The other day in my class, one of my professors went off topic, and talked about how in western society we misuse the term, “yogi” quite often. I was already aware of us misusing the term yoga to mean, “great stretching/exercise,” which my yoga teacher training taught me yoga is so much more than asana, but rather, an entire system of how one aspires to be and live.
It didn’t click for me until my professor made it clear that we are also misusing and misrepresenting the concept of a true yogi; for yogins (pracitioners of yoga) practice yoga in all of its totality, meaning they practice, mantras, mudras, bandhas, meditation, asana, pranayama, all the ethics (niyamas and yamas), and so much more I am not even listing or knowledgeable about. They’re not just people who can do backbends or teachers of yoga. To live by yoga is a way of life, and having the title of a yogin, yogi or yogini is a sacred term.
Further, if you do refer to yourself as a yogi and you aren’t a male, that is the incorrect use of the word. If you are a female who practices the totality of yoga, you are considered a yogini. If you are just saying you are a practitioner of the totality of yoga, you are a yogin. Yogi is the masculine term for a male who practices the totality of yoga.
I wanted to share this with you all, not to shame anyone or make them feel inferior, but because I feel that being misinformed/ignorant are far different than stupidity and lack of respect for a culture and way of life. I have misused the term yogi up until this point, and now that I have been informed, it is my responsibility to stop misusing the word and to stop contributing to simplifying an ancient practice and system.
Love and light,