The quote “do your practice and all is coming” taken out of context and too literally can lead to some unhappiness. As students and teachers if we just practice, practice, practice but the practice is incorrect, it can lead to injury to the mind and the body. The body takes the path of least resistance so injuries come, and our mental samskaras can just be further increased by the practice.
In practicing yoga, it’s important that we stay away from becoming fundamentalists. No one system has all the answers. Just do the series and you’re going to get enlightened? No, if you’re 54 years old, you’re not going to put your leg in Half Lotus and fold forward in the first 20 minutes of class. Please, that’s not a good idea. Ashtanga is a very, very demanding sequence, and very often I think people take the sequence to be more important than the fundamental yoga principles like ahimsa. The heart of ashtanga is heat, concentration, personal practice. Take these bigger guidelines of the sequence and apply them to the individual so that their practice serves them.
I think Iyengar yoga is very important to study, no matter what yoga you’re practicing. I think it’s unfortunate that many Iyengar trainings don’t let students from other systems in. Don’t we want all yoga teachers to be as good as they can be? Mr. Iyengar was highly intelligent. I think he explored an aspect of the physical yoga that’s quite remarkable for one man. But we can’t reduce Iyengar Yoga to only alignment. There’s also restoratives and pranayama. And with the study of alignment there’s the study of your mind.
At the end of the day, the technical aspects of Trikonasana are not enough. And you cannot get enlightened doing a fancy pose—no matter how perfect it is. It’s just not gonna happen. You have to explore your inner psyche, your mind-stuff, the monkey mind. And asana is limited. Asana is just a stepping stone. At some point, a meditation or pranayama practice can lead to deeper understanding of yourself and your surroundings. Asana can help you. It can definitely make you a healthier person in so many ways. Asana classes will clear the way, help you destress, and help you feel better by releasing tension. Asana is great for our society, because how many people are gonna just start sitting every day for half an hour? We need that kind of a stepping stone.