I'm often asked what level my class is - beginners? advanced? The answer is not easy for me to explain. Yes, I'm teaching poses that are appropriate for beginners, but advanced practitioners would also be wise to take a step back and re-connect with the basics. But, just knowing the poses and being hyper-flexible does NOT make you an advanced yogi.
I found this article on http://www.yogayak.com/ and some of the statements really hit home with me.
"...Carving up yoga into levels of physical difficulty, does not give the right impression of it. It sends the message that yoga is about how well conditioned and flexible your body is. In case you didn't know...that has little to do with yoga.
Rarely do I meet anyone who is not a yoga beginner, actually...and that goes for some extraordinarily flexible yoga teachers too. The modern yoga class culture would seem to suggest that physical mastery of some yoga exercises is the gauge we use to assess a person's "level" of yoga. If that were true, though, then we'd have to consider many athletes, world-class dancers and even circus performers as advanced yoga practitioners, too.
But we don't. because we know that yoga has very little to do with how flexible you are or how much bodily strength and control you've gained. In the holistic science of yoga, these physical abilities really actually don't count for very much.
Being an advanced yoga practitioner means much more than demonstrating how far you can back bend. It means demonstrating an uncommon level of poise amidst the challenges and turmoil of life...and a firm control over our emotion and mental urges too, not just our physical body.
Most importantly, it means showing others, by example, how to live in a way that reflects a deep respect on this earth, regardless of their ideologies or actions. That's not easy for the average person to do, I agree, but the one who is advanced in yoga is truly no "average" person."
On that note, Yoga Yak has numerous FREE videos on meditation, pranayam, and asana practices (some over an hour) suitable for beginner's in all stages of their yoga journey.