Advanced Poses and Social Media

“The Study of asana is not about mastering the posture. It’s about using the posture to understand and transform yourself.” ~ #Gary Kraftsow

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Although I mostly post pictures of advanced postures, handstands namely and especially recently while participating in #handstandlove, my yoga practice did not begin where it is now. Yoga is a journey that can take you to many places with a proper practice and much discipline. My journey to balancing on my hands has taken me many years, guided instructions, and falls to achieve. I realize now that my posts could be misleading and even dangerous, the poses could be mistaken as the ultimate goal in an asana practice. As a yoga instructor, my passion for teaching and practicing is equal, and my intention is not to misrepresent yoga to anyone.

Yoga begins and continues with so much more than the ability to stand upside down. Yoga is the unity between the body, mind, and breath. It connects us to our inner and outer strength, helps us to be mindful on and off of our mats, and prepares us to respond rather than react to situations in our lives. As our asanas (physical poses) begin to strengthen with correct form and alignment, we can make the decision to try something new and possibly advanced. Or we can to continue to strengthen where we are now.

On Instagram and other social media outlets there’s a plethora of yogis posing in beautiful asanas and it’s easy to want to try to make these poses happen in our own bodies too. And while being inspired is great, attempting to recreate before your practice or your body is ready, can be dangerous. It’s also easy to see the picture without seeing the falls and retakes that go into getting just the right shot or angle. Trust me, there are MANY!

To avoid injury, it is essential to practice beginner and intermediate poses first, before even attempting advanced asanas. Work first on getting your alignment on point and gaining the strength that is pertinent to holding such poses (ie. if you are still struggling in your chatturanga, it’s probably not a good idea to kick up to handstand). The yoga practice is always going to be there, why rush from point A to point Z without visiting all the other letters along the way? Life is long and so to is the journey of yoga. Savor each moment and try to find just as much fulfillment and satisfaction in child’s pose as you do in the advanced poses.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being upside down and I feel really good while balancing on my hands. But holding a handstand is not the source of my joy, it does not define who I am, it does not measure my practice or my passion to teach, and it does not reflect all of my dreams or accomplishments.

I hope my pictures inspire you to commit to and further your practice, or to give yoga a try if you haven’t yet. I hope that they can make you smile. I hope you can realize that a picture is just a picture, and that it doesn’t represent the entire spectrum of my life or the years that have been dedicated to my yoga practice.

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