One might say that advanced asana practice is to perform the most difficult asana. Well, it can be one aspect but not really that important as you may think. Western people have sometimes tended to consider asana as an exercise, thus from there springs the idea that only the one who is able to perform the most impressive asana, is considered as advanced. But think a second. Yoga has immensely deep philosophical background focused on our mind. Why would then yoga consider the physical aspect of asana as the most advanced and most important one? What I am trying to explain in this small article that there is much that physical aspect of the asana practice. Advanced asana practice has many aspects, let’s briefly talk about some of them. Once you develop awareness of your body, you feel your body’s needs and you are able to correct yourself and you go with the flow, this is advanced asana practice.
The mindfulness while performing each asana is one of the key points. You may assume that you are an advanced practitioner when you are aware of each muscle in your body that gets stretched during asana, when you pay attention in correct alignment so that your asana is firstly safe for you for body and beneficial rather than harmful. This requires literally “kick” our EGO out of yoga hall. It’s often our EGO which challenges us and pushes us beyond our body limits in a way that is harmful to us. Once you get over issues with your EGO and you are able to practice asana in a safe but still effective way, then you are advanced yoga practitioner.
Once you start enjoying each asana, you are able to compose practice with a natural flow of your breath. Your asana starts to look easy, you get over tensions so that your face shines relaxed positive energy. You have the patience with your body and you go slowly and gradually advancing. Enjoying the moment when you get closer and closer to the “perfect” performance of asana. Then you are progressing in asana practice. Knowing and respecting your limits is much more valuable than crossing them. According to Patanjali yoga sutras asana should be steady and performed with ease. You give priority to stability instead of flexibility.
We have just touched a few important insights that you can take into account and maybe integrate into your asana practice so that your body exercise transforms into yogic practice.
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