Friday, August 17, 2018

Yoga Retreat Diary (updated daily)

This post is the online diary I'm keeping during my Yoga Retreat in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic, from 15th to 25th August of 2018. Next 10 days, I’ll keep updating this post on a daily basis so if you're interested to read, please scroll down this page...

Annual Yoga Retreat - Punta Cana - August 2018

6 a.m. - waking up
7:30 a.m. - first yoga practice (45 min)
9:00 a.m. - breakfast

10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. - beach and pool (swimming, walking)
1:30 p.m. - lunch

6:00 p.m. - second yoga practice (45 min)
8:00 p.m. -  dinner

10:00 p.m. - sleep

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Tomorrow, I am traveling to Punta Cana. I will stay there 10 nights and for 9 straight days, I will do half primary ashtanga yoga twice a day. I will stay in an all-inclusive, 5 stars, adult only resort. I am going alone and my mind is oriented towards yoga practice.

I have packed only basic stuff, t-shirts, swimming pants, short pants, laptop and of course the yoga mat.

The two practices a day requires lots of physical and mental efforts. Ashtanga yoga is a boring practice, so repetitive, strenuous for lower back and knees. The key to having a good practice twice a day is to be well prepared in advance. So far, I had 10 practices in August. I believe that what I did so far is enough and I am ready. On this retreat, I will do 19 practices.

Guruji Pattabhi Jois used to say: “Yoga is very difficult. Everyday practice, practice, practice.” That is exactly what I am going to do. The successful retreat lies in combining yoga with swimming, walking, and some heavy lifting in the resort's gym and of course a lot of rest with a long dreamless sleep.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

My phone alarm woke me up at 5:45 a.m. this morning. I jumped from the bed, had a coffee and called uber to drive me to the airport. I was there around 7:30 a.m.

The flight from Toronto to Punta Cana was 4 hours and 25 minutes. It was a pleasant flight. I had lots of room for my legs. I arrived at Punta Cana at 2:30 p.m., the immigration procedure was fast, took my bag and the bus was waiting to take me to the hotel.

I was the only one who has traveled to this hotel. It was a nice welcoming gesture, a bottle of champagne. I was surprised. I realized this hotel is an exclusive place, no bracelets on the hand, no dinner buffet only ala carte restaurants. I don't really like this, I had brought just one pair of jeans, in which I traveled. Oh well, will see how I am going to go around this.

The room is magnificent. A lot of space, clean and airy. I set my mat and I am about to do my first yoga practice in Punta Cana. the 1st one of 19. I am going to enjoy here.

My room has a beautiful outside look. I don't see the ocean but it is tropical surrounding with palm trees and an artificial lake. Down there is the ocean and I can smell the sea water.

It is 6:10 p.m. and I am starting the first yoga practice in Punta Cana... The better we move, the greater we become. 😊

I did my first yoga practice in Punta Cana at 6:30 p.m. Practice was good I was strong and flexible considering long traveling hours and sitting in the plane. After practice, I showered and left for dinner which was on the beach. I was too tired to take photos. I had pork on the grill and lots of avocado salads. I drunk water the whole night. No beer or alcohol on this trip. I went to bed before 10 p.m..

Thursday, August 16, 2018

I woke up a couple of times in the night, rested but I continue laying down in the bed until 6 a.m. I got up had three small cups of coffees, did banking online and I started morning yoga.

The morning practice was stiffness and heaviness in the beginning, until Uthita-hasta-padangustasanas, after that pose I felt less tightness and usual freedom. Something strange happened on the left side of Parsvotanasana. I put my right hand beside left knee and extended left hand forward and I lost breath. I think I pulled the stomach too much on the left side so breathing was difficult. I felt such panic attack so I had to lose up the pose. I almost pee in my shorts. It is a new experience and I will pay special attention to this feeling.

I need to relax my muscles. I started the second yoga practice at 6:30 p.m. I was on the phone with my girlfriend and we talked for a long time. I had no wish to do yoga at all so to motivate myself I put Sharath's DVD and I followed his breath count through half primary until Navasana. Then I did finishing sequence. I was feeling tired after practice, a quick shower did not shave and I went straight to dinner. I had cappeloni with shrimps. It was a pleasant dinner. I returned to the room around 9:30 p.m. and went to sleep.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Ashtanga yoga is completely unpredictable. Whenever I expect that the practice will be good it ends up to be strenuous, heavy and stiff. I had a nice 8 hours rest last night and yet I was not so eager to start yoga this morning. I started it at 9:30 a.m. 2 hours later than scheduled. 

