Sure, we all get the excellent physical release and good feelings from working the body, and we should enjoy and not discount that. But we should recognize that beyond that more superficial physical layer, we can achieve some levels of insight and personal understanding that can lead us to be more engaged in our lives.
However, it's easy to get lost in the egos and the goals and the 'advanced pose' (someone is going to have to someday explain 'advanced' and un-yogic' to me, I simply can't understand those concepts) or in our 'nemesis' pose. Is that what it's really about? And, is the outcome to achieve the pose, or more so, perhaps, to figure out why that is even the question.
I was speaking with someone the other day, and we were discussing how the asana practice doesn't really 'fix' you, but rather offers you a continued opportunity to make better choices. That's it, for me, in a nutshell. You can call it engaged, or being present, or having an open heart or finally setting real boundaries; however it presents, the effect is that we each just start making better choices.
It's important to see that better choices aren't always easy, or peaceful, or even potentially correct in the long run. What they are is owned, engaged, thoughtful, and made in respect. We're still bound to fail or make wrong choices, but that is where the lessons present. So, if we clean up what we can, and take the lesson, then perhaps after all it was the right choice.
I'm hearing a lot out there that has to do with more seasoned and senior teachers starting to rebuke the 'level II or level III class' distinction, or the 'advanced asana' as the foundation of their teaching. I feel that often, myself included, we tend to continue to drive in that direction to satisfy the rising number of people who come to the practice in their Type-A-ness and their need to work and prove.
I would offer that Tadasana is an advanced asana - and show you that any gymnast in high school can bust out adho mukha vrksasana while still talking about Justin Beiber and her grades. The pose is not the yoga; in fact, for many, the desire for poses, the need for advanced poses, the need to 'nail' a pose is simply that student and/or teacher bringing their own map of the world and overlaying it into the asana practice.
That is not what the practice is for - it can be used or potentially abused for that goal, if the ego or the need drives one there. You can see many more wrecked yoga bodies than enlightened saints from advanced asana; and as one of my favorite teachers says "I've seen a lot of folks get their foot behind their head and it hasn't made them any less of an asshole!"
So, maybe give up on the destination and enjoy the journey. That doesn't mean not to strive or work, but rather to dedicate yourself to the process and the failure and your process of the failure versus making it about that arbitrary asana or goal.
Just for consideration - give thanks and praise!