What makes Obama a Yogi? Share your Answer Here

I've heard the phrase, "Barack Obama is a yogi" many times during the past year.
What do you think makes our president-elect a yogi?
Join the discussion and view other people's responses by clicking on "comments" below.

A selection of responses will be included, with credit to the writer, in my upcoming book, "How Yoga Can Change the World". Share your thoughts publicly or submit an anonymous comment. Any length comments are welcome.

43 Comments:

Anonymous said...

The only thing constant is change and impermanence - our new leader embodies all of belief.

Anonymous said...

Obama is "even-minded" -- a key ingredient in the Second Niyama of "contentment."

Anonymous said...

Obama is a peace-seeker (ahimsa).

Dan Clement said...

I am a Canadian, but I have been following President-elect Obama with an interest and an emotional reaction
I never before have had for any other President (or Prime-Minister, for that matter!). What makes Obama a Yogi is his skillful action in harmonizing opposites - The political right and left, and his own history and biology in America and Africa. He has the ability to see value in both sides, and chart a path that leads through the polarities to a place that serves everyone better, in a way that we might never imagine had we only stuck to one side of a discussion. He has a vision for what democracy really is, and a courage to speak his truth. He leads from his heart. These are all qualities of a Yogi sharing his consciousness with humanity. America needs a leader now, and this man may be the best President the United States has ever had.
Dan Clement - Indigo Yoga

Anonymous said...

Obama embodies "spiritual power", one-pointedness towards the common good, all-enfolding.He is a true world citizen!

Stephanie Rider said...

Obama is a yogi because he is grounded in ahimsa and will be a peace maker.
As the sutras teach us:
2.35 As a Yogi becomes firmly grounded in non-injury (ahimsa), other people who come near will naturally lose any feelings of hostility.

Anonymous said...

Obama is a yogi because he represents change, change in what we believe in, change in how we govern, change in how we spend our money, and change in how we see the world. Yogi's in my eyes are change in how we think, how we perceive ourselves, change in how we move, change in the way we eat, change in we treat our others, change in the way we look at our past, and change in we look at our future and although JFK said it best ask what not your country can do for you but what you can do for country, Obama represents change in trying times which the ultimate in all yogi's to stay present when conditions are bad and realize that it is an experience and tool that you can use in the future but have to experience it in the present. Change in a person, then as a group, then a community, then as a city, and final as a nation. It all starts with change within ourselves.

Anonymous said...

I just saw the movie, " What the bleep do we know" and although I now my figures are off I believe that a bunch of people meditated in Washington D.C. and the crime rate dropped dramitically. If we can except that thousands of people can change the rate of crime, then I believe that we as a nation of over 250 million can change America for the good in the whole world's eyes.

Monica Veneziano said...

After reading Obama's first two books and observing him I knew immediately that he was a Bodhisattva. He manifests the wisdom and compassion of Buddhist Psychology and in particular, all the six perfections of a Bodhisattva (the Six Paramita of a spiritual warrior) which are generosity, integrity, patience (forbearance, forgiveness), enthusiastic and diligent effort, wisdom and a mindfulness. We are very fortunate to have such a being as our President.
Monica Veneziano

Anonymous said...

I am a member of Yoga Lovers for Obama Group and we believe that through peace, hope, and change not only will America be a better place to live but the World will be a better place to live....

john said...

I believe you're all delusional or just politically uninformed. Mr Obama is a political animal and his first allegiance is with those who put him in power. He is a well spoken liberal front for the world bank and the cooperate oligarchy. One should not even speak of Obama in terms of being a Yogi. I feel it is shameful to even try to make such an association with so many beautiful souls that are yogis. Do some homework on Obama and not from the cooperate media or his own writings and find out the truth about him. Allegiance to the truth is the first criteria to be a yogi and so Mr Obama fails miserably as a yogi.

Anonymous said...

I saw some many Obama stickers at Estes Park, how could Obama not be a yogi?

Fitness Coach said...

Because he has a natural way to express his soul; I believed that when you want things to change you have to change first and affect others with it in a positive way, without looking to get benefit but the feeling of accomplishment serving others.

yogaheidi said...

Obama is a yogi because he views the world as interconnected and not in simple dualisms of good and bad. He does not need to defend his ego, as he has a clear sense of self and of himself as part of the larger Self. I believe that contributes to his calm, thoughtful, open-minded, clearheaded, optimistic demeanor. His practice is at a high level of intensity. He will not be perfect, but we can be inspired by his example to practice our own Karma Yoga.

Anonymous said...

