Yoga Talk Podcast 21: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced: What Does It Mean?

July 20, 2015    BY Yoga International

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Kat is joined in the studio by guest host Emily Smith (whom you may remember from our very first podcast on yoga and body image!). Today we're exploring the questions: 

What does it mean to be beginner, intermediate, or advanced in yoga? And are terms like these even useful?

This week's topic was suggested by Lynne in Ontario (thanks, Lynne!). 

Talking points include:

What makes a practice advanced?

On a practical level, how do we label classes?

  • Avoiding value judgments
  • How do you label/market a class that includes physically challenging/complicated poses that may require previous experience and preparations?
  • “Not Every Yoga Class Is for Every Body All the Time,” by Dianne Bondy
  • Bridging the gap between beginner/level I classes that may just include relatively basic asana, and level 2/3 intermediate-level classes where students may already be expected to know more challenging asana

All-Levels Classes

  • Differ greatly depending on style 
  • ”Teach to the middle.” “Offer options.”  (Good advice, but can be easier said than done!)
  • Tips for making class challenging without making it complicated 
  • "Redefining Power in Yoga," by Dianne Bondy
  • The importance of inclusive cuing: Avoiding words and phrases s like “advanced option,” “modification,” “deeper,” “if you’re more flexible,” etc. Instead, choose phrases like: “If you’d like to focus on ____ today, try ____,” or “another variation you could try is ____.” 

The Role of Body Proportions in "Advanced" Asana 

Different Styles of Yoga

  • Ashtanga: primary through sixth series 
  • How would a beginner approach Ashtanga?
  • More Ashtanga info
  • Iyengar Yoga
  • Levels
  • Class series in lieu of drop-ins are common
  • Other styles

"Advanced" Asana and Injury

  • Differentiating between asana as therapy and asana as a physical challenge

The Importance of Cross-Training!

Send your comments, questions, and future show ideas to: YogaTalk@yogainternational.com

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Our intro and outro is "Namaste Nation" by The Householders. Listen to the whole thing on their Soundcloud page: https://soundcloud.com/thehouseholders

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