“One of my goals in life is to do the slowest Primary Series anywhere… rather than the quickest”. Richard Freeman

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Vinyasa Krama Home practice routine UPDATED

I wasn't sure how to start up blogging again. Should I write about what I've been up to in August, the two weeks of 2nd series or the switch from Ashtanga to Vinyasa Krama. Perhaps a daily diary post from my lesson notes from the Yurt. There are a lot of posts running around my head, key elements of Vinyasa Krama, the breath, bandhas, key asana's/mudra', what i like about this practice so much and why I'm drawn to it. Plus I've discovered that I like chanting (that was a surprise, wasn't expecting ever to go there), think it's something to do with Lee Marvin and 'I was born under a wandering star', used to sing it in the bath in my best gravelly Lee Marvin voice and enjoy the whole bathroom vibrate (not a lot of people know that Lee Marvin spent 7 years in a Tibetan monastery high up in the Himalayas learning Tibetan chant.
http://i33.tinypic.com/ern408.jpgIn the end I figured
I'd just jump straight in as if I hadn't been away and write about the practice.

One of the goals of this week of VK lessons was to get help in working out a home practice. All these long sequences in Vinyasa Krama, how do you decide what to practice? Up until now I'd been working through a sequence a day, or perhaps two of the shorter ones. I'd tried sandwiching a sequence between Ashtanga Standing and Finishing and I'd tried building a routine around the LBH and Kapo that I really didn't want to risk losing.
One of the things that S. stressed, that Ramaswami stressed that Krishnamachariya stressed, was the importance of a couple of key poses that should be done everyday and stayed in for a 'considerable' time.
UTTANASANA
PASCHIMOTASANA
SARVANGASANA
MAHA MUDRA
Now if your aiming to spend five to ten minutes in each of those with long slow breathing / breath retention and fully engaged bandhas, plus the Tadasana 'warm up' (10 minutes), lead in sub routines, preparatory poses and counter poses you already have a 40 minute practice. Then of course there's the Pranayama and some meditation to close and you have an hour.
Luckily us lapsed Ashtangi's are used to long practices of 90-120 minutes. What if you use the above format as your skeleton practice and then slot in an additional sequence at an appropriate place. So on Monday following Uttanasana I slot in the 'On one leg' sequence which should take about half an hour. Tuesday, my day off so I have extra time I slot in the LONG 'Asymmetrical seated sequence' after Paschimotasana. Wednesday 'Lotus sequence' in the same place. On Thursday I slot in 'Inverted sequence' before Saravangasana, Friday would be Triangle after Uttrasana. Saturday I include the whole 'On your feet sequence' of which Tadasana and Uttrasana are a part. And finally, Sunday I slot in 'Bow sequence', probably after Sarvangasana.

It should look something like this, Fixed daily practice in black, the additional sequences to be slotted in on the appropriate day are in red.

DAILY VINYASA KRAMA PRACTICE ROUTINE

TADASANA subroutine
PRISHTANJALI
PURNA *UTTANASANA (ten long slow breaths here at least, bandhas fully engaged on exhale )

ON YOUR FEET SEQUENCE Saturday
TRIANGLE SEQUENCE Friday
ON ONE LEG SEQUENCE Monday

SURYNAMASKARA Sub routine with chant
*PASCHIMOTASANA (ten long slow breaths here at least, bandhas fully engaged on exhale)

ASYMMETRICAL SEATED SEQUENCE Tuesday
SEATED SEQUENCE Friday
LOTUS SEQUENCE Wednesday

JUMP BACK lead in

BOW SEQUENCE Sunday
INVERTED SEQUENCE Thursday
SUPINE SEQUENCE Saturday

APANASANA prep. pose 1
URDWA-PRASARITA-PADA-HASASANA prep pose 2
DWIPADAPITAM prep pose 3
*SARVANGASANA (3-6 breaths)
*SIRSASANA ( 10 long slow breaths here at least, bandhas fully engaged on exhale )
*SARVANGASANA ( 10 long slow breaths here at least, bandhas fully engaged on exhale )
UTTANA MAYURASANA

*MAHA MUDRA ( 10 long slow breaths each side, bandhas fully engaged on exhale )
BADHA KONASANA
PADMASANA
PRANAYAMA/MEDITATION

*Key poses for extended stay


Prishtanjali ( The back Salute )






In the practice above I would practice a little backbending while in Prishtanjali, it gives the back some support before moving into Purna Uttanasana (Complete forward stretch ).












