Each time we move into a yoga pose or practice some pranayama we deepen our ability to control our body, breath, and focus. Likewise, when we dig deeper into the philosophy of yoga, we naturally begin to eat, sleep, love, and think more like yogis. If you have been yearning for practical ways to incorporate all the branches of yoga into your daily life, it might be time for you to discover how to live a yogic lifestyle.
What is a Yogic Lifestyle?
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 will all have a highly individual way of implementing a yogic lifestyle, there are a few guidelines we can all follow.
Firstly, yogis should make lifestyle choices that bring them towards a place of sattva, a state of equanimity and inner-peace. Secondly, establishing and maintaining a healthy body, a focused mind, and a calm heart should be priorities. Lastly, a yogic lifestyle should be conducive to the pursuit of yoga, truth, and spiritual knowledge.
Living a yogic lifestyle does not mean you need to move to an ashram or become a reclusive hermit on top of a mountain. Your lifestyle choices will reflect and be aligned with the ashrama, or stage of yoga, you are currently pursuing. Entering a yogic lifestyle can also be as gradual as necessary based on your current life circumstances. Fully committing to living a yogic way of life may eventually lead you to relocate, eat differently, change jobs and develop new friendships—if that’s meant to be, you’ll get there in time.
How To Eat, Sleep, Love, and Think Like A Yogi
Deepening your breadth and depth of yoga knowledge will be necessary in order to integrate yoga into your daily life. Most importantly you will need a working knowledge of the yamas and niyamas and other core yogic philosophies. You will also need to develop tools and techniques for mastering control of your body, breath, thoughts, words, and actions.
Eat like a yogi
Traditionally a yogic diet is vegetarian or vegan, but what is more important is to minimize tamasic animal protein and eat more sattvic and nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Ideally, you should try to eat food that is organic, minimally processed, in season, and locally-grown. Yogis will also want to fine tune their diet based on their body’s Ayurvedic dosha. Eating like a yogi will not only support your yoga practice, but make you feel vibrant, energized, calm, and centered throughout your day as well.
Sleep like a yogi
Getting a full eight hours of sleep is essential for a yogi to have a focused and clear mind, a rested and energized body, a robust immune system, and a happy heart. Ideally, a yogi schedules their sleep time to be able to wake up at sunrise—the best time of day to practice yoga or meditation. To achieve deep and peaceful sleep, yogis should aim to minimize mental stimulation before bedtime and instead engage in light-hearted and positive activities like reading, gentle yoga, or guided meditation.
Love like a yogi
Embracing and practicing the five yamas, the moral, ethical and societal guidelines for the practicing yogi, is beneficial for creating authentic, intimate, compassionate, and sustainable healthy relationships. Practicing non-violence towards others reduces hurt and builds trust. Living and speaking our truth with others cultivates clear and honest communication. When we work at reducing greed and unhealthy craving we have more ability to be kind, generous, and thankful towards others. Yogis also have the strength and wisdom to let go of toxic and unhealthy relationships that create unnecessary turmoil in their hearts and minds.
Think like a yogi
While an asana practice helps strengthen and sharpen mental focus, a regular meditation practice will further allow you to master your mind, achieving deeper awareness of your emotions so that you can better regulate them. Cultivating concentration and focus not only stabilizes and clarifies the mind, but it can also boost your creativity, productivity, and happiness. Practicing nonjudgmental awareness throughout the day will bring more peace and richness into your life and will prevent you from wasting time and energy in excessive negative thinking.
Living Like a Yogi
There will naturally be some growing pains when one chooses the path of a yogi, but the benefits and rewards are great—both on and off the yoga mat. The lifestyle of a yogi naturally changes, fluctuates, deepens, and develops over time.
An easy way to dip your toes into the yogic lifestyle is by attending local yoga retreats and workshops or by spending a week or two at a yoga ashram. Whichever aspects of a yogic lifestyle you choose to explore, remember to take it slow and make the changes that involve the least resistance first.