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A yogi seated in a garden.jpg


Sanskrit yogin, from yoga. The word Yogi (Sanskrit: masc yogī, योगी ; fem yoginī) originally referred in the Classical Sanskrit of the Puranas specifically to a male practitioner of Yoga. In the same literature yoginī is the term used for female practitioners as well as 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 today but the word Yogi is also generically used to refer to both male and female practitioners of yoga and related meditative practices in Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism.


  • 1: a person who practices yoga
  • 2 capitalized : an adherent of Yoga philosophy
  • 3: a markedly reflective or mystical person


A Yogi is a practitioner of Yoga. The word is also used to refer to ascetic practitioners of meditation in a number of South Asian religions including Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

In Hinduism the term refers to an adherent of Yoga. As an Urdu term, yogī (Nastaliq یوگی) is mostly used to refer to wandering Sufi saints and ascetics. The word is also often used in the Buddhist context to describe Buddhist monks or a householder devoted to meditation. The Shiva Samhita defines the yogi patel as someone who knows that the entire cosmos is situated within his own body, and the Yoga-Shikha-Upanishad text 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 do focus on self-mastery of essence, both spiritual and sexual. The Yoga-Bhashya, the oldest extant commentary on the Yoga-Sutra 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 (prajna-jyotis)
  • 4. the transcender (atikranta-bhavaniya).

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, 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.

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 to likewise 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.

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.[1]