17 Rules for Living Like a Yogi • Yoga Basics

17 Rules for Living Like a Yogi • Yoga Basics

Embarking on a yogic lifestyle is a transformative journey that extends beyond the confines of a yoga class. It’s about integrating the principles of yoga into every aspect of your life, fostering a harmonious relationship between the mind, body, and spirit. By understanding and adopting the following 16 rules, you can cultivate a yogic lifestyle that promotes holistic well-being.

What is a Yogic Lifestyle?

A yogic lifestyle is a holistic and intentional approach to living that extends far beyond the confines of a yoga class. The essence of a yogic lifestyle lies in seamlessly integrating yogic philosophies and yoga practices, such as daily asana practice, breathing exercises, and meditation, into the fabric of everyday life. It involves embracing a simple life, making healthy and sattvic food choices, and incorporating the ethics of yoga into daily interactions.

This lifestyle promotes a clean and healthy body, a settled mind, and a compassionate heart. It encourages individuals to embark on a spiritual journey, emphasizing the interconnectedness of the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of our being.

Living a yogic lifestyle does not necessarily mean moving to an ashram or becoming a hermit in seclusion on a mountaintop. Rather, your lifestyle choices should align with the stage of yoga you are currently practicing. Embracing a Yogic Lifestyle can also be a gradual process, taking into consideration your current life circumstances.

16 Rules to live like a yogi

While this list of rules for living like a yogi is not exhaustive, it provides a solid foundation for incorporating yogic principles into your daily life. Approach These “rules” like guidelines, suggestions, or invitations to deepen your understanding and practice of yoga. The practice of yoga is deeply personal and individualized, so please feel free to adapt these rules to suit your own unique journey.

1. Live simply

Embrace simplicity and work towards letting go of the incessant desire for more. Being mindful of what we bring into our lives, whether it be food, clothing, or any other material items, allows us to make conscious choices that align with our yogic values. By living simply, you create more time, space, and opportunity for peace, contentment, and spiritual growth. Allow simplicity to guide your decisions and prioritize experiences and relationships over material possessions.

2. Slow down

Mindfully and deliberately pausing, slowing down, taking breaths, and being fully present in each moment is a key principle of living like a yogi. By consciously slowing down and disengaging our busy mind mentality, we create space for self-reflection, awareness, inner growth, and connection with our true selves. By slowing down, we also create greater awareness of our thoughts, reactions, and actions, allowing us to make more conscious choices in how we live our lives.

3. Be pure

Saucha, or cleanliness, is one of the foundational principles of yoga. To live like a yogi, it is crucial to cultivate purity in every aspect of our lives. Choose foods that align with a sattvic diet, and nourish your body with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based proteins. Cultivate purity in your thoughts by practicing mindfulness, meditation, self-reflection, positive thinking, and letting go of negative thought patterns. Create a clean and clutter-free living space that promotes a sense of calm and tranquility.

4. Cultivate contentment

Santosha, or contentment, is a cornerstone of yogic philosophy, emphasizing the internal state over external circumstances. Practice contentment by appreciating the present moment, acknowledging the abundance in your life, and finding joy in the simple pleasures. Instead of constantly seeking external sources of happiness, learn to find contentment within yourself. Recognize that true happiness comes from an internal state of peace and fulfillment, rather than material possessions or achievements.

5. Serve others

As a yogi, it is essential to cultivate a spirit of service towards others. By serving others, we not only contribute to the well-being of those around us, but we also deepen our own spiritual growth. Selfless service, or seva, is a core principle of yoga philosophy that teaches us to transcend the needs and desires of the ego mind, and instead engage in acts of kindness and service, fostering a compassionate heart and a profound sense of compassion and empathy.

6. Live with integrity

Satya, the principle of truthfulness, encourages us to be honest with ourselves and others. Speak your truth, but do so with kindness and compassion. Avoid dishonesty, deception, and withholding information, as they create barriers in our relationships and hinder our personal growth. By practicing satya, you create a harmonious environment both internally and externally, as well as promoting an environment of trust, openness, and clear communication.

7. Spread love and kindness

Love is the universal force that connects all beings. Infusing your interactions with a compassionate and loving energy not only uplifts others, but also creates a positive and harmonious energy around you. Spread love and kindness in every interaction, whether it’s with family, friends, strangers, or even yourself. Treat others with respect, empathy, and understanding, acknowledging the divine spark within every individual.

8. Practice compassion

Compassion is the ability to understand and empathize with the suffering of others, and it plays a significant role in creating harmony and balance within ourselves and the world around us. Compassion goes beyond mere sympathy or empathy; it is a deep understanding and genuine concern for the well-being of others. By cultivating compassion, we not only enhance our own lives but also contribute to the betterment of society as a whole.

