Do You Need to Master "Advanced Yoga" to Teach?
What is “Advanced Yoga?”
“Advanced Yoga” often refers to asanas that require greater strength, flexibility, and knowledge of alignment. However, “Advanced Yoga” is incorrect knowledge, for those that truly practice may find themselves in an everlasting moment of now, rather than climbing the hierarchical levels which pamper the tendencies of the egoic mind. The purpose of practicing asana is for increasing steadiness and ease, and to prepare our bodies for meditation so that we may hold greater levels of energy as consciousness expands. In the West, likely due to the exposure of yoga on social media, there is an increased focus on asana practice like yoga, which it is only 1 of 8 limbs. Yoga is a practice of living, of increasing self-awareness and expanding consciousness, for which there are no levels.
On Teaching “Advanced Yoga:”
While teaching yoga, you may find many common themes — usually, people desiring to replicate the gymnasts they saw on Instagram, which might result in injury if they are unaware of their own body and how to move in the correct alignment for themselves. As a yoga teacher, you are guiding your students to reconnect with themselves, and that has nothing to do with putting your feet behind your head! As a yoga teacher, the only “advancement” in asanas are the simply growth and ability to find more and more steadiness and ease. As we have greater experiences of stillness and groundedness in our asana practice, we create space for more energy to move through us and awaken us to our true nature.
Do You Need to Master Yoga As A Teacher?
Mastering Yoga means that we have mastered ourselves. This is an infinite journey of enlightenment, for awakening is only the beginning. Teach what you know, and teach the love that which you are. Teachers are similar to parents, in that our students watch us, with open hearts, for guidance to return to the light which they are. We have a great responsibility, but it does not require standing on your head and twirling. Some of the greatest yoga masters I have connected with teach the deeper methods of meditation, rather than “advanced” yoga asana. Simply increase your capability of stillness within yourself, increase your experience of silence, this is true growth in the art of yoga.
Be Kind With Your Mind
Be kind with yourself and watch your self-talk because it is very easy to get lost in the egoic tendencies of the mind which self-sabotage. If you are trying out a new asana in your body, be kind and gentle with no expectations. Handstand is a great example of a challenging posture because it requires you to balance on your hands and fingers! It’s important not to hide away in fear of these asanas, and use asana as a tool for physical growth as well as emotional growth. Often with inversions, we experience fear in the beginning because we are not used to being upside down. Yoga is the practice of changing our habits, expanding our consciousness, and self growth. So please, continue your practice, if asana suits you to start, begin there, and continue your meditation practice, for this is where you may experience your own divine nature.