We experiment with longer timings to see how holding a pose for longer can help us become more aware of the more subtle actions that it contains. We will also return to some of the poses more than once, taking short breaks to discuss and assess what we did right or wrong in the previous iteration. Revising the poses in this way during the class will lead to a deeper understanding of the poses and of how they affect us not just physically but also mentally. This is all very useful, especially as you reach the higher levels and a pose that seems familiar and well-known might start to present itself differently and create new challenges.
Such meticulous study of separate poses is also useful if you’re thinking of eventually moving on to teaching yoga to others: the extended timings give you space and time to consider what it really means to be in this or that pose. They give you time to reflect and think back on how your understanding of the pose has changed over the course of your practice: where you began, what challenges you had to overcome and how you overcame them, and what insights about it proved most valuable in your journey.
Once you realize these things for yourself, you will be more capable of explaining them to others. And even if you’re not aiming to teach yoga, gaining this level of understanding will deepen your appreciation of each separate pose. Each one will start to feel complex and beautiful in its own way, no matter how simple it might have seemed. And then, having understood the complexity of simple poses like Tadasana and Utthita Trikonasana, you’ll be able to see that some of the same actions are then used for more complicated and advanced poses like Parivritta Trikonasana and Ardha Chandrasana. You will see that there is an element that links all standing poses and then an even deeper element that links all asana types.