I was asked today by someone how they could get to the next level in their practice.
This is an easy whole to get stuck in and sometimes quite hard to navigate our way out of, instagram shows us all the “if you want this, do this” posts, the picture of “advanced yoga” is something close to unachievable for most and if we start to focus on achieving a certain posture we can sometimes find ourselves getting less from our practice rather than more.
So often I’ve seen people mistake doing a more advanced pose as taking their practice to the next level, and yes there is some truth with that but it’s not all it seems.
Postures get more advanced but within that our practice can be taken to the next level without really focusing on “harder” poses.
The first place to start is getting curious in your current practice, are you avoiding certain basic postures and just doing the ones you “love”?
We are amazing at avoiding discomfort, our minds are brilliant at keeping us occupied in the comfortable place so we don’t have to go their so it can be very easy to go onto auto-pilot in your practice and flow through the things that feel good, before you know it your time is up and yes you feel chilled but....and here’s the but....have you started to delve into the next layer or have you taken the easier route?
So here you need to ask yourself the question, what poses don’t I like? What poses do I actively avoid?
This is where you start, by making a decision to ”go there” by adding maybe one or two of the poses that you dislike into your practice.
The next thing to notice is, now these postures are in there, can you make them your “peak” pose, can you spend time getting to know them, exploring them, and seeing what comes up. Because below the initial thought of “I don’t like this” there’s layers of holding, patterns that have become locked down that are all hiding in these postures.
Notice also what’s happening in the postures that you think you love, are you doing the same version? Can you add a modification? Enter differently, dare I say it, not go so deep? What does all this bring up for you?
Sometimes if we are open in a certain area of our body, dropping deep can be the easier option, waiting in the prep posture can be far harder and where your work will be done, the ego can play a huge part here, goading you to go deeper just to please it, but what happens if you sit back a little and change it up? Refusing to comply with ego and getting curious with how that feels?
Once you’ve worked into your current practice and you’ve learnt your patterns you can then start to feel out some more advanced postures, don’t just go with what looks the coolest for insta though, bodies get damaged that way.
How I choose is I first come from a place emotionally that I’d like to explore, maybe it’s heart opening, loving myself, self care. Maybe it’s feeling grounded, connected to my feminine, rooted. Maybe it’s more balanced, less in my mind and more in my feet. Maybe it’s feeling stronger in my own self, releasing the feeling of weakness and being open to a bit of belly fire, building up my inner strength.
Once I feel what I want to work on I then work with postures around that, love is heart openers, back bends etc. Rooted is hips and pelvis. Balance well any for of balance. Inner strength, some core.
By shaping your practice around an energy you are doing even more internal work that just stretching, and this coupled with adding some new postures
in around those themes will deepen your practice and take it to the next level.
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