Every week I share a class theme with my global online Yoga community and my local Madeira based in-person Yoga group. Our theme for Week 44 (Wednesday 2 November 2022) is ‘the middle path’. Our focus will be on natural inner alignment, uniting opposite patterns in our body, mind and breath to find integration in the present moment, just like Siddhartha Guatama Buddha. “This is how alignment was taught in ancient times before the study of anatomy and theories of biomechanics and postural alignment became the norm. In those days, alignment was embodied through visualizing deity forms, which brought the finer qualities of the emotions, sensations, and thought patterns into the breath and body.” – excerpt from ‘The Art of Vinyasa’ by Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor. As we slowly and deliberately move through various spinal positions, shoulder actions, hip openers and hamstring lengtheners to finally pause in kurmasana and peak in tittibhasana, you are invited to observe opposite patterns equanimously and find the balanced middle path. “We all share the oppositional patterns associated with the breath – the constant rising and falling, ebbing and flowing, spreading and contracting, stimulating and relaxing union of opposites within breath, body and mind. The fluctuation of breath is a natural manifestation of a complete and pristine intelligence that is always there, if we choose to pay attention. when we carefully observe and feel our breath, eventually both patterns – the inhalation and the exhalation – remain simultaneously awakened in our nervous system and our awareness, the embodiment of paradox. With practice, we experience a singular focus within the field of awareness, and our thoughts settle effortlessly as the mind becomes calm and steady – the result of paying attention to composite, opposing, and paradoxical patterns as they arise.” – excerpt from ‘The Art of Vinyasa’ by Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor. Hatha Yoga (all physical forms) is the union of high and low pressures, sun and moon, active and passive, uplifting and grounding, and all opposing patterns, including as mentioned in the above excerpts. We will explore our capacity to integrate and hold the middle path.