“Am I an Intermediate or Advanced Yogi?” (Take the test)

Sophia Herbst
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Having trouble picking the right workshops or classes for your skill level… because you have no idea what your skill level is? Here’s a handy-dandy cheat sheet that you can stand up and try right now to better identify what type of classes will be a breeze – or a challenge – for you.

Two things to note:

First, yoga is not about “levels,” it’s not a competition to be the best, and this post is not meant to make you feel “bad” about what you can and cannot do. Think of it as a diagnostic practice. You are taking stock of what is good, and what you still could work on.

Two, the line between “intermediate” and “advanced” can be very fuzzy. In general, your skill level in yoga transcends the poses themselves and is mainly about your focus on the inside.

Here are two quick “guidelines” for what makes a yogi intermediate or advanced, but these are by no means strict definitions:

Intermediate: You can focus on a few instructions from your teacher, or a few components of a pose at once. For example, in wheel pose you are not just making the shape, you are actively focusing on bringing your pelvis up and relaxing your glutes and distributing the weight evenly on your wrists all at once.

Advanced: You can focus on many components of a pose at once, and combine skill sets even though your strengths and weaknesses may vary. For example, Dancer’s pose combines balancing and backbending. Advanced practitioners are able to focus on the small components of the pose from hand placement to knee-hip alignment, without losing focus on the overarching skills of flexibility, strength, or stability.
 

Ready to find out if you are intermediate or advanced?

 

The Hip-Opener Test:

Pigeon Pose vs. King Pigeon Pose

Pigeon-Pose-vs-King-Pigeon-Pose

Pictured: Kino MacGregor & Kerri Verna

 


 

The Balancing Poses Test:

Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose vs. Birds of Paradise

big-toe-hold-vs-birds-of-paradise

Pictured: Kino MacGregor

 


 

 


 

The Backbends Test:

Wheel Pose vs. Kapotasana

wheel-v-pigeon-pose

Pictured: MacKenzie Miller

 

Camel Pose vs. Standing Back Bend

camel-vs-backbend

Pictured: Kerri Verna & Kino MacGregor

 


 

The Arm Balances Test:

Crow Pose (bent arms) vs. Crane Pose (straight arms)

Crow-Pose-bent-arms-vs-Crane-Pose-straight-arms

Pictured: Patrick Beach & Dylan Werner

 

Scale Pose vs. L-Sit

scale-vs-lsit

Pictured: Kino MacGregor

 


 

The Inversions Test:

Tripod Headstand vs. Palms-Up Headstand

tripod-headstand-vs-palms-headstand

Pictured: Kerri Verna & Kino MacGregor

 

Feathered Peacock Pose vs. Handstand

forearm-stand-vs-handstand

Pictured: Kino MacGregor & Dylan Werner

 
How did you match up? Remember that the main point is not to slap a label on yourself to feel better. The main point is that benchmarks are helpful for tracking your progress, and can be helpful for future reference when choosing online or studio classes, or picking a yoga retreat that’s right for you. Have any questions about the differences in these poses, or anything else about your yoga practice progress? Feel free to ask in the comments below!

This article has been read 10K+ times. Bada bing!

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Sophia Herbst

Sophia Herbst is a Seattle-based freelance writer, blogger, and proud feminist. When she's not writing for Cody, a health & fitness startup, she's practicing yoga and CrossFit.

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