I was asked to blog about what I feel it means to be a skilled yogi.
This is just my opinion. Who is to say I'm right or wrong? It's just how I feel as I try to keep this beautiful art alive. There are many of me out there, we all look different but our focus is the same.....the practice of yoga.
In my opinion (just like you, I have an opinion also) I feel it's following directions in class and mastering wherever you are at. (inside and outside of the studio) Being mindful of self and others, not a push over, but real kindness & empathy.
If you sign up for a gentle class and your practice is a hard practice, with following directions - it's getting your stretching or strength in poses. Following the directions of the instructor/teacher (yes I feel there is a difference between an instructor and teacher - I'll save that for another blog.)
You begin to master the instructions of the person giving the class. You fine tune yourself.
You learn to go within and find your edge thru breathing, thru the asana but mostly thru self.
(keep reading it will make sense)
The poses in yoga is not what yoga is about.
Yoga gives you:
Power of Breath
Self (Body) Awareness
These elements keep you in the present moment.
Never worry about 'showing off' for others or your teacher/instructor. A true teacher teaches without ego and the student knows its between them and their yoga mat.
No one can force you to do anything you don't want to do.
The poses are not what yoga is about. (Yep, I said that above also)
Please do not confuse, acrobatic & gymnastic, dance, the use of goats, puppies / kittens or anything else you can think of, in feeling it's yoga.
Yep, I'll probably get some emails or posts complaining about what yoga is (it's not the first time and if it's a really good email, I'll make it public for all to enjoy) and how great aerial yoga, hot yoga, etc. is.
You've lost the meaning of yoga.
True traditional yoga is not about wrapping yourself in cloth and hanging from a ceiling.
Click on the link above.
The True Purpose of Yoga - Exploring the True Potential of Being Human | by Sadhguru
Call it what it is - Join a circus and learn silks / acrobatics (these are highly skilled experts who can teach you how to hang from a ceiling the right way - not from a yoga teacher), learn about gymnastics (from a qualified, skilled coach, not a yoga teacher), learn about everything you have always wanted to do but learn it from the person who studies it and practices it, whatever it is.
Yoga is a moving meditation.
Yes, I am a traditionalist as much as I can specializing in health related concerns/issues. (when needed)
For all of you who could be saying that is not traditional - I guide you to B.K.S. Iyengar, in full: Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar.
Who? I recommend googling this gentleman.
Yoga gets piggybacked on all of the time. Why? Yoga + ______ = $.
People find a way to 'add' yoga to anything and people will actually think it's real yoga and follow along. Please call it what it is (yes, I've said it again)
A skilled yogi knows also that it masters sitting in silence & sitting the nosiest place and still be able to meditate. They master their inner silence. This can take years. Others can master it sooner or later. It doesn't matter, practice.
No one can steal your thoughts or control your thoughts but you.
If you are a teacher you have most likely have been required to read The Bhagavad-gita.
If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.
"Arjuna said: O Madhusudana, the system of yoga which You have summarized appears impractical and unendurable to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady. The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it is, it seems to me, more difficult than controlling the wind. (Bhagavad-gita 6.33-34)"
The Gita is what yoga is about. In the Yoga Sutras you will find answers to life's questions & what yoga is about.
You can read it in a short time, but we spend a life time studying it.
So you ask me what is a skilled yogi? Someone who practices this everyday outside the studio and inside the studio thru following directions and getting the most from their practice rather then it being of pure physical challenge.
You can practice yoga by mowing the grass, pulling weeds, cleaning the house, etc. BUT, call it what it is: you are washing dishes, you are cutting the grass. It's not a new invention of yoga but...….someone somewhere might have already beat you to it! lol
It's knowing what that real yoga is.