At best President elect Obama is a bhogi or a rogi. One who cherishes life and gives others the opportunity to a full life from conception to natural death is a yogi. All others are just "wanna bees" or "deluded". Because of Obama's views on abortion and euthanasia he has much illness to overcome. Prasad.

Kristin said...

Are you kidding? What about his actions would make him a yogi?
The fact that his polical leanings are the same as the politics of many others who practice yoga, does not make him a yogi, too. At it's most basic definition, a yogi is someone who practices yoga; and the entirely of the practice...asana, pranayama, meditation....with a goal of mosha, or supreme liberation. The word itself comes from "yoke" meaning union, as in union with the divine. We don't even know if he has a yoga practice at all!

Obama's actions, policies, and history do not in any way make him a yogi. They make him the polical leader that he is, whether you agree with him or not, but not a yogi. I'm not going to go through the Sutras one be one, but without much effort at all it is obvious that his stance on abortion is in direct conflict with the first yama, ahimsa, or non-harm. I guess if you like his other ideals, you can overlook that, but again, that is politics, not yoga.

Why is it that throughout this election process the word yogi became synonymous with someone's political leanings? As a yoga student, teacher, and studio owner, I was constantly bombarded with "Oms for Obama", and Yoga Journal and Lululemon ads, and countless e-mails portraying Obama as a yogi, and frankly I find that insulting to the great sages and masters who gave from their haearts to share this practice with us. The fact that he is a uniter in pursuit of peace and harmony in the world, while noble polical causes, in no way makes him a yogi.

todd said...

my suspicions that our new president is indeed a yogi were confirmed when i saw a photo of Barak showing what he had in his pocket... there along with some change, was a small hanuman..talk about "change"....
:))
todd

Rosa Santana said...

When Obama was being attacked with McCain's angry remarks and accusations during their debate, Obama stayed present, was non-reactive and answered in a non-violent way. Only one who is in control of his emotions has voyaged in the path of yoga.

Anonymous said...

I think the question is Obama a spritual leader and if he is would this make him a yogi?

Anonymous said...

I am appalled that anyone thinks that Obama is yogi. Isn't Ahimsa the cornerstone of the yogic life. Honoring and cherishing the sanctity of life from animals to humans is a key principle of Ahimsa. How can someone who is for killing unborn babies be a spiritual leader? How could Obama sit "non-plussed" while a nurse from a Chicago hospital told the story of the 20 week gestational age baby with Down Syndrome that she held for 45 minutes in her arms while he gasped for breath and slowly died. I was disgusted and appalled at the "worship" of Obama and the one sided coverage during, and continuing after, the election. Truthfulness is also a philosophy of a yogic life. Obama has uttered so many lies about himself, his associates, his beliefs, and his experience or lack there of. When it didn't serve him to continue to attend the church he attended for 20 years he disassociated himself-for political purposes. People are not looking at him objectively and most people I know who voted for him didn't know anything about him or his voting record. I heard one woman say that she was voting for him even though he believes in everything she goes against-her faith, her politics, her values. But she was voting for him because he is black and that is the only reason he was getting her vote!
Honestly, what in the world was Obama doing as a yogi in the Lululemon ad? How disgusting. There is only one Divine that is supposed to be worshipped. Judge this man on his values, voting record, work history, associates, not because he said he is bringing change. Let's see him prove himself.
It's beyond my comprehension that people can call him a spiritual leader. Was Ronald Reagan a spiritual leader? Was Winston Churchill a spiritual leader. Get REAL!!!!! He's a politician and nothing more.

chas said...

contrary to some of the comments here, a person does not have to be perfect to be a yogi, nor do they have to practice all 8 limbs as prescribed by patanjali, nor do they have to practice even one of thse limbs. a yogi is someone who seeks union with god. however flawed, and by whatever path. obviously mr. obama passes this test.

better to look in a mirror than to cast judgement upon others...

Anonymous said...

One must be careful to place labels on people due to words. Until I witness his actions I am avoiding labeling Obama as a Yogi or not a Yogi. In these times of new age charlatans and pretty talk, it is imperative to take a man by his actions.

Anonymous said...

Obama is not a yogi. He is a savvy politician who has realized that a blank slate allows a lot of projection of people's beliefs. Anyone who talks about "change" and "hope" without putting action behind those words, and who can eloquently make a lot of vague, general comments can fool people quite easily. I see a lack of substance in Obama. I would like to suggest that the real yogi might have been Senator Clinton-who spent her entire life working on behalf of families, children, and civil rights--even going so far as to go undercover to investigate the "private" schools that popped up all over the south during the seventies when school busing was enforced, and the public schools became integrated. She walked the walk, and would have made a great, equity-minded President. We're lucky to have her as a Secretary of State. Obama, I will reserve judgment on until we actually see him accomplish something other than campaigning and winning elections by intimidation and other suspicious tactics (go back and read accounts of how Obama caucus workers were trained to treat people caucusing for Clinton and then tell me he's a yogi.)

