My friend Katie Horwitch had a pretty brilliant idea recently – she wrote a poem about it…
My advanced practice is not a headstand
Or a handstand
Or that twisty arm balancy thingy I learned to do last year after days on end of trying.
My advanced practice isn’t how deep I twist
Or how floaty I get
Or how I move in rhythm with everyone else in the room perfectly without fail.
My level 3 class does not involve higher weights
Or quicker reps
Or all those fancy things people (still) do on a bike.
My advanced class is not 75 minutes, or 90, or a three hour stretch
Because really, who cares about numbers.
Do I impress you? That’s on you.
Do I seem weak? That’s on you, too.
Because my advanced practice happens that second I shift from asleep to awake
The SECOND I move for no one but me.
Have you ever reached your arms out in child’s pose, pressing through the ground, spreading your body so fiercely onto the ground you think it might stick?
Because let me tell you, that is something.
My advanced practice happens when I skip a pose,
Or a whole eight minutes in a row
Because it moves me so much that all I can do is lay there in awe.
My level threes happen in the quietest moments, the longest holds,
The times when I can feel my soul coming alive not from a shape but from a spark inside.
Because my advanced classes and level X practice happens in less than 60 minutes, or 30, or 20, or more, or 90. My advanced practice is not about a number I can show off because “oh look how strong I am for going so long” – it’s about working and living and breathing smart, intention, intuitively.
It’s about “modifying” (I hate that word) pushups on my knees and then not the day after, it’s about sleeping through my workout altogether and being EVEN MORE OF A BADASS. It’s about not the quantity of my perceived excellence, but the quality of my intelligently-used soul time that maybe only I feel inside. I hope I only feel it inside; it’s my precious fuel that allows me to keep going.
It’s not about what it looks like, it’s about what it feels like.
It’s not about touching my toes, it’s about touching my soul.
My advanced practice is not slow or fast, it is what I decide to feel right. It exists with no distractions, it allows me to meet myself every time without fail. My “power” class is the one in which I fall into a deep savasana, rolling over at the end to realize everything yet nothing is quite the same.
I love my twisty arm balance thingy and upside down is very nice.
But my advanced practice involves none of that.
Anyone who tells you differently has probably been in a beginner class all along.