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

Sunday, 12 September 2010

3rd, Primary and 2nd series that order

Curious end of the week. After talking about 3rd on FB Thursday evening I decided to revisit it Friday morning. I practice quite a bit of the second half of 3rd in my VK practice these days so was curious to see how it went. Got through it but raggedy, undisciplined, certainly something to be said for doing the same poses everyday and having a teacher working with you day in day out in a mysore class ( how to do that in VK, nobody can afford a 'one to one' VK class everyday, realizing how unique the Mysore style class is).

This is a problem for Vinyasa Krama, great in principle to cover a wide range of postures but some you just need to do day in day out. I was able to do lot of postures on the course but this was only because I'd practiced most of them day after day. If your doing the core VK routine of Tadasana, long Paschimottanasana, Shoulder stands and headstand including prep and Maha mudra, then that's an hour gone. I tend to do a 90 minutes to two hours asana practice every morning, I do the core practice plus a bunch of the same postures I'm working on if not everyday then every other day. I rotate the rest of the subroutines within the different sequences where possible, it kind of works but only because it's a long practice. Something to think about.

So 3rd, second half was OK but my arm balances where weak, a complete turn around from when I was exploring it a year ago, then the arm balances where less challenging and I wasn't interested in muscling up anymore, one of the reasons I became disenchanted with it. In awe of those who do it everyday and having just finished Intermediate, even more in awe of those who do the first half of 3rd after 2nd while awaiting their split. Respect.

Primary I ended up doing Saturday, comforting as usual in it's familiarity. Felt tidy and controlled, breath was good, the VK practice has had a good effect on it I think. I sweated a lot and that's something else that's been playing on my mind re. VK. You don't sweat as much in a Vinyasa Krama practice, I kind of miss that detox effect of sweating buckets every morning. There are sections of the VK practice where you do sweat, it is a tough practice but not to the same degree. But then you really don't feel like forty minutes of Pranayama and meditation after such a sweaty practice, again more to think about.

Just finished Ashtanga 2nd. My VK practice is quite close to it anyway but this morning I still did tadasana and all my usual standing but then did 2nd by the book (had to check a couple of places too). Pretty well controlled, breathing not bad. Krounchasana is better, seem to have lost my hands to heels form the air Kapo again (comes and goes). LBH postures are better and better but then I do them everyday (see, again the doing postures everyday issue). Karanda took two attempts (had tried something from a Kino video but it messed with my balance so switched back, interesting though, post to come on this after more work). The lotus to handstand has helped and I can keep my chin off the mat but still end up too squished with an untidy exit. The seven deadlies (headstands) felt amazing, haven't done them more than a couple of times recently but have been doing long long headstand in VK every morning. Oh and Vatayanasana was most steady, probably because I squat down into it in VK standing, that was a surprise though.

Monday I'm looking forward to just a core VK practice long long Paschi' and inversions and more time for Pranayama. I did this on wednesday, kept the asana down to an hour and had time for the full quota of Viloma Ujaii pranyama and three trips round the mala in Japa, delightful.

Still interesting to do both practices together and see how they play on each other and I still need to work this out, might stick with Friday Primary, Saturday 2nd series and Sunday 3rd for a little while, VK Monday to Thursday, besides Ashtanga IS a Vinyasa Krama practice, just a very vigorous one. I can get the vigorous side out of my system over the weekend and settle into the calmer practice during the week.


  1. This post was really fun to read. It's interesting to hear what you're working on and how you're balancing Astanga and the VK practice.

  2. Thanks Kai, think it's more a case of what to take and what to leave behind as I move from Ashtanga to Vinyasa Krama. It's difficult because I have a certain level of practice. If I want to keep my deepish backbends and LBH's etc. and perhaps take them a little further then I need to keep working on them, the question becomes how to do that within VK.

  3. John had me doing like 2/3 of 3rd on top of 2nd... even Ayelet couldn't figure it out. I finally asked for my split at Ganda B. And then I was doing full 3rd with ten poses of 2nd still! I just dropped the 2nd on my own. Now we've added the Kapo back in before the Raja Kapo and THAT is good....

  4. At Ganda B! Strewth. I remember I never really enjoyed Intermediate but my VK practice seems to have settled into most of 2nd and half of 3rd kind of shuffled together in subroutines. Not really interested in 3rds arm balances but love doing the rest of it.... excet raja kapo, I work at it but don't get what's going on either. I do my EPRK as prep for my hanuman and regular Kapo after Ganda B, seems to make sense, to me at least.

  5. 2nd seems sooooooo easy now, compared to 3rd. Not that it's perfect. I mean I still only touch the arms & then lift in my sans face-plant Karanda. My Mayurasana is weak... bla, bla. The series itself is much easier in the vinyasa though.

    But the 3rd hits me where I need to be hit. The arm balances are a great warm up for back bending!

    It's all good. The only thing I'm unhappy with right now is my refusal to face the tic tocs again.

  6. Certainly not knocking the arm balances I do some occasionally if I'm doing an evening practice and only want to spend about fifteen minutes on asana, burn your rajas nice and quickly before you start on the pranayama. Everyday is a problem for me though, I tend to bulk up quite quickly then my latt's get in the way of my binding, seems better to work on my weak areas, balancing postures, leg strength rather than upper body strength, hips openers, backbends....pretty much everything else but arm balances.

    That said I'd love to be able to do Punga Kukkutasana one day, for all the wrong reasons I'm sure ( that side lotus thing that Tim Miller is pictured in ) and I always struggled getting back up to headstand from Koundinyasana A. Oh, there are some video's of Kino doing 3rd series arm balances last week on Brighton Blog, it's in my blog list.

    Just looking at Advanced B in Sweeney (while looking up the name for the side lotus balance) some very weird stuff in there, years and years away for me, hardly any of them come up in VK (not that that's a problem. R says his book doesn't contain every pose he was taught by K eg. EPRKapo isn't in the book).

    Saw a picture of Rolf in Parsva Dandasna on his site, still can't work out which leg is which. Looks a nice series though, what do you think, drawn to it?



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