This is like the Uttanasana we know and love but starting in a backbend


The minimum prep poses for Sarvangasana that you might not be familiar with are below








APANASANA











URDWA-PRASARITA-PADA-HASASANA







DWIPADAPITAM


Now obviously this is a work in progress and I need to try it for a couple of weeks to see how it works out. I tried it this morning though and it was excellent, came out at 90 minutes.

Once I have a deeper understanding of the sequences I can look at it again and possibly adapt it further at the subroutine level rather than the sequence level as required.

It kind of has the familiar Ashtangaish structure that I'm so used to. If I'm pushed for time then I can just stick to the skeleton practice and not add any of the additional sequences but still cover those key asana/mudra. It has flexibility built in such that if I feel like I need some back bends or hip openers I can fit in the appropriate sequence.

The Maha Mudra/Pranayama/Meditation section can act as a stand alone evening meditation routine as well.

As I said, work in progress

PS. OK, so I might be mistaken Lee Marvin Tibetan link

9 comments:

  1. Hi there,
    We spoke a while back about Srivatsa Ramaswami. As your exploring vinyasa krama practice these days, I though I'd follow up. The one thing that was sort of unusual (to me) with Srivatsa's asana teaching was the amount of resting during and in-between segments.
    Keep in mind that we generally moved in and out of an asana 3 times before holding it for about 3 breaths.
    After each asana/vinyasa was a long moment of: "close your eyes, relax your breath" which could last 2-3 breaths. After a group of asanas (maybe 8-10 different vinyasas) he had us lie down for a 2-3 minute savasana. Then get up and move on to the next area of the body.
    It felt great and was very liberating in light of the rigorousness of other schools of practice.
    Hope this makes sense.
    Best,
    Jeff

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wonderful to have you back blogging....:)

    ReplyDelete
  3. As I understand it Jeff, the rests are to get the breath back under control. I guess in a group some are more out of breath than others, or do you think that the rests are included whether your out of breath or not.

    Thanks Ursula, didn't manage the whole month as you can see, close enough though.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ramaswami was leading a pretty gentle practice. It was the hasta vinyasas all from samasthithi beginning with the shoulders down to the knees and ankles. Personally, I include these short "breath-rests" when I do it. In this style practice, I don't think one should ever be getting out of breath.

    Actually, if your really getting out of breath in any practice, it's time to rest.

    ReplyDelete
  5. When I first learned hatha yoga, we used to take savasana often between poses. Venkatesh does it too, both savasana and just standing softly resting. I think it's more than getting the breath under control, it's also 'letting the energy settle'.

    Grimmly I love it that you dig the chanting. I imagine the philosopher in you finds the concept very woo-woo, but the musician-sage jumped right on the vibe : )

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Grimmly...I was not aware that anyone else was having blog malware problems (in the yoga world), and if you were, then I am so sorry if it had anything to do with your link to my blog! I heard that this has been going on for about 2 years on blogger! Yikes! I guess it's hit our social network finally. Anyway, I can't seem to get rid of the malware on the blogspot blog, so I am permanently moved now to Wordpress!

    Enjoy practice!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks YC was no problem once I heard about it just a case of deleting the link to your old blog and replacing it with the new minty fresh one

    ReplyDelete
  8. Did have some resistance to the chanting I have to admit. Ramaswami has the Surynamaskara mantra in his book. Basically at each stage of the salute you say the appropriate three line mantra in your head while you retain the breath eg. upward dog has
    Om Hrim
    Harimanannidaddhmasi
    marichaye namahe

    and there's a different one for each stage. I had him chanting it on my ipod and couldn't get it out of my head. Then I downloaded his Yoga sutra and the same thing. I've been humming along for days. When you think how ancient it is and how it focusses the breath and attention I was hooked. Plus I've been getting into Sankara's take on the Sutra's and he's not a million miles away from Heidegger ..... anyway there's a longer post here with soundfiles and chant sheets so will take this up later.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Cool. I have chanting CDs by Richard Freeman and Rod Stryker and I find just that, they really take up residence inside me!

    Missing the Sanskrit count now too, there's something magically mesmerising about it.

    ReplyDelete

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A Reminder

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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