So, what is an advanced ‘yogi’ – please enlighten me. Because, next year will be my tenth year of practise and fourth year of teaching and I would not consider myself advanced.
I really, really, REALLY, hate classes that exclude based on ‘experience’. What I regard as ‘advanced’ yoga will be different to what you regard as advanced yoga. And what I really despise is ‘advanced yogis only please’ – as if tagging the interjection on makes it any less cliquey.
Does advanced apply to the asana? The pranayama? The meditation? Why, as a community, are we still excluding people from our classes based on ability? Why, as teachers, are you applying ability levels to your classes? As students, does this deter you from certain classes?
Don’t get me wrong, I believe absolute beginners should be made aware of the intensity of the asana involved in the class – but, my boyfriend can arm balance far better than I can and he’s been doing ‘yoga’ sporadically for a year at best. Would he regard himself more experienced than me? Doubt it.
As yoga teachers, we should be able to offer a wealth of variations and modifications to make our classes inclusive for any experience level, to allow the student the most enriching and nourishing class available to them.
As yoga students, you should take the advice of your teacher, taking resting postures when needed and not pushing yourself to pain or discomfort if the ego of the mind creeps in, tempting you to keep up with the pace of the class at a detriment to yourself.
It’s perfectly fine to define your classes based on the energy and strength needed to move through the postures of the class – but drop the ‘please’, drop the exclusion.
Yoga classes are not cliques. Anyone is allowed to sit with you.