Yoga is a process of self discovery, a personal journey of exploration that never ends. People often ask why advanced or challenging poses are necessary if yoga is about the inside. For me headstand, or arm balances of any kind come that, are a huge struggle. The internal striving to get there bringing up all kinds of insecurities, self deprecation & doubt. The inner critic always niggling away inside my head that I’m not good enough.

Yet when I finally conquered some of my fears & quite literally turned my world upside down in a handstand, in the process I had discovered a whole new raft of possibilities.  It had taught me how to find balance, to silence my inner critic but most of all how to rise to a challenge & not always run away.

We all need to be challenged in order for us to learn & to grow. In yoga there is always going to be a pose or a sequence that will challenge anyone or any body. Some folk, because of their strength & natural flexibility, will only find their edge in a challenging asana or flow. However that certainly doesn’t validate their practice or make it anymore admirable than someone who finds challenge in practicing a forward fold. 

Advanced asana are not yoga’s holy grail. Yoga isn’t a strength & flexibility competition. There are no gold medals to be handed out. What counts is the quality of the work & the intention behind our practice. These are the building blocks that we are patiently putting in place when we turn up for ourselves on our mats everyday. This is how yoga teaches us to become a better person & to make a positive contribution to our society & our planet. 

Elisa Williams is currently teaching yoga for everyone & every body online visit