Yoga is a way of life. It extends way beyond our classes and work out sessions, and extends into every aspect. The yogic lifestyle is highly beneficial for ourselves as well as for the world around us. In these times of environmental crisis, if we all take the oath to make a few changes to adopt the yoga lifestyle, we can make the world a better place.
The ancient Indian approach to yoga was very different from how we see it. Yoga was not only a part of life; it was a way of life. It did not end with a session, but it molded daily lives. The asanas and breathing exercises are just one part of the Yogic Lifestyle.
This way of life involved studying and deep understanding of the Yogic philosophies, earning good karma, alignment of chakras, kindness towards others, awareness of our environment and gratitude for all we have. This lifestyle is highly beneficial for our own well being, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, as it helps us be better humans.
It is also considerate towards the planet. In the wake of the current environmental conditions and climate change, if we all try to adopt the yoga lifestyle we can make a real difference.
In simple words, adopting a yoga lifestyle involves trying to live our everyday lives inspired by the way of life the ancient Indian yogis lived. It is a commitment we make to ourselves, an understanding of where we humans stand in the ethos of this world, our relationship with the other species and the planet.
This lifestyle involves a conscious shift in our overall way of life and outlook. It will improve physical health, reduce the risks of diseases, slow down aging, and help keep any current ailments in check. We will also see a stark improvement in mental health as well as our perspective as we adopt the yoga lifestyle.
However, it is true that the times were a lot different five thousand years ago. However, there are several little healthy changes which we can incorporate in our day-to-day lives.
Start off by making small conscious choices and with time, it will get easier to live the yoga way of life. Several small changes here and there can make a huge difference to lives and the world.
The best way to approach the Yogic Lifestyle is by studying. While the ancient Sanskrit Vedas are the best thing to read, it might not be an easy journey.
However, there are lots of yoga lifestyle blog articles that you can start with. They are usually available in a number of languages which makes them easier to read and understand. Most of these blogs are also simplified for beginners.
You can also read about the journeys of other modern yogis and how they incorporated the lifestyle in their lives. To help reinforce your commitment, you can take the help of social media to find inspiration from people who have embraced this way of life as well as to connect with other yoga enthusiasts.
Create a study circle to share knowledge and to encourage one another in the way of life. You can also find several helpful yoga lifestyle books in your local stores and libraries which can help you with a deeper knowledge of the philosophies and life. But our responsibility does not end there. We need to implement what we studied in our lives.
Traditionally the yoga lifestyle diet consisted of primarily a clean, plant-based diet, which was grown with a lot of love and care, mostly by the yogis themselves. Milk used to come from cows and other animals who were a part of the household and taken well care of and fed crops that were grown at home. They used to churn their own butter, make ghee, curd and other milk-based products at home, which ensured that the food was ethical, clean and of best quality. There was no wastage of food.
While it is not possible for us to go to that lengths for our food, we can definitely shift to a more plant-based diet and try to eat clean. It is not easy to go vegetarian or vegan one fine morning, but we can definitely shift to a more plant-based, and above all, healthy diet.
Physical workout like practicing yoga or doing Crossfit is said to be tough for vegan people, as many people think that a vegan diet is not balanced and protein generally relates to meat. But it is just a myth because it is not tough to get in protein and nutrition when you are consuming tons of healthy plant-based foods. So, practicing yoga or doing Crossfit as a vegan will be as effective as non-vegetarians.
Make a conscious effort to reduce your meat intake and opt for a more balanced diet. Try to eat more homecooked meals, especially with seasonal, locally grown ingredients. While you can grow some herbs or even some of the veggies at home, if you do not really have a green thumb, be conscious about where you buy it from. Try to purchase your groceries and meat products from ethical producers and farmers’ markets.
Your body and its functions follow the natural circadian rhythm. This is why when you wake up early you have more energy and the day seems longer. Ancient yogis went to bed early so that they could wake up at the crack of dawn to start their daily lives.
This calibrates your body clock and if you follow this lifestyle you will notice the difference in energy as well as health. Our body needs eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. Unless you work a graveyard shift, it is a good idea to start going to bed early. Try to not oversleep after sunrise. The fresh unpolluted air that you can breathe in during the early hours of the day is excellent for our respiratory system.
It is extremely enriching to meditate or even squeeze in a few breathing exercises and asanas in the morning. Try to find a tranquil place, preferably outdoors, in nature, for your morning yoga session. Make yourself a healthy filling breakfast before you start your work.
Yoga lifestyle clothing is not about what you wear, but more about where it comes from. It is important to understand, accept and respect your body. It is a sanctum that is beautiful and absolutely perfect, no matter your shape or perceived flaws.
Don’t be afraid to wear any type, or pattern of clothing because you feel it is unflattering. We clothe our body in yoga clothes during our yoga sessions but it is essential to be conscious about our choice of clothing. In old days, yogis used to wear clothes which were mostly untailored garments made our of locally grown fibers homespun into the fabric. To be honest, this is not exactly a very viable choice in the current times.
However, there are a number of things we can ensure while buying our clothes. Try to buy your clothes from clean manufacturers who source their raw materials ethically. Dress in clothes and accessories, which are comfortable and not just fashionable. Try to stick to natural fibers as they are better for our skin. From time to time review your wardrobe and donate whatever you do not wear. Repair, repurpose and recycle before you buy.
Yogis were extremely meticulous about ensuring that everything they owned or acquired was put to the best use. Switch to minimalism and reduce the amount of waste you produce. Try to use natural and reusable items as much as possible.
Reduce the amount of single-use plastics and recycle. Living a frugal and fruitful life is an important part of the yogic philosophy. It makes you grateful for whatever you have and you learn to value everything. The yoga lifestyle is utterly respectful to the planet and every species that exists on it.
By reducing waste we make it a cleaner living space for others. Buy only what you can or will consume. Donate and give away things or food, which you will not use. This act of kindness goes a log way in making a difference in someone’s life. When you go out try to carry your own bottle to refill.
Refuse straws and plastic cutlery. Yogis used their hands for eating as the act of holding and feeling the food with our skin builds a connection with the food we are consuming. While that might not be feasible, it is not difficult to carry a couple of reusable cutlery to use.
Choosing the yoga lifestyle encourages us to introduce a few conscious little changes in your everyday life. These changes go a long way to improving our health. A clean and healthy lifestyle invigorates the body and enhances the functioning of the organ systems. It improves our mental health as well. By building a spiritual connection and making conscious choices, we become better human beings who care not only about ourselves but also for others.