Krishnamacharya's original Ashtanga.

Pattabhi Jois talked in interviews, as well as when writing in Yoga Mala, that if we had less time we should practice less asana. In my own practice time is an issue. I prefer to breathe more slowly in the asana and vinyasas, lengthening my inhalation and exhalation, "slow like the pouring of oil" as Krishnamacharya puts it in Yoga Makaranda. I like to explore kumbhaka and the occasional extended stay, in Mudras especially. I also prefer to practice, much of the time, with my eyes closed, employing internal drishti at different vital focal points and I like to introduce vinyasas, extra preparatory asana on days when they feel appropriate as well as perhaps extending an asana into more challenging, 'proficient' forms on the more flexible days, in keeping perhaps with the idea of groups of asana rather than fixed sequences. I like to practice Pranayama before and after my asana practice as well as finishing my practice with a 'meditative activity'. I was first introduced to Yoga through the Ashtanga sequences and I still maintain that general structure in my main practice but I would rather sacrifice half or more than half a sequence than these other factors and perhaps practice the asana ‘missed’ in the following days, I still consider this to be Ashtanga, the 'original' Ashtanga of Krishnamacharya.

COMMENTS TURNED BACK ON

COMMENTS TURNED BACK ON

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Krishnamacharya's Bharadvajrasana named after the sage (Rishi) Bharadvāja 12- 48 breaths


I'm becoming obsessed with exploring this asana, Krishnamacharya talks of staying from 12 to 48 breaths and introducing both types of kumbhaka (so holding the breath in after inhalation and out after exhalation). At first, the position of the arm reaching around to hold the foot seems to stop the blood, it takes some settling into the posture for the blood to flow. The nature of the posture, the twist and double bind both in front and behind challenges the breath, the kumbhaka, it's fascinating, feels quite profound. I intended to stay for 24 breaths but lost count and it's probably closer to twenty. The video runs for about five minutes so 48 breaths would take around ten for each side, twenty minutes one asana, stunning, it's an asana that thinks it's a mudra.

First time practicing on tatami.... Springy.



BHARADVAJASANA 
from Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda Part II

Technique:
1. Sit on a piece of soft folded cloth, with one leg stretched straight in front, and the other leg folded back at the knee, so that the foot is close and by the side of the buttocks, the sole of the foot upturned, toes stretched and the back of the foot touching the cloth. The knees should be as close as possible. The foot of the leg, stretched in front, should be upright, to the ground and not inclined sideways. The body should be erect and the spinal column stretched-chin lock.

2. Bend the stretched leg (say the right) at the knees and bring the right heel very near the umbilicus. The right knee should touch the ground. Both the knees should be as near to each other as possible.

3. The right hand is taken round the back to catch hold of the toes of the right leg. The palm to touch the back of the foot.

4. The palm of the left hand is placed on the cloth below the right thigh. The hand should be stretched and not bent at the elbow. The left wrist should touch the outside of the thigh.

5. Twist trunk to face front. Turn the head, so that the chin is over the left shoulder.

6. Take deep inhalations and exhalations with holding in of breath and holding out of
breath. Both types of kumbhakam are necessary. The total rounds of deep breaths may be slowly increased as practice advances, from 12 to 48.

7. Repeat with the other leg.

Note: This is contra indicated to those who have had abdominal operation.




Below from this post



Bharadwaja (Sanskritभरद्वाजIAST Bharadvāja, also spelled Bhardwaj) was one of the greatest Hindu sages (Maharshis) descendant of rishi Angirasa, whose accomplishments are detailed in the Puranas. He is one of the Saptarshis (Seven Great Sages Rishi) in the present Manvantara; with others being AtriVashishthaVishvamitraGautamaJamadagniKashyapa.[1]

