10 Yoga Voices in Your Head

Here is a list of the interesting characters that are visitors to Yogi heads. A few have even grown accompanying images in my mind, and I would love to share them if my brain to hand connection was significantly better! At times these characters align with a natural flow and at others they are inharmonious. In describing a few I invite readers to acknowledge where they may stand day to day, and to ask themselves whether it complements or blocks the direction in which they wish to be journeying.

Please however take each with a pinch of Bombay Mix, a sprinkling of good humour (with an Indian head wiggle), and a good old Yogi Aum!

Meerabai paintingThe Singing/Praying Yogi

How can anyone not LOVE the bindi wearing, all things India loving, big hearted, love giving Singing Yogi! This is probably the one that the Kirtan lovers out there connect to. The Singing Yogi in us is one that some of us embrace, and others find too fluffy or too religious. The Singing Yogi loves yoga and feels that Kirtan and Bhakti (devotion to a greater being/s) is integral to the Yogi they aspire to be. Certain branches of yoga such as Jivamukti Yoga and Kundalini Yoga incorporates bhakti as part of the class. Space for this Yogi usually creates an opening, stimulates a sense of expression and leaves us feeling joyous. Whether you love this or hate this, I highly recommend regular visits from the Singing Yogi with an open mind and heart, and it will be sure to bring at least something positive in you.

Peace Sign - HomegrownmusicThe Take It Easy Yogi

This is the chilled, slow paced, ‘don’t push yourself too much’ Yogi. The part of you that prefers to take is very slowly and to listen to the body if it wants you to take it easy. Of course you should allow yourself to be here from time to time. I’m not suggesting you test your limits with muscles that feel like they might tear any moment – please gently sit on your ego in this situation and be kind to your poor body! I’m talking about something different. Sometimes when this voice is dominant, you may be at risk of sticking only with the comfortable – both inside and outside of yoga practice. Sometimes there is a lot to learn from working through blocks and by pushing through certain obstacles. Do it with your body = do it with your mind = do it with life in general = a more content you!

The Look What I Can Do Yogi

The Look What I Can Do Yogi has probably manifested from societal, parental, familial pressures. It’s the part of us that would like others to notice our abilities, that yearns for external affirmations from time to time. New Yogis and teachers are particularly susceptible to this. I personally allow myself to ride this wave and enjoy some of the benefits that it offers such as drive, persistence, and dedication to do better. But some advice dear friends (and a reminder to me), when here don’t forget to observe yourself, and ensure that you know that this is something temporary, something that you aim to develop away from. Yoga is not a show for anyone else!

Intro to Yoga ImageThe Winning Yogi

The Winning Yogi often presents itself during a yogic journey. The Winning Yogi craves doing a pose that only advanced asana practitioners are able to do, or for perfecting a pose in order to look like a poster Yogi. As with the Look What I Can Do Yogi, there are some benefits that arise from the Winning Yogi, but a quick heads up: when you’re here your ego may be in charge, try not to stay here for too long. Spend some time observing surrounding thoughts and try to win over the control that your mind is having over your Being. It is healthier to be motivated to do graceful handstands because we wish to see the level of control we can have in our body, rather than because it will be impressive to others.

The This Is How You Really Do It Yogi

We have all been to a class where the teacher seems to be implying that their type of yoga is the more authentic, or safer, or the more effective. But they can’t be right, because Hatha yoga is the best, is it not? (for those who miss sarcasm, that was sarcastic). When you meet one of these Yogis, either out there or in yourself, encourage openness and willingness to experiment a little – you might find a little gift hiding out there somewhere. Beware not to be too selective with what you choose, you may miss something even if it’s chanting straight at you.

The I’m Not Like The Other Yogi’s Yogi

When I get a visit from this little character, I receive it with love and compassion. It is just a way our need for being ‘successful’ manifests itself.  It is our need to stand out from the crowd and to be seen as unique individuals that offers something original. Deep down we have very similar needs and we ought not to give this too much space. Meet it with love to self and others – you have nothing to prove because you are not like the other Yogis, because ummm… you are you!

Gym yogaThe Gym Yogi

Yoga is simply a form of exercise for some people and nothing else. It keeps you looking gorgeous (as defined by the current time) and feeling great. If and when you visit the Gym Yogi in you, you know that you look better, and feel better after doing yoga. You don’t mind too much about understanding the why, you simply enjoy the results. Remember not to get too attached to this Yogi in you. Everything changes.

The Yogi Yogi

The Yogi Yogi is dedicated to studying and thinking about the scope of Yoga and its potential for positive change on both an individual and on a societal level. When this voice is present, try to find answers through meditating on your own experiences. Somehow, the Yogi Yogi trusts that a path will unfold before our very eyes if only we would approach all our potential with openness and courage.  I wish for this aspect of myself to stay a little longer each time.

The Do I Look Like a Yogi Yogi

Ooops I said it! Sometimes I get stuck in the ‘Do I Look Like a Yogi’ Yogi. It started to visit when I started to call myself a teacher. Surely if I look like a Yogi, if I talk like Yogi then I must be one (!). As a general rule, I try my hardest to nudge away from this voice when it springs up. All the others are at least authentic with where they are at, this one is pretending to be something it is not. BUT don’t fear if this Yogi is dominant in you at the moment, after all a little awareness is the first step towards being where you aspire to be.

The Hippy YogiShambala Sun

The bhung drinking, sadhu buddies, ALL things embracing, sari wearing, Indian looking, tree hugging (actually anything hugging), Hippy Yogi! The Hippy Yogi wants to find authentic yoga and her/his true self, not the self that society makes you think you want to be. When practicing yoga or doing a teacher training in India we turn into some form of the Hippy Yogi, but its only coz those Aladdin trousers are so cheap and comfy!

Different branches of our mind continues to peek through from time to time – its ok to allow that. Wherever you are or aspire to be, take pleasure in developing awareness and to keeping a mindful eye on the various voices that converse in your head. Try to ensure that you are flowing in the direction that nature has intended for you.

With love and sweets, a ‘This is How You Really Do It’ Yogi.