What is advanced is individual
We might see those difficult acrobatic yoga positions (asanas) and think that yoga is not for me. But:
One: Yo do not have to be able to hand stand with your feet balancing behind you in the air and lift one arm to be a “good yogi”.
Two: There´s nothing like advancing in yoga by looking from outside, nothing like better yogis. There is no levels at all. It´s a practice, not a test. You can be in a wheel chair or being a ballerina, the work is to be connected in the moment, and that you can try to be up side down or sitting very still.
In western countries we often strive to be better, do more, reaching further. We want results, achievements and to know how and when we are going to reach next level, and the “best” level. Then, we can feel proud with ourselves.
Three: This, what you see at the picture, a very not spectacular asana, just sitting in meditation, can actually be one of the most “advanced” positions you can do. And you can do the same position over and over again, every day with a beginner´s mind of looking with new eyes on what happens right now.
It may not be hughe differences from outside. But because yoga is an inside work from the ancient way of looking at it, it deffinitely happens a lot in your mind and soul. As with all other asanas, but in this position, with no action going on,;no movements, nothing to distract your mind with, it is really to face your emotions, thoughts and way of being in this very moment.
Four: You can do yoga for whatever reason you like and that is fine. If you want to practice handstands with legs behind you balancing in the air and one arm up, do so and teach me afterwards 🙂
But, if you want the ancient way of practicing mindfulness as a body-mind work. Actually, the physical excersices was aimed to stretch and strenghten and open up your body to be able to sit in meditation for a longer time. Meditation was the main Point.
The reason to practice? Many. Some of them: To learn to know yourself, to see your patterns and what you can change and what you have to accept, what you can release and let go and what to embrace, to feel the connection to others and the world – mainly, to be more aware. Awareness is key.
Yoga for me, started 10-11 years ago. I did not understand how people could like to meditate. How they could speak about bliss and peacefulness. For me it was anguish and self hatred. But, I was born with an endless source of curiosity, and I have a feeling that there must be something in this boring, difficult work that was actually great. That beyond the layers of I-can´t-stand-this, there could be something, I do not know what, maybe release and ease? So I continued. It took a long time, but I got more and more of that bliss and thankfulness inside.
Still meditation as well as mindfulness in any way, can be the most difficult I can do. It is far easier to jump out of a plan to sky dive with a hughe fear of hights, than what it sometimes is to be present in my own body and mind. But also, I should not be feeling that bliss, joy, peacefulness and ease if I did not go through those layers. I often love to meditate, and just be. Meditation have not taken away the difficulties in life, but it has given me a deeper and broader way of being myself. It is the most beneficial outcome of yoga to me. What is difficult for you might be something else. We all have our different challenges, opportunities and journeys.
Thank you Laura for the picture!