People often come to my class announcing they are a beginner or that they are advanced. It always amuses me, because what does that really mean? They often refer to the physical asana practice, I get that, but to me, I have my very own ideas about being a beginner or advanced yogi ;).
To me, yoga is not about bringing your foot behind your head. While that may impress some other people in your life, I don’t really care – I have met enough people who were able to do the most advanced and tough yoga poses yet were completely unconscious in their relationships – and even mean to other people in their life.
An advanced yogi is somebody who walks through life with an infectious joy and inspiring grace. No matter what challenges present themselves, they will move through them with dedicated practice, awareness, honesty, and acceptance. Not the blind kind of faith, where you just accept everything, but true faith, which comes from trust that whatever life presents us is there for our higher learning.
So, when I think of myself, I am far from being perfect, even after 20 years of practice. I do freak out. I don’t always walk through life in the most graceful ways and when I fall off my regular practice, I become very anxious and complain a lot. Luckily, I catch myself in these moments and remember my tools which bring me back to my better self: My partner, my community of loving friends and teachers and simply getting on my mat to meditate and move my body.
Next time somebody tries to impress you with an advanced yoga pose, let them inspire you with their skills, flexibility and joy, but look a bit further and more importantly, stick to your own practice and do what you can do to move through your life in the most meaningful and joyful ways. Sometimes lying in savasana peacefully is the most advanced of all poses.
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