Thursday, 23 December 2010

Winter wear and Ganda bherundasana

This is a cold house. Old, Victorian, floorboards in the shala with huge gaps between them and a kitchen extension that doesn't have a door. The makeshift shala is just a couple of bookcases dividing off the room plus a curtain. In this, one of the coldest UK winters since records began practice is on the chilly side, a little..... fresh, bracing even.

Arturo mentioned he had similar problems keeping warm during practice, in his room in shanghai. In a comment I suggested he pick up some of that full length sportswear while he's back in the US. I had a look, myself in Sportsdirect on my lunch break yesterday and found something on 70% sale. Basically, running pants from Karrimore who we tend to associate with hiking/climbing over here, at nine quid down from forty, it was worth a try.

And they're fine, felt a bid strange at first but warm, definitely warm, couple of Sury's in and you're think it was June, well May perhaps. I practiced Intermediate today and the only thing worth mentioning is a zip above the ankle that I could feel in LBH, must be able to get them without. I thought I might get too hot but I guess the material breathes or something, it was a comfortable practice.

Only draw back was when I tried Garbha pindasana from Primary just to see if the arms would go through, nope. Ladies, how do you do Garbha P with leggings on? You can't even use a spray, seems impossible. So, fine for Intermediate and Advanced A but will have to cowboy up and put up with the cold for Primary.

Ganda bherundasana
Re the picture above, I had a eureka moment the other day watching a video someone posted on FB, was that you Ursula? I noticed that the woman in the video wouldn't be able to see her toes and yet she got her feet nicely on her head. I've tended to work towards it by taking my legs over as far over as possible in Viparita Salabhasana and then lowering so I can see me my toes and then try to bring them back to my head. For some reason I would just get locked up and couldn't go any further. In the video, she wouldn't take her legs over so far but would kind of collapse into an ever deeper backbend, an inverted Kapo.

Anyway, that's what I tried here, thinking Kapo, Kapo, Kapo, even tried to bring my head and chest through which of course is impossible given your laying on your neck but somehow it seems to trigger something in the back and helps.

I slip these two postures into my Intermediate series, in VK they come up after the Salabhasanas so I just keep them there in 2nd as extra prep for Kapo. Turned out my kapo wasn't so great this morning. Perhaps on a better kapo day my feet will end up a little closer to my head.

UPDATE
Just saw that the David Willams Complete Ashtanga Syllabus poster I ordered from the states is in the van on it's way to be delivered today. David mentions that there was a Sanskrit poster of the syllabus in the old Shala in Mysore. Anyone heard anything about that, seen it or have a picture or perhaps come across one that might show it, be interesting to see. Doesn't seem to be in the new shala, where is it now, what happened to it?

20 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. My place is cold, too! I use a space heater + layering.

    The hands will eventually go through in garba; keep at it. It helps to move the knees in closer to each other. But I think you already know that.

    I've never heard about the syllabus. Have you read this?

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  3. Hi Grimmly, usually I wear long-sleeves and pure cotton leggings in the winter. The tightness of leggings do keep me warm, and the long sleeves help the arms to glide through the legs in Garbha P. Hope it helps!

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  4. I just roll my pants / capris up as high as possible for gharba p, and then spritz away...

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  5. When John helps me with Ganda, which isn't often, he wants me to extend the legs as much as possible while also thinking about extending through the big toe knuckle, but he has me work with the feet really close to the floor.

    I think there needs to be a lot of opening in the thoracic in order to roll the weight back and bring those feet in. That's what happens when I get a crank there anyway. I can feel it going backwards, the bend.

    Most often I do the pose three times solo, but if he's going to assist he'll get me in the middle go. The 3rd go is for bringing the hands around, under the shoulders. I should try to will myself to work on picking UP a hand but thus far have been unable to muster the gumption.

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  6. Hi CK, I'm starting think the slippery sweaty thighs I'm used to might be a bit of a cheat, leggings separate the mens from the boys, or girls from the boys. Might try Tracey's long sleeves though for now ( thanks Tracy ), think I have some nike shirt somewhere. No wonder I hear about people struggling with Garbha P so much, can be tricky.

    The syllabus raises lots of questions, DW says that it was framed on the wall of the old shala, all four series and I think he says elsewhere that Ramesh helped him translate it. I'm curious as to who wrote it out, was it Pattabhi Jois from a list Krishnamacharya gave him or did K write it out himself. And of course where is it now, why isn't it in pride of place. Fascinating stuff, not important perhaps but fascinating all the same.

