Yoga Pose Levels
Learn more about the three pose levels to find out where you are in your yoga practice.
You hear about yoga all the time these days from celebrities to the mainstream and it seems as if there is a yoga studio on every corner. Let’s face it if you aren’t practicing yoga, you missing out! Here’s an interesting stat for you, for those people who do not practice yoga currently, 44% consider themselves to be ‘aspirational yogis’ which simply means these are people who are interested in trying it. One of the biggest reasons people do not try yoga is out of fear of the unknown. We totally get it, although yoga is all about de-stressing and finding your inner self, getting started with yoga can give you anxiety just thinking about it. There are not only many different types of yoga, but there are also different levels of yoga. If you are just getting started it might be overwhelming to you. At Yama Yoga Store we would like to take the guesswork out of yoga and explain the different levels so that you can better understand what they are and what you can expect from each one. If you are looking for specific poses for each level, check out this great source we found from the Yoga Journal.
It’s a common mistake to assume that a Level 1 class is for the less than flexible and a Level 2 is for more advanced yogis. Unfortunately, it’s much more complicated than that. Many people attend Level 1 classes for years even if they are flexible and have mastered the poses. You should always start with Level 1 and work your way up because there is so much value to be gained working on foundational postures. In fact, it’s not about your flexibility, it’s about your knowledge and experience of yoga. For example, first and foremost you need to learn the essential points of alignment in downward dog or a connectedness to the body.
All classes will place an emphasis on using the breath and working mindfully with the body in order to tap into working with the mind. Whether through movement, chanting, or meditation, all levels will lead you to centered calm where you can reap the physical and mental rewards of yoga. Level 1 classes guide you slowly through many basics. While it is suitable for beginners, it is also for those working with an injury and more seasoned practitioners. The focus will be on safety and alignment. This will help to make the beginner more comfortable and familiar with common yoga postures. If you want a really informative and full website on Yoga For Beginners, check out Yoga Priorities, Yoga for Beginners - All You Need to Know to Get Started: https://yogapriority.com/yoga-for-beginners/. This is an excellent site with no nonsense and easy navigation!
What to expect:
Your teacher will most likely demonstrate the posture. You can expect a well-rounded class of forwarding bends, gentle backbends, and twists. Modifications will be given and props used. You might also be introduced to postures that prepare you for more intermediate ones.
Are you interested in seeing what some of the beginner level poses look like? The Yoga Poses for Beginners from Yoga Journal will give you a good idea of what to expect during your first yoga session.
Level 2 classes assume a working knowledge of yoga. The class might proceed a little bit quicker than a Level 1 class but time will still be spent working in each pose. The flow of the poses will be more fluid than at the beginner level. At the intermediate level you can expect the instructor to move around more as she helps students ensure they have the pose correct, as well as, directing them to go further into the stretch. This is an exciting and challenging time as you work your way to learning new poses to take your practice to the next level.
What to expect:
You will likely explore inversions which are simply going upside down in shoulder stand or headstand. Your stamina and your flexibility will be tested as you might hold balancing postures that require sustained muscle support as well as concentration. Be patient in a Level 2 class. The body takes time to change, and you don’t want to risk injury. Try not to focus on what you expect your practice to look like, and instead accept it for what it is. Check out the Intermediate Yoga Poses on Yoga Journal as examples as you challenge yourself and expand your yoga path.
If you think you have reached the epitome of yoga practice with a Level 3 class, you’re going to be very disappointed. You should pride yourself in reaching level 3 but do it with grace and humility because this is one of the greatest lessons a Level 3 practitioner learns.
What to expect:
You will have to be totally focused on what is happening in your body and your mind. Concentrating on your practice with limited distractions is what is expected. A Level 3 class will likely be filled with balances and deep backbends with the occasional Level 1 and 2 transition postures. When you are ready to try more challenging asanas take a look at the Advanced Yoga Poses from Yoga Journal to inspire you to be the best yogi you can be!
The benefits of yoga are far more than just physical and as you begin to experience mental clarity you will be hooked.
You can learn so much about yourself as you begin to practice yoga but consistency is key. If you are consistent you will notice changes to your overall well-being and happiness. So what are you waiting for?
Go ahead and find your ‘Om.’