The Ashtanga Yoga practice fascinates us through its elegance and power - and it intrigues us by its ancient tradition. Every movement, every breath and every line of vision has been practiced for thousands of years, just like today. To be a part of a tradition that was practiced and passed down through generations of yogis is a magical idea.
Sometimes we hear that Ashtanga Yoga has no tradition all. It is said: "Ashtanga Yoga is just a modern invention." It is true that much of the Ashtanga Yoga tradition is difficult, if not impossible, to prove. But do we always need proof?
From one point of view, life is like looking through a kaleidoscope. You see wonderful colors and geometric patterns. If you are interested only in the physical reality, you will deconstruct the kaleidoscope, and come to the conclusion that all the beauty you have seen comes from only a few splinters of old colored glass. You are disillusioned. The dream of the kaleidoscope has been destroyed.
Yoga is 99 % practice and 1 % theory. Asanas give the body a new shape and allow us to excel beyond our limitations. Thereby the physical practice symbolizes our spiritual way: the willingness to refine ourselves and the confidence to change. Yoga allows us to think outside the mat. After all, a posture is not what you have, but something you make. Thus Ashtanga is a powerful tool, we should handle carefully, because – if misused – can be dangerous as well. With a Russian accent it sounds like this: „Ashtanga-Yoga very practical – like a Kalaschnikow!“
Therefore the advice from Ronald Steiner:
You should use the Ashtanga series as a guideline and with an experienced teacher only. During your practice, pay careful attention to the instructions regarding the level of experience needed for each series.