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  7. I had a quick look at your link while on my lunchbreak and just read it again, i don't think I saw it when you first posted it, how did I miss it. I have the text DW is referring too and it's pretty much chin lock in every picture and of course Ramaswami has the same thing in Vinyasa krama which gives us early and late krishnamacharya. Interestingly there's nothing really about Drishti in K's Makaranda or in Ramaswami's VK does that suggest that drishte is something KPJ developed. What about Manju I wonder, he represents KPJ's early teaching the missing link if you like. And of course Lino came to Ashtanga pretty late, early 90's? almost twenty years after DW. I'm curious about Lino's book though, you said Advanced A and B not 3rd and 4th series, interesting, be interesting to see how it differs from DW Poster (which seems to be pretty much the same as the video he made with David Swenson)

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  8. All ways wondered why Capri pants were so popular perhaps that explains it Anon.

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  9. Hi Boodie, yeah that's how i was trying to go about it too but if you look at that video ursula posted on FB ( I think you commented on it too) she goes about it differently. I thought that perhaps as we were having trouble bringing the legs back in her way might work for us better.

    Not sure i'm ready to try the bringing the arms around yet, bit scary but perhaps in frount of the wall so I can't flip over.

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  10. Hi G, looking good, amazing photograph. You may already know this, but will share anyway, I get very cold, like VERY cold, and JC told me it was related to nit breathing deep enough, so I am breathing slower and deeper these days... But I must admit Pure is a pretty warm shala...

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  11. Yeah, my Ujaii is pretty full on when I first start practice to try and warm up, use it on the bike cycling to work too.

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  12. I actually don't remember that clip! I'd have to go look at it.

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  13. SKPJ said no chin-lock, and for me he is the authority on ashtanga vinyasa yoga. Not a book by his guru.

    Manju doesn't care, as far as I can tell.

    Everything Lino has told me has turned out to be true, so far.

    I do not have that same track record with DW.

    Also....How can you do chin-lock if you're looking at your foot?

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  14. I don't think it is the full chin lock in most of the postures, even in the Makaranda, just forehead to knee ( which of course brings the chin down but I wouldn't say into a full lock), that was the same with Ramaswami too. Looking at the foot seems to be, early on at least, a minor variation, an option on paschimottanasana in the makaranda same in yoga mala where it's extended as an option for the other seated.

    But what does it matter, buy the time you got to SKPJ and Lino too for that matter, the whole drishti thing seems to be fixed. I'm still curious how drishti as a central focus came about but that's just me.

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  15. Dear Grimmly
    Now I'm in the deep south and might not be able to find winter wear. I could give a try to practicing in wool thermal underwear when I get back to SH. They sell cotton ones also over there, a staple for locals. I could give those a try. But I like the tent idea more and more.
    Cheers
    Arturo

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  16. For me, it matters little how or when the no jalandhara bandha thing / dristi came about.

    I also believe that thinking about these things too much is the opposite of yoga, and indulges the mind and creates more chittra vritti - not less. When in doubt, I refer to Yoga Mala and Lino's book and my own experience with SKPJ.

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  17. Hey! So you do feel the cold, looking at the skimpy clothes in winter I was beginning to think you were superman ; ) Personally I do merino wool or cotton leggins, with long sleeve t-shirt and fleece...there is only what feels like cardboard separating me from the snow outside. Garbha, cloth on cloth or skin on skin. Think that's how most people do it unless they have VERY slender thighs ... Oh and thanks for the link, I made the mushroom wellington today...yuummmm but need to add a little extra something to the filling. I am a terrible cook so made mini ones, first one was a tester. Merry Christmas to you and yours ★

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  18. Could be argued to come under svadhyayat....at a push : )
    No doubt ten years from now Ashtangi's will be deferring to Sharath ( and his coming book) rather than his grandfather and Yoga Mala, perhaps that's as it should be. 70's Ashtanga is appealing to me at the moment, besides, hated everything about the 80's and hardly noticed the 90's....

    Hi エスタ, yep last couple of weeks I fished out the shirts, think because I was having a little trouble with my back and wanted to babysit it, all fine again now. last year I moved upstairs to a warmer room.

    You've eaten the wellington already, mine's in the freezer until tomorrow. Glad it turned out OK but let me know if and how you tweak it.

    happy holidays everyone.

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  19. I think that Svadhyaya is the study of the Self.

    If that's the case, witnessing the mind's fascination with the whys, whens and hows of ashtanga minutiae would be Svadhyaya.

    Allowing the mind to continue unwatched and unfettered in the same pursuit would be something else.

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  20. I agree CK but I would also include the study and questionings of texts and practices, including their interpretation, pertaining to the self and putting them to the test to see how they correspond with ones own experience.

    But what can we do, you have a journalistic background, I believe, so am bound to want to write about about the practice, mine is a Philosophy, ontological hermeneutics, so I'm bound to be drawn to question it, more curiosity than fascination though.

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A Reminder

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
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