picture from here

"Sage Bharadwaja is another renowned vedic rishi. He is considered to 
be a great vedic scholar and teacher. An episode found in the Kaataka 
portion of the Taittiriya sakha of Yajur Veda would be of interest. 
Bharadwaja was so much concentrating in studying the vedas that even 
as the life was coming to an end  he was still continuing with his 
studies. Indra, the Lord appeared before him and reminded him that it 
was almost the end of his life. He told Bharadwaj, “Bharadwaja!! If I 
give you another human life what would you like to do?” Back came the 
reply, “I will study the Vedas further”. Upon that, the Lord asked him 
to look at the three huge mountains the Lord created and took out from 
each one of them a handful of earth and placed them before Bharadwaja 
and said, “These mountains represent the three vedas and the three 
handfuls of dirt in front of you represent the vedas you have studied 
so far. You see the vedas are innumerable and infinite (ananta vai 
vedaH) and any number of births would not be sufficient to exhaust all 
the vedas. You try to understand the essence of the vedas, the source 
of all the Universe, the Brahman.” And Bharadwaja became a great 
spiritual teacher of the vedas. Again many families carry the 
Bharadwaja name".
from Srivatsa Ramaswami's Dec 2012 Newsletter


Curious how krishnamacharya has us looking over the other shoulder, why? Both Iyengar and Jois would have us look over the back shoulder focusing on the twist. My guess it's to do with the breath, 12-48 breaths with both types of kumbhaka, Krishnamacharya doesn't tend to indicate kumbhaka in twisting postures. Having us keep the head over the front allows us to  explore the breath, the  kumbhaka, Krishnamacharya often seems to want to turn all asana into mudras.

from Light on Yoga

UPDATE
My 3 hour intro to Vinyasa Krama class at Indaba Yoga Studio (Marylebone, London) has changed to Saturday, November 15th, 1.30-4.30pm http://indabayoga.com/workshops/
If you know anyone in London at that time who might be interested...



Saturday, 18 October 2014

UPDATED: Arm balances and trying David Robson's floaty tittibasana transition

screen shot from this post 'David Robson's chat through full Intermediate'.
I just noticed that David Robson is going to be in Moscow the same time as I am, he's doing a week long workshop at Ashtanga Yoga School Moscow,

David Robson Workshop Nov 22 — 27, 2014

...while I'm across town at Yoga 108 presenting a weekend workshop on

Krishnamacharya's Original Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga and the Vinyasa Krama yoga of late Krishnamacharya - practice and theory 22nd/23rd November 2014

Since I found that out this morning I've been looking into the possibility of staying in Moscow the whole week and catching the last four days of his workshop (fingers crossed) before perhaps popping over to St Petersburg, which I hear is quite 'fresh' this time of year.

And then on fb, I saw a video David posted of a transition into Tittibasana A that he says he's been working on ( it's not in the Intermediate  video series - picture above- that he posted recently, I checked),  unfortunately the video's not on Youtube as yet (...but if you request it perhaps). When I saw it on fb I left the comment, "...will be trying this all weekend." I've never really like tittibasana, B perhaps but not A and C, this makes it more fun and something to look forward to.

True to my word, here's my attempt this morning, probably my third actually. Now David's transition is much floatier and smoother of course ( his website is called 'Learn to Float.com' after all) he also lands way up his arms, allowing him to straighten them, and have his toes pointing skywards just as in the picture at the top of the page, rather than mine which point to the horizon but perhaps you get the idea.

I think Day Four of David's Moscow workshop is on arm balances so if I manage to get on the workshop I can ask him how he manages it.

The Black and White vintage look  below is supposed to go with the David Beckham old fashioned Long John's and cut down on some of those flesh tones.



I felt relatively confident about trying this because I used to practice that half handstand jump through the Kino used to do, before I switched to the ever so subtle (and energy efficient) jump through that Sharath employs. I think Kino's changed her approach to jumping through too no?


Kino's approach did make my favourite party trick possible, the full lotus jump through
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vKntS3yyiE#t=11


Iyengar has an even better one though in the old 1938 demo where he jumps straight in to vatyasana at 28:57 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML9yZd7bIvY,


"....there's always somebody with a cuter party trick than you" BRS Iyengar

I  have a similar approach to bakasana which starts off pretty fancy, you hop up into a half handstand then lower high up on arms, hold it there.... except that I've never worked out how to jump back from that position so have to do a little shoulder shuffle (9 seconds in) to shift myself into a regular approach to bakasana and jump out that way. I can ask David about that too perhaps on his arm balance day ( he also has workshops on forward bends, backbends etc).

