An Advanced Yogi
Being an ‘Advanced’ yogi, yogini? This subject has been something that has taken space in my mind, and I wanted to discuss 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 three times a day surely 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 solid 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 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 breathe. Our alignment of Asanas is unclear and putting our body in the wrong position is often likely if working to intensely to quickly.
As we practice more yoga, we become more in tune with the body and our breathing. Over a period we slowly gain awareness of the mind, and our practice may move into different realms. With dedicated practice, the body will slowly begin to receive the poses, and they will become more comfortable. We start 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 student 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 a more natural 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 without 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 do yoga.
How experienced are you? Yoga asanas are ultimately moving us to stillness for meditation. They are a step closer towards the real purpose of what yoga is.
“I am endeavouring 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 more in-depth.
Love, peace and prayers