“I’m not particularly spiritual.” “I’m not a hippie.” “I’m not a vegan.” “I’m not your typical yogi.” I judge you for being that way.
Cut the disclaimers. I’m tired of reading them. I am sure this goes on in other realms, but I cannot tell you how many “yogi blogs” I have come across that start or end with some variation of the disclaimer above. I am not immune. I have often used a disclaimer when speaking to separate myself from something I see as disdainful or uncool, i.e. “I am not religious, but…”.
How very un-yogic of me (now I must judge myself for judging…). This practice of disclaimers feeds into separateness and judgement, two things that yoga warns against. When we judge, we generalize. We use our past knowledge to inform us of a situation and make a call according to what we already know. Holding onto these definitions of what we are and what we are not allows for very little growth. Once we are convinced something is one way, it is very difficult to convince ourselves otherwise.
It may seem harmless to state “I am not a hippie.” Or better “I am not a crook.” But that does not tell me who you are. What does being “not a vegan” make you.
There are many preconceptions about what a yogi must be. As I mentioned in “Isn’t a Yogi a Sandwich?“, it is hard to define what a yogi is, but there are some qualities that we seem to agree fit the yogi stereotype. A hippie dippy flower child who oms between wheatgrass shots and colonics. All of these things may enhance a yogic practice and may be adopted as someone gets deeper into the practice. But they are not necessary.
In truth, it is our attitude that defines who we are. “Actions speak louder than words.” So we need not define ourselves with silly disclaimers. There is a lovely Christian hymn called “They will know we are Christians by our love.” When we live our life out loud, when we let our practice shine through us, people will know. There will be no need for us to tell them. So go out, live loudly, jump outside the box and put the lid on those disclaimers.
Tell me who you are in the comments below. Nothing is off limits!