I was so heavy, left shoulder trapezoid muscle on the back was agitated from sleep on left side and I could tell that muscles are a bit strained. I did not push in stretching too far, I am very cautious not to get injured. My plan is to do 19 practices on this vacation.

So this morning very tough practice, 50 minutes long. I did Navasana a bit longer 8-9 breaths, 5 repetitions. I want to melt my belly fat, I can see the progress but it is still early.

I am consistent and I did not have any beer on the third day now. Last night I did have a glass of red wine. All day today I was drinking just water and I had a couple of coffies...

I swam in the ocean today in the morning, had seafood for lunch and was almost all day in the pool. I feel much more alive today so I started the second practice at 5:30 pm. I could not wait for 6.

As I said, the ashtanga is unpredictable. I had a strong practice, 60 minutes long. I did 5A, 5B sun salutations, Navasana and Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel pose) 3 times. I was avoiding full wheel for a month (instead I did bridge pose) due to pain in the left wrist but today I did it. The wrist pain is still here but it is okay, I can support myself in full wheel pose.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Interview with Zee Mark

I have taken the time to interview myself. You may think I sound crazy, but that’s already the fact, so lets move on.

Why this interview? Well, asking myself questions brings me closer to you - my readers. In writing this, there has been no new things, I just repeated what I already said on these pages but, if you first time read my blog, my answers may surprise you...

Why did you put this photo of yourself when you look tired and sleepless?

I don't know. I like the photo, it is me early in the morning, still in pajamas. I look cute here. I like to look like a military man. I am straightforward and honest, but there’s something that I just can’t accept, something that makes me want to vomit, it is in the moment when I am called a nice guy.

I feel more freedom not being a nice guy. While most of women do want a nice, kind and loving man, they only want him to a point. Simply, when a man is too nice, too kind or too giving, women sense a bullshit. No one is nice all of the time except for bullshiters.

Don't get me wrong, some women want a bullshiter, the one who is too willing to compromise and never pushes back. You know him very well, the one who bends over backwards for his woman while stepping on his own self-respect. The woman tells him - Oh you look so nice on this photo, you are so nice guy, but that's just makes no sense.

Do you post your photos and generally write this blog in order to attract women in your life?

After divorce, 5 years ago, I thought I had nothing to give the world. What do I have to give? I know nothing about life. I thought life was merely a bunch of responsibilities, work, bills, kids, occasional sex and endless fight for who-will-control-who. I thought the best part of my life was what I experienced in my student years and now I was in for a boring and depressing future.

The truth of my divorce is... my heart was crying out for more life. More love, passion, adventure and definitely more craziness, but I didn't know what that meant or how to fulfill the urge for the freedom. All I knew is that I was married but alone.

My girlfriend was reading my blog before we met and she decided to introduce me. So we met for dinner and we started dating on July 29th 2016, I liked her from the first moment I've seen her. I was tired of bad relationships and she return aliveness into my life...

Are you happy with your girlfriend, you have deleted all posts about her?

I have decided not to write about her anymore. We broke up so many times and I described that on my blog. But every time that happened we saw that we love each other and there is no point to pretend otherwise. My only logical action was to delete the all posts about her.

You seems to be an existential nihilist. Are you happy with your life?

I don't like the optimism, you know, hoping that something better will come. Nothing better will come, getting old sucks big way. Whoever told you that with age you will become smarter lied to you. You were young and stupid and then you are not young anymore.

I really don't like optimism, on another hand, I am not a pessimist either. I don't expect bad outcomes, I am not gloomy, joyless and unhopeful. Well, scratch unhopeful. I'm not a pessimist, I'm not an optimist, I am a realist.

The attitude is the thing. I'm a realist, and I'm here to set the record straight. Forget those glasses that can be half empty or half full, the glass could be filled to the brim or emptied to the last drop, it depends how thirsty you are.

In life there is nothing to be happy or unhappy about. Life is not a serious thing. It seems to me that the way most people go on living, they think that the world is supposed to be a logical and consistent place. Well, that is not the case. All misery comes from our idea that the world is true.

