"A Yogini is the sacred feminine force made incarnate: the goddesses of mythology (Lakshmi, Parvati, Durga, Kali) as well as the ordinary human woman who is enlightened, both having exuberant passion, spiritual powers and deep insight, capable of giving birth to saints, peacemakers, and Yogis," from Wikipedia.
What is a Real Life Yogini and what is Julie's Real Life Yoga? Sometimes real life yoga is what happens after you've sat in DC traffic, or picked up your crying child from school, had a fight with your significant other or have bills due and no money. Sometimes real life yoga happens after you've gotten a promotion, spent the day in bed making love, danced all night with your friends or finished a delicious read. Real life yoga doesn't always happen on the beach with blonde hair blowing while wearing a size 2 bikini. Real life yoga happens in your 9th floor apartment outside of DC on those cold, cloudy days as well as the warm sunny ones when all you want in this world is to be on your mat and inside of your own heart.
To become a Yogini, one must not rely on the act of asana (posture/pose) alone. To truly become a Yogini, you must go inside. Where there is light. Where there is dark. Where there is mess. Where there is Infinite Love. Where your true Self resides. This and this alone is what the practice is about. It is not about looking cute in your jeans, buying outrageously expensive yoga gear or even getting to the studio each day. Real yoga is about feeling your life. All of it.
My intention here is not to discredit the "cute" girls in their bikinis posing on their stand-up paddle boards, but to add something that I feel the conversation is lacking. Basic poses with good alignment. The right to know that it is ok to feel bad sometimes. The right to know that is ok to celebrate every single moment of your life. I will also share my own journey as I work on two advanced poses: Hanumanasana (split) and Tittibhasana (firefly pose, arm-balance).
Lastly, I'm working on letting go. Letting go of fear. Letting go of attachments to material things. Letting go of the picture of what I think my life should look like. In exchange I will be more present. I will be fearless. I will be awake. I will see the world. I will be a Yogini.
"The Yogini possesses the power of Yoga herself and can awaken that in others, not only generally but at any point or place in the body or mind. A man’s ability to achieve the higher states of Yoga can be facilitated by his association with such a female companion who reflects this energy," from the book Yogini, Unfolding the Goddess Within by Shambhavi Chopra