4 Tips for Yogic Living – Learned through Ashram Living

I always wondered what it would be like to live as a Yogi. Would I need to live in a cave in the Himalayas? Or wander the streets of India renouncing the world? Or live in an Ashram in India? Ironically, I discovered how to live like a Yogi right here in the United States at Yogaville* in Virginia.

I’d like to impart several basic concepts to help us all live in a more Yogic way no matter where we are.

1. Devotion to the Yoga Sutra Teachings

When you visit Yogaville you witness and live in the devotion of the Ashram yogis to Swami Satchidandna and the Yoga Sutra teachings that inform all of Yoga.

The teachings of the great masters are alive in all things that we participate in daily – meditation, asana classes, spiritual studies, prayers, readings during meals, puja ceremonies, kirtan and other practices.

If you don’t live in an Ashram

Pick up the Yoga Sutras and study these brilliant teachings. The Sutras are a time tested scientific approach to peace and long-term sustained happiness.Place the book on your bedside. Study and explore the reasons why we practice Yoga. You will understand that Asana, postures, is a very small part of the whole of Yoga and is often the first step for most Westerners. There is so much more to learn to glean the benefits of Yoga.

{*Yogaville is an ashram that was founded by Swami Satchidananda in 1980. His reputation stems from the opening of the Woodstock festival and his work in Interfaith peace. Here they call him Gurudev. Gurudev also wrote the most popular translation ever written of the Yoga Sutras, which is what most Yogis will study one day in their teacher trainings. }

2. Practice for a long time, with consistency and with all earnestness.

In the Sutras, Patanjali talks about Abyassa, or practice. It must be consistent, over a long period of time and practiced with zeal!

I have called myself a Yogi, being a practitioner of Yoga for almost 15 years and a teacher for almost 7 years now, but when I came here I recognized my practices had slipped. This urban city Yoga teacher teaches a ton, drives everywhere, eats in my car, is always on the go and barely finds time for my own practice. I was not slowing down to turn inward which is the true practice of yoga. My sadhana, or practice was suffering. I was not being a Yogi.

Practice is not just physical postures. Most of the Yogis that have lived here have been here 20 – 40 years! They practice physical postures daily, meditation multiple times a day, study the scriptures weekly and more. I’m not saying you have to do all these things, but pick something you love and do it a lot and with enthusiasm. Michael Jordan didn’t become the most famous basketball player because he practice every now and again.

If you don’t live in an Ashram

Pick a practice offered in the Sutras and find the ones that resonate with you. If you don’t know yet, experiment until you do. You must like the practices that you choose so that you can be dedicated to practicing them daily and with zeal. This is when the real benefits of Yoga are experienced.

3. Find your Sangha, or Community

When you are practicing Yoga you must understand the Yamas (abstinences) and Niyamas (observances). These are likened to the 10 commandments and give us a framework to understand how to conduct ourselves in community.

I have learned more in depth here at Yogaville the importance of intentional community and living with like-minded people who are considerate of the same fundamental principles of honoring Spirit in all things, sustainability, kindness, speaking truthfully, and respect for others.

When you follow the Yoga Sutras devotionally and practice them daily, life is conscious at so many more levels of our being. The more we help ourselves evolve the more the entire community vibrates at a higher level. But it takes support of the whole community to foster dedication, especially when you are getting purified and dealing with the monkey mind. When left to our own devices it is easy to get distracted.

If you don’t live in an Ashram

Find meet up groups for scripture study, hang out with your fellow yogi students, enlist the help of your yoga teachers, or find a mentor. Use the community to support your practices to keep you engaged and consistent.

4. Karma Yoga

In our society, we have become very conditioned to compete for our share of the pie. In the spirit of competition often we forget about partnerships, community and helping others. Things are expensive, we need money, we have bills to pay and we have to step over the next guy to ensure that we do.

In the Ashram, we exchange our time for room and board. There is a big difference when you start your shifts with OM’s and a prayer of gratitude for sharing what you can to make a spiritual center thrive. And as a result of your service you get these amazing teachers to learn from, practices to thrive from, blessed vegan food from the farm and lots of love.

When you place the intention and the focus of your work less on the rewards of the work, but on the act itself as a form of meditation and an opportunity to share something with people, you move the focus from the Ego (Selfish) to Universal (Selfless). Karma Yoga is Yoga in action or selfless service.

If you don’t live in an Ashram…

Devote some of your time to selfless acts. Exchange your gifts with others. See if you can take the focus off of yourself and train the monkey mind by devoting some actions to the larger whole. This is the practice of Yoga.

As you can see, living like a Yogi is more than attending the occasional yoga class. I would highly recommend an Ashram living experience. These and intentional communities exist all around the world. And if you don’t have the opportunity to spend some time in an Ashram, maybe visit one for a weekend retreat and a get a small taste of the community vibration. You don’t have to live in a cave, or walk the streets and renounce the world, but you can become more conscious of the way you live.

✨ Gracefully put yourself first

✨ Practice radical self love

✨ Free your authentic voice

✨ Create inspired actions 

✨ Clarify your vision

If you are ready to create breakthroughs and reclaim your
passions, power and purpose then I invite you to schedule a free 15 min chat to begin your journey.

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