Updated: Dec 29, 2020
When I'm in Downward facing dog presumably the goal is to have my heels on the floor and be in a perfect V shape. If I'm in uttanasana I should just fold in half. In seated wide legged forward fold and the goal is to reach my chest to the floor.
My heels don't touch the floor in Downward facing dog, in forward fold I definitely do not fold in half, in seated wide legged forward fold when I actually keep my back straight I don't move far at all. So I just assumed I wasn't good enough at those postures. Because I was nowhere near the goal. I very nearly didn't do Teacher Training because I didn't think my forward fold was foldy enough.
And then I noticed on the YTT that whenever the goal of the pose was spoken about it was rarely about the alignment or depth, instead it was about where you should (and shouldn't) be able to feel a stretch in postures working flexibility or where you should feel a 'burn' or contraction of muscles in strength building poses.
'In your classes the person over there who has reached their feet with a flat back and the person next to them who has moved an inch forward (still with a flat back) is getting the exact same benefit.' would be patiently explained.
I would diligently write down my notes for the first couple of weeks but it never really sunk in, Then finally it clicked BUT OF COURSE THEY ARE. They're getting the benefit of that pose for their body. They're doing it they're feeling it. So how can they not be? And how an earth can making the pose useful for your body not be the goal?
It's with some consistency of practice (but please don't start beating yourself up here - we've all got enough pressure at the moment, I still haven't made a sodding banana bread or even thought about sourdough) and it's with challenging ourselves to find that feeling. It's through asking ourselves to find our edge - and to stay away from pain - again and again that we will naturally gradually find some more space opens up, space that's right for our own bodies, our own bone structures.
I now believe the goal of the pose is to keep listening, to keep feeling. It feels blindingly obvious and yet in 10 years of practicing Yoga it never fully clicked. Hopefully your mind is full of far more sense than mine, but, just in case.. this is what I mean, and will always mean by the 'goal of the pose'.