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Krishnamacharya's original Ashtanga.
Pattabhi Jois talked in interviews, as well as when writing in Yoga Mala, that if we had less time we should practice less asana. In my own practice time is an issue. I prefer to breathe more slowly in the asana and vinyasas, lengthening my inhalation and exhalation, "slow like the pouring of oil" as Krishnamacharya puts it in Yoga Makaranda. I like to explore kumbhaka and the occasional extended stay, in Mudras especially. I also prefer to practice, much of the time, with my eyes closed, employing internal drishti at different vital focal points and I like to introduce vinyasas, extra preparatory asana on days when they feel appropriate as well as perhaps extending an asana into more challenging, 'proficient' forms on the more flexible days, in keeping perhaps with the idea of groups of asana rather than fixed sequences. I like to practice Pranayama before and after my asana practice as well as finishing my practice with a 'meditative activity'. I was first introduced to Yoga through the Ashtanga sequences and I still maintain that general structure in my main practice but I would rather sacrifice half or more than half a sequence than these other factors and perhaps practice the asana ‘missed’ in the following days