I was fortunate to begin my study of yoga with a highly skilled teacher who was already deep into a very sophisticated system. This practice involves preparation, stance training, forms, asana, inversions, meditation and so on. The depth and meaning of such a vast system was so compelling, I was delighted to study as often as I could.
Krishnamacharya, one of the greatest known yoga teachers, concluded that each student must be taught according to his or her own individual capacity at any given time. And it was thought that he often took the pulse of his students as a diagnostic technique to discover their actual capacity at the time of the teaching.
I always liked this idea because it ties so nicely in with the importance of reading the pulse in Chinese medicine. And I have found that teaching individually is a very effective way of discerning what stances, seats, breathing techniques, or forms may be most appropriate for each person.
At its root, yoga is also not only therapeutic in nature, but rather a system based on cultivating the highest possible connections. And I believe Patanjali, the great scribe who was thought to have recorded the Yoga Sutras, was illuminating the limbs of a system that integrate these vital connections. And so the practice of yoga may help us understand that these limbs occur simultaneously, and perpetually… and refining our body, energy, mind, and spirit is what’s necessary to perceive their inter-connections.