At times, as we seek to develop our Yoga practice, we wonder what habits it takes to become a successful Yogi.
One of the ways to find out is to have a good look at a few accomplished and respected Yogis. In exploring this, we have identified ten critical habits.
Accomplished Yoga practitioners:
- Have a vision for their Yoga practice
- Practise regularly
- Meditate regularly
- Cultivate endurance
- Are life-long learners
- Eat healthily
- Foster a community
- Are into giving
- Share their knowledge
- Have grace and humility
Read on to get a bit more insight into each of these great Yoga habits and which might be a good fit for you!
The 10 Habits of Highly Successful Yogis
1. Have A Vision For Yoga Practice
Experienced Yogis generally know exactly what they want to achieve with their practice. They also know how to go about it. This long term plan might not be necessarily written down, but it is clear in their minds.
They know that Yoga practice is a marathon, not a sprint. After all, it takes many years to become an accomplished practitioner. Importantly, they realise that the journey is the exciting bit, not the destination. The destination is just there as a distant signpost.
2. Practice regularly
Accomplished Yogis naturally and voluntarily commit to regular practice. They know that with increased strength, balance and flexibility, and with a calm and centred mind, they will feel great.
Because of this, they make practice a priority. They build Yoga into a daily routine that comes naturally to them. Check out our article about building a better morning Yoga routine to get a better sense of this.
3. Meditate regularly
Great Yogis know about the importance of meditating regularly, and the increased focus, concentration and calmness that comes from that practice.
They also know that meditation is an essential part of the eight limbs of Yoga that outlines the path to achieving lightness and serenity. Therefore, they build meditation consciously into their routine.
4. Cultivate endurance
Yoga practice can be hard on the body and the mind, and maintaining a regular Yoga practice can be a challenge.
But: this is where endurance and persistence come in. Great Yogis commit to practising no matter what. More often than not, they have strategies in place to maintain and improve their practice.
Therefore, when life gets hard and complicated, they can go back to their strategies and routines to get themselves back on track.
5. Life-long Learning
Accomplished Yogis constantly expand their knowledge on Yoga and their own practice.
In addition, they also cultivate a practice of reading, listening and watching information on a wide range of other subject matters.
By doing this, they deepen their understanding of themselves, as well as the environment and the society they live in.
6. Eat healthily
An essential part of the Yoga philosophy is to look after ourselves to the best of our ability. Accomplished Yogis have a high level of awareness of this.
As a result, a healthy lifestyle and diet are at the heart of the Yoga practice. Committed Yogis find it easier to embed a healthy eating routine into their normal daily strategies and routines.
Further, the regular practice of Yoga asanas and meditation fosters healthy digestion and detoxification processes. The practice of breathing and meditation also means they are in touch with themselves and they tend to have a greater level of focus. As a result of this, they are more successful at turning around unhealthy eating patterns.
7. Foster a community
Highly accomplished Yogis are usually embedded in a supportive Yoga community. They foster relationships with like-minded yoga practitioners. By doing this, they create a shared incentive to dive deeper into Yoga philosophy and to practice regularly. In turn, this helps with their own practice
Advanced Yogis recognize the importance of Yoga communities for other people as well. Therefore, they are happy to allow beginners and people with limited abilities into their community.
8. Are into giving
Accomplished Yogis deeply respect the ethics of the Yogic philosophy – including the principles of how we treat others and ourselves.
They share their goodwill and knowledge freely. Being familiar with the concept of Karma, they know that giving without expecting anything in return makes the world a better place.
They have learnt to leave the ego behind.
9. Share their knowledge
Accomplished Yogis recognize they have a responsibility to share their knowledge freely to anyone who is ready to receive teachings.
Generally, they make for great and insightful teachers and they happily assume responsibility to teach.
They know that teaching will make them a much better practitioner. As Yogi Bhajan said:
If you want to master something, teach it
10. Have grace and humility
Accomplished Yogis share a range of wonderful character attributes: they are grounded, creative, humble, truthful, focused, humorous, free of judgement – the list goes on.
They are gracious in their accomplishments and do not show them off.
Perfection is the Enemy of Progress
Yoga is about becoming a better person with better habits and insights.
Although every Yogi has a vision, she/he understands that Yoga is not about perfection but about doing as well as possible with what is at hand.
Therefore if we focus too much on the perfection of a Yoga pose, or the mastering of a very difficult Yoga pose, we may completely miss out on the wider benefits of Yoga.
Inspiration For Better Yoga Habits
There are many, many Yoga quotes out there to inspire us to become better Yogis, irrespective where we are in our lives or our physical abilities.
Here is just a small sample:
“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.”
–The Bhagavad Gita
“Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame.”
“Yoga is not about touching your toes. It is what you learn on the way down.”
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
— Will Durant
”The very heart of yoga practice is ‘abyhasa’ – steady effort in the direction you want to go.”–Sally Kempton
“Yoga is not for the flexible. It’s for the willing.” — Anonymous
Does Yoga itself foster better habits? One of the ways to develop better habits – whether this in Yoga itself or in another aspect of life – is to physically practice Yoga on a regular basis.
We can use Yoga practice to become more grounded and calm. This, in turn, becomes the foundation for developing and maintaining better habits.
In this context, we can we can practise poses that engage the root chakra – helping us become more grounded. Key poses include Child Pose (Balasana), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) and Downward Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana). At a mental and emotional level, Yoga breathing and meditation are the foundation to become calm and more grounded.
How can I develop a better Yoga routine? Routines are a great way to develop and maintain better Yoga habits. Once they are in place, they help us to build up and strengthen our day-to-day lives and avoid any internal battles of will we might otherwise have to fight.
Routines need to be well-thought out. Before committing to any, it is also good to remember that they need to easily fit individual preferences and other obligations to work.
But once they are in place and we practice them on a daily basis, they can become very easy indeed. We don’t even have to think about them any more.