This week has been the Seated Sequence. As I'm still getting used to the transition from Ashtanga I've kept most of the Standing and Finishing sequences the same as I'm familiar with, basically the Sury's, a couple of Triangle sequence sub-routines and 'On one leg' subroutines for Standing and Sarvangasana and Lotus Subroutines for Finishing Later I'll get around to alternating the subroutines. Besides the Ashtanga Standing sequence is ideal for the Seated sequence, if aint not broke, don't fix it.
Seated appears to be a straight forward Sequence, a Jump Through into Paschimatanasana, no change there from Ashtanga's Primary. As with Primary you repeat the posture, this is something that comes up a lot in Vinyasa Krama. However, where in primary you do Paschi four times, A, B, C and D in VK's Seated there's also E, F, G, H and I ('though they aren't called that). These include crossing the arms, crossing the arms and twisting forward and then back, Paschi without support, IE. your hands just resting beside your feet and then a kind of Paschi version of Parasarita C with your arms out stretched behind you and then finally in reverse prayer position.
That's a lot of Paschimatanasana, and yet somehow it works. The breath is the real focus here, I aim at a five second inhalation, ten seconds exhalation and five seconds holding the exhale bahya kumbhaka while engaging mula and uddiyana bandhas (I don't engage the bandhas in the twists). I do ten rounds/breaths in each Paschi. It's hard to keep the breath steady and smooth when your bent double like that getting deeper and deeper into the pose each time but it also feels quite powerful, profound even as they build upon eachother.
Next is Kurmasana. In VK you tend to have a Jump Back and Through at the beginning of the sequence as well as at the end, VK calls it a lead in . I'm used to more so tend to fit one in between each of the sub-routines, It seems to be a nice balance. Akunchita Kurmasana I approach as usual via Dwi pada Sirsasana (legs behind head and lower down into it) I also exit via Titibhasana and Bakasana, again it's just what I'm used to and doesn't require much effort for me, so doesn't disturb my breath.
Purvatanasana is up next but there's also the side version on one arm, Vasishtasana. Then your on into Chatushpadapeetam, table pose with leg raises. Then it's Navasana, I do five with a lift in between, there's no lifting up here in VK but again I'm used to it and I want to keep some of the strength and fitness I've developed, I still throw in a couple of handstands in the Sury's too. Urdhwa Paschimotanasana finishes off this little sub routine and there's a rest in VK here where you lay back in corpse for a couple of minutes to settle the breath and the heartbeat. In VK you would take one of these whenever you felt the need. Steady breath is everything in Vinyasa Krama and remember your aiming at these long slow exhales and retentions with bandhas which make the poses deeper somehow.
After your little rest your back with more forward bends Upavishta Konasana, seated angle pose. As with Paschi there are eight versions of this and they take a similar form, supported and unsupported, hand variations and twists. Each time your getting deeper and your doing the same thing with the breath, short inhales, long steady exhales with retention and bandhas.
Side splits is next, Samkonasana, I'm still miles off being able to do that, I'm working on hanumanasana but I tend to give this one a pass.
The sequence finsishes off with Badha Konasana, Mula bhandasana, Padmasana, Siddhasana and Gomukhasana in each of these your basically doing Pranayama, long slow steady inhalation and exhalation, retention after both inhale and exhale and strongly engaging Mula, Udiyana and Jalahandra bandhas. I do about ten breaths in each 1-2 breaths a minute.
And then your on into finishing and the long Sarvangasana and Sirsasana via UD and Drop back's
Seated is a pretty straight forward sequence and easy enough to remember so I'll most likely move onto the Lotus Sequence Next week, this was my favourite sequence last time around so I'm looking forward to it.
On a side note, I've started using the Paranayama App at work. Found a quite room and am doing twenty minutes on my lunch break. Had a really tricky Sax yesterday but managed to stay patient with it all day, perhaps the Pranayama helped.