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Krishnamacharya's original Ashtanga.
SLOW 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 Krishnamacharya's, Primary, Middle and proficient groups of asana rather than Pattabhi Jois' 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, Slow Ashtanga.
Monday, 22 September 2008
Thinking about going to your first Mysore class? Ashtaga yoga London
Took the train into London and went to Ashtangayogalondon for Sunday Mysore. Make sure you write down the door number if you go as it's very inconspicuous. Eventually found it after walking up and down Drumond street a couple of times. Buzzed in, met at the door, L, friendly, asked if I knew the series and if I had any injuries and told me to be sure to say if I found an adjustment too much. I guess it's a small Shala, maybe room for 15 to 20 mats. Not much room to change but I'd come with my yoga shorts under my trousers so no problem. I had been concerned about the etiquette for placing my mat but they very cleverly have these little logos all over the floor that you center your mat on. And there was a wall! Each mat is next to a wall, something I'm used to having at home so that made me more comfortable though I didn't need it.
Felt so strange striped down to my shorts walking through the room to put down my mat, but then you start on the oh so familiar Surys and your just in your own world again. Occasionally I would notice that someone would quietly chant before they started their practice. Liked that, nice way to get yourself in the right frame of mind, might learn it this week. I'd thought I would get to see a bit of other peoples practice but I was facing the wall and it didn't feel appropriate to be looking around. Felt like such a lack of pretension, everyone just getting on with their practice. Loved the sound of the breath in the room but it was so hot I found it hard to breathe and my breath was all over the place for most of the session. Had expected it to be hot but not this hot, I've never sweat so much in my life. There were pools of sweat on my mat, half way through I would move back up into downward dog and a stream of sweat would start coming out of my Nike's. I weighed myself later and worked out I'd sweat 3-4 kilo's. Foolishly I'd just taken my sticky mat, next week I'll take the rug or maybe buy a Yoga towel (any advice?).
Adjustments were excellent and if you've only ever practiced at home then this is really why you should go to a Shala. L and R would come around the room and give me a little bit more of a twist here a press on the small of my back there and it made such a difference. The occasional lift and support giving focus and finally a lift in my backbend that was just fantastic. All done calmly, professionally and effectively. Did wonder about the etiquette though. Wanted to say thank you as they adjusted me but felt I should be focusing on my breath and then they had moved on before I could say anything though I managed to thank them before I left.
Got through my practice, Jump backs and Through went well on the whole but then my mat was so sweaty I was just sailing though....no literally sailing "life on the ocean ways" through. After backbends you go into the other room which is cooler and such a relief, Savasana was glorious. And that was that, changed quickly and rushed out into the fresh air thinking about how good a bottle of cold water was going to taste.
Link to follow up post http://grimmly2007.blogspot.com/2008/09/second-mysore-class.html
Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga at home by Anthony Grim Hall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
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