March 10 by The Running Son
of Yoga Practitioners
• The Pragmatist
• The Explorer
• The Self-Helper
• The Mystic
The Pragmatist practices yoga in order to remain physically fit, for relaxation, and for stress reduction. For her, therefore, yoga remains on the level of physical and mental benefits. The life courses of members of this type can be characterized as “smooth,” i.e. without any major negative life events that are related to the yoga practice. For the Pragmatist, the concept of “going inward” or “finding one’s inner core” refers to taking a “timeout” from her usually busy and hectic daily life, i.e. taking time for herself in order to relax and do something good for her body and mind.
Someone from this type has described yoga in this way: “What I was especially attracted by with regards to yoga was the meditative aspect. The inner immersion. That’s what I was aiming at.” The Explorer practices yoga not only for physical and mental wellness but also in order to foster self-development and self-exploration. Characteristic of the Explorer is a life course that is primarily “stable”—there is no mention of major negative life events that are still significantly affecting her today and that would be related to her yoga practice. A major significance of the practice for the explorer lies in the possibility of further developing and exploring herself through yoga. This is achieved by “going inward,” i.e. by paying attention to what is going on inside one’s body and mind.
The Self-Helper practices yoga in a therapeutic way. Characteristic of this type is that her yoga practice is directly related to the experience of negative life events. Furthermore, in addition to practicing yoga, she might have pursued other similar activities, like Tai Chi or Bioenergy, as well as various kinds of therapy. The wish to better cope with one’s personal problems is accompanied by the wish to learn more about oneself through the kind of introspection that the yoga practice can offer. As such, by “going inward” the Self-Helper hopes to foster her self-awareness in order to recognize certain patterns and then learn how to effectively change or let go of them.
The Mystic, as the name implies, has more or less completely subscribed to yoga as a worldview or as a form of spirituality. As such, she integrates the yoga philosophy and its spiritual dimension into her daily life via daily physical practice and meditation, eating and drinking according to yogic beliefs, and more or less completely adopting yogic ethical standards for her life (to the extent that this is possible in modern, Western society). The Mystic often becomes a yoga teacher herself. Her practice is often directly related to her experience of one or more negative life events from which yoga has helped her to heal. Finally, for the Mystic the yoga practice is always linked to a spiritual expression or to her idea of the divine.
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[ Excerpts of selection from “A Typology of Yoga Practitioners: Towards a Model of Involvement in Alternative Spirituality”. Full Original article with citations can be viewed on the RFB at: https://runningfather.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/a-typology-of-yoga-practitioners-towards-a-model-of-involvement-in-alternative-spirituality-schrembs-versteeg/ ]