We assume that if the world is true then we are also true. This self-importance is the main reason for the feelings of depression, sadness, emptiness, and anxiety. No matter how much we understand about life or don’t, we still have to do the living. I've reached a point when I’m happy with small things. I have no more expectations from life.

It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. The meaning of all of life is just to be alive. There is nothing here to be happy or unhappy about so I stopped worrying. Things take care of themselves, so I intend the best and live my life as it comes...

Ashtanga yoga is a main part of your life?

I am doing Ashtanga yoga for the last 12 years. I am 53 and I still do daily half primary series. For how long I don't know. I am not an advanced practitioner, far from it. I do struggle a lot in my practice. There is no easy way to say this so let me just say it - Ashtanga Yoga is really hard. The half primary version of this practice is still quite challenging. It takes on average 45 minutes to complete.

The longer you practice the more you notice how hard it really is. It is utterly intimidating and defeating endeavor. In any sport by training it you gain strength and you increase the practice just like running or swimming for example... but that doesn't apply for Ashtanga Yoga.

There's no end game in Ashtanga Yoga; no big "accomplished day,” nothing specific you’re training for, nothing to achieve. It’s a constant hard work in progress, you can always go deeper into a pose, extending your ligaments and stretching muscles further to make the pose more challenging.

Practicing daily ashtanga yoga is boring, dull and hard, it does not allow any creativity and wishful thinking. It calls for a complete and total surrender. It is the practice of hopelessness which says that there is no way out... Asana, breath, drishti and vynasas are taking me away from myself... and that is most important.

Do you think your readers understand what are you writing here?

It depends in which category post belongs. All people know what I am talking about in DAILY NEWS, DATING, YOGA etc... but very few understand AWAKENING category. I do post those articles on Spiritual Consciousness Google + group but even there I do not find understanding.

Writing a blog today is not easy. Everything is already written and all ideas are out there. The google search just about anything imaginable will reveal thousands of articles. It can be confusing at a time. So I stick to my own message that I want to convey to my readers and I repeat the same words in different ways...

For example, when I say that people are taking the life too seriously, I mean that they're turning everyday situations into problems, constantly on the lookout for shit to complain about and worry about a bunch of things that simply do not matter. Our bare needs are a place to sleep, something to wear and to have two meals a day. Everything else is luxury to please our vanity.

The perception of the world is distorted by our beliefs about what it is and what it should be. And yes, the world plays around our excessive pride in our appearance, qualities, abilities and achievements. And I don't blame no one! People were lied to their entire life. They must investigate and find out the truth for themselves.

What is Truth?

Truth is... everything in this world, including our sense of ourselves, is FAKE. We are false, our world, aspirations and desires, our family, friends, neighbors, teachers, idols... our country, our job, our interests, striving, hopes and everything else... are just layers of bullshit, the one on the top of another.

We live our life just for one reason - to see through this pile of shit, to see falseness of everything. Instead we make our life serious by setting all kinds of goals - to finish prestigious university, to visit Paris, to see the Eiffel Tower, to complete this asana, to run a marathon, to swim with dolphins, to become rich, to be our own boss, to own a mansion, to drive a Corvette, to find true love - the list, mostly mundane and predictable, is endless.

We are trapped, this is what society wants from us. We live the life where goals, timelines, and deadlines are normal thing. Society tells us that setting and achieving is the only way to lead a fulfilling life, and thus the only way to be truly happy, and they say, we also need to enjoy the process in between - the “journey,” they call it.

We're on the journey following "Work Hard, Dream Big" so we have no time for introspection of our life, no time to think what do we really need and to see our real position.

Is this the main reason for writing this blog?

I'm not here to open eyes to anyone. I am writing because I am straight-forward. There is nothing here to be understood. With my articles, I'm NOT trying to set anyone free.

I'm only telling to my readers that their life is a lie, and they should see it for themselves. If I'm not so convincing, so what? They will continue living their wonderful life just as they did before.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The greatest danger to humanity is not the global warming

Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why so great a proportion of men, long after nature has released them from alien guidance (natura-liter maiorennes), nonetheless gladly remain in lifelong immaturity, and why it is so easy for others to establish themselves as their guardians. It is so easy to be immature.

