Ashtanga, pain, modifications and limits…

A few months ago I received this message from whatssapp from my dear asthang yoga teacher Manu Navarro from  Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, I asked him if he could share it, and he said yes for sure, well here you have it, for me it is a very deep message and impressive that deserves to be read from time to time and helps you and invites you to think over…

Here you have…
As we talked last week I leave you a series of reflections on ashtanga, pain, modifications and limits.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is reputed to induce pain. Postures cause stress patterns in our bodies, and when we force against them, we “squeeze the nerves.” The form of practice, with its linear sequence progression, leaves no escape route. The postures that made us tremble today should be practiced tomorrow. Most people soon leave the Ashtanga for this reason and look for a more “kind” way.
The postures of the Ashtanga system, when practiced with proper alignment, are not painful at all. On the contrary, they are stimulants. However, proper alignment is not the kind of thing one achieves only through the use of creative accessories or modifications or the application of a sound anatomical technique. Instead, proper alignment is the result of an internal, mental readjustment. It requires that we put down the ideas, attitudes, expectations and prejudices that interfere with our ability to settle in the postures and take deep and complete breaths.
We can not undo our tensions by force. The more we resist them, the stronger they become, and when they become strong enough, they constrict and deform us. This is a lesson we should all learn, and the Ashtanga Vinyasa system makes us learn it in a rather vivid way – with pain.



Pain is an adaptive defense mechanism, whose purpose is to protect us from danger. Pain warns us of danger, and urges us to turn back. Based on this truth, many Yoga teachers remind their students to listen to their pain. Pain is “the limit,” and when we respect “the limit,” we avoid damaging our bodies.
This is a crucial and urgent lesson for those rajasic spirits who would injure themselves by ambition. Often, however, this idea is abused. Both students and teachers use it as an excuse to escape from deeper inner work. You can not progress in yoga without having to directly confront your psychic patterns. Many students avoid the postures that provoke their habitual tensions, or pass them over with supports and modifications, hoping that their tensions will be solved magically in some way.
This approach rarely takes anyone anywhere. It allows one to practice without getting hurt, but it also prevents progress. The postures that cause us pain are also the postures that expose our tensions, and invite us to resolve those tensions with our own internal intelligence. They give us the opportunity to observe our tension patterns directly, to breathe through them, and to release them into the ether. This is the simple psycho-physical cleansing process that we can perform with Ashtanga yoga.
It is not a complete article yet, but I hope to invite you to reflect …
… ..
If you want to contact him … you can write to me privately …
Small introduction in spanish:


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