Vinyasa Karma practice notes and guidelines.
NOTES from Ramaswami's Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa Krama =
Movement and Sequence methodology
'Each of the important postures are practiced with elaborate vinyasas (variations).'
'Each variation is linked to the next one by a succession of special transitional movements synchronised by the breath'
(from Yoga sutras 2.46)
SMOOTH + LONG BREATHING ( pratyatana sithila)
HOW TO PRACTICE
'Smooth inhalations accompanying expansive movements'
We average 15 breaths a minute
In our asana practice we aim for 4-6 breaths a minute.
This could come down to as little as 2 per minute in some postures e.g. inversions
STYLE OF BREATH?
Breath out making a hahhhhhh sound
now breath in making the same sound
now breathe in making the same hahhh sound.
By constricting the throat a little more a little less we can make the hissing sound stronger or lighter/louder or softer.
This is Ujjayi
The breath connects the mind with the body.
Direct your attention inside your chest
Locate where you feel your breath centred, where inhalation appears to start and where exhalation converges.
Focus attention here for a few breaths, then engage ujjayi, a rubbing sensation in the throat.
finally connect your breath to your movements.
The flow of breath is like the flow of oil, smooth and uniform.
HOW LONG DO WE STAY IN POSTURES?
Many postures may be repeated 3-6 times (often going a little deeper into the pose each time).
Stay for 2-6 breaths
Some postures have the option of extended stays
EG. Paschimottanasana 5-10 minutes
Maha Mudra 5 minutes each side
Shoulderstand 5-10 minutes
Headstand 10-20 minutes
ANATTA SAMAPATTI ?
Focus mentally on the breath
Asana with variation and coordinated breathing
HOW LONG TO PRACTICE?
Krishanamacharya would have Ramaswami practice 40 minutes of asana and 20 minutes of Pranayama, Meditation or Chanting.
My own practice?
90 minutes asana
20 minutes pranayama
15 minutes meditation
20 minutes asana
20 minutes pranayama
20 minutes meditation
HAVE A PLAN!
As we become more confident with our asana we should begin to work on engaging the bandhas as these can help to steady us in our postures.
'There are three important band has. the first is jalandhara bandha, or locking the chin against the breastbone. This may be done during kumbhkas and whenever the the posture requires the chin to be locked, which is normally the case during forward bends and when keeping the back erect. In backbends and twisting postures it is not possible to do jalandhara bandha'. p127
Mula and Uddiyana bandha
'The other two bandhas, however, should be practiced in most of the asanas, especially after exhalation. The first is mula bandha, which means "constricting of the anus" It is done after a complete exhalation. After the exhalation is over, the abhyasi (yoga student) should anchor the body in the asana he or she is in and then slowly and deliberately close the anus and draw in the rectum by contracting the perineal and surrounding muscles of the pelvic floor. Then as if in a continuous movement, the abdomen, including the navel, is drawn in, pushing up the diaphragm into the now almost empty chest cavity, which is then called uddiyana bandha ( drawing in of the diaphragm)... This technique is one of the specialities of yogic breathing" p127
PERFECTION IN POSTURE?
'When one is able to stay in the posture (utkatasana) for three to six breaths, then one should slowly increase the time to complete a stipulated number of breaths. Thereafter, one should remain in the posture for a predetermined number of breaths chosen by the practitioner or teacher, or for a fixed persiod, say three to five minutes. Then one's practice should be aimed at reducing the number of breaths while remaining in the posture for the same duration. for instance one may take a total of twenty breaths while in the posture. Later on, it may be possible to remain in the posture steadily and comfortably (sthira and sukha) for five minutes with perhaps only ten breaths. This is one method for attaining asana siddhi (perfection in posture) that one can test of oneself. Having achieved this level of comfort in the posture, one can then introduce the band has, which will increase the time taken for each breath. P 127
NB: These are practice notes that will be tidied up and put into the new edition of my Vinyasa Yoga Practice Book along with the current sequences and subroutines. The book can be freely downloadedHERE. There is a page on Facebook HERE with all the latest sheets and updates. This book is in no way a substitute for Ramaswami's Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga.