- Yama and Niyama: Krishnamacharya, Jois, Ramaswami
- How to meditate
- Chanting Yoga Sutras
- Krishnamacharya resource page
- Sri K. Pattabhi Jois - Resources
- Manju Pattabhi Jois Resource
- Sharath R. Jois Resource
- Srivatsa Ramaswami Vinyasa Krama Resource page
- Old Ashtanga Videos : A selection of old Pattabhi Jois Led Ashtanga videos (also interviews etc.).
- Asana Lists Inc. Original 1974 Ashtanga Syllabus
- Ashtanga Rishi Series
- Slow Ashtanga PLUS Yoga Makaranda Part I and II
- Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu (1941) (translation project)
- VINYASA KRAMA sequences/subroutines
- Workshop photos and my Books on Krishnamacharya's Original Ashtanga Practice and Vinyasa Krama yoga
- Ashtanga Workshops Reviews
- On Ashtanga Practice
- The Ashtanga Key - Surya Namaskara
- Developing a home practice
- YOGA GLOSSARY
- How to practice Krishnamacharya's Early Ashtanga Yoga
- How to practice Vinyasa Krama
- Yoga Reading List
- Ashtanga and Ageing / Maturity : Flexibility within the system of Ashtanga
- Ashtanga History
- Beginning Yoga / Ashtanga / Vinyasa
- Derek Ireland, the teacher's teacher.
- Ashtanga History: Authorisation 1980 - Present.
- Proficient Primary.
- Some suggested posts 2008-Present
- Free Downloads (Updated with more links)
“One of my goals in life is to do the slowest Primary Series anywhere… rather than the quickest”. Richard Freeman
Saturday, 30 April 2011
I sort of want to be the skinny, stringy, sinewy yogi, the guy with the fingernails at the top right of my blog perhaps, but it seems it's not to be, my genes have other plans. Was saying to another blogger yesterday, wouldn't mind a buddha belly but a 42" chest doesn't fit the profile ( something like that). And the chest, it's growing, the pranayamam, Ashtanga, they both seem to be conspiring, 42" is with the tape pulled tight, I'm being generous.
The picture btw is from July last year (only good back shot I could find), just after getting back from the VKTT course when I was probably the lightest I've been in years, 75 kg (just checked, 76.5 currently), yet still the lats.
I don't get it, I'm a veggie, I eat little, twice a day, I avoided the Arm balances from 3rd, changed my jump through to straight legs ( less work on the upper body), cut out fancy handstands, but still the lats, what do they live on ,what do they eat.
Of course the truth of the matter is, they don't seem to make a difference, can still bind at the wrist in the Marichi's, Purna M, Passasana and what have you, just as with the gnashing of teeth about our arms are being too short, this is no doubt just another paranoia.
I'm reminded now of Touchdown Todd (?) the ex US football player on Larry's The Rocket II Video, now that boy had lat's mine are latte in comparison.
Anyway it's an Ashtanga rest day, always a little out of sorts on rest days. Some pranayama perhaps, a little VK is called for .
Friday, 29 April 2011
M. exclaimed last night that I look more.... muscly, I hadn't noticed but I suppose so, all those jump backs and through I guess (tend to do less in my VK practice). What I have noticed is a loss of flexibility, these five (quick) breath stays in postures are not the same as the long long stays in Paschimottanasana, badha konasana, mahamudra etc. that I was used to in Vinyasa Krama.
Also, following just Primary as if I'm in Mysore for a month, I feel my backbends slipping away, wonder if I can still do a half decent Kapo. I pause Sharath after urdhva dhanurasana so I can do dropbacks, the first week I just did three and pressed play again, last couple of days I've been doing five to ten just to open my back a little more.
In fact I'm hitting the pause button more and more, at paschimottanasana to do the four hand variations instead of Sharath's two or three and longer slower breaths. At badha konasana, Sarvangasana at Sirsasna, longer stays, longer, slower inhalations and exhalation.
The Led is not ideal.
I'm thinking of making my own led cd/audio file, just for my own use, a slower count and/or perhaps one with an eight breath count. I think CK told me once that the first edition of Lino's book had an eight count. Plus I've been getting into the Sanskrit count, practicing that, would be fun to do.
Can't decide whether to switch off the cd/dvd altogether and go it alone, at my own pace or stick it out for the month, probably the latter as if nothing else it's an interesting experiment and it is tightening up my practice.
Thank god for end of practice pranayama, so greedy for it at the moment, a chance to really wallow in the breath.
