If you come to a yoga class here you might be surprised at the order of class.
I do not start with breathing. So many people do. I used to. But not anymore. The more I learn about yoga, about the purpose of things, the more I shift to the traditional order of things.
Why is this?
We practice asana (move and still the body) to prepare the breath. We practice pranayama (move and still the breath) to prepare the mind. And we practice meditation (move and still the mind) to prepare the heart.
The goal of yoga isn't to be able to put your foot behind your head. You may have a body that can do that, and you may enjoy those types of physical practices. But maybe not. Maybe your movement practices happen while you sit in a chair. Or a wheelchair. Or lying in your bed.
The goal of a yoga practice is not to be able to hold your breath for many minutes. Or to breathe 200 breaths in one minute. Maybe you need to breathe 20 times each minute right now. Maybe breathing is a struggle for you.
The goal of a yoga practice is not to sit in lotus pose, meditating for hours on end in silence. Maybe you can only sit with many props, or on a chair. Maybe you need something to help you maintain a focus for a few minutes — an object, a guide, a movement, words.
The goal of yoga is to find peace in your heart, even if it's just for a moment. You don't have to be a person who carries your equanimity around with you every moment of every day. You don't have to be a picture of quiet perfection. Who is? (Not me.)
But maybe you'll find a moment of peace. And maybe, later when you're off the mat, you'll be able to remember and connect to that moment every once in a while. Maybe you'll start to feel a little more peace in your heart.
That would be a good out outcome.