If I have a book to serve as my understanding, a pastor to serve as my conscience, a physician to determine my diet for me, and so on, I need not exert myself at all. I need not think, if only I can pay: others will readily undertake the irksome work for me.

The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of men have carefully seen to it that the far greatest part of them (including the entire fair sex) regard taking the step to maturity as very dangerous, not to mention difficult.

Having first made their domestic livestock dumb, and having carefully made sure that these docile creatures will not take a single step without the go-cart to which they are harnessed, these guardians then show them the danger that threatens them, should they attempt to walk alone.

Now this danger is not actually so great, for after falling a few times they would in the end certainly learn to walk; but an example of this kind makes men timid and usually frightens them out of all further attempts.

– Immanuel Kant, What is Enlightenment?

The single and the greatest danger to humanity is actually degeneration of human consciousness. 

It is thinking about things that lowers our IQ, harms our cognitive functions, makes us robot like creatures... the things that leads to depression and apathy.

The planet Earth has became a giant shopping mall. The buy and sell mentality is squeezing out the last reminders of human consciousness. Mankind, driven by greed, has become extremely sick.

The crooked political system, distorted entertainment industry, false news and advertisements, phony medical and pharmaceutical industry, dishonest food industry, travel and working conditions, constant wars and lost of basic human rights are our reality.

Humankind has been aspiring to be machine for a few decades now and eventually the effects of this aspiration becomes more and more apparent as toxins build up everywhere...

The Kardashians

Human society is based on dominance and naturally takes the form of Kim Kardashian's ass with few at the top and most at the inside. We live in a system based on her hips, breasts and eyelashes. Her attributes are the omens of our culture.

People seek Kim's attributes, as the form of entertainment. The Kardashians lead a life of laughter, frivolity, and fun. Their fans, mostly teenagers are led to believe in such life which actually hides the realities of poverty, drugs, disease, prostitution and porn.

The Kardashians and they wholesome life ideals represents natural consequence of the fall of humanity. Behind their laughing faces and beneath their skirts lies anger from all the world to see. They are here spreading the misery but they don't feel so much of it, their skin is hard, while they are on the other side of the tube enjoying in the juices of their reality.

Mickey Mouse and Disneyland

Disneyland is the archetype of a robotic city. A city in which illusion is reality, in which the hopes and dreams are realized. Everything at Disneyland is a warm and friendly, laughter and joy, imagination and creativity.

People don't cry in Disneyland.

They are directed in ordered currents and flows. They follow arrows, they stand in lines. Disneyland is, in miniature, the ideal future for humanity. Rules are obeyed because there is no alternative.

The logic of Disneyland is fucking nuts and madness is quite sane there.

As Charles Bukowski said Mickey Mouse had a greater influence on the public than Shakespeare, Milton, Dante, Rabelais, Shostakovich or Van Gogh. Which say "What" about the public.

New Age Bullshit

The New Age ideology is so popular at present time, "spiritual but not religious" concept has gained enormous rise with the social media. The critical thinking and honest observation, spiritual exploration and personal development are not part of the New Age.  The New Age spirituality is naive, misleading, false.

The New Age is like a sponge that wants to absorb all religions, and beliefs from different cultures into one spiritual, economical, unified system just like the world trade and commerce. It is just another invention of liberals in their global madness.

It is a multi-billions business that make people self-satisfied and peaceful. People are been mislead to believe that if you pay attention to something that is harmful simply by asking the questions and becoming aware of it is something very bad. They say, you should never pay attention to, or talk about anything that is "negative".

As the result you have current apathy and passivity to the injustices happening in today's world. Shutting out your resistance is a good way to ensure that you will never take action to try to change the things that are wrong with the world.

Zombies aren't real. But we are moving towards that direction.

This terrifying future for people lead by The Kardashians, three-fingered bastard Mickey Mouse, robotic city of Disneyland and New Age ideology will eventually create humans unable to think in a rational manner... Humans suddenly very much resembling zombies.

Nah. Couldn’t happen. Could it?

Friday, August 10, 2018

There is no journey...

You are born in this world and since that moment you are heading towards death, whether you may like it, dislike it, believe it, disbelieve it, you may be atheist, theist, following this religion, that religion, you may claim you are an incarnation, whatever you may, you are not spared, the death is awaiting you.

