I’ve written elsewhere on the politics of holding Ashtanga students at certain postures until they “master” them. In the years since I wrote that piece, I’ve been approached by a lot of students frustrated in their practice, with their teachers, with themselves, or all of the above.
There’s a whole teacher/student power dynamic out there that I don’t agree with—as a teacher myself, I try to be as transparent as possible with my students, and let them see the benefits and reasoning behind my teaching. I’m not saying that opaque teaching is a deliberate practice in Ashtanga; more often than not, I think it’s more like neglect that happens when a teacher has too many students. But whatever the cause, the result is the same for the student: The pose they’re “stopped” at gets fetishized, that pose is nearly personified as a thing to fear and hate, and the rest…
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