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

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Asana madness

So not quite cured of this then, constant vigilance required it seems. Asana practice getting longer, Pranayama shorter. Caught myself cramming more and more asana into the practice as if I wanted to do everything in one morning.

Madness is certainly the right word, squeezing in most of the backbends from ashtanga 2nd and 3rd and then doing the same with the leg behind head poses, all within the same practice and on top of everything else.

Primary on Friday, Saturday 2nd series, that's OK, still a lot I can learn from practicing Ashtanga but do I really need to be exploring 3rd on Sunday, what was I thinking.

So, back on track this morning still a 90 minute practice but fewer asana, longer stays, nice focus on the exaltation and bandhas. Thinking of the practice in the context of the week again, rather than of the day, spreading those backbends and LBH postures out a bit. Half an hour Pranayama 20 minutes meditation too, nice practice.


  1. Dear Grimmly
    That Groucho Marx clip is hilarious. I feel you can cram so many asanas because of your self practice. i've been sneaking yoginidrasana in my primary before supta K. and hope it's continued to be allowed for me, since it helps me a lot. my financial adviser asked me if i would not be better off saving the money and practicing at home. but then i enjoy the practice in the shala, despite the strictness. it's great to hear of your freedom.

  2. Hi Arturo, Japan soon no?
    The point I was trying to make here though is that you can cram too many asanas into your practice. I started adding more and more, some that I wanted to work on or towards others that i wanted to keep up, prep poses and the key VK asanas, reminded me of that old Marx brother's scene. Was just going to post the picture but the clip was just too good.

    I guess you do save a lot by practicing at home, just worked it out and I've saved three times the cost of this summers course. Never got around to going to Mysore or to any workshops either so even more I've saved. But then I've always been happy practicing at home.

  3. yes... two weeks. a friend from a nutrition group that lives in Japan has given me tips for getting around and i have a blog site with architectural sites in Tokyo, then your notes for Kyoto...but i'm working like mad, so not a lot of time to prepare...

  4. I don't know, what's wrong with practicing as much asana as you want on a given day? If it's a boat load of asana... why not? Sounds like you have a reason why not, I'm interested. :) I read a Jois quote, I can't remember where from now, sorry, paraphrased, advice for life, something like, "wake up, do as much yoga as you want, maybe you'll eat, maybe you'll fast, maybe you'll sleep outdoors. Then the next morning, wake up, do as much yoga as you want..."

  5. Hi Maya. No, not suggesting we shouldn't practice as much or as long as we want. Just talking about my own situation here.
    On my days off I can practice as long as I want but on a work day I only really have two and half hours in the morning to practice. Now these days I really want to do pranayama for half an hour and meditate for fifteen to twenty minutes at least, plus I want a good ten minute headstand, that's an hour gone. So that leaves me 90 minutes which is an Ashtanga practice. However, I want to take my practice more slowly following VK, longer stays in postures, long slow, exhales, sometimes enter a pose, exit then enter it again for the long stay. If this is how I want to practice my asana than I need to cut down the number of asana I practice each morning.
    At first I was doing that but recently I've started adding in postures here, adding an extra couple there. To practice them all I stopped repeating poses, I wasn't staying as long as I wanted, sections of my practice speeded up and I ended up cutting back on my pranayama and meditation.

    I don't really need to be practicing everything in one go, I can spread it out a bit, bit of a bad habit of mine to want to do everything at once. Thus the Marx brothers picture too many asana in too short a space of time.

    Seem to be back on track now, but I'm sure a couple of months from now i'll probably have added in a couple of extra postures ( I should keep the Marx brothers picture up in the corner of my blog as a reminder. Of course that's one of the many good things about Ashtanga, you have that set sequence. But even when i was practicing Ashtanga everyday I started adding in extra postures, here and there, asana madness.

  6. Ah, I get it. You need a four hour practice window! :) I wonder what your practice would look like if you didn't have the restriction of your job?



Creative Commons License
Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga at home by Anthony Grim Hall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at