What is yoga? Yoga is a way of life. It goes beyond our classes and grows and breathes into every area of our lives. This yoga lifestyle is so personal and beneficial to each of us individually - and can be to the world collectively. And in these uncertain times where we have to deal with consistent crises in our health, politics, climate and the environment, we might be able to make our precious planet an even more beautiful place just by adopting a few changes in how we choose to live our lives.
The original ancient Indian approach to yoga was very different from how we know and practice it today. Yoga was “the way of life” – and not just a part of life. It constructed and formed how people lived their everyday lives.
Our meditations, aligning our chakras, breathing techniques and asanas are just one aspect of the yoga way of life. Studying and having a deep understanding of the traditional yoga philosophies are also truly important: by extending kindness to all God’s creatures; by being aware and conscious of what is happening on our planet and in our environment; of understanding the laws of karma; and by expressing gratitude for everything we have in our lives. This way of life is so beneficial for our own wellbeing, and also helps us to grow spiritually, physically, emotionally and just makes us nicer people to be around.
What is a Yoga Lifestyle?
To adopt or embrace a yoga way of life requires us to try to live our everyday lives inspired by the way the ancient sages of yoga in India lived their lives. It is the promise we must make to ourselves to understand where we stand in the ideology of our beautiful world, and how we can build meaningful relationships with each other, other species and the planet.
This way of life involves a conscious and determined shift in how we live our day-to-day lives. And as we embrace this inspiring lifestyle, it will greatly improve our physical and mental health, slow down the aging process, and can reduce the risk of disease.
It is true that thousands of years ago life was vastly different but there are small healthy changes we can consciously make in how we live. Begin by making small selective and mindful choices and you will soon discover that they can make a huge difference to our own lives but also benefit our planet.
Study and Research Yoga
The Vedas provided the spiritual core and philosophical foundations for the future development of both yoga and Hinduism and are considered the most sacred and treasured texts of India. The Vedas are a collection of hymns or chants that were received by the ancient sages as divine revelations. As hymns and mantras, these works were actively recited out loud to both praise and invoke the powers of the spiritual realms, and were then verbally passed on for many generations. These Vedic mantras were utilized in ritual sacrifices and ceremonies for promoting the wellbeing of individuals, society and our planet. As the oldest texts in any Indo-European language, it is astounding that within these works the foundations of yoga are established, with yoga being defined as "yoking" and as a "discipline”.
You can also research yoga lifestyle blogs and read inspiring articles that are posted. You can follow the journeys of the modern yogis and learn how they successfully incorporated the yogic lifestyle into their own lives. You can also connect with other yoga enthusiasts with the help of social media to find communal ways of working together, to share knowledge and to encourage one another in this way of life. Yoga lifestyle magazine and books in your local libraries and stores can also provide a deeper knowledge of the philosophies on how to live our best lives.
Opt for a better yoga-inspired diet
The traditional diet of a yogi primarily consisted of a clean, plant-based way of eating. The yogi’s grew their own food and tended to their fields and gardens with love and great care. Farm animals were regarded as part of the household and were well taken care of and were raised on the homegrown crops. The yogi’s also made their own milk-based products of curds, ghee and butter. This ensured that all their food sources were ethical, clean and healthy and of the absolute best homegrown quality.
These days it is not really possible for us to go these lengths to provide our own food and sustain ourselves and our families. But we can move towards a more healthy and clean plant-based diet by making small changes every day. Eat a more balanced and nutritional diet and try adding more plant-proteins, healthy carbohydrates and lots of fruits, vegetables and salads. Gradually reduce your red meat intake and opt for more healthy fish and organic chicken. Research healthy vegetarian and vegan recipes, try growing your own vegetables, buy locally grown seasonal produce and eat more home cooked meals. It can be great fun to experiment and try new things and get the whole family involved.
Be Aware of your Body Clock
Your body and its functions follow a natural cycle of circadian rhythm every 24-hours. That is why you have more energy when you wake up early in the morning. The ancient yogis went to bed early so they could be up at the crack of dawn to greet the rising sun and to start their daily lives being well rested and with lots of energy. And if you follow this lifestyle you will notice your health improving and you will have an increase in your energy levels.
Our bodies need eight hours of solid unbroken sleep. So it is good idea to start going to bed earlier and getting up with the sun at sunrise. And when you do this you will discover a whole new world out there. Less pollution and noise. Just you and the birds. It’s quiet and peaceful. The air is fresher and cooler and cleaner and sweeter. And it can be so wonderful and beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing if you can find a quiet tranquil place outside in nature to meditate and have your morning yoga session.
Be Aware of what you Wear
Lifestyle clothing for a yogi is not just about what you wear – but also about what it is your clothing is made of and where it has come from. It means doing our research and reading labels and purchasing clothes from clean manufacturers who ethically source their raw materials and pay their staff a living wage. We do not purchase clothing from questionable, mass-produced sources…as it’s a good chance these clothes have come from sweat-shops in third-world nations where the staff work under horrendous and usually illegal conditions for just pennies a day. This is not good karma! Check out your local designers and independent stores. Try and stick to natural breathable fibers which are much healthier for your skin. And wear clothes that are comfortable – and not just fashionable or on trend. And remember to regularly check your wardrobe and donate your gently used clothing to local charities and shelters.
Reduce Your Waste
Buy only what you can or will use. Reduce the amount of waste you generate.
Use natural and reusable items as much as possible. Refuse to use plastic cutlery and straws. Stop purchasing single-use plastics and recycle everything. Compost your home food waste if you can. And by reducing waste we make it a cleaner living space for everyone.
Living the Yoga Lifestyle
The yoga way of life means being totally respectful to our planet and all the creatures that live on it. You must be grateful for all the blessings in your life, for all that you have - and you must learn to value everything. And choosing to live the yoga lifestyle encourages us to introduce a few conscious changes in our everyday lives. And by making these small changes we can go a long way to improving our physical and mental health and our overall wellbeing. Our mind, body and spirit will be invigorated by consciously choosing to live a more ethically clean, healthy and responsible way of life.