The journey towards a compassionate heart involves showing kindness and forgiveness towards yourself as well as others. It requires recognizing that everyone is going through their own struggles and that we all make mistakes. By practicing compassion, we learn to let go of self-criticism and negative self-talk, and to be non-judgmental and understanding, even in challenging situations.

9. Find joy in the present moment

The present moment is where the magic of life unfolds. Thoughts of the past and future fill our minds with endless distractions, which lead to stress, worry, and suffering. Train yourself to find joy, peace and presence in the simplicity of the here and now. When you find your mind wandering away from the present moment, take a deep breath, observe your surroundings, and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you.

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10. Forgive others

Forgiveness is a transformative practice that allows us to release negative emotions and move towards inner peace. Holding onto grudges and harboring resentment creates a heavy burden on our hearts and minds. Practicing forgiveness is a potent way to remove unnecessary suffering in our lives and to cultivate compassion, healing, harmony and spiritual growth.

Forgiving others doesn’t mean condoning their actions or forgetting what happened. Letting go of past grievances allows us to free ourselves from the chains of anger, hurt, bitterness, and resentment. By forgiving, we release the negative energy that keeps us stuck in the past, and open ourselves up to a brighter and more peaceful future.

it is equally important to practice self-forgiveness. We all make mistakes and have moments of weakness. Instead of dwelling on our shortcomings, we must learn to forgive ourselves and embrace our imperfections with love and compassion.

11. Embrace silence and solitude

yogi in solitudeBy intentionally seeking moments of quietude, a yogi cultivates introspection, self-reflection, mindfulness, spiritual awareness, and inner growth. Embracing silence and solitude allows the mind to settle, bringing about a sense of calm and clarity. Carve out time for daily silence and solitude. Whether it’s a few minutes in the morning or an hour before bed, make it a priority to disconnect from external distractions and be alone with your thoughts.

12. Continuously learn and grow

Just as yogis constantly seek to refine their practice on their yoga mats, they should also strive to refine and evolve their minds in all aspects of their lives. Embrace a mindset of curiosity and a willingness to learn from others. Seek out opportunities for personal and spiritual growth, whether it be through reading books, attending workshops, or engaging in meaningful conversations.

By embracing a mindset of continuous learning, growth, and evolution, yogis open themselves up to new perspectives, insights, beliefs, and teachings. By remaining open-minded and receptive to new ideas, they cultivate a sense of humility and an eagerness to expand their understanding, knowledge, and wisdom.

13. Stay humble and open-minded

Humility is an important virtue to strive for and a powerful tool to cultivate integrity, honesty, authenticity, compassion, and self-awareness. As a yogi, it is essential to approach life with a humble mindset, recognizing that there is always something to learn and room for growth. Humility allows you to approach your practice with an open mind, free from ego and preconceived notions. Excessive pride and arrogance hinder spiritual growth and prevent progress on the yogic path.

14. Cultivate gratitude

Expressing thanks for the simple joys of life helps us to recognize and appreciate the abundance that surrounds us. Gratitude allows us to shift our focus from what we lack to what we have, fostering a sense of contentment, inner peace, and joy. By cultivating gratitude, we train our minds to focus on the positive aspects of life, even during challenging or troubling times.

15. Practice self-discipline

Through self-discipline, yogis develop a strong willpower and inner-strength known as tapas in yogic philosophy. Self-discipline extends beyond the yoga mat to managing emotions and thoughts, learning to detach from negative patterns, and embracing positive habits. By practicing self-control, yogis cultivate the ability to resist distractions and temptations that may hinder their progress on the spiritual path. This grit and inner-strength allows yogis to overcome obstacles and challenges with resilience and grace.

16. Let go of attachments

Vairagya, the yogic principle of non-attachment, teaches us to detach ourselves from the external outcomes and desires that often dictate our lives. By letting go of attachments, we embrace a sense of freedom and open ourselves up to the present moment. Greed, possessiveness, and clinging to material possessions can create a sense of dissatisfaction and prevent us from experiencing true happiness, inner peace, and contentment.

17. Trust the divine plan

Embracing the belief that there is a divine plan can bring a sense of peace and purpose to our existence. Trusting the divine plan means having faith in the universe and believing that everything happens for a reason. Instead of constantly worrying and trying to control every aspect of your life, learn to surrender and trust that the universe has a greater plan in store for you.

Final thoughts

Living a yogic lifestyle involves consciously aligning our attitudes, habits, and overall way of life with the principles, philosophies, morals, and ethics of yoga. By following these rules for living like a yogi, one can navigate the complexities of everyday life with grace and purpose, embodying the ancient sage’s teachings on the limbs of yoga and the path of self-realization. Striving towards a state of sattva, characterized by inner peace and equanimity, is the ultimate goal of living like a yogi.

Originally published in www.yogabasics.com