Friday, 17 June 2011

Ashtanga's Siren song.

Been practicing with the Yogaworks, Jois led Ashtanga 2nd series DVD for the last couple of days. It trundles along at quite a pace, sweat buckets, comatose in Savasana but half way through the day feeling a million dollars, like Superman actually....

This morning I though I'd practice 2nd but without the DVD and allow my self to have a couple of extra shots at kapo and karandavasana, a little extra time to work into and savour the leg behind head postures.

I ended up doing some extra backbend prep, the Vinyasa Krama Bow series and then after Kapo felt like eka pada raja kapo and natarajasana before some dropbacks.

By now time was moving on and I could either pick up 2nd where I left off or do some counter poses (the paschi tatalamudra/paschimottanasana combo) and move into a vinyasa krama finish with nice long inversions and plenty of time for some serious Pranayama and meditation, perhaps a chant or two.

I do love my Ashtanga and it does have somewhat of a Siren call for me but every time I do jump ship and stretch out manfully for that beguiling shore I begin to see a little more clearly and a little sooner than the time before, that the song doesn't hold quite the same allure as once it did.

Perhaps if I hadn't have come across Vinyasa Krama, hadn't explored it and made it part of my practice Ashtanga would still be more than enough, I think I appreciate it more and push against it less but the Vinyasa Krama system makes too much sense to me now.

Primary Friday, Intermediate Saturday, think that's plenty,

11 comments:

  1. It does, it has the eight limbs in every practice, how could it not? I can relate to that. The only thing with Vinyasa Krama, for someone like me is that I would have to "choose" what series to do, there is too much option, and I think, at least from the perspective of a beginner that is a challenge as it leaves too much room to just not show up to the practice. But as the practice advances it does make a lot of sense. Been giving this a lot of thought lately, it is interesting

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  2. I think there is a problem of perception regarding Vinyasa Krama. Partly it's to do with how Ramaswami has laid out his books but then we know from that interview with Richard in Namarupa magazine that this was how Krishnamacharya wanted the asanas and vinyasas grouped.

    It makes sense, too, we have types of poses, families of postures grouped together and the vinyasas grow and develop within those family's, the subroutines might be considered as different siblings.

    And of course it's possible to practice the sequences like that, a full sequence of supine postures, a practice of Asymmetric poses and Ramaswami even recommends that we do this occasionally to keep in our minds the relationships between poses.

    But only occasionally. The rest of the time we would take subroutines from different sequences to form our practice. In a sense this is what Ashtanga is. There is the sun salutation, some triangle poses, one leg poses, more triangle and then seated an asymmetric subroutine, another seated routine, supine and then inversions, finishing off with a lotus subroutine.

    We can practice Vinyasa krama in a similar way but where the postures in Ashtanga are fixed, VK is more flexible. We can employ different postures, different combinations, access and stimulate circulation in all areas of our bodies

    But perhaps this is too much freedom, where to start?

    Start with what we know.
    For us Ashtanga can give a bit of a framework but perhaps...
    Reduce the number of postures to give us more time in the poses we do do and the opportunity to repeat and move deeper into them.
    Cut out most of the jump backs and though, perhaps only employing them between subroutines rather than every pose.
    Save more time for inversions.
    Remember counter postures after subroutines
    Try to identify the key postures we want to do in the days practice.
    Lead up to those key postures with preparatory postures
    Take the key posture a little further perhaps with variations/vinyasas.
    Keep the asana practice short enough to leave time for Pranayama, pratyahara and meditation.
    Start simply, with what's familiar, ashtanga framework but then start exploring different postures and it's vinyasa gradually, building up the toolbox.

    This is turning into a post sorry.
    Will try to do some posts on clearly laid out sequence options

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, that is a good way to put it, ashtanga does provide an excellent framework to begin with, get used to the dicipline, etc, it also has one particular and important component: teachers. Lots of them. Throughout the world. I find that it is very rare to find someone as dedicated as you, in most cases teachers are necessary on an ongoing basis, and vinyasa krama has... well I don't know, does anyone teach it?