You are conditioned thinking that you are on a journey. You want to become rich, to be famous, to be smart and that is causing a feeling of lack so you are seeking something to destroy that feeling. This makes you to always look forward to the future.

But the truth is, nothing you do, know or experience will destroy this "not enough" feeling. Your life is just endless cycle of accumulating wealth, knowledge and experiences.

So your ultimate goal, the main purpose of your life is the spiritual enlightenment, awakening, moksha, liberation, and all that stuff are just variations on the same theme: you want a permanent, uninterrupted happiness.

Unfortunately, no such thing exists. Your wanting something that does not exist is the root of your problems.

Enlightenment is the ultimate disappointment.

Enlightenment is neither no mind, blank mind, empty mind nor stopped mind. It is the fact, as long as the mind is awake it thinks.

Enlightenment is not Nirvana. Nir means not or without and vana means a flame. Fire is a symbol for passion or desire so enlightenment is said to be a desireless state. It is not. Desireless mind is an oxymoron.

Enlightenment is neither the Oneness nor any transcendental state. No experience can be truth because it always involves an experiencer. Who is the experiencer, still reminds to be found.

Enlightenment is not the Etheral Bliss. The feeling of peace and bliss is brought on by the absence of suffering and not because awareness feels good. Enlightenment is not a feeling, that is an experience.

Enlightenment is neither a special status nor some kind of attainment. Truly, I have attained nothing from total enlightenment - Buddha.

Ignorance exists as beliefs and opinions in the mind. With enlightenment you are not getting something that you don't have, you simply remove the ignorance and realize that what you sought so frantically you had all along.

Belief is the conviction of the mind, when you think something to be the case without actual evidence to prove it with certainty.

You never believe that you are hungry or cold, you know it. As the saying goes... your events, your experiences are caused by your present beliefs. If you want to change your present condition start changing your beliefs.

New Age spirituality teaching you that you create your own reality and that you are what are you believing. However, the saying that you create your own reality has been part of our culture for thousand of years now, from The Buddha to Oprah Winfrey...

What you dwell upon you become. - The Buddha
It is done unto you as you believe. - Jesus Christ
Whatever a person’s mind dwells on intensely and with firm resolve, that is exactly what he becomes. - Shankaracharya
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are. - Talmud
We become what we think about all day long. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you can dream it you can do it. - Walt Disney
Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve. - Napoleon Hill
Change your thoughts and you change your world. - Norman Vincent Peale
You see it when you believe it. - Wayne Dyer
Remember, you are co-creating your life with the energy of your own intentions. - Oprah Winfrey

If your relationships aren’t fulfilling, or if you’re struggling financially, or if taking care for an elderly parent and that makes you depressed, you believe that if you simply practice positive thinking you’ll be rewarded with peace of mind. No, even with positive thinking you will still be a slave to your own mind.

The main reason for your slavery is your belief that inner (thoughts) and outside (world) events are true!

These are the first words of truth - not truth in quotation marks but truth in the real meaning of the word; truth which is not merely theoretical, not simply a word, but truth that can be realized:

Recognize that everything, including the sense of “I” is false.
See that the world is but a show, glittering and empty.
Realize that all is nothing.
Check every desire and see where they're leading you.
See that all objects including your relation to mother, father, children, friends etc. are untrue.
Understand that all your relationships are ready to fool you.
See your own meaninglessness.

When you see for yourself THAT,  you will collapse in fear and confusion and you will acquire the greatest virtue of this world... humility. Until that happens to you, changing your beliefs is all theoretical, irrelevant.

Everyone wants to be somebody, and no one wants to be a nobody. You are frustrated in your quest for significance. Our present social system of elitism allows a select few to "succeed". For the majority, the life is just wanting. You remain driven by the desire to be somebody.

Is humility practical? You can agree that humility is a nice quality in others, because you feel safe and comfortable around people who are humble. But when it comes to yourself, you may consider humility a hindrance to success and a recipe of failure.

Changing your beliefs has nothing to do with personal ambitions for worldly success. Real fulfillment can be achieved only through knowing who you are and being what you are meant to be.

A clear sense of false identity cannot be seen from external circumstances; it can only be seen on the foundation of humility. Clear sense of purpose cannot be found in search of success; it can only be based on a deep conviction of your own nothingness.

