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what is a yogic lifestyle and what it means to me

What a Yogic Lifestyle Means to Me

In this honest conversation, I share what a Yogic Lifestyle means to me, the principles that resonate with me, and how I weave them into the fabric of my everyday life. I reflect on key moments in my yogic journey that have shaped my understanding of mindful living.

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What a Yogic Lifestyle Means to Me Transcript

Hello, cozy crew and welcome to episode 2 of the Cozy Yoga Life podcast. Today, I want to talk to you about what is a yogic lifestyle, give it a little definition, and flesh it out for you if you’re a little bit curious about what that might look like.

When I was doing in-person yoga teacher training, the first module always laid the foundation for the rest of teacher training. The first module was always focused on philosophy, ethics, and lifestyle.

My reasoning behind that was how can you understand all of the layers of yoga if you don’t understand its foundation? And the foundation can only be found in the history and the philosophy of yoga.

How ironic considering when I first got started practicing yoga in 1998, I too didn’t want to know about all the philosophy, the history, and all that “mumbo-jumbo” boring stuff.

💡 However, I remember when the switch flipped for me.

Researching a Yogic Lifestyle

When I was planning the yoga teacher training program, I followed the guidelines set forth by Yoga Alliance, and at the time, they said I needed to include approximately 20 hours of yoga philosophy.

I did a lot of grumbling about having to do that because that wasn’t something at the time I was interested in. Then I started doing my research, started diving deeper into it.

I was sitting on my bed with books surrounding me. I’d gone to the library, to Barnes and Noble, and had done a ton of shopping, trying to find different resources that would help me.

Because, remember, in 2002 there wasn’t an Amazon where I could put a book in the cart and have it arrive on my doorstep the next day. So I actually had to put in some effort to find these books.

Falling in love with a Yogic Lifestyle

As I’m reading through the books, and learning more myself about the yogic philosophy, that’s when the switch flipped.

I was like, “Oh, I get it now. I see. It’s all yoga. It all comes, it all originates from the same place. It all goes back to the same place. It’s circular.”

If any of you know me, you know that a circle is my favorite shape. So how appropriate that I saw how yoga was also circular.

When that switch flipped for me that was the moment I fell in love with yoga philosophy.

The foundation of a Yogic Lifestyle

Yoga philosophy was always my favorite section in yoga teacher training.

It was the section I always insisted on teaching even if I was co-teaching or training another trainer who would go and also teach yoga teacher training for me.

I insisted on covering that section because I wanted the participants to get it. For the conversations to free flow because that was really an opportunity for all the participants to get to know each other. To see where they were coming from and see how they had all these similarities.

They may have come from all these different places and backgrounds, but in that moment talking about their life and how yoga applies, that was when they all bonded together.

It was so beautiful to watch as it unfolded.

Yoga That Transcends the Mat

The other thing that I loved about teaching philosophy and lifestyle in that first module were the comments I generally got when the weekend was over. They were all pretty similar.

“Oh my gosh, I never knew this existed about yoga, and I never knew all of this about yoga.”

One of my favorites was, “my mind is so blown with all this information about yoga.”

Because up to that point most of the participants in yoga teacher training equated yoga with postures, going to a studio and taking a class, or maybe working alongside a YouTube video.

Once you have your mind opened and introduced to the philosophy, you realize yoga is more than fancy postures practiced for an hour.

📿 It is a way of life that transcends beyond the mat.

You’re going to see and hear and read that a lot in Cozy Yoga Life: Yoga that transcends the mat. Do it correctly and yoga infuses all parts of your life until one day you wake up and realize it’s all yoga.

What Does Yogic Lifestyle Mean?

There are a lot of concepts with regard to yoga philosophy and yoga lifestyle, such as the eight limbs of yoga, the yamas and the niyamas, mindfulness and meditation, kriya and cecluttering.

We’re going to cover all of those in future episodes. For now, let’s stick with the definition, or defining yogic lifestyle a little bit more.

Let me share with you how a couple of popular yoga sites define yogic lifestyle.

In Yoga Basics, they define it as:

“A yogic lifestyle involves consciously shaping our attitudes, habits, and general ways of life to be more congruent with the philosophies, principles, morals, and ethics of yoga. While we all have highly individual way of implementing a yoga lifestyle, there are few guidelines that we can all follow.

Another one, this one is from Chopra. com, says:

Although today most people think of yoga as physical postures, the true meaning of yoga is union—the union of body, mind, soul, and spirit. A yogic lifestyle is a journey to create unity on all levels. This means to live every day consciously with a focused, calm mind, seeking inner perfection at all times.

