If you've been in my classes, or read me for a while, you will know I'm a huge proponent of 'intention vs. momentum'. I think the grossest (as in least subtle and most obvious) misapplication of asana practice in flow, power, vinyasa---what have you---is the overuse of physical momentum and the lack of true engagement that many students bring to the practice. Somehow, folks (students and teachers alike) got the Western message 'the faster, the better'. I'm not here for a long time, so I'm into slowing it down, not racing to the end... a.k.a. DEATH!
Thus, I teach an asana-kicking, burning, tough-as-nails Vinyasa that is the slowest flow class you'll ever take. I'm not into mindless transitions (no engagement, no time to set foundation and then create intention before expression). When it's always one breath, one move and at a fast clip, the transitions are sloppy, the engagement fails, and the physical momentum of the practice takes over. Then, 'vinyasa' becomes this rocket slide of sloppy over-expressed motions (up-dogs rolled way over the wrists while cranking the head up so high in one huge wave of momentum - it guarantees no core engagement, sacral compression and wrist damage). I won't even go into the caturanga nightmare, and why so many folks are injured. They are flying, not flowing, and I'm not talking into arm balances.
I probably piss off a lot of students, because I slow it down and I call it out when it's about sloppy over-expression without intention or engagement. But, it really pisses me off that folks say they get 'injured' in vinyasa - I'm not injuring folks, but I am hurting their ego's feelings when I 'slow them down'. They're in full-on self-injury mode when they simple push through, or 'overflow' their asanas - I just don't enable that.
For yogis, this race is not for the fleetest of foot, but for those who can endure 'til the end. Or, shall I say it this way - when you finally get to the peak pose in the class, are you too blown out to even try?? Then, I posit that you haven't been using your energy correctly, and it's possible that you are simply blasting yourself out, not building yourself up. If you need a nap 4 hours after class, you've blasted your adrenals, not turned on your endorphins!
The point of this all is that it's not what you are doing to get there, it's what you are doing at each point: the means are the end. It's about using the practice to cultivate the conservation of energy and the correct application through intention. This is so much more sustainable and rewarding than just going in there, working it out, getting it done, and potentially missing the engagement and putting the body at risk.
So, consider the Olympics (and, no, I'm not a fan of Bikram getting yoga in there, it's just a good cultural reference): years and years of dedicated training, qualifying competitions, more competitions, eliminations, then you get to that moment, let's say gymnastics or diving. Doesn't matter what you've done before the Olympics, what medals and competitions you've won, doesn't matter how the last dive or every routine before it went; doesn't even matter what you did then, in that dive, or that routine - did you stick the landing?? Did you put it down in control, no matter how much integrity, intensity and intention that took? Or, did you stumble, fall, splash, or belly flop!?
And, in your life, can you 'stick the landing'? When you are finishing something, do you do it all the way, or peter out, or blow it off? Just something to think about - the transitions and the intention to stay present in the doing, not doing it to be done.
How does that resonate for you - in your life, in your practice?? Are you in a space where you are letting go of something; how's that going? Do you find yourself overwhelmed in the momentum, and simply waiting for the teacher to say 'vinyasa' so you can take that rocket slide, or will you still conceive of Caturanga, Urdhva Mukha and Adho Mukha as three distinct asanas rather than transitions or recovery, and give them their intent?
Take it to the mat - check it out - give thanks and praise!