Over the last year or so, I have ran across a few well meaning teachers who feel the need to discourage students from doing anything but basic asana. Reasons being given:
It is all ego
It is just showing off
Not needed for basic range of motion or day to day activities
Not needed for health
Not needed to prepare the body for meditation which is what yoga is for
But I ask, what the hell is wrong with sometimes doing the the asana for asana's sake? The human body is a beautiful and amazing vehicle that we are only leasing for a short time. Not having fun with it and testing its limits is like owning a Bugatti (one of the world's fastest cars), and never driving it past 50 mph because going from A to B does not require it.
The point of yoga is not to perfect asana however, if one can remain unattached from results and enjoy the process of arm balancing, leg behind the head and just straight up contortionism, while staying safe, and still practice the other deeper limbs of yoga, what is the problem?
If you really want to get in the weeds, there are alot of things we do in our lives that are totally unnecessary. If we are going to cut out "unnecessary poses", lets cut out all the other unnecessary stuff too. Get rid of your computer,tablets,TVs, I-phones, & other technology gadgets. Narrow your clothing down to two or 3 outfits and a pair of shoes. Get rid of your yoga mats, blocks, & straps because really you can practice yoga without them. Cut your diet down to Kale(it has protein, calcium, omega 3 &6) and water because that is about all you need to live. When you have sex, only do it doggy style or missionary because that is all is really necessary to procreate. Only have one child because that is really all you need to continue your line. This ridiculous list can go on and on. The point is, there are alot of unnecessary things we do in life just because it is harmless, fun, exhilarating and we love it.
The reality is, in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which is the foremost text on yoga, it states that a yogi eventually gets rid of all tools. They no longer need poses, meditation, breathing exercises or any of the other holy grail rules and techniques associated with yoga because they are free of the ego and it is no longer needed. So really, everything is unnecessary, eventually...
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