Specifics of Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga Yoga is a challenging practice. Done on a regular basis, it increases strength, flexibility, endurance and balance. After the sequence of asanas is established, , students can practice independently from a teacher, the so-called “self practice”.
The role of the teacher
The teacher’s role is to explain how the asanas are performed – and in some cases how they are to be modified, e.g. to address an injury. In addition, the teacher can use so-called assists or adjustments to support the practitioner to get deeper into a pose. In my experience, the most important task of the teacher is to create an enjoyable atmosphere where the practitioners can develop their practice.
My personal view is that the traditional “submission” of the practitioner to the “guru” is in Western culture not helpful. Furthermore, it may be, in some cases, actually be harmful due to the danger of the creation of an abusive relationship.