The thing is, the Vinyasa Krama 'Rishi approach' is to do the asana and then do it again for the same amount of time but with, say, half the number of breaths. The idea is to use fewer and fewer breaths but also to keep them smooth and steady. So it's useful doing the Ashtanga version first and getting an idea how long fifty breaths take so that I can then stay in the same asana for the same amount of time but start reducing the breaths, lengthening the exhalation, including retention where appropriate etc.
Even if the Rishi series/approach turns out to be a myth.
I kind of like the VK version better, feel there's more of a point to the long stays when your working with the breath, just staying for 50 breaths seems more like tapas, OK perhaps I get a boon from the gods and the poses do open a little more but it seems a wasted opportunity.
Anyway a reminder of the Rishi approach...
First the intro bit again...
A series of posts exploring the the 'Ashtanga Rishi Series' mentioned at the end of Nancy Gilgoff's Article (see link below) and outlined in a reply by David Willams on his forum below ( the headings in block capitals are mine.
I'll be starting each of these posts with this same introduction/reminder of the the context.
'Originally there were five series: Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, Advanced B, and the fifth was the “rishi” series'.
Ashtanga Rishi Approach
'...Doing a practice of 10 postures for up to 50 breaths is a method of preparing for "advanced series" after one has learned 1st and 2nd. It can be done once or twice a week. One does the "salutations" and then starts going thru the series, holding each posture for as long as comfortably possible. Notice which postures could be held for 50 breaths. The next time you practice this way, the postures which you could hold for 50 are omitted and new ones are added at the end. One gradually works thru the series, dropping and adding asanas, still doing 10 asanas per session. I have gone all the way thru 1st and 2nd this way several times over the years and have found it beneficiall'.
Ashtanga Rishi Series
'Then, once one has mastered all of the asanas, one can practice "the rishi series", the most advanced practice. One does the 10 postures that one intuits will be the most beneficial and appropriate for that day, holding each posture for up to 50 comfortable breaths'.
The Ashtanga Rishi approach, Fifth Day (2nd series).
Sury A x 3 / Sury B x 3
Pasasana (25 breaths each side) First side was OK, just made 25 but was slipping off one knee after 23. the second leg I placed a towel over my leg for grip. Needed to really lay on the bandhas to anchor myself, can't imagine doing fifty a side.
Krounchasana (25 breaths each side). Nice, gets easier and settle into the posture more as it goes on.
Salabhasana A (50 breaths). Both A and B were OK with the pelvic tilt engaged, really trying to push down and up through the mat. Used the belly button holding a pea technique as well (no not a real one). these techniques have been revolutionary in my approach to these bow sequence postures, much easier, makes the long stay possible and more of a stretch too, quite proud of my Salabhasana's now.
Salabhasana B (25 breaths). See A. above
Bhekasana (25 breaths). As Salabhasana A and B above with the pelvic tilt and pea techniques but I can't say I was pressing my feet down equally throughout, relaxed them a couple of times.
Dhanurasana (25 breaths). Bit lame, the will was weak and I baled after 25 breaths, fifty is possible with the above approach I think, perhaps if I did it first
Parsva Dhanurasana (25 breaths each side). Took both sides easy I have to admit as i knew kapo was coming up and I wanted to relax my quads a little.
Ustrasana (25 breaths). Fifty is doable but I wasn't sure how the kapo would go so wanted to save myself a little for that, nice to spend the time working on the pelvic tilt and pushing hips forward.
Kapotasana (25 breaths). And so Kapo which was hanging over the whole practice as ever, the elephant in the room. I'd done a trial run of this earlier in the week but had only held the side of my feet. Perhaps the good work in Ustrasana on the tilt and getting the hips forward allowed me to catch my heels, not from the air as I used to be able to do but then I haven't worked at kapo much for some time.
The long hold was difficult, no panic and I managed to keep the breath regular but I started to get all tingly and a little numb. Couldn't think of anyway I could be cutting off circulation as in Marichi D say, so figured it was psychological and stuck with it. Was tempted to carry on past 25, to 40 perhaps and then see but wanted to be sure of coming up so settled on 25 and just a couple of breaths in B.
Interesting experience though, did iyengar REALLY stay 15 minutes in kapo? And what about that picture of Krishnamacharya standing on the young Patthabi Jois while he was in Kapo, that was in the 30's took forever to set up a photo in those days.
Sarvangasana (50 breaths).
Sirsasana (50 breaths).
The next section of 2nd series should be OK, Dwi pada Sirsaasana is where I expect problems but that would be on the following day, the 7th day. Whether I explore that will depend on whether we manage to work out Sharath's Dwi pada secret.
Ashtanga Rishi Blog post series
Ashtanga Rishi Approach, first day Paschimottanasana to Janu sirsasana A
Ashtanga Rishi Approach, second day Janu Sirsasana B to Navasana
Ashtanga Rishi Approach, third day Bhuja pindasana to badha konasana
Ashtanga Rishi Approach, fourth day Upavishta konasana to Supta bandhasana
Ashtanga Rishi Approach, fifth day Pasasana to Kapotasana
Ashtanga Rishi Approach, sixth day Supta vajrasana to Ardha Matsyendrasana
Ashtanga Rishi Approach, Seventh Day Eka pada sirsasana to Tittibhasana C