Two people came by accident to the ashtanga class I was about to teach. They thought it would be different type of yoga, as the schedule hadn’t been updated on the yoga studio webpage. They were really scared when they heard to what class they had come. It is incredible what kind of wild stories about ashtanga exist. But actually it is no wonder. So many teachers who had been just given “perfect” flexible bodies are teaching ashtanga. A lot of those teachers don’t understand those who have bodies with some problems. I recall how many times I was close to stop practicing ashtanga, even not so long time ago, due to the fact that my body is anything but flexible and “perfect”.
It was quite frustrating for me few times when I was practicing with teachers who were helping only or mostly those people who had “good” bodies and calling those people so gifted and amazing…. Well if somebody is born with the flexible body what amazing is in it , when he/she does quickly difficult complicated asanas without bigger effort? Amazing is when somebody having some problems is continuing and not giving up…….Additionally, people with over flexible bodies must be even more careful than the stiff ones, as they can have quicker serious injuries by doing complicated asanas too soon, prior to developing enough muscles to protect them.
I am riding since I was 10 and I had many accidents with horses. I started to practice yoga some years ago, as I was waking up in the night out of the pain and had to take painkillers to go back to sleep again . Still I practice ashtanga and it helps my body and heals it. As long as I practice in a good way and listen to my body….
Ashtanga really doesn’t kill:) I am convinced everybody can practice it (except for lazy people :)), but as long as many teachers and practitioners will put in internet and will promote ashtanga workshops only or mostly with pictures of “crazy” asanas a lot of people will think that ashtanga yoga is only for the chosen ones. The majority of “mortal” people don’t have over flexible bodies and even those not very spectacular “easy” and “boring” asanas are very difficult for them at the beginning. What’s wrong with pictures of downward dog or trikonasana?!
Why ashtanga? I am talking only about my case, everybody is different, so I am not trying to convince anybody:) I have tried most kinds of yoga, I think. And couldn’t stick to any of them until I met ashtanga. Why? Personally I can’t remove stress from my body only by stitting and by relaxation. I need something more. Ashtanga is a breath and a movement. Sometimes when I have difficult time and I am tired, it is difficult to get up in the morning and get on the mat. First sun salutations and standing postures are a fight sometimes (we start with standing postures in ashtanga, though it is difficult for a lot of people because they are very grounding). But usually with every breath, every posture the stress, tiredness is going out of my body and mind. Then only I am ready to relax at the end of my practice
I start to believe again and have so much energy at the end that can go to my daily tasks and move on. But it is a demanding practice. If You come once, twice a week to classes, it will be always difficult. That’s way daily practice is necessary. People love finding excuses. I have no time, I am tired, etc etc. If you do just few sun salutations at the beginning, but every day, because you are not able for different reasons to do more, it is already a daily practice.
You can hear from many people that ashtanga is dangerous and causes injuries. Not true. I have healed a lot of injuries with ashtanga. Human ego and wrong practice causes injuries, not ashtanga itself.
Ashtanga is important to me, not because of the more and more difficult asanas you can do , if you practice on regular basis and which almost everybody loves putting in internet. It just helps me to see everything from the distance and move on, even in the very difficult moments in life. To get up and to continue, to leave the fear behind, regardless how difficult the path may be, and full of stones…….