To be a Yogi, you have to be able to bend yourself into a pretzel (like, actual pretzel-shape), stand on your head for five minutes, be committed to getting up at the crack of dawn every single day, and eat only raw vegetables. There's no swearing, no makeup allowed, and sex only once per month.
To be a Yogi, you have to take flawless Instagram photos, but you also have to feign some humility because otherwise you're not aligned with your Highest Self, and that means your Ego is showing. Yogi's aren't allowed to have Egos. Ever. Or else you're banned from YogaLand.
To be a Yogi, your favourite word must be Om. You must constantly be repeating this in your head, and Namaste out loud. The Gods will know if you're not.
They will also know if you swear. Swearing results in the offending dirty mouth's automatic re-incarnation of a cockroach in the next life. (I've already lost count how many times I'll be a cockroach. But I am very obviously committed to everything else on the list).
Yogi's are only allowed to eat organic. One invokes the wrath of Shiva otherwise.
There are A LOT of expectations, assumptions, and stereotypes around yoga and those who practice it. And I'm talking about those who actually hit up their mat and have a familiarity, as well as those who say, "I can't do Yoga. I'm not flexible 'like that.'"
We won't even touch on what are permissible yogic clothes.
No one is immune to bias and judgment.
I don't really have the desire to unpack these assumptions about yoga. Not because I don't have some ideas or opinions, but mostly because the more I commit to my own practice, and then surrender to its process, the more I unlearn or release my ideas around what it means to be a yogi.
You could really re-read that and sub in the words "Life" for "Yoga" and "human" for "yogi," too.
Yoga is the unification of my Soul, my god-self, and the God within everything around me.
"God of my own understanding within, meet the God of my own understanding without. So pumped to know that you already know each other!!! Oh that's right, we all met half an hour ago. And then before that, ten times yesterday. My bad. Brain like a sieve, you know. Thanks for your patience with me!"
It's not religious, it's personal. And it is on-going.
The point of my yoga practice is to re-connect me to what matters so that I can move into the rest of my day from that perspective.
And then lose it. And then find it again. Lose it. Find it. Lose my mind, my patience, my sense of peace, my faith in everything, my ability to breathe, my compassion. And then find it, find it, find it, find it, find it, find it. Rinse and repeat until I fall asleep. Yogi, Human. Tomayto, Tomahto.
The goal, with commitment and practice, is to remember who I am with more efficiency and grace each time I forget. In remembering who I am, I remember who we ALL are.
Maybe one day I might quit with the swearing. But I doubt it.
Laura Biddle (Tera Sundri Kaur) is a KRI certified Kundalini Yoga teacher. Her favourite part about teaching is seeing her students come back to themselves, sloughing off the pressures of who we all think we're supposed to be. When not teaching, Laura is parenting her three young kids, spending time with her partner and best friend, talking herself down from drinking too much coffee, writing, or pretending she doesn't see the the relentless self-multiplying crumbs on the floor. Find more from Laura: virtual and in-person classes/workshops, writing, and spiritual readings at www.rootsforwingshealing.com