"Day 4: "Elements of Arm Balancing
Arm balancing helps us to identify and attenuate self-limiting thoughts. These poses require deep focus, strength, and commitment, and can help to develop confidence and mental acuity. This workshop will teach you 4 simple and accessible steps to help you master Arm Balances".
http://ashtangamoscow.com/workshops/david_robson_2014.html

To be completely honest I'm not convinced ( but prepared to be ) that arm balances have any benefits to speak of other than their popularity, refocussing attention, and just shaking things up a bit, they perhaps do more harm than good but hey, in moderation....


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxSy_hEgLQQ

Perhaps you can tell that as playing around with arm balances today I'm fiddling with the new phone and it's fancy filters, this one I can't resist posting, a mirror effect. http://youtu.be/7_2svySiSNY?list=UUxOhEtgBtcere7DupaAGFKw





Before you look down your Vinyasa Krama nasagri, there's actually an arm balance section/sequence in Ramaswami's book, I think he introduces it by saying gently, "Arm balances are quite popular these days...." I tried to make a video way back, bit rough it was the first time I'd ever tried that particular VK sequence.



Arm balances were always in fashion it seems...
BAKASANA FROM KRISHNAMACHARYA'S 1934 YOGA MAKARANDA
Tittibhasana comes in Krishnamacharya's proficient group in Yogasanagalu (1941), he doesn't mention A, B or C just that there are 14 vinyasas, the state of the asana being 7 and 8

Bakasana interestingly has 'hatha yoga' in brackets, 16 vinyasas but 9 AND 11 as the states of the asana.

How would that work, perhaps similar to how we have it now with A and B? Something like this perhaps, jump the feet close to the hands on 7, settle on the arms 8, lift up onto the arms on 9, jump back on 10 (and straight into down dog, something Krishnamacharya occasionally describes as one movement) and then jump straight onto the arms at 11.

UPDATE 1.
Landed it a little better in my shorter evening practice but wasn't filming, still horizontal, legs a little straighter but still horizontal. Come to think of it my tittibasana has never been that great, never been able to jump in quite right, not land far enough up the shoulders. I was looking for an old tittibasana video of mine to see what it used to be like, best I could find was the Rishi series version where you stay for fifty breaths or so, the jump in is just as so so as usual but check out the exit after fifty breaths in tittibasana C, nice heavenly pointing feet, suggesting that I need to find a way to land it as far up the arms as when I exit (come to think of it they point up nicely after supra kurmasna also).  " Need to", really? What are the benefits of having the legs point up as opposed to horizontal, two different asana perhaps, Tittibasana A and A1/2 perhaps (we have 84, 000 to account for after all), what are the different benefits.



Which includes 50 steps in Tittibasana B


UPDATE 2.
This feels a little like one of my old posts from a few years back, something along the lines of the Richard freeman 14 day Karandavasana challenge post(s). A new version of which is on its way, this time called something like the Jessica Walden 14 day karandavasana approach challenge Kind of miss those posts.

The good people of Yoga 108 have organised another workshop for me at Yoga108 Saint Petersburg for the following weekend 30th Nov/ 1st December. Thank you to everyone involved in setting that up.

Thank you too to Ashtanga Yoga School Moscow and David Robson for letting me join David's workshop two days in for the final four days, looking forward to it. (Post on my tittibasana and any progress to follow after Day four).

My schedule for this trip back to Europe will be

13th Nov.  Arrive London
14th Nov.  Vinyasa Krama class IndabaYoga
16th Nov. 1 day Krishnamacharya and Vinyasa Krama Workshop at Stone monkey Leamington Spa 
22nd/23rd Nov. Krishnamacharya and Vinyasa Krama Workshop Yoga108 Moscow
24th-27th Nov. Attend final four days of David Robson Workshop (actual w/s starts on 22nd).
29th /30th    Krishnamacharya and Vinyasa Krama workshop Yoga 108 Saint Petersburg
1st Dec. Fly back to London
2nd Dec. Fly back to Osaka with my resident visa which will allow me to work here.

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Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga at home by Anthony Grim Hall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
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from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included. "So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta

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