I recall reading a blog post once where the blogger reiterated that Ashtanga is so hardcore that it needs to be typed with a capital A. It is and it does.
I find myself trying to think up excuses not to practice when I’m not feeling like Superwoman, because let’s face it, that’s what you need to be to have a relatively smooth time on the mat. Most of the time I fluctuate between ‘retarded chicken’ and ‘ballerina’ and am very grateful that Ashtanga is done in studios without mirrors where everyone else is so focused on themselves that they don’t notice those around them.
You see, Ashtanga is designed in such a way (I summise) that it makes you believe that you are getting out of the rapids, and then throws you back in the deep end with a plastic bag over your head. Repeatedly. Even the way it is taught is such that you are always thrown into trying the full posture instead of the modifications up-front. If you can’t do it, then you modify. E.g. ‘now bend forward and place your chin on your knee’ instead of ‘bend forward as far as possible and see how far your chin can go’ because the latter would be for sissie now wouldn’t it?
And what’s with the crazy twists just as soon as your body has had enough? It’s playing with us, it is.
No mercy, no white flag.
Ashtanga with a capital A indeed.