What are we advancing, anyway?
I often like to point out that putting your leg behind your head doesn't make you a better person. What trait would you prefer in a friend if you had to choose? Flexibility or a loving heart? What makes an advanced yoga practice is not how flexible you are or how fancy your poses. What makes an advanced yoga practice is your ability to let go into your own naturalness.
Drop the Agenda, Ma'am.
Most people practice yoga in order to gain a certain result - get strong, get flexible, get thinner, get peaceful. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with setting goals, the tendency can be to override our more intuitive functions and end up insulting and punishing the body in the pursuit of some goal that our ego/personality set up. An advanced yoga practice is one that is without agenda. Dropping agenda allows you to witness and love yourself exactly as you are. Ironically, when we liberate ourselves from the ceaseless goals, we gain everything. In this place of deep love an acceptance our yoga practice nourishes us rather than depletes us.
Advanced Yoga for EveryOne
Everyone who has a breath can practice yoga. The key is to adapt the postures and practices to the individual, not the individual to the practice. Better to take a simple posture with loving awareness and a complete and natural breath than be sweating bullets and panting your way through a posture that you are not ready for. The advanced yoga student is anyone who can practice simply as a celebration of the body, breath and life, as it is given today.
I bow to my heart, and to my teachers and my teachers' teachers.
Author, Nicole Becker
Yoga Therapist, Retreat Leader, and Heart of Yoga Teacher, Nicole Becker offers yoga and self-care insights and tips.