Head stand (śirṣāsana), 2nd series
Effects beyond the physical body
Ashtanga Yoga has a holistic effect on all of these levels:
Practiced regularly and correctly, Ashtanga Yoga enhances flexibility as well as strength. Endurance and the sense of balance improve.
Tension and pain in the back and in the shoulders can be alleviated. Bodily asymmetry and unilaterality can be
reduced. The immune system is also strengthened. Performance and well-being increase significantly.
More energy and vitality become available.
Emotional challenges can be overcome more easily due to a higher inner power.
Mental clarity, confidence and intuition improve.
More trust and better feeling for the body
Like in regular meditation, Ashtanga Yoga enhances the feeling to be part of something bigger. As a result, the connection to our inner guidance becomes more intense, and the trust in our actions deepens.
As the feeling for our body and for what is “right” is strengthened, other health enhancing measures, like the change to a more beneficial lifestyle and diet, are more easily implemented.
Peacock feather pose (Pincha Mayurāsana)
Be mindful in you practice
The transformation initiated through regular practice may initially trigger old injuries or scars – on all levels. In such a situation, one should continue to practice while being aware of the feeling of one’s body and with the teacher’s guidance.
Over the years, there also may be periods in which one doesn’t perceive obvious progress, or even experiences regression. It is often exactly during these periods that important changes are happening inside. Again, it is important to stay with one’s practice and not give up.
I would also have to mention that problems may arise as a consequence of technically wrong, exaggerated or overly
ambitious practicing, sometimes also caused by the teacher, for example, bodily injuries as well as states of exhaustion. The saying “What comes through yoga, goes through yoga” is often correct, but not always.