A couple of articles here on the changing approaches to yoga. First, the brilliant Matthew Remski writing about ‘extreme practice and injury in asana’ and also touching on the online trend of posting pictures of extreme yoga poses which, for most of us, are completely inaccessible.
‘Pattabhi Jois was fond of the adage, “With enough heat, even iron will bend”. But this new rationalist yoga discourse imposes clearer limits upon the aspirational body, insisting that muscles do not get “longer”, and pain is not an “opening” – except in a pathological sense. The primal dream of bodily transformation through “being worked into a noodle”, as Jois student Annie Pace described it, is being eclipsed by the simpler goal of enhancing a natural range of motion for functional movement.’ See more here.
On a similar note, Jenni Rawlings discusses how our different body proportions affect our practice, stressing the importance of moving away from the ‘one-pose fits all’ approach in yoga, which can force the body into shapes that could cause injury by focusing on the aesthetics of the pose:
‘In the yoga world, we often conceive of asanas as having one final form that we are all striving to “achieve” or “finish.” But when we learn to appreciate the role that our unique body proportions play in what our specific yoga poses look like (or how hard we might be working in our shapes), we can start to broaden our notion of what it means to “progress” in yoga practice. Ultimately, our top priority in any asana should be for the shape to serve the individual body performing it; how the pose looks will then be a natural byproduct of that goal.’ For the full article see here