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As beginners in a yoga practice, we may find ourselves with instructors and practitioners who show us their advanced asana (physical poses), with little or no explanation about the gradual process of achieving the asana.

It is impressive when we perceive someone as spontaneously capable of a pose that seems so daunting. Perhaps an instructor goes into Mayurasana (the peacock pose). Or a student practicing near us shows how they can do the Astavakrasana (the eight angle pose).

Meanwhile, we’re still trying to stand straight and balance in Vrkasana (the tree pose).

The key in those moments as a beginner is to remember that these are only the finished poses. The real objective is inner alignment for enlightenment — through movement and personal development.  So as we concentrate on straightening our posture, feeling rooted in the earth, reaching towards the sky, and experiencing balance in Vrkasana – and if we are able to do this (even slightly) better than in the practice session before — therein lies the value.

The achievement is not the advanced asana; it is to advance with and through asana.

The heartfelt intent to be present and diligent in our practice – stretching ourselves and growing steadily in yoga discipline: that is what we ought to focus on and celebrate, not the finished poses. That inner knowing of how one is growing – that’s not easy to teach or something to show off, is it? Doesn’t it just glow brilliantly? ❂

| Feature Photo by Yan Krukov |

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