... and my evening Vinyasa krama practice, switched from working through the book, to working maha mudra, Paschinmottanasana, Badha konasana/kandapindasana, crave them.
All you with a 2nd series practice who go to Mysore for a month, how does it affect your 2nd, I imagine it comes back soon enough. God, wonder if I can still lift my Karandavasana.
5:59 Sharath's about to start the chant, little later this morning as I have a day off, something or other going on in London, we're off to Southall, going to buy me the longest Bansuri flute I can find.
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
Do people feel bandhas are best served through the straight leg or crossed leg jump though?
I'm still undecided, see yesterdays post and comments for context.
Below are some of the different variations I've tried, some with more success than others
Some better examples of the straight leg
and the crossed
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
I decided to go with the straight leg jump through only trouble is, I've never really mastered it. I had a go at it off and on a few times, even tried to learn it blindfolded and though I eventually managed it, I never really practiced it enough to really nail it. A month of primary is a lot of jump throughs so the perfect time to hammer away at it.
And with some success, it's coming. The first couple of days I was landing on my heels most of the time and a couple of times, when tired, only just managed to make it through. It's still not graceful or elegant but I get four or five nice ones a practice now, it's becoming more consistent.
The ones that work best are when I really lift up through my shoulders, keep my hips up and almost hold my backside back. Oh and Uddiyana, that seems to bring the thighs up and allow me to catch and hold it a second before lowering. I think I need to try and hold my backside back even longer and bring my thighs up higher to really catch it, need to slow it down too (Will update this every time I notice something else that helps).
Still needs work but I'm hoping by the end of the month of led primary's I'll have it settled in.
Bit of a change this morning, instead of the Sharath led I went for the Sri K Pattabhi Jois Led primary from Yogaworks. I have both Primary and Intermediate, I got on OK with the Intermediate a few months back but struggled, again with the timing, with the primary. Much better this morning, he doesn't give you as much time as Sharath to get in and out of postures and jumping through etc, which is fine for me, but what he does do is give you a little more time to breathe, so ideal. There are a couple of quirks, only Badha Konasana A, no B and no Parivritta Parsva Konasana for some reason.
Having both the primary and Intermediate i was able to cut and splice and make a couple of extra practice videos.
1. Primary to Kapo
2. Primary to Karandavasana
3. Primary to Navasana then 2nd
After this month of Primary I thought I use the Primary to Kapo for a couple of weeks and then the Primary to Karandavasana and then see about the 3rd one or just split and practice the yogaworks Jois led 2nd.
BTW has anyone got or seen Lino's 2nd and 3rd series DVD, be interested to hear about it.
Here's a tase of the Yoga works DVD's ( clink on the info for a link for getting hold of a copy).
Monday, 25 April 2011
I noticed while trying to see if they were streaming from Encinitas that their 'boutique' is online now, us guys get a t-shirt, that's it. Seems Sharath has a new DVD out too, half Primary, didn't I hear somewhere that Kino is doing a half primary as well?
The born-again Ashtangi thing is going well, enjoying the led primary every morning but it's exhausting, did I really practice at that pace every morning? I'm sweating buckets and kind of feel as if I've hit a reset button or having An American werewolf in London transformation going on, but spread over a couple of weeks rather than two minutes. I seem to be getting leaner, feel longer, limbs lengthening, becoming stronger perhaps, fitter too.
Switched my eating around from a light breakfast and dinner to a light breakfast and lunch then nothing but a banana or two until breakfast, working well, feel much lighter or at least emptier during practice.
Playing a little bit by the rules, even have my chin to my knees rather than forehead, hell why not, got my drishti going and everything. I also took a rest day on Saturday, complete day off, not even pranayama. That was quite nice actually, felt it Sunday though, hard first practice back.
The plan is to do a month of this and then perhaps add 2nd up to kapo for a month, then up to Karanda and split the thrid month. Never really did it that way, just jumped into 2nd ( just checked, i kind of jumped in, worked through the series a few times on my day off then did some primary to kapo for a while then primary to Karanda before splitting, so if not adding poses then adding sections), so like the chance to explore. But for now keep this up for a month, following along with Sharath's led, just as if I was in Mysore. That reminds me, I was asked two questions...
