Breath control is regularly referred to in our yoga asana classes: let the breath initiate and capture movement. Perhaps it can help to think of the breath as a needle that pulls the thread of the movement to create a single stitch. The moment the thread is completely pulled through, that breath finishes. The needle then changes direction as we then pull through the next movement. So we need to orchestrate the pace of the movement with the pace of the breath. Too fast and the thread may snag or break. Too slow, and we run out of air before we have completed the stitch. And so, breath by breath, we weave together our practice.
Intermittently, we can pause movement, stay with the breath, and gaze at a distance to review our work. Does the tension in the weave vary where we rushed or lost concentration, were there places where it felt just right? Did the breath and movement separate and we had to re-thread the needle?
Both the weaving and the reviewing are necessary and vital acts in creating our own personal tapestry. We have choices to change pattern, colour, texture, to make it stronger or more supple. At times, we may want to ask advice, gain a trusted opinion.
The stitches we weave are but one part of a universe-wide tapestry, too large to gaze upon but there nonetheless. It connects us all and we all are a part of it. When we learn, teach, share, laugh, love, care, we experience this, and the tapestry grows more beautiful and more resilient. So make your stitches count, one breath at a time.
Ruth teaches yoga in Cheltenham UK, weaving yoga philosophy into the asana practice to help students connect yoga on the mat to their lives off the mat.