This challenging asana practice of Ashtanga yoga will change you and your life. This is why it's more but doing crazy poses.
Let's face it. There are a few very talented bodies who are able to learn all the asanas very fast and with minimum of practice. Young bodies learn faster as well. But in general I'd say in order to master the asanas of the Ashtanga series a daily practice is required.
This alone is life changing. One has to find solutions how to make the practice fit into the life. This might mean to get up earlier or to change the job even. The night life might change as one goes to bed early due to the practice the next morning.
It requires discipline to practice daily.
Very soon one finds out that it's much easier to do the asanas if one is slim. One might question eating habits that are not so healthy and finally one might change this.
These few points alone show the possible influence of the Ashtanga practice on the life style in general. If the asana/vinyasas were easier, it wouldn't have this influence on our lives.
Julie, who created the www.ashtangi.net side recommended a book on Google+. It's "Ashtanga yoga - stories from beyond the mat" by Jason Stein. I bought it and I start loving it. In the chapters of the book Jason describes his experiences with Ashtanga yoga.
This post was inspired by his chapter "What first series taught me" (page 37 ff.)
I agree that Ashtanga yoga is more but crazy asanas, it has life changing potential. It's seductive to discuss only the technical aspect of the series, i.e. how to get into handstand and how to jump through. But there are more aspects: discipline, healthy eating habits, perseverance, simple life-style, awareness, calm mind and focus to mention only some aspects.
Yep, the practice of Ashtanga yoga makes strong and flexible. That the body becomes beautiful is a side effect, too.
With time one can realize how many aspect Ashtanga yoga has. Like the asanas, discipline can be learned, also a positive attitude can be learned. Setbacks decorate the path.
Indeed, a dangerous practice, because it has the potential to change all your life. Take care.