You may come to experience nothingness in your life, usually by contemplating your own human condition.

First, deeply think about the cosmos. Consider the vastness of the universe, that there are billions upon billions of galaxies with trillions upon trillions of stars and our sun is just one such star and our planet just a single small planet among trillions planets in our galaxy. You may become aware of how insignificant you are and may experience a sense of nothingness in relation to your own existence.

Second, think about the amazing numbers of people that have come before you and the number of people that will come into this world after you are gone, and when you see yourself for what you are, you may also experience your utter insignificance and nothingness.

Third way you may experience nothingness is when you are confronted with death and become aware of your own mortality. This happens when somebody who is close to you dies. The death of a loved one confronts you with the reality of your situation -  that you too are on the path of annihilation, and this realization, together with your lack of understanding of any purpose in your existence, may lead you to the experience of nothingness.

Shakespeare has said this very beautifully in his play Macbeth:

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale,
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.

When you're nothing you experience the infinite.

The experience of nothingness, you should be after, however, is a little different from the above three examples. It is through turning inward and focusing on your own individuality and experiencing its disappearance that you come to experience nothingness. You can't come into your own being until you are free from the whole thing surrounding the concept of "I", "me", self.

The nothingness is the experience of the death of your ego and it is the last experience, after that there is just being - the being of what-you-really-are. It is the highest form of humility.

And, here is the irony. With the humility, you will realize that there is no purpose to life. Life is not a means to an end but an end in itself. Life is not in the future but something in this moment. It is just a game.  😏

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Why People Don't Like Ashtanga Yoga?

Yoga is very popular and it is the top choice on the fitness market today. However, we witness decrease of popularity of Ashtanga yoga. You may see cancellations of Ashtanga classes in yoga studios more often than some other type of yoga be it classic Hatha poses, Hot Yoga's sweaty sessions in a heated studios or any hybrid of Vinyasa yoga. Ashtanga yoga retreats are among the most unpopular and are often cancelled or changed to some other yoga styles.

Lack of Good Ashtanga Yoga Teachers?

The orthopaedic surgeons, physical therapists and chiropractors in North America are increasingly dealing with the ashtanga yoga practitioners which practice has gone awry.

The increase of injuries in ashtanga yoga practice are blamed on the lack of good teachers. Almost everyone with 200 hours teachers training program can and certainly teach ashtanga yoga with poor understanding of the practice itself. Such teachers are badly trained, inexperienced and overzealous and that cause a lot of problems for the students.

A yoga student from England observed it well: "I was at an Ashtanga yoga class and in a posture where you really twist your spine. My teacher came to adjust me in the pose and really pushed me into it. It felt really uncomfortable at the time and it got worse afterwards. It was so painful that I went to the doctor and he told me that I'd bruised a rib."

Very often the students are uncertain about questioning yoga teacher. When you're in the middle of a class it's really difficult to say that something hurts. Ashtanga yoga teachers are known to be quite forceful characters and they assume they know what they are doing.

Let me digress a bit, not all ashtanga yoga teachers are forceful, inexperienced and overzealous. But in general, there is no legislation that dictates standards for teaching ashtanga yoga. It is loyalty of visiting Mysore, being in good terms with Sharath and the practice itself that, seems to me, determine certified ashtanga yoga teacher. They are extremely rare and students are left with 200 hours teacher trainees devoid from the understanding of student psychology, anatomy and most of all the humility as a human being that make up the right credentials for anyone wanted to be a yoga teacher.

Is Ashtanga Really Bad Practice?

Arddha Baddha Padmottanasana, Janu sirsansana C, Mukha Eka Pada Paschimottonasana just to name some of the knee-dangerous asanas that have been injuring students due to stubborn attempts to get into the pose with a no-pain-no-gain attitude.

I’ve heard from and worked with a number of physical therapy (physiotherapy) patients who suffered MCL, LCL or other knee injuries that began in their Ashtanga practice. Usually, this was from a Mysore-style practice, sometimes from teacher adjustments. I’ve also fielded many email inquiries from students about Ashtanga and knee pain. - Dr. Ariele Foster, Yoga Anatomy Academy

Ashtanga Yoga practice is very hard, physically demanding and so dangerous for anyone who cannot do lotus properly. It is so often connected with things like knee-pain and inflammation. The knee is most vulnerable when it is bent with an external rotation of the hip when the front of the thigh moves to the outside of the hip.

