Being an 'Advanced' yogi, yogini? This subject has been something that has taken space in my mind and I wanted to discus in this post.
Performing a headstand and inverting yourself on your forearms does that mean you are advanced at yoga? Eating a vegetarian diet and practising yoga 3 times a day surly that makes you a professional yogi / yogini. This couldn't be far from the truth.
What is an advanced yoga student - In my opinion the word experienced is much more appropriate.
An experienced yoga student in my eyes is one who has a very strong awareness of their body, breath and thoughts. And with awareness of these comes the awareness to shape and change your choices and the way you live life for the better, not only for yourself but for others around you.
"Truth is what the voice within tells you. Truth and nonviolence are perhaps the active forces you have in the world. Truth alone will endure; all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time." - Gandhi
We may start yoga having no body awareness and struggle to breath. Our alignment of Asanas is unclear and putting our body in the wrong position is often likely if working to deeply to quickly.
As we practise more yoga we become more in tune with the body and our breathing. Over a period of time we slowly gain awareness of the mind and our practise may move into different realms. With a dedicated practise the body will slowly begin to receive the poses and they will become easier. We begin to listen to our body and stop in a pose that we feel discomfort in instead of continuing because we want to just feed our pomposity.
I do not think there is such thing as an advanced yoga student but an experienced yogi, yogini may be. As I teach my one main aim is to keep students that enter my class safe. When new to a class we find poses to be difficult anyway never mind trying to remember where our limbs go at the same times as breathing. But as you become an experienced yoga students that does not mean that you are beyond and above a class that is gentle. The idea behind this is, if you are an experienced yogi, yogini you should be very open to receive and embrace an easier posture session with full attention to keeping your mind in check. If you are in a gentle class and your mind is unsettled and you can't do the session with out thinking "when are we going to do something that I feel a big stretch" or "this class is to easy for me", stop and realise you are already being challenged because your mind isn't even present and you are thinking about how much better you can do rather than doing yoga.
How experienced are you? Yoga asanas are ultimately moving us to stillness for meditation. They are a step closer towards the true purpose of what yoga is.
"I am endeavoring to see God through service to humanity. For I know that God is neither in heaven, nor down below, but in everyone." - Gandhi
Thank you for reading and sharing this post. I hope it brings some peace to those who get disheartened when not moving deeper into poses. I hope it can refresh those who seek more of a challenge in asanas to understand it isn't about the yoga poses but it moves beyond and much deeper.
Love, peace and prayers