Yoga means addition – addition of energy, strength and beauty to body, mind and soul.
― Amit Ray
Who and what makes a Yogi? I contemplate over this question frequently and feel I stand in the middle. Google search defines a Yogi as someone who is proficient in yoga. I have been a yoga instructor for about two years now. In the beginning of December 2016, I participated in a Restorative Yoga Training in Toronto, Canada. It was absolutely enlightening to be around other yogi’s, to learn from one another and share stories. One thing was evident; there are many of us who may not fit the conventional definition of a yoga teacher. I believe this translates to honoring thy authentic self. Not every spirit is the same, we are all unique individually. This was an ongoing topic of discussion while on training, one that held my attention.
My path to yoga started in 2014 when I pursued a dream on becoming a yoga instructor. The message was clear to my soul; I’m at service to others while teaching. It is an electric surge of energy which happens internally when I teach yoga.
Now here is my truth, I thought for the longest time that I needed to be a vegetarian, only be positive, wear less makeup, purchase particular yoga brands and resist my passion for fashion. I was in utter denial of who I actually am. I thought that in order to be a part of the yoga community I had to be all of those things listed. Truth is I’m not the most serious person and think I’m a comedian with my jokes.! I sometimes say “bad words”, consume poultry, and love clothing. Dressing up in a little black dress along with a pair of high heels is exhilarating! I have layers to my soul and I think we all do as humans. Comparison happens from time to time and it’s perfectly normal. We often label ourselves on who we should be or not be. When I started owning who I’m is when I felt liberated.
Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen. — Brené Brown
Years ago, I remember watching a film called Shrek, — the two main characters Shrek and Donkey were having a conversation on life. (And yes I’m reflecting on a children’s movie for they really offer insight about life!). To recap Shrek and Donkey were having a conversation how Shrek is like an onion; he has layers to his personality. In hindsight we all have layers, I can honestly tell you that there are times when all I want to do is meditate, practice yoga and be in complete solitude. On the contrary there are occasions when I want to have a glass of wine, surf the internet for fashion trends and get out for a night of dancing. Our personal layers are a gift and by owning who you are, you come into alignment in body, mind and spirit.
I read an excellent book that has always resonated with me. It is called Spiritual Junkie, by Gabrielle Bernstein. What made so much sense is that I’m a spiritual being in the modern day world. The author was real, emphasized how she mixed and lived in the spiritual vs. not spiritual worlds. To me that is sheer brilliance and I admire her for being so true to her core. I have so much comfort knowing that when practicing yoga it comes from my heart and that all which matters. I have not been to an ashram, and have only been to India as a baby, however I love yoga. It’s really about finding the fine balance within yourself and doing what works for you.
Being a yoga practitioner is an inward journey. It is accepting who you are wholeheartedly. I learn something new each time I teach about myself and others. It has nothing to do with the material world or anyone else. Love yourself for what you have to offer and share your gift of this beautiful practice. You can be a fashionista, love Mc Donald’s but be the best darn teacher in your city. What ultimately defines who you are—is your soul, the light within.
You are like a seed; your greater beauty lies not on the outside, but within.
― Matshona Dhliwayo