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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.
Sunday, 30 August 2009
In 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.
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
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 ( 10 long slow breaths here at least, bandhas fully engaged on exhale )
*MAHA MUDRA ( 10 long slow breaths each side, bandhas fully engaged on exhale )
Prishtanjali ( The back Salute )
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
Saturday, 29 August 2009
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga at home by Anthony Grim Hall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
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