I've been a new yogini (female yogi) for going on one year. (I did my first downward-facing dog on a yoga mat in a for-real yoga class on January 3, 2014.) Since then, I've become a yogini off-the-mat as well as on-the-mat. For example, I'm a vegetarian, almost vegan, and I read absolutely everything I can on the yogic lifestyle and adopt the practices into my life as they fit my heart and soul.
Thanks to wonderful publications like Yoga Journal, Mantra Yoga and Health, Spirituality and Health and Vegetarian Times, I've learned what being a yogini is all about. And, I've explored the ideas presented in further detail in wonderful books that I'll be sharing with you.
And guess what? Being a yogini isn't about contorting your body into Cirque du Soleil-style poses (asanas), although I'll admit, every new one I can do helps me breakthrough some spiritual block I didn't know I had. Yoga poses are not the heart and soul of the yogic lifestyle. Yoga - the word itself - means "to join." For me, it's about joining my earthly forms - my body and my mind - with my celestial spirit. It's about connecting to the earth at the same time I'm connecting with my soul.
I've learned two Sanskrit (the language of all of the ancient yoga texts) words that, when repeated together, have become one of my personal mantras:
"Asana" actually means "seat" or "connecting with the earth." So the asanas/poses that you do in yoga (examples would be Child's Pose, Downward-facing Dog, Savasana/Corpse Pose, Cow, Cat, etc.) are actually different ways that you can have a seat and connect with the earth.
"Ahimsa" is the yogic philosophy of "do no harm." And it applies to all creatures, all species and the earth at-large. What does it mean in everyday life? Being kind to people - yep, even the ones you don't really like. Being kind to animals - meaning I choose not to eat them. (Even if they're raised humanely, they still have one very, very bad day that I choose not to be part of.)
So the basics of my new yogini lifestyle are to:
Have a seat and Do no harm
With my new DDScottville column, DDScott-asana, I'm going to be sharing my everyday, very real experiences as a new yogini. I'm not an expert at all, just an everyday gal, trying to connect with my soul and spread loving-kindness, one enlightened thought at-a-time. And, you know me, I'll toss in a good dose of humor along the way.
Here are two books I read and highly recommend that helped me get started on this path:
Yoga and Vegetarianism: The Diet of Enlightenment by Sharon Gannon
The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight and Saving the Planet by Alicia Silverstone
Namaste (The Spirit Within Me Salutes/Honors The Spirit In You) --- DD Scott