Yesterday I was asked what it is I do in this world, and when I said I teach yoga & manage a yoga studio, I was met harshly with “Oh. So you’re a yogi?” And it stopped me.
I felt categorized- as if I had commercial yoga taped to my face. Which I don’t. But this person didn’t know me and I was clearly unprepared with an adequate response. How though, could I not be able to put words around and transcend the green juice & tight pants stereotype when I’ve been with this practice for the last 6 years? I was speechless and unsettled. With myself.
And so my personal practice this morning led me to the question “So, Kate, are you a yogi?” But before that could be determined, it begs, “Well, what is a yogi?” In just my searching this morning, I concluded that in the lineage of yoga, the classical yogis, the greats, had three distinct qualities:
So how to land this? How do I take the abstract qualities that compose a yogi and make them concrete, to me, in my own life? How do I guide others to do the same? For me, the process boiled down to a few questions that I know in my gut boil down to the truth:
-Do I show up?
-Do I seek?
-Do I yield?
-Do I say both yes AND no?
-Do I love? Do I show it, share it, act on it, feel it? Am I love embodied in the world to others and to myself?
I think if one can offer a wholehearted yes to any of these questions, they sure do have the right to call themselves a yogi. And they should. Because yoga is not doing. It’s being. And ultimately, you are it. I am yoga. You are yoga. We do not do yoga. And when we are yoga, we are yogis.
Today was a gift. I shared these questions and continued the exploration with 35 students this morning at Lululemon North Hills and spirit moved them to celebrate the excavation process that this morning’s practice was. They erupted into applause for themselves after class. They begged the questions and hopefully touched in on some answers.
From there, I was both honored & humbled to co-lead a partner practice with my dear friend Glenda to benefit SPLC, an organization that brings support to the marginalized of our community. On this special day of remembrance, Glenda’s moms birthday, the room at Art’s Together – an organization Glenda’s mother built and Glenda herself to this day breathes the brightness of the yoga into- was filled with 30 people who showed up for themselves, each other, and the greater community. To move and to breathe as one. To celebrate and collaborate by way of being yoga. And with that kind of energy – the being energy – close to $600 was raised for SPLC! I bow to all of the generosity! And a special thanks to Jim Crew for holding the space in sweetness with his musical accompaniment! All the parts were present. A whole practice. Yoga.
My heart is full.
My hands are open.
My intention is seeded.
Damn straight I am a yogi. And most grateful to be surrounded & supported by yogis. 🙏🏻