One of my amazing yoga teachers recently discussed the notion of being an ‘advanced yogi’ at the request of a student. He went on to share that its really not about being able to master the most challenging asanas, contorting your body into unnaturally appearing shapes, or even to be the yogi who can meditate for hours each day. Instead, he described ‘advanced’ as being able to complete a yoga practice without disrupting the central nervous system.
This makes sense to me. If you’ve ever been to a yoga class you’ll have seen a vast spectrum of students. Some, sweating away with laboured breath and seeming to forcefully manipulate their unyielding bodies into various poses. This typically is accompanied by a loud and unsettling series of noises. While other students move with ease and grace, flowing from one movement to the next almost without visible effort or obvious exertion.
Expanding this notion off the yoga mat, I’ve certainly experienced going about things with force and lacking all presence of grace. In hindsight, and often during the period itself, you know when you’re being incongruent to your very self and values. And the result? My adrenal fatigue certainly felt like the accumulation of too much effort and not enough flowing balance. So perhaps there is a bigger life lesson present in the words of this sage teacher. Maybe we can live a richer, more JOYful (advanced) life when we choose grace and don’t constantly push ourselves into situations that upset our central nervous system. I’m willing to give it a go!