Starting from the beginning…

One of the things that I notice beginners find hardest is to coordinate their breath and movement in class.  Yet this is really fundamental to our practice, as it makes us concentrate and by doing so, bring the mind to focus on the matter at hand as well.  In daily life we may rarely notice our breath (and body, for that matter!) unless it becomes a problem.  Living in our head, we forget about the physical entity that we reside in and if we spare it any thought, it is frequently in connection to how stretchy or bendy it is when asked to perform the contortions of certain yoga postures.

However, as Desikachar points out in his book ‘The heart of yoga’, “Much more important than these outer manifestations is the way we feel the postures and the breath.”  As with anything else we learn, it makes sense to begin with easier moves and progress to more challenging ones once we are able.  If I decided to learn a foreign language, I wouldn’t begin by doing a degree in it. I would start with something easier.  I would also consider my aptitude and make allowances,  So with yoga, if there is a physical issue that affects our practice, we need to make adaptations.  Desikachar tells us “It is only possible to find the qualities that are essential to asana if we recognise our own starting point and learn to accept it.”