Nancy Gilgoff 'Yoga as it was'
This line at the end of Nancy's article, that I posted earlier in the week, drew a few comments.
What is the rishi series?
I remembered reading something interesting about this a couple of years ago but couldn't remember where. So I hit google obviously. this came up a couple of times from befityoga
The Rishi Sereis – The final series is the Rishi Series, a Rishi is one who knows. At this point in our lives we are about 60 years old and our body knows what it needs. In the Rishi series you choose 10 poses and hold each one for 50 breaths. Now if you begun Ashtanga Yoga in your 50’s you can not get to 60 and say “now I can do the Rishi Series”. You need to put in your time (practice, practice, practice) learning this method prior to the Rishi Sereis. I started this practice at 30 years of age and it has taken me 10 years to get to the Third series!
2007 Bobbi Misiti | BeFit Body & Mind YOGA http://www.befityoga.com/yfocus_may07.shtml
Interesting but not the one I remembered...
The next one was from Alex Medin on Ashtanga.com
'The last four series are the Advanced A, B, C, and D sequences--in Sanskrit called the Sthira Bhaga (Centering of Strength). These postures aim to center the body/mind/nervous system in a greater steadiness from within, but these postures should only be attempted after years of practice. Without a solid grounding in the practice it is easy to cause more harm than good to the body/mind/nervous system from the sheer intensity of the postures. This sequence is also called the "Rishi" sequence since names from many of the famous sages of the Vedas are found here'.
Again no, not the one I was searching for. Finally I found it and not surprisingly it was David Williams, which ties in with the quote from Nancy at the beginning of this post, it was to Nancy and David that Jois gave the list of the different series.
This came up then as a question on David's website forum
........There was one thing I remember but am hoping you can shed some more light on, you mentioned a practise where ten postures are held for fifty breaths each, could you tell me more about the structure and contents of that practise (postures etc).
Nice to hear from you and I am glad that you enjoyed the workshop...so did I.
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 beneficial.
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.
I hope this is clear. Please feel free to ask further questions.
All the best to you.
Yours in Yoga,
In a sense Vinyasa Krama has a rishi if not series then approach, here's Ramaswami talking about utkatasana in the context of YS II:46 STHIRA-SUKHAM ASANAM,
'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'.
Ramaswami Yoga for the Three Stages of Life P 127
I explored this here Bandhas, Breathing and making the most of Utkatasana hard, really hard but something to work towards.
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