5 Reasons to Take Your Practice to the Next Level
For those uninitiated in the ways of yoga, the stereotype of the yogi tied into a pretzel has long been misconceived as a required element in the practice. No, you don’t need to be able to do the more showy poses such as Bird of Paradise, where you stand with one leg lifted high in the air while your arms are bound around you. That alone won’t make you an advanced yogi. However, there are still good reasons for learning not only how to do, but also how to teach the more challenging poses. Jeffrey Duval, a 500-hour EYRT who will be teaching the Advanced Asana module, offers a helpful overview.
1. Review fundamentals. Asanas are built in kramas, or stages,
so by studying advanced asanas, or poses, one is studying the fundamental principles of alignment. Jeffrey notes that many students go through their 200-hour training rather quickly, so they tend to experience an “aha” moment when they delve deeper.
“I hear, ‘I never thought about that pose in that way, such as, no one ever told me that about chaturanga.’ It always goes back to the basics. Without understanding the foundation, you can’t move forward.”
2. Understand the asana/spiritual connection. ”The last thing you want to be doing is advanced asana without that connection to your heart,” Jeffrey says. “What’s happening is an epidemic of people busting into advanced asanas in an energetic and enthusiastic way, but it’s not connected to inner yoga,” he adds.
3. Learn sequencing. While this isn’t a sequencing class, Jeffrey points out that sequencing is part of learning advanced poses, since it’s necessary to learn the kramas that build to the peak pose. “You’re uncovering the layers of how you would sequence advanced asana,” says Jeffrey.
4. Broaden your horizons. Jeffrey understands that certain advanced poses, such as handstand variations, are intimidating for some. “There are a lot of underlying causes that keep us held back, so it’s important to embrace that energy and hold it in a loving space so it doesn’t become another thing that fragments us.” However, the class is open to students who, for various
reasons, are unable to do the more advanced poses, and so are welcome to learn through observation instead. “You don’t need to be able to do advanced asana to have an advanced practice,” Jeffrey says, but points out another way to view it. “It sounds contradictory, but advanced asana is basic asana.”
5. Have fun! The class will cover everything from floating and jump backs to flying and binding. Plus, “The journey is what’s important,” Jeffrey says.