Generally speaking, one of the most vulnerable components of Ashtanga yoga is repeated pressure on the lateral knee ligaments since the practice sequence repeats almost daily. For the students who are not so flexible, the practice can cause the repetitive stress syndrome.

Regarding Astanga being a balanced practice, the first series (primary) has a lot of forwarding folding in it. The vinyasas become the counterpose and are peppered through the practice. But this works solely in the Sagittal plane. Some dedicated and skilled Astanga teachers are increasingly questioning the balance of the series in light of growing scientific knowledge, and encouraging variations, making up their own sequences sometimes. – Ruth H., yoga therapy practitioner, trained in Ashtanga Yoga

What About Ashtanga Yoga Students? 

Can they help themselves by taking responsibility for their own practice?

Over the years, I have learned that Ashtanga Yoga is not defined as the mastery of asanas although for many, many practitioners the goal of Ashtanga is binding the hands in Marichyasana D in order to progress through primary series or standing up from a backbend in order to move to intermediate series.

Frankly speaking, goals like this are very harmful. I just like many other practitioners will never be able to bind in Marichyasana D. People will compromise their knees in order to get into the posture. So Marichyasana D becomes the source of a medial meniscus tear.

As Pattabhi Jois used to say, “Health will result from good yoga, ill-health will result from bad yoga.” Clearly, the goal-oriented Ashtanga practice is bad yoga.

Ashtanga yoga is not like getting on a treadmill and start running with constant acceleration. It requires mindfulness and understanding of it's flexibility and strength. Recognize pain that isn't good and continue or stop if you need to. Ashtanga is not a competitive practice and there is no reason to force yourself into a painful pose.

No doubt about it, there is a high level of risk for injury in ashtanga yoga and the practitioners so often forget that yoga is a lifetime practice. More than that, it's a spiritual practice. The physical benefits come with it, but if you're only interested in getting fit, then go to the gym.

It’s Lonely Being An Ashtangi.

There is this “lonely” feeling of ashtanga yoga. The practice definitely calls for lifestyle changes, an inwardness look and life-introspection. The ashtanga eight limbs are so close to self-inquiry.

The loneliest part of ashtanga is being the one of few who early in the morning roll out the mat each day. In such practice there is no teacher telling you what to do and what are you left to focus on. The breath is all that you have and of course your thoughts...

You feel sad and lonely and perhaps romantic at the same time.  That is the first tip of fearlessness, and the first sign of real warrior ship. ~ Chogyam Trungpa

Ashtanga is not about strength so much as it is about keeping attention on breath and strong core... mula bandha. Only daily practice and endless repetition builds the strength very slowly. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts.

...Perhaps it is just the type of people whom Ashtanga attracts. Slightly lonerish Type As? Of course there is the ultimate “lonely” part of Ashtanga: the home practice. I assume other yogis practice at home, but I don’t feel like there is quite the same  emphasis on such a practice... Even Mysore practice is “lonely.” Sure, you are in a room with a bunch of people, but you are all doing your own thing... - Steve, The Confluence Countdown

Ashtanga Yoga Is a Spiritual Practice!

Can you practice yoga without spiritual goal on your mind? I don't know.

Ronald said that some people do yoga and are "solely interested in asana...". I believe this might be true but on another hand what is the life about? Is the main goal in life to gain self-actualization or so popularly called, enlightenment?

What you actually do when you step on the yoga mat, knowing that or not, is that you search for Your Natural State. It is a state of great sensitivity of being awake, not some kind of emotional compassion or tenderness for others. I digress, yes, there is compassion only in the sense that there are no 'others' for you, and so there is no separation.

Whenever you step on the mat, you are actually interested in Moksha, Liberation, Freedom, Transformation, you name it, and you are interested in happiness without one moment of unhappiness, pleasure without pain, it is the same thing.

The Ashtanga yoga practice creates the experience, and the experience strengthens practice. The practitioner is nothing but the practice. That is really what's going on.

Practicing Ashtanga yoga, which is boring, dull and hard, does not allow you creativity and wishful thinking. It calls for a complete and total surrender. It is the practice of hopelessness which says that there is no way out... Asana, breath, drishti and vynasas are taking you away from yourself...