Beware The Allure Of Extreme Poses


The presentation of asanas or poses is not about achieving an end point or destination, but has everything to do with what is required to work towards it.

It seems that the trend towards extreme in sports has also entered the world of yoga. Do a search through various social media sites and it is not difficult to find a myriad of striking individuals flouting their asana prowess and presenting often physically extreme looking poses.

While on the one hand these posts can be awe inspiring, on the other they can also impart an incorrect understanding of what yoga is all about. It is an often used cliche, however the more one seriously practises the more one realises that true practice is about the journey rather than the destination. We all are born with different bodies and different genetic makeup. We are all of different ages and have different life experiences. Some have a combination which predisposes them more to the ability both mentally and physically to perform advanced asanas. What is most important in a yoga practice is that you come to understand more about yourself and make the necessary adaptations to make your experience a more meaningful one.

To make our yoga practice effective we need to observe the patterns and habits that we have acquired in our body and make adjustments to shift or break them. When we change these habit patterns we are working on deeper levels, including the unconscious mind, and thereby shifting our perceived biases and limitations. This is no easy feat. It requires one to work with awareness, with observation, with body intelligence, and this intelligence needs to be cultured and built up over time.

A failure to take into account these factors in one’s practice reduces yoga to the realm of mimicry, contortionism and mere circus acts If one is goal-oriented and aspiring to attain a particular end position then that desire will completely override the delicate processes necessary to make an asana practice truly worthwhile.

James Hasemer