits for you.
1. Adopting the yogini mindset
Successfully living like a yogini is all about shifting your mindset. The yamas and the niyamas, the first two parts of the yogic eight-fold path as outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, serve as a wonderful foundation to help us understand what to keep and what to move away from.
For example, as yoginis, we work hard to eliminate deceit in our lives by committing to truth instead. We release drama in our lives by learning to manage our own energy rather than giving it away to others. And we favor abundance over lack in all aspects of our lives. It’s not about restricting or limiting ourselves from spending time with our friends and family or doing the things we love to do. Instead, it’s about putting into practice a set of ethical principles and recognizing over time how practicing these principles positively (or negatively) impacts your life.
Yoginis always have a choice, the question is whether or not you choose to exercise intention.
2. Moving like a yogini
Fitness is an important part of the yogini lifestyle, but before you stop reading, let me redefine fitness for you. Instead of thinking about CrossFit workouts, never-ending runs, and exhaustion, think about how you enjoy moving. Fitness doesn’t have to be intense. As yoginis, we recognize the power and importance of movement in our lives without a necessary attachment to weight loss and figure shaping. These two aspects of fitness can certainly be part of our goal, but they don’t have to be if we don’t want them to be.
We should move to feel good.
Most people would agree that the right kind of fitness makes you feel great. I can’t tell you how many people tell me after my yoga class that they feel incredible, despite the fact that during the practice they were cursing me in their heads. It might not feel great every second, but the end result should be an increase in energy, not a nap and a few days of recovery from soreness.
The best part about movement is you get to pick and do more of what you enjoy. If you love nature, take a walk or a bike ride. If you want to dance, go to the clubs. Move with your friends or by yourself. Create a community or use your movement as a meditation. The possibilities are endless and the benefits are too many to count.
Yoga isn’t supposed to kill you. It’s supposed to help you live.
3. The modern-day yogini
Yoginis work, and many of us work really, really hard. We can’t escape the necessities of modern-day life, and many of us women feel empowered by the work we get to do and the contributions we’re able to make to our communities. But sometimes we get a little too excited, a little too far down the rabbit-hole, a little too wrapped up in someone else’s (or our own) agenda. The need for work/life balance is greater than ever these days as the number one cause of stress in the United States is work-related. The amount of money we spend trying to recover from stress-related illnesses and disabilities is atrocious and unnecessary.
Living like a yogini in the modern age is about working hard AND spending time playing, recharging and, maybe most importantly, recognizing and taking responsibility for our own needs. It’s about giving ourselves permission to indulge in the relaxing activities that help us become smarter, more efficient, more productive, and happier. It’s about building longevity rather than burning-out. It’s about learning how to enjoy what we love rather than resenting the fact we have to work so hard for nothing in return.
Balance is not about finding equal parts this and that. We’ll never achieve balance if we’re looking to play the equal game. Balance is more about understanding what activities give you energy and what tasks take energy away and then constructing the unique formula that works for you so that you can show up and be the greatest person you were meant to be. That’s what yogini balance is all about.
4. The yogini habits
The final piece of the yogini puzzle is all about creating lasting rituals, or habits, that comfort us, build confidence and nourish our souls. These rituals can be made up, adapted or adopted to our existing routines with ease so that what we do already continues to nourish rather that deplete our mental, emotional and physical bodies. From engaging in self-massage when we slather on lotion in the morning to nourishing our body with a good smoothie, when we look at building habits as rituals, the experience becomes so much more rich, exciting, and enticing. It shifts from adding one more thing into the long list of stuff we already “have to do” to “wanting” to spend time with ourselves to better our chances of achieving health and happiness on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.
If you’re interested in learning more about yoga philosophy, are interested in crafting your own fitness plan, want to understand how work/life balance can fit into your work and life situation, or can’t wait to add yogini rituals into your daily routine, enroll now for my online course Livin’ Like a Yogini.
The course starts on Tuesday, Sept. 17 and runs for four weeks. You can find more information and enroll here.
Image credit: Symphony of Love