Going beyond advanced asanas.
Whether you have been practicing yoga for a while or are a beginner, it is easy to get intimidated by a series of complicated asanas or get caught in the hype that these advanced asanas is what progress in one's practice would look like.
It is quite easy to get caught in the trap of the “commercialized” yoga imagine despite great personal progress in our respective yoga practices. We are but human after all.
However, yoga is a much more nurturing and rich experience beyond the poses. Asanas are a vehicle to this experience but is not the end-all. It may sometime escape us that the final pose looks different for different body types and that personal progress beyond emphasis on asanas is equally as important.
Here are some reminders which have kept me grounded and helped strengthen my practice.
It may sound slightly out there but setting an intention before each practice can be helpful in guiding the mind during practice. Whether the intention is deep gratitude, to be more present or more patient during the day, come back to the intention and its sensation when your mind wonders during the course of your practice.
2. Never underestimate the "easy" asanas.
Going back to some basic poses can be an eye-opening experience in understanding how our body performs the asana and rectify our mistakes. For instance, my instructor always reminds the class not to slump our chest in child's pose. Although it is a restive pose and you are more often than not desperate to catch your breath, the integrity of the asana should not be compromised.
Even with a headstand against the wall, it is amazing how I can train myself not to use momentum to kick up but build strength and engage my thigh muscles, among others.
3. Build discipline on being in the present
From the deadlines at work, bank's approval of your business loans, what you are going to eat after class - Everyone's mind wonders. Make a conscious effort to guide the mind back to your practice and build the discipline of being in the present moment a little at a time.
Be gentle with yourself and respect the limitations of your own body. Happy practicing!