For other uses, see Yogi (disambiguation).
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A yogi is a practitioner of yoga. Yogis may broadly refer to Siddhars. Naths, Ascetics, Sadhus, or Siddhas and vice versa because they all practice the Sādhanā concept.[1] The word is also used to refer to ascetic practitioners of meditation in a number of South Asian religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.


In the Classical Sanskrit of the Puranas, the word yogi (Sanskrit: masc yogī, योगी ; fem yoginī) originally referred specifically to a male practitioner of yoga. In the same literature yoginī is the term used for female practitioners as well as for divine goddesses and enlightened mothers, all revered as aspects of the Divine Mother Devi without whom there would be no yogis. The two terms are still used with those meanings today, but the word yogi is also used generically to refer to both male and female practitioners of yoga and related meditative practices in Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism etc.


In Hinduism the term yogi refers to an adherent of yoga. The Shiva Samhita[2] defines the yogi patel as someone who knows that the entire cosmos is situated within his own body, and the Yoga-Shikha-Upanishad text[3] distinguishes two kinds of yogis: those who pierce through the "sun" (surya) by means of the various yogic techniques and those who access the door of the central conduit (sushumna-nadi) and drink the nectar.

As to what this nectar is, all meditation lineages focus on self-mastery of essence, both spiritual and sexual. The Yoga-Bhashya, the oldest extant commentary on the Yoga-Sutra,[4] offers the following fourfold classification of yogis:

  1. neophyte/beginner (prathama-kalpika)
  2. one who has reached the "honeyed level" (madhu-bhumika)
  3. the advanced practitioner who enjoys enlightenment (joginath, giri, goswami, etc.)

In light of the above, many self-described western yogis or certified yoga teachers may, in fact, be only in the basic stages of development, as evidenced by their having an irregular personal practice along with compulsive discharge of sexual essence. Traditionally, yogic training involved deferring the tantric practices of sexual yoga/marriage until such time that sexual self-mastery had been established, whereupon sexual union is considered to be the ultimate yoga of Shiva and Shakti.[5]

Brahmacarya for yogis, as stated in the Agni-Purana, embodies self-imposed abstention from sexual activity: fantasizing, glorifying the sex act or someone's sexual attraction, dalliance, sexual ogling, sexually flirtatious talk, the resolution to break one's vow, and consummation of sexual intercourse itself, with any being.

Married practitioners aspire likewise to abstain from unconscious/harmful sexual behavior, and to meditatively practice sexual yoga (as opposed to ego-centered sexual release) with their partner, but must practice aware chastity with regard to others.[6]

Modern science now understands that such a code of sexual conduct is also organically assisted by neurochemical changes in brain states of intense meditators (reduced dopamine and increased oxytocin) that induce general relaxation and mental stability, and is not sheerly by willpower alone.[7]

List of Yogis

Template:See Historical Yogis and Yoga gurus:

See also



  • Feuerstein, Georg. The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga, Shambhala Publications, Boston, 2000 p. 321, 350.
  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain

Externa links

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