What is an Advanced Asana ?

Feb 08, 2019

Is it simply, as my colleague Doug Keller puts it, “doing postures other people can’t do? Of course not. Though that’s the way we sometimes think about.”

This weekend at Expo Yoga 2019 I'll be teaching an "advanced" arm balances class. Montreal yogis, I hope you'll join me! But be forewarned: For me, the opportunity for "advanced" practice never lies in the pose we achieve, but rather, what we learn about ourselves in the journey toward getting there.

 

Sure, we'll be playing around with physical challenges, standing on our hands, much like this elephant. But what makes that "yoga," of course, lies in the intention and awareness we bring to it, doesn't it?

Rather than external accomplishment, deepening our asana practice calls on us to refine our awareness and expand our capacity for listening, noticing, feeling, sensing. We harness the power of all our senses as well as our intellect to awaken an ever deeper awareness and mine the profundity of what we are doing.

It's here, and only here, where we can avail ourselves of what an "advanced" asana affords us, a chance to listen to the wisdom of the body, to inquire into the workings of our minds, and expand our reflective capacity for the sake of expansive self discovery.

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