1. Now I'm a born-again Ashtanga, do I have plans to go to Mysore?
2. If so would I be interested in becoming Authorised to teach?
Mysore....I don't know, I've thought about it recently, especially since I sold a Sax last week and could buy a ticket. I just can't think of a good enough reason. I don't even practice in a shala here let alone go over there. If I went I could only go for a month so would only be practicing primary and I can do that here, am doing that here and as intensely as if I was in that room. I drop back and come up here pretty deeply (stop the video to do a few of those then pick it back up at paschi) so don't need to go for that. There are a few bloggers it would be nice to have the chance to practice with but I'm the least social person I know so would mostly be keeping myself to myself. Be nice to spend some time in India but there are other areas I think I'd rather visit than just stay in Mysore for a month. Be nice to see where Krishnamacharya taught all those years ago though. I don't know, see how I feel a few months from now, when does the shala open again, when do people tend to go, end of the year?
The second question amused me, thanks for that P. Would I like to be authorised to teach Ashtanga? Again, I don't go to a shala and don't particularly agree with hands on adjustments, be a bit hypocritical of me to consider teaching in that way, although I hear there are some ashtanga teachers who rarely adjust physically. Then of course there's the integrity issues of planning to go out there, what, three of four times, with that intention and the feeling of selling out I'd have from keeping silent and toeing the party line when I've questioned so much in the past and still have questions or concerns. ( Not critical of other teachers here, it would just be an issue for me because of my... well documented, concerns regarding the practice) No, no, no plans on that score, don't think they'd have me anyway.
Besides, though I enjoy practicing Ashtanga I don't think it's for everyone, it works for me and I seem to kind of need this kind of practice, at least for another couple of years but If I was to recommend a yoga practice then it would be Vinyasa Krama. No plans to seek to teach that either at the moment although I guess I would if someone asked, would feel obliged to given that Ramaswami has shared so much.
Re Vinyasa Krama, I'm employing Arturo's approach in the evenings after work and working through the different sequences, picking up where I left off the day before. Twenty minutes of Asana before pranayama pratyahara and japa mantra meditation. Seems to be working out nicely thanks Arturo.
One thing that did strike me recently, followed a question from Claudia concerning whether I considered Sharath to be preserving the lineage of Krishnamacharya. My answer was that I thought he was preserving the lineage of later Jois, which is fine of course, but that perhaps Manju might better be considered to be preserving early Krishnamachary ( of the Yoga Makarnada and Mysore) through teaching more in a manner of early Jois ( which I assume to be closer to how he (Jois) was taught/guided by krishnamacharya). But I don't know just speculating.
If then I'm interested in continuing/preserving/promoting Krishnamacharya's teaching, both early and later periods, then I should probably try and attend Manju's workshops and possibly, one day his TT's.
Has everybody downloaded their copy of Krishnamacharya's yoga Makaranda?
Friday, 22 April 2011
Thursday, 21 April 2011
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Do I miss those fancy poses at the end with my new honest primary, not tempted to roll out the mat and try Kandasana nahh, not a bit... OK perhaps a bit.
Sunday, 17 April 2011
Saturday, 16 April 2011
Thursday, 14 April 2011
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Monday, 28 September 1998
IN 1988, Derek Ireland, the charismatic yoga practitioner who was largely responsible with Radha Warrell for introducing to Europe the "aerobic" yoga called astanga vinyasa, accidentally blew himself up with camping gas canisters on a Greek island. He was severely burnt on his legs and arms so a Greek doctor peeled the skin off. "He peeled my hand which really hurt because of all the nerve endings. My lateral ligament was sticking out like an onion ring," Ireland recalled later.
He was flown to London for skin grafts. On arrival the doctors wrapped the burns in netting and plastic bags and bandages then left him for a few days before starting on the grafts. Whilst waiting, Ireland did head and shoulder stands. "It was the Olympics so I turned the television upside- down and watched it for an hour at a time." Seven days later the doctors took the bandages off. The skin had healed. "No scars, nothing. But I felt tiny because I'd no prana left from healing this thing."
"Prana" in yoga is the breath of life - the life force - and it was the power of the breathing exercises ("pranayama") that first drew Derek Ireland, a former Brighton and Hove football apprentice, to yoga.
"I'm not into meditation," he said. "I don't believe in chakras or kundalini. I'm not a guru worshipper - I know they've grown wise but they're still only human and all they know is some southern Indian village. I got into astanga vinyasa yoga for the combination of breathing and movement."
Ireland was a walking testimonial to the health and fitness properties of the form. Tall, deeply tanned and muscular, he radiated vitality and energy. To see him demonstrate the yoga, accompanied by throbbing pop music, was an eye-popping experience. He combined grace and fluidity of movement with strength and remarkable gymnastic ability.
