The eyes of some of my non-yogi friends widen when they see me order a turkey sandwich for lunch or take a diet soda from my fridge, reminding me that many people maintain a preconceived notion of what a “yogi” is or should be.
I do consider myself a yogi. But I don’t grow my own anything or regularly buy organic. I forget to bring reusable grocery bags to the store. I know nothing about herbs or essential oils. I am ridiculously impatient (just tell a hungry me I have to wait 20 minutes for a restaurant table…). And yes, I occasionally eat meat and have a one-diet-soda-a-day habit.
When the questions come—the ones I ask myself as well as the ones others ask—they also remind me that being a yogi entails much, much more than any one aspect of life. It’s a person’s openness to love of self and universe. Yoga involves caring for ourselves and others and the Earth, the practice of physical poses as well as breath, and ever-deepening meditation; however, we don’t begin our practice incorporating everything at once. We explore, we integrate, and little by little we add the elements that bring better balance to our lives…our amazing, beautiful, unique lives. And we don’t do it all overnight. We may not even do it all in a lifetime.
Perhaps the next time a non-yogi friend asks me to explain yoga, then, I should begin with, “It’s a process by which I continuously learn about my true self….”