David Swenson on What it Means to be a Yogi

In an email interview, Yoga International asked David Swenson, “What does it mean to you to be a yogi in the modern world?”  Enjoy his response:

“The definition of a yogi that I most like is this: ‘A yogi is one who leaves a place just a little nicer than when they arrived!’  I like this statement for its simplicity and down-to-earth recognition of yoga being something that benefits not only the one practicing it but also the world around them.”  

He elaborates on this, and then adds,

If we wish to ask ourselves if we are a yogi, I think the question could be this one: ‘Is the world a better place by our presence in it?“‘

What I love most about this definition of a yogi is that, in essence, one does not necessarily have to maintain a formal or traditional yoga practice to be one.  Because my Roman Catholic Grandmother made the world a better place for her having been in it, indeed, she is a yogi!  If my eighty-three-year-old neighbor pretends to chase my two-year-old around the yard and elicits screams of delight and giggles, he, indeed, is a yogi!  (Even if he doesn’t like it!)

Are you a yogi?  Can you be one?

To read David Swenson’s entire interview and others, please visit ashtanga.net.

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