Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 4: On showing up

What does a yogi or yogini look like?

Tall, thin, buns of steel, guns perfectly defined, exceptional limber, beatific smile upon the face, eyes dreamily half-closed, rad dragon tattoo over the shoulder.  Right?  That's how a yogi - an American yogi, that is - looks in my mind's eye.

Then there's the Indian yogi in the loin cloth, long grey hair, and marigold mala.  Perhaps with some colorful paint on his face. Possibly with a bit of a belly.  Still with the beatific smile, though.

Like 19th century Yogavatar Shyama Charan Lahiri, also known as Lahiri Mahasaya, described in Autobiography of a Yogi.
 Matching neither of these descriptions myself, I've never identified with the name.  A yogi was someone else, someone who had practiced for a long time, someone who went on retreats, someone who practiced at home.  Someone who used the term 'practice.'  I was just someone who went to yoga class.

But when I had to introduce myself to the other 40 day challenge yogis, I realized that eleven years is quite a bit of experience with yoga, and studying in India did make me rather dedicated.  Then when the instructor of the first class during the Challenge identified the "40 day challenge yogis," and the rest of the class applauded, I realized that maybe the flexibility, and slenderness, and tats didn't matter so much.  What mattered was showing up.


Eco Yogini said...

i'm glad your enjoying the revolution. a local studio here is doing it and it seems to be popular :)

you're right- just showing up is huge!

Stephanie said...

Absolutely. One of my teachers told me that to pass the Jiva teacher training, all one must do is be present.

Be well!

elizabeth said...

Thanks for the encouragement!

One of my first teachers always reminded the students that the person who seemed totally unflexible might be a fully realized yogi -- who knew what was happening on the inside, perhaps that person was wholly at one with the Universe. I always appreciated that.

Then again, I just read an interview with Sting where he said the reason our bodies are tight is that our mind are tight and limited.

mariage said...

Thank you for your precious time and activities that you've shared with us. I really liked various activities such as Downtime, Chakde Brain ,Badminton and so on. We all need JIVA training from time to time.