Are You An Advanced Yogi?
When do we move from the label of a beginner yogi to an advanced yogi? At what point can we start taking intermediate or advanced classes? Do we need to be able to do particular postures or do we need to have practiced for a certain amount of time? These questions can be answered in various ways depending on who you ask, and in my opinion there are no right answer to them either. I know I have been guilty of pausing and questioning myself when I saw "intermediate class" on the schedule. I know my initial reaction was to avoid these classes in fear of not being good enough. I imagined the class being filled with the strong yet flexible yogis who are comfortably doing handstands or graciously doing drop-backs. I would tell myself that my physical practice was not up to par compared to everyone else. But as these thoughts went through my head I knew I had to look past them all and contemplate on what I really thought it meant to practice yoga.
Yoga to me is about self-awareness. It is the ability to distinguish between your ego, your self-doubt, or any other illusion that we have that works to mask the real truth about ourselves. It means to truly know yourself and your body. So, what do I consider an advanced yogi? It is not necessarily someone who does the most aesthetically pleasing postures. It is the person who knows when to use props or knows when they need to modify or knows when to take a different variation of the pose. It is the person who knows when they need take a break and lay down or when to dig a little deeper for that extra push. Maybe that means you need to take a 60-minute savasana. Great! It's all about understanding what is good for you. Know what works for you, listen to your body, and apply it into your practice. Yoga isn't about doing the deepest and most complex postures, the postures are used as a means to develop a greater self-awareness of ourselves. Yoga is about taking an inward journey.