In our modern life facilities often keeps us away from encountering our strengths and weakness often. They get hidden under our neurological debris. To put the body under test by encountering extreme weather, while trying to climb a mountain for hours or lifting a very heavy loads will bring us face to face with our own weakness and strengths. To get to know them, to understand them reveals about what needs to be done and how it can be done in a asana practice.
People ask me the what is the difference between a circus artist performing the physical exercises vs a asana practitioner? Their goals and so the whole practice differs. Contortionist tries to achieve the flexibility by whatever means possible to get acceptance and validation from the onlooker. The body's nerve clusters are different in different parts of the body and the way they work makes it prone to weakness or imbalance very easily if not taken care. A asana practitioner tries to achieve synchronisation of these neurological pathway which helps the body and mind to perform well. The mitochondrial health of each cell in the body determines the overall energy (prana) of the organism. A asana practitioner tries to understand the nutrition that enhances the bodies energy production and keeps the mind sharp. The patience that is needed to go through a life long practice and the observation that is needed to understand the mechanism of human nature is very difficult to achieve for everyone. The goal of practice is to be life changing and life long impact on the body and mind. All these are proved and backed by the recent scientific researches and discoveries. A contortionist may use some of the above traits to achieve certain things but they are not life changing or life long in anyway.