What does it mean to be ‘yogi’ in the 21st century?
This is a huge part of our Yoga Philosophy module and a question that makes up part of our yoga philosophy assignment. Here’s what our Liverpool yogis thought:
A good yogi must show a dedication to practice. This doesn’t necessarily mean doing asana practice or meditation for hours upon end but instead to show up and dedicate time to delving deep into ourselves. This doesn’t have to take shape of a 90 minute class. A spare 5 minutes to focus on the breath is just as important, along with a willingness to keep pushing one’s practice further, constantly learning, forever a student. There is always something to work on. Yoga is a lifestyle, not a set of postures. Being a good yogi does not equate to producing the most body contorting shapes and the longest inverted holds, rather a consistency that is present both on and off the mat.
With the lives of the average person being more fast-paced and having more options than ever before, including the never-ending stream of technology, yoga has become an escapism and healing aid to many people in the 21st century. By changing how our body moves, we change how our life moves. Through regular yoga practice, we develop a lightness of the mind, a resilient body, and better health. By clearing our thoughts and appreciating the quiet, we permit ourselves to change the patterns of our minds, allowing space for uncluttered, quiet concentration within the life we want to live.
Living in the modern digital age of the 21st century means that the way we conduct our lives has changed vastly since Patanjali first recorded the Yoga Sutras 2500 years ago. This does not mean that we cannot adopt these guidelines into our lives, it means that our interpretations have evolved to suit our modern needs. The human mind has evolved through the ages according to the way the world has developed and what we are facing now is known as the mudha chitta, the technology phase. This is where we find ourselves obsessing or desiring things outside of ourselves, being driven by infatuation and the endless pursuit of ‘happiness’. Humans have evolved to chase materialistic possessions, money, social media validation, bringing about a fast-paced lifestyle where desires and priorities change from one day to the next. With these unstable and ever-changing social conventions, it is becoming evident that there is a need to reconnect with our deeper selves and to quieten those unrelenting, turbulent thoughts.
Let’s give ourselves time and space to discover the inner self, through the practice and beyond. To allow for mistakes, to release the expectations, to listen to our bodies and enjoy. Trust the process. Be a good person. Be good to others, but more importantly good and kind to ourselves. As when we are at peace with ourselves, only then we have capacity to be there for others.
Thank you to Alisha, Amie, Becky, Rikkilee and Anna for your contributions.
Yoga Philosophy is part of Yoga Teacher Training and provides opportunities to compare the traditions of yoga with contemporary thought.
Wanna know more? Get involved, we would love to hear from you.
Our next Yoga Teacher Training, including Yoga Philosophy in Liverpool will start 23rd January at Eleven Eleven Yoga Studios.