I apologize for a delayed response. I've had a nasty case of the flu which knocked the wind out of me, (more on that later), and am only now rounding my first bend.
I understand where you're coming from and I'm thrilled that striking out on your own has been both empowering and invigorating. However, I was struck by the clumping together of the 'fitness-oriented power yoga' brand and the 'protect the risk factors' practice. In my experience those two realms have been quite separate. In fact, it's been the studios and teachers with experience and integrity that have urged me to protect my body as I practice. Now that I think of it, another common thread (for the most part) is an Ashtanga background... which is more than just a little bit interesting....
For the sake of this discussion, I'm going to set aside the corporate yoga controversy (although it's a great topic! ) and jump into the risk factor discussion. I think that when having any conversation about risk factors it's important to remember that you and I are not the intended target of the caution. We are trained and conditioned to listen to our bodies and know how far is too far. But it's a whole 'nother bag of veggie chips for the inexperienced yoga student, looking around the room at what their neighbors are doing and essentially - making shapes with the body. I enthusiastically endorse your own windmill-chasing practice but I think that this is an excellent example of looking at what we prioritize in our own practice vs. how and what we teach. I'm sure you'd agree that one of our responsibilities as a teacher is to keep our students safe, in every sense of the word. Writing this post, I am realizing that more so than ever before, I'm in that mind-set because I am teaching so many beginners classes, as well as prenatal - where the safety issue is paramount. Perhaps if I was teaching fewer classes, or more advanced students, I'd feel differently.
Thank you, by the way, for the shoulder/Chaturanga explanation you offered. I think you're right about the mechanics of jumping back and the discrepancy between it being a stand alone pose vs. a transition.
As for the flu, this one has been a doozie. For 4 days I couldn't even bring myself to sprawl out on a bolster, but by Day 5 my body was craving some yoga. Forward bending proved too much for my congestion but Supta Baddha Konasana, Viparita Karani, and some other restoratives created a welcome opening in my chest. It still might be a few days before I attempt much more than that and when I do I'll focus on boosting the immune system with backbends and inversions.
This evening though, I am gearing up for some good old couch-asana. Risk factors: posture and media consumption. Benefits: debatable.