David Swenson, with whom I have been practicing online, often refers to the practice as our medicine. He is adamant that we need to learn to administer this and that one size absolutely does not fit all. This is also what ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, believes: one person’s medicine is another’s poison.
To learn to administer means considering dosage, regularity, method, circumstances and to monitor the effect each of these has on you. It also means you need to be aware of what it is you might be using medicine for. What is ailing you? What patterns are you trying to change? What are you hoping to achieve from your yoga? These are questions we should not forget when we practice, especially Ashtanga Yoga, which is very drawn towards both the cult of the body and autopilot mode, neither of which will bring you closer to yoga.
Our yoga should not become another problem in our lives, it should support us to live better and, for that, we need to learn how to use it effectively and efficiently. It should not make us tired, or injure us, it should not be a chore. It should tune our instruments (mind, body, breath) so we can better play in the symphony of life. One of the things I love about practicing with David is that his benchmark for the practice is to feel better at the end of it than at the beginning. Such a simple instruction yet so effective. It really works. Try it!