Does a yogi bear sh#t in the woods?

Kathy Krugerlove, perspective, yoga20 Comments

Well NO, and here’s why.

You might think it goes with the yoga territory to be all calm and content, patient and peaceful, enlightened even. Zen perhaps, although that’s the preserve of the lovely Lisa and her random acts (and cards) of karma and kindness.

But as one of my teachers says, and I may have mentioned before, it’s yoga practice not yoga perfect. Not that it’s any real excuse!

In teacher training I’m exploring the yoga that doesn’t happen on the mat. The hard stuff. The important stuff. Who would have thought getting bendy is the easy bit!

In traditional yoga philosophy there are 8 limbs of yoga (handy in an octopus kinda way if you want to get into all those out-there, twisty pretzel poses).

Only one limb of yoga is actually the physical movement practice or asana. There’s breathing, which is kinda really important, you know to survive, but also to move and meditate.

Hot yoga tip: focus on the breath and you’ll get the yoga

But the first (and I reckon they put it in this order on purpose) limb of yoga is the practice of becoming a better person. Simple really!! In fact that’s what I reckon yoga is mostly about.

And you see contrary to popular belief, this yogi bear doesn’t shit in the woods. Like the original yogi bear, she prefers to find a public convenience close to the picnic spot.

In other words, she may take the easy way out. She’ll choose comfort over courage. She’ll choose picnic basket thievery over foraging in the forest. She’ll settle for sandwiches sometimes rather than searching for the exotic.

She may be ‘smarter than your average bear’ (just sayin, in Yogi’s famous words) but that doesn’t stop her being stupid with self-judgment and fear. She isn’t enlightened or even very calm.


But the yoga journey asks us to do more, think more, feel more, BE more. Well it just asks us to BE, and then the more part comes with hard work and the yoga territory.

So Yama is the first limb of yoga – it stands for ethical disciplines. They are like the ten commandments really. Ahimsa (which means non- violence, in thoughts as well as actions – this is where yoga vegetarianism comes from, gulp, guilty); Satya (truth – in what we think and speak); Asetya (non-stealing, or literally not coveting what someone else has); Brahmacharya (sometimes thought of as celibacy, but really moderation, austerity); Aparigraha (non-attachment, simplicity – in the zen proverb “this too shall pass”).

Then there are Niyama, the five rules of conduct linked to individual disciplines: Saucha (purity – of body, thought, food); Santosa (contentment); Tapas (character-building); Svadhyaya (self-study, education); Isvara pranidhana (dedication to God).

“The more I learn the less I know” may be true, but I see so much more in common in our world’s religious and ethical traditions than I see different. In Yinyang terms I see the harmony, but know the hate is also there too. Sadly too much of it.

And I ask my family, friends, and blog readers to understand that while I practice yoga to be a better person (and believe yoga makes me a better person) there is still fear, laziness, judgment, anger and impatience that I find within myself on and off the mat.

But if you’re patient with me (and you have been to read this far), then I thank you for your patience. And I trust I will get better.

Without getting overly-zealous in debate (and not having studied theology) what do you think – are the basic teachings about how to live a good life pretty similar (and a lot of it boils down to love), even though beliefs differ? I’m focusing on non-attachment and contentment right now, care to share your challenge? (PS – having fun making little animated gif’s lately – what do you think of my moving yogi?)

Linking up with Essentially Jess for another IBOT.

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Kathy KrugerDoes a yogi bear sh#t in the woods?

20 Comments on “Does a yogi bear sh#t in the woods?”

  1. Pinky Poinker

    I love your GIF! I think living a good life is based on love… with a big slice of tolerance. Life is about relationships to me. Accepting other people warts and all 🙂

  2. Lisa@RandomActsOfZen

    Thanks so much for the shout-out Kathy!
    I’ve always believed that if you put the good stuff out there, it comes back to you in some way, and try to live this way. It’s all about having a good mix of patience and understanding, and giving people the benefit of the doubt, I think. Sometimes to my own detriment, but I tend to think people are good until they prove differently.
    You’re doing an amazing job, Kathy xx

  3. hugzillablog

    Where did yoga originate? A lot of those principles seem to have a lot in common with Buddhist philosophies, at a casual glance. I like that kind of holistic approach to personal development, it’s a lot more nuanced than most people would assume if they were thinking of yoga as a physical activity alone.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      It’s from India – some of the ancient (Vedic) yogic texts are linked to Hinduism but there is a common thread for sure with Buddhism (and Christianity, Taoism and probably lots of other traditions – I just don’t know enough about them to comment).You’re right that a lot of people just think yoga is an exercise and it has been westernised, but there is a real depth to understanding yoga – I’m only just dipping my toes in it so far!

  4. Tegan Churchill

    I think being a yogi definitely has a lot in common with being a genuinely good person. We are all only human though and we all have our imperfections. We can’t be all good all of the time and sometimes things get on top of us. I think the important thing from that is that we learn and be better next time.

  5. aparentinglife

    Oh your Yogi is super cool well done you. I think I may want to run off and try it myself. Is it tricky? I think you are on to something about there being similarities in the fundamentals of what is seen to make a good person amongst belief systems.

    Leaving some fairy wishes and butterfly kisses from #teamIBOT

  6. Peachy Keen Mumma - Jess

    So many of your beliefs are in line with what I believe in Christianity too. Like coveting; gets you absolutely nowhere and makes you resentful of others too. Lot’s of good and positive things come from these teachings. I want to get into yoga, right now I’m doing body balance and love it. I have a chronic back problem so it’s been good for me to be able to go at my own pace with that. Love your blog! 🙂

  7. Sonia Life Love Hiccups

    I LOVE your Gif and the title 😉 I do believe that to live a good life, one must be willing to give love and welcome love in. It may be pollyannaish of me, but it is how I choose to live my life xx

  8. EssentiallyJess

    I didn’t realise that there was such an emphasis on character development; I honesty thought it was all just stretching.
    I think a lot of belief systems are built on wanting to be better people. That’s something I think most of us have in common.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      I think your idea of yoga is probably pretty common – the physical practice is really just the discipline for letting go of ego, surrendering to God, and stilling the mind for mediation/prayer – plus of course trying to be a better person! As you say, a common journey, just many paths.

  9. mummywifeme

    I am amazed at how much you’re learning with your yoga. I never really dug deeper into the terminology, what it means or where it comes from. It’s really nice to learn more about it with you.

  10. Pingback: Change is not a four letter word | Yinyangmother

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