    But I do like the idea that as a preactitioner advances and sees in his or hr body the benefits, learns about the practical healing and path-advancing qualities of each practice pose then one would want to make the practice more efficient.

    I for once in home practice incorporate maha mudra in the janus, now the mudra you showed before paschi, the lion face excersise after grba, and sacrifice poses of intermediate in favor of longer inversiosns. I know the value of them.

    Guess now I am going manifesto. Topic is fascinating

    ReplyDelete
  4. Claudia when do you sleep : ), comment came in from you yesterday thay i worked out must have been 3amish, thought are you up for practice already.

    Teachers are a problem, i've thought this too. So many excellent Ashtanga teachers around but really not so many VK teachers out there and many of those teach one to one classes.
    I often wonder, does Ramaswami teach the occasional one on one class, just as Krishnamacharya did, think I'd be tempted to move to NJ for a year if he did, how wonderful would that be.

    I think you have a nice approach though, adding poses here and there occasionally, exploring it a little on rest days. I think it's nice to build up the toolbox that way. Have a look in Asymmetric at the poses he warms up to Leg behind head postures for when the time comes.

    I really like seeing the relationship between the postures and just repeating the odd pose two or three times is a revelation, we do that with Paschimottanasana in Ashtanga of course, four times each deeper than the last Or is that three now...or two?).

    I need to do more, should try and network with some of the Vk teachers out there and do interviews or guest posts on how they approach their teaching. perhaps i should come up with a meme thing and send it to all the teachers on Ramaswami's list. You could help me perhaps, your good at lists.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ha ha, funny you noticed, i am up with a stomach ache...grrrr... oh well guess practice will have to wait till I feel better...

    I asked Ramaswami if he did private classes, he said he does not, guess like you said, the Teacher Training takes a lot of energy out of him, that is one long teacher training.

    As per the teachers of krama, yes, that is the issue with teaching one on one in this world, ala krishnamacharya, there are many MANY people now interested in yoga. You know what I think we need? the DVD of Krama and a flashy teacher, I know you hate that but... I just would not want for it to disappear if you know what I mean, it is too valuable... Further more, I think YOU are it... cause you are real, but that is another conversation.

    paschi is two... only two... how many do you do? 6? hee hee

    I will help with anything yes, not sure what you mean with a theme or list, but yes, count me in, I am in...

    ReplyDelete
  6. A DVD would be good I sure something will come out eventually. I'd like to reshoot all mine in HD on the other blog in such a way that you could switch and change subroutines around to make up sequences and yet it all flow into each other.
    I'm sure it won't disappear, there are teachers of VK out there and they of course are passing it on, this is like the 70's in ashtanga terms perhaps, we need a madonnas : )

    No not theme, meme, isn't that what they call those questionnaires that do the rounds, asking how you got into ashtanga etc.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Btw the hathayoga pardipka arrived not sure everything is translated but it looks interesting .

    ReplyDelete
  8. Heh - whatever the merits of one method of practice over another I was cheered up by the photo of the lovely pot. (I'm a potter in my spare time) I should really start a blog on pots, yoga and baking bread.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Misa loves the bowls Mike, says she comes from a country ( Japan ) that knows about pots and that it's a fine rice bowl ( I think she likes how light it is). I just loved the look of it. Didn't realise there were two when you gave it to me this morning and didn't get to see you after the workshop, hope you enjoyed it.. Thank you again. Are you on fb I'm there listed under Anthony Grim Hall.

      Delete
  9. Hi Mike, isn't it wonderful and it's in the British museum too. I started out in Classics so used to have to visit the BM to view all the greek pots. have switched the picture to show it off better.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Just back from a weekend away. You also spent time in Japan - where they understand how to look at a pot. I visit the BM often, and even better "Contemporary Ceramics" has just moved to a new home just opposite the front gates so I can complete two pilgrimages in one when I get into central London. (I actually live in Kent)

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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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