If you have been practicing Yoga (Asanas) then the questions about making a progress such as ‘whether you are on the right track, should you consider yourself still a beginner, how your practice can be made advanced practice’ will pop up. Yoga is such an individual practice that does not have any fixed measurements or scales suitable for everyone. Yet, there are some parameters through which one can measure himself/herself and find out how far they have traveled in this journey.
Coordinating with Breath
How to coordinate the movements in the asana practice will be the beginning of the Asana practice. Though not deeper, you will be directed by your yoga teacher each time on how to use inhale-exhale in different movements during the asana practice. This might not be very interesting in the beginning. However, you will start finding Yoga classes wherein the yoga teacher focuses on the breath.
Exploring the Asana practice with Alignment
How to practice Asanas without having an injury and how every posture can be practiced with subtle techniques involved in that particular posture’ is the next phase of your Asana practice. Every Asana will have some techniques to be understood while they also teach you how not to get injured too.
With Alignment added, your focus will be on how to keep the physical body aligned in the practice of an asana. This can take a long time as both flexibility and strength are the main factors to keep the body aligned during the practice.
Breath-focused Asana practice
It can take a longer time to reach this stage as here, the body moves into the Asana without any uncomfortable feeling. It is an undisturbed flow of the movements. Whether you are moving into the pose, in the pose or out of the pose it does not disturb the pace of the breath. You are not required to work especially on the alignment of the body as it has the memory of the poses. Your mind stays longer focused on the breath. Your breathing is trained to have an expansion, in turn, working on the pranic layers.
Mind into Infinity
The next phase can be considered the advanced practice of Asana. Here the focus from the breath shifts towards infinity. There is no effort being made to practice the asana. The asanas are expressed as a divine song sung by a legendary musician. Your Asana practice is merely an expression of the state of mind which is in Infinity. The mind dwells in the state of meditation. Meditation can’t be done. It happens to you through the continuous practice of concentration (Dharana) on the breath. Here it is “Prayatnashaithilya-anantasamaapattibhyam” Yoga Sutra of Patanjali.
Every pose leads you to reach meditation. Every movement on and off the mat becomes an asana and every moment of living gets filled with Life.