Chopra.com goes on to say, “like any journey, there are many possible routes. There’s the option to change to a different route if it seems to better suit our needs.”

One more.

This one is from the National Institute of Health, and is based on a study they did. They defined yogic lifestyle:

This brings into account the different variations of a healthy lifestyle combined into one practice. Mindfulness to self, mindful eating and mind body exercises with yoga could be practiced in every part of an individual’s life, including the workplace.”

Which Yogic Lifestyle Definition is Right?

I love all of those definitions because none of them are all right, and none of them are all wrong. It’s important to understand that you as the individual, you define what a yogic lifestyle means to you.

It probably looks completely different than the person next to you. And that’s all right. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

One of the things I love about yoga asana classes is there are a lot of different styles out there. If one style doesn’t suit you, there are plenty of other styles out there to practice the physical elements of yoga.

First Stage of a Yogic Lifestyle

Looking at the National Institute of Health definition a little bit deeper, it talked about mindfulness to self and mindful eating.

The first stage I usually see adopted after one starts practicing postures is the mindful eating.

Let’s say that for now in your schedule evening classes work the best. At noon, you go out and eat a heavy meal. Maybe you’ve been used to eating cheeseburgers, french fries, and coke. So you have your typical lunch, your heavy meal, and at five or six o’clock, you go take your yoga posture class.

That big heavy meal, even though it was five hours ago, you’re still probably feeling it. You’re probably feeling lethargic in your postures, like you can hardly do anything. Maybe your body feels extra heavy or just energetically not as fluid and flexible as it could be.

That’s because you’ve had that big heavy meal and it’s continuing on. Your body is still trying to digest it and take care of it even six hours later.

Making a Mindful Choice

Fast forward to the next time you’re ready to take a yoga class. You’re going to take that evening class and it comes up lunchtime and you remember your previous heavy meal didn’t set well with you at all.

This time you’re opting for something lighter, something easier for your body to digest. So perhaps you go for a salad and some grilled chicken and maybe a water or an iced tea. Then you go to your yoga class and you have the energy to do the postures. You feel really light on your feet. You feel good when you do your practice versus feeling blah when you had the hamburger and fries.

That clicks in with you. So then you make it a point that every time you’re going to have a yoga posture class to eat better that day so that you have the energy to get through the class.

Small Changes toward a Yogic Lifestyle

It’s small changes like that, that you begin to incorporate into your life. That’s how you start moving into living that yogic lifestyle.

It starts very slow, infusing into your life little by little. Then you’re going and you’re practicing yoga and your body is changing, your eating habits are changing.

And mindful eating is only one spoke in living a yogic lifestyle. There are so many more spokes on the wheel that maybe you haven’t even had an opportunity to research.

A lot of people when they take yoga teacher training are not always taking it because they want to become a teacher. They want to learn more about yoga, about meditation, and about mindfulness.

From experience, I know there’s always a good percentage of people in  training have no the interest in teaching. They had the interest in learning more about yoga.

So yoga teacher training is for everybody. It’s for anybody who wants to learn more about yoga and all of its practices, all of its limbs.

Yoga is More than Postures

That’s one of the reasons I’m super excited to start Cozy Yoga Life. I finally get a chance to talk about the thing that I love the most with yoga, and how it is and becomes a part of our everyday lives.

When one day you wake up and you realize you practice yoga in some form or fashion or style. Or practice from the time that you wake up and until the time you go to bed.

The other thing that I love about teaching philosophy and yogic lifestyle is [it draws] people who shy away from learning more about yoga because they can’t do all the postures.

All the Limbs of Yoga are Important

One of my favorite comments is always from the participants in yoga teacher training who come up to me after the first module and tell me:

“You know what, I realize now that all this time, I have been practicing yoga. I just didn’t know that I was doing that. It’s great to have this definition and to know more about the philosophy and the lifestyle and see how it’s a part of what I do already.”

That always makes my heart skip a beat because I love that part of yoga too. I love getting to see other people get it as well.

Yoga postures are great. They’re important and they have a purpose, very much so. You will never hear me downplay the importance of postures. What you will hear is me playing up the other limbs of yoga. How they’re just as important in a yogic lifestyle as postures are.

I look forward to more Cozy Yoga Life podcasts where we can dive deeper into all of these different concepts. If you’re looking forward to learning more about a yogic lifestyle, be sure to subscribe, leave a review, rate us, and give us a listen when the next episode comes out.

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