Over here there's a lot of chitchat about ashtanga "liberals" (more fluid, perhaps "outside the system" in many ways) and ashtanga "conservatives" (by the book, all the time).
It's a tongue-in-cheek post, but if you do a lot of ashtanga, you know that not far under the comedy is a real question. Do I adhere to "the system" or do I change it up, change the sequences, and so on? Do I practice 6/week at dawn, or do I practice now and then when it feels good? And a hundred questions like that.
For me it all comes down to having a, if you will, "ashtanga conservative" teacher or not. When I do, I'm more ashtanga-conservative. When not, I'm more ashtanga-liberal.
In SF, I got up at 5:30 and hit a morning Mysore class several times a week at 6 am, and I did all of Primary up to dropbacks, and then didn't drop back and stand up, so the next time I went, I repeated that practice. And my dropbacks got deeper but never "arrived," so I guess the next time I'm with an "ashtanga conservative," if the dropbacks have still not arrived, THAT is where my "ashtanga conservative" practice will be. And that'll be fine.
But my "ashtanga liberal" practice does things I've already posted about: Intermediate up to about ten poses in, and I know I can do numerous poses from that sequence beyond that, and I can also manage, I think it is, TWO poses from Advanced A (third series), at least in terms of proper entrance and exit and so forth.
But it's also not all just asana: for example, drinking water during class or "sing songing" the opening chant. I haven't consumed water DURING practice for most of the time (and I mean 2 years and many months) that I've been doing ashtanga, so I don't even count that as "ashtanga conservative," it's just how I was told to do things. And in Indy, I think I'm one of maybe 3 people in the WHOLE CITY who even know what the opening chant IS, so no, I don't sing-song it like Madonna (but I've heard her version...here, let me find a link)... there .
I also don't use props in my ashtanga practice, but again, that's how I was told to do things, so I don't count that as "ashtanga conservative" either. That's where the whole "liberal/conservative" thing starts to fall apart, and is better left alone as something funny.