Anonymous said...

I don't see how someone so revered, idolized and worshipped as some sort of 'messiah' is a yogi. I feel that it's great to have someone at the helm that is much more open-minded that his predecessor, but this is reality and he holds a lot of power. When do you think the honeymoon is going to be over? After the ecstacy, the laundry. Stay tuned and be careful with this 'cult of personality'... Many blessings...

Anonymous said...

What makes Bush a yogi? His desire to connect with the divine? What made Hitler a yogi? He certainly brought union to Germany. What makes Obama a yogi? Well that's a good question, or maybe a real dumb one. I teach and practice yoga, I seek truth in my Life, I do not pander nor do I grovel nor do I believe everything I read or hear. I am really sick of seeing all this association of Obama and yoga, it's really awful and kind of sickens me. Get real and WAKE UP, DECIDE FOR YOURSELF !! Obama is just another hack, another pandering shill who must be held accountable for his actions to come. Just because you all hated Bush, doesn't mean this guys the answer.

Donna D. said...

Having read Obama's two books, I would say he has "worked on himself" more than most people in politics. Being half Caucasian and half African motivated him to do alot of soul searching, which yogis do! Recently i was at a kirtan with Guru Ganehsa who is a devotee of Yogi Bhajan, the Kundalini Yoga Master who passed from his body in 2004. Guru Ganesha said Yogi Bhajan stopped coming to him in his dreams after he died until the day after the election. In the dream Yogi Bhajan said to him "Wow, the Aquarian age has come early!" He spoke of this coming age as one where we are all one and Obama said again and again that he was uniting us as people not as a race or sex or rich or poor. This is a true yogi. Yogi Bhajan said marriage was the highest yoga and Obama and his wife have the clearest most transparently healthy relationship I have ever seen in a President, and with his children, despite all the pressures you can see he is not too crazy about to make him be a rock star and the pressure of his job. He is radiant, which is another energy seen in many yogis, and he exemplifies a calmness about him (though the cigarettes have to go). I think we have to be careful NOT to make him too much of a savior or God. Yogi Bhajan always reminded us that he was human and Dean Ornish spoke once in an article about his yogi being both his teacher and a human. I think Obama, unlike our most recent administration, will admit his mistakes and keep learning from them. I think the way he wants to govern is like one of Yogi Bhajan's sayings " If you don't see God in all, you don't see God at all". He also meditates on things before he acts, his way of being like Abe Lincoln I suppose. Mr President, you can play basketball and go to the gym! You don't have to do asana to be a yogi! Your light shines through!"

Anonymous said...

"I received an e-mail today from Shakta Kaur, known world-wide for her best-selling Kundalini Yoga books and children’s yoga teachings. She was writing to announce a 6-week program called Yoga for Obama. It struck me as such a great idea, I decided to post it here so I could share the idea with teachers, yogis and activists around the country and the world and inspire anyone else who wants to give this idea a try in their local community."

This is why the Yoga community really should think about the question is Obama a Yogi? Obam-asana is what Lauren Cahn is calling it. I think the yoga community has open arms for Obama, I am not sure why the posts are so negative...


Be The Change...And Take The Facebook Pledge!

Anonymous said...

Is there a book about Obama and Yoga?

Anonymous said...

Do you really think that the huffingtonpost or the grudge report has anything to do with yoga?

Anonymous said...

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."--Thomas Jefferson

Anonymous said...

1. Obama is all about the self. The "Om" chant is always self-centred.

2. Obama has been treated like a deity, and yoga is centred around a certain deity in Hinduism. They are treating Obama like a deity.

3. Obama is a "citizen of the world." This shows him as if he was in another part of the world!

and the right wing does't have an opinion about Yoga....

MER said...

I think it would only be fair to give the President Elect a chance to be President so we have examples. All we know now is that he's a great, motivational speaker.

Florian said...

Several people have emailed me off-line asking where I fall on the question....frankly, I posed the question because I was curious about the answer, not because I had a particular viewpoint.

Specifically, I've been wanting to understand why I've been hearing people refer to him as Obama-yogi, rather advocate for him being a yogi (although I think the way I phrased the question implies the assumption that he's a yogi!).

Irregardless of why I put the question out for comment, I've learned a lot from your responses - and I'm grateful that you took the time to share your views.

