Monday, 11 October 2010

Looking at my morning Vinyasa Krama practice in more detail ( with bullet points )

As mentioned in yesterdays post, I seem to have settled down into a Vinyasa Krama in the morning and Ashtanga in the evening routine.

Ashtanga we know righ,t but perhaps a closer look at what I mean by a 'simple' and 'core' VK practice is called for.

There seem to be recommendations and suggestions (I'm taking recommendations as stronger here).

Following his teacher Krishnamacharya, Ramaswami recommends practicing daily
  • A long, five to ten minute Paschimotansana
  • A five minute Shoulderstand, the first three minutes of which are done with the legs relaxed.
  • A five to ten minute Headstand.
  • Another shoulderstand for five minutes and a counter posture.
  • Maha Mudra ( like janu sirsasna A without the forward bend )

also in a suitable posture for meditation
  • Kapalabhati 108
  • Pranayama
  • Meditation

He also suggests
  • A short Tadasana sequence
  • Some preparation postures preceding the first shoulderstand
  • Backbend counter poses following the shoulderstands
  • Baddha Konasana

I tend to throw in a chanted Sury namaskara as well as a short Asymmetric subroutine

Put both the recommendations and suggestions and my additions together and you have my Simple core Vinyasa krama practice

  • A short Tadasana sequence
  • A short Asymmetric routine
  • A long Paschimottanasana
  • Some preparation postures preceding the first shoulderstand
  • A five minute shoulderstand, the first three minutes of which are with the legs relaxed
  • Backbend counter posture
  • 10 Minute headstand
  • Another Shoulderstand
  • followed by another backbend counter pose
  • Maha Mudra
  • Baddha Konasana
In Padmasana
  • Kapalabhati 108
  • Pranayama ( nadi shodana )
  • Japa ( mantra) meditation

Vinyasa Krama is a naturally flexible approach

I tend to do a basic ten minute tadasana routine but there are several other options within the full On your feet 'tadasana' sequence. You may wish, as I did earlier in the week, to substitute in a few more twisting movements or squats.

I tend to rotate daily the Asymmetric subroutine, one day maha mudra, another, the marichi or half lotus subroutine. Find them all the options here.

I tend to stay in straight paschimottanasana and work on my breath and bandhas but there are some options while in the pose.

Backbend counterpose options are here

Following Ramaswami's advice I keep the first shoulderstand simple, relaxed legs for the first three minutes, just working on breath and bandhas but for the second Shoulderstand there are all kinds of options (the link includes the shoulderstand prep). I tend to do standard ashtanga finishing, halasana etc out of habit.

Headstands too have many options ( the headstand comes up at 3:45 )

I manage to keep the practice down to an hour, nothing feels rushed, overall it has a highly meditative feel to it. For me, my morning asana practice is preparation for extended pranayama and meditation but, of course, if that's not your bag, you can add in another half hour of Subroutines, some Triangle or On one leg subroutines perhaps to bring it up to a 90 minute practice in line with a standard Ashtanga practice.


  1. Thank you for the bullet points sir!!!, I actually pictured the whole routine clearly now, great! That is such a change, so different from Ashtanga, makes me guess (and this is a very uneducated guess) that you would end up in a very meditative state, all that long forward bend... All that time in inversions and then the pranayama... Do you sometimes experience resistance while reincorporating into the real world after such a deep experience?

  2. Your welcome madam (re bullet points, sure everyone is wondering why I'm making such a big deal of them in the post title : )
    Yes very chilled out but nothing a double espresso can't sort out. Nice way to to start the day and of course the Ashtanga when I get home from work to get rid of any stress.

  3. I would like to know how u could reconcile 2 different practices on the same day i.e Vinyasa Krama practice in morning and an intense Ashtanga practice in the evening . Do u find it challenging doing 2 different practices or enjoying the same ?

  4. Good question Krishna. My theory is that the two practices are complimentary and as the Italians say, marry. I mean it's early (ashtanga) and late (VK) Krishnamacharya. Most of what I practice in VK in the mornings is part of Ashtanga anyway, the Sury namaskara, paschimottanasana, Shoulderstand, headstand, they are just approached a little differently.

    It's taken me a while to work out how best to balance them, I tried practicing Ashtanga in a Vinyasa Krama way but that seemed to be like trying to force a square block through a round hole, you can take some VK concerns on board as you practice ashtanga but after a while it's neither one nor the other. I adapt my ashtanga a little, employ mostly jalahandra bandha rather than leading with the chin, take it all a little more slowly, focus more on the exhale and stretch my arms up and lift in a VK, fingers clasped, kind of way wherever possible. I used to take lots of mini savasanas but take less now to keep the heat up as well as the rhythm of the practice.

    I see the Ashtanga in the evening as just a bit of fun, a vigorous practice to burn off the day's rajas and keep my asanas up. I still love the level of focus it produces, once you get passed that first ten minutes of monkey mind.

  5. Dear Friend

    On a different note altogether , I wish to ask u whether u have tried Yin Yoga as a complimentary to your rigorous Ashtanga Practice ? In fact I want to practice both Ashtanga as well as Yin Yoga to act as a perfect balance and hence wanted to know your opinion as to whether u gave a thought in that direction ?

  6. Hello Krishna. I did explore Yin yoga a little. i bought the Paul Grilley DVD and borrowed was it Sarah powers'. I liked the Grilley DVD more. I think I was practicing Ashtanga in the morning and following the Yon routines in the evening at the time. I found it interesting but prefered Vinyasa Krama so stuck with that. I think Yin Yoga would probably compliment Ashtanga in the same way I find Vinyasa krama does.



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from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi

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