Yoga For Beginners – Does your class measure up?
Article by Yogacharya
Pictures of stretchy bendy people in yoga magazine and all over the internet does little to fill the yoga newbie with confidence. That’s probably one of the main reasons why yoga for beginners classes have become more common. But these classes might be adding more to the problem than the solution…
Breaking yoga up into different levels, based upon the level of physical difficulty involved, really paints a superficial picture of what yoga is. And just in case you didn’t know, yoga had virtually nothing to do with stretching your body.
Most people I meet are yoga beginners… and I’m talking about folks, including a lot of yoga teacher out there, who have been “doing yoga” for years.
The mistaken idea is that one’s “level of yoga”, be it beginner, intermediate, or advanced, is primarily determined by their proficiency in the performance of the physical yoga exercises.
If that were true, however, then we could count a lot of elite athletes, ballet dancers and circus performers as advanced yogis too… which they almost certainly aren’t.
They aren’t because we know that yoga has very little to do with how flexible you are or how much bodily strength and control you’ve gained. In the holistic science of yoga, these physical abilities really actually don’t count for very much.
Being an advanced yoga practitioner means much more than demonstrating how far you can backbend. It means demonstrating an uncommon level of poise amidst the challenges and turmoil of life… and a firm control over our emotions and mental urges too, not just our physical body.
Most importantly, it means showing others, by example, how to live in a way that reflects a deep respect for everyone on this earth, regardless of their ideologies or actions. That’s not easy for the average person to do, I agree, but the one who is advanced in yoga is truly no “average person.”
On the flip side, most of the modern yogis I meet, the ones who can do lots of impressive things with their bodies, don’t really seem to demonstrate much else. Often their personal lives don’t seem to be devoid of any less drama than those of their students and neighbors.
The power of yoga to transform our lives is limitless, yet, like the human brain I suppose, 97.6% of that potential remains untapped.
We can access it though, but that has to start with yoga teachers taking a more fuller approach to their beginners yoga classes, introducing students to a more comprehensive view of yoga as a “way of life” rather than just a system of exercises.
If that starts to happen, then it could be the seed that might eventually lead to the emergence of a few bonefied “advanced yoga practitioners” into this world… which surely wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.
About the Author
Yogacharya is the Founder of International Yogalayam http://www.discover-yoga-online.com and creator of The Yoga Tutor, an online yoga training website. For your FREE TRIAL of The Yoga Tutor, visit http://www.theyogatutor.com
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