You don’t have to be a sanyasi or recluse to become a Yogi. Yoga is the union of the body and mind. Union into what – into the Self. The body and the mind both have the abilities to give you a distinct identity that can be separate from who you really are. Think about it. So many are after developing their physical body. Their identity is their body. Similarly many use the minds to develop a distinct identity to develop themselves into what they think they should be. Both are incorrect. You are what your Self is. Deep within, you have an identity that is ingrained within you due to a number of factors – be it God, be it your ancestry, be it your karma, etc. Whatever it is, you are an unique being – very much different from every other creature that exists on the planet or the universe. That is your identity. When you conquer the body and the mind (as distractions), you will start finding your identity, who you actually are. That is the being you will be most comfortable with. The faster one finds this Self, the better he or she will be. Haven’t you heard the saying – she is comfortable in her skin. Well, it is just like that. Being comfortable with who you are. That means tolerance, acceptance. I have seen many who are highly opinionated about others. You can be opinionated about happenings in the world – say the economy or the state of poverty, etc. But to be opinionated about another person is keeping one from being one self. You just have to accept that and move on. Tolerance is the key here. Let someone be what they want to be. You might have a thought about someone; sure – express it without hurting anyone and move on. The key point is, when you get hung up on someone, more so than a thing, you are stopping yourself from moving forward. You are stopping yourself from finding your self. So, shoo away that habit about minding someone, just mind yourself and you will find liberation and peace. Do what you need to do to keep yourself being your Self. Don’t worry about what others think. Find peace and happiness within and in and around you. Let that be your focus. When you practice tolerance and acceptance, it will propel you so much forward that precision planning your future won’t. In fact, when you practice these traits, precision planning will become part of you and a small part of you among other things you will notice. When you don’t get hung up, your awareness increases multiple-fold and that’s what makes you develop your Self. The Hatha Yoga pradipika states in 6.16
Yoga succeeds by these six: enthusiasm, openness, courage, knowledge of the truth, determination, and solitude.
You have to practice all above to develop tolerance and acceptance. Without enthusiasm, your ability to learn diminishes. Without openness, you get stuck in needless muck. Without courage, your ability to know the truth has no chance. Determination is essential in all your efforts. Solitude is time spent inquiring about your own Self, trying to understand yourself.
All the above brings me to the point in the title. You don’t have to practice physical yoga asanas or breath control to become a yogi. There are so many yogis who know nothing about Yoga. Yoga is knowing one’s Self. When you know your Self, IT guides you on your path in this world. People who have reached the pinnacle in their lives knew themselves very well. Let this be your goal – understanding your Self better and you will see your path.