He clearly believed if you've got it flaunt it. He did the demonstrations in designer knickers and his own yoga practise six days a week wearing only a thong. On his daily run he generally wore nothing but trainers, the thong and a personal stereo.
He got away with such shameless exhibitionism by dint of his genial charm and a willingness to laugh at himself. A warm, caring man, he had a quick sense of humour and a ready laugh - a wonderful, deep, basso laugh that filled the "sweat box" at the Practice Place in Crete or the "yoga shack" on the beach in Goa where he was an inspiring, hands-on teacher to hundreds of students over the years.
"I like to work hands on - I look on my teaching as bodywork therapy," he said. One of his students had over 50 broken bones but was on the second series (the yoga has six levels or series, each one increasing in difficulty). It didn't matter to Derek how good you were, all that mattered was that you were willing to try.
Derek Ireland was born and raised in Brighton. A "ferociously competitive" athlete at school, he was apprenticed to Brighton and Hove Albion football team when a severe knee injury playing rugby ended his hopes of a professional sports career.
When punk came along he spent five years promoting the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Stranglers along the south coast and took fully to the rock and roll lifestyle. He started conventional yoga with his girlfriend Radha Warrell after "living off my memories of my sporting triumphs for ten years". Thereafter he did yoga almost every day.
In 1978 the couple moved to Los Angeles where Ireland was supposed to take a band on the road. "It was to be Foreigner, then the Tubes, then Ozzy Osbourne. In the end I didn't take anyone - I think because they thought I was wilder than the bands."
Two years later the couple went on a one-month teacher training course to a Shivananda yoga retreat in the Bahamas. They stayed six years to run the place. During that time a visiting Shivananda swami from New York introduced them to astanga vinyasa, a vigorous form of yoga that had been rediscovered in the Thirties by Patthabhi Jois in Mysore, who claimed it was the original yoga from which all other hatha yogas had developed.
In 1986 Derek Ireland moved to New York to teach it - in the absence of premises he ran big open-air classes in Central Park until the park authorities moved him on. The following year he and Radha spent six months with Jois in Mysore, then began to teach the form as he had passed it on to them all over the world.
In 1991 they opened the Practice Place, a centre devoted to astanga vinyasa, in a secluded bay in southern Crete. The Practice Place quickly established itself as one of the most important yoga centres in the world. Many of the numerous classes now available in Britain are run by Derek and Radha's former students. More and more people have taken up the yoga, including such celebrities as Ralph Fiennes, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sting, Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder and Demi Moore.
Ireland's ebullient manner and deliberately non-spiritual approach to yoga caused raised eyebrows in the yoga community over the years. "I usually do my practice to music - in England I do it to MTV," he said a couple of years ago. "I used to do it with weights on my wrists: that upset a few purists. I also had a weighted jacket but I got rid of that after I did a handstand and nearly killed myself - it slipped down and hit me on the back of the head."
Ireland had lots of injuries, which made his control of his body even more remarkable. He fell out of a tricky posture and severed a nerve once, losing control of his left arm for four years. In consequence, teaching ta'i chi he kept hitting himself in the eye.
In winter he ran courses in a "yoga shack" on a beach in Goa. He attracted students simply by doing his practice on the beach for passersby to watch. The practice would take two hours and within five minutes he would be surrounded by Indians who weren't familiar with this style of yoga. "Some would plonk babies on me for photographs. I tried to stay focused - I only got uptight if they actually walked on me!"
Derek Ireland had started a new phase of his life with Kristina Karitinou and their child Lumiere when testicular cancer was diagnosed and treated. They had another child, Liam, 18 months ago. Cancer recurred. Ireland continued to teach in Crete and Goa in the periods between his treatments with the same care as before. His warmth and ebullience never left him until the breath of life, the prana, did.
Derek Ireland, yoga practitioner and teacher: born Brighton, East Sussex 16 April 1949; married 1998 Kristina Karitinou (two sons); died Brighton 24 September 1998.
Sunday, 10 April 2011
The problem of course is that with said injured hand and not being able to put weight on it, how does one approach the Sury's and jump backs let alone some of the other postures that involve some form of arm balance.
Saturday, 9 April 2011
Wednesday, 6 April 2011
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
Sunday, 3 April 2011
Saturday, 2 April 2011
Friday, 1 April 2011
Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga at home by Anthony Grim Hall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
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