I think it would be cool to have a president who has a regular yoga practice that embodies the yogic principles - if that's the case here, lucky Americans are we!

For now, however, I'll keep listening to your thoughtful responses and wait to see how he governs before deciding for myself...Shanti.

Anonymous said...

Where have all these conservative Yoga people been? I work as an assistant setting up booths at Yoga conferences and I have not seen one conservative Yoga person. Estes Park, thousands of Obama supporters. San Fran. Please. Boston, are you kidding. Toronto, the socialist non functioning country has only hockey to be thankful for and that is a stretch. New York was my last hope and no, you will not find one conservative Yoga in Union Square nor you will you find one yoga conference in Kansas or Nebraska. So all these lululemon fakes who are have more money than a solid gold Buddha are the ones that think Obama is Yogi? What about the regular, not the enlighened teachers who might be the fakest people on this planet but that wouldn't make any sense since they are not from this planet, yogi's. The regular joe shmo who wants to go to a yoga class and keep politics out of it. Is that possible Yoga Journal and lululemon? Can I watch Bill O'Reilly and do Yoga or does that make your crunch head spin.

After reading some of these posts, I am not alone.

Anonymous said...

the teachings of yoga state "the change we want to see in the world has to happen within ourself". yes obama is closer to a yogi than bush. however ahimsa requires a personal lifestyle of non-violence. is obama a vegetarian? the gurus tell us this is essential for any yogi. does he practice pranayama and meditation. in the west people call themselves yoga teachers without any of these qualifications. unless a person follows a personal lifestyle of "living the way we want the world to be" yoga is just an exercise class. he is certainly a step up but needs a much more disciplined personal lifestyle to be a yogi.

Anonymous said...

everyone who cherishes peace can call herself/himself a yogi.however peace is not a philosophical idea. it is a lifestyle. anyone without the compassion for animals who selfishly causes suffering by eating gods creatures cannot know true peace. selflessness requires sacrifice of the lower parts of our nature. when we become conscious of the suffering of animals we will automatically be conscious of the suffering of people. until each of us gives up our addiction to meat true peace is impossible. be the change you want to see in the world. develop true ahimsa and practice what we preach. be real. love all creation. cherish life and clean up your karma. om shanthi

Elizabeth Baker said...

Sadly Obama is not a yogi, get the fairy dust out of your eyes, his comment about Bin Laden "capture or kill" is right out of the Bush & Co play book. Imagine him telling his children that when they are struggling with a playmate at school. Nice Dad!
His first appointment is a man vowed to eradicate Palestine and protect our lap-dog the the Middle eat, Israel. His other appointments are left over war mongers, corporate shills, pharmeuticals lobbyist.
Obama wants to be Mr. Popular and he fails in my eyes.

Anonymous said...

Do you have to be a vegatarian to be a yogi? Can yogi's smoke?

I don't know if Obama is a Yogi but some posts pose the question if he is a saint. Is he a Yogi, not a Yoga teacher, master, or Buddha himself.

Just plain old Yogi.

myra lewin said...

Obama says he feels the arts are important because they help us grow spiritually. He seems to understand union.

Anonymous said...

swami satchidananda who was one of the original yogis to bring the teachings to the west says anyone who practices yoga should be open to vegetarianism and anyone who calls themself a yoga teacher must be a vegetarian. he is a successor to the original line of yogis going back thousands of years. of course anyone can call themselves whatever they like and open a retreat. however a true yogi lives the life of selfless service as handed down by the masters throughout time. it is clearly spelled out in patanjalis yoga sutras. the laws of karma are more certain than the physical laws. we sow what we reap. compassion for life, gentleness and gratitude to all life is always true.

Anonymous said...

http://my.barackobama.com/thefuture

Anonymous said...

first we need to know if he practices yoga...if he does he is a yogi!

Lea K said...

Barack Obama, our President, is a Karma Yogi because he understands action as Selfless Service, guiding us as a nation to help others on Martin Luthr King Jr. Day. He is a Bhakti Yogi, returning our Love, not so much personally or emtionally but in joy and deep respect for all. He is a Raj Yogi because his radiance is Royal, his presence commands and he operates on the true laws on the universe, creating the change we need to see. He is a Hatha Yogi, Seated gracefully in his position in the world with strength, ease and honesty. He is Gyana Yogi, operating from the Wisdom of neutrality and an impersonal intellectect.
Incredible to see, opening our hearts to a new world, President Barack Obama is manifesting his Siddha, through the Power of understanding our place and time in history, telling us what our own spiritual teachers and Gurus said would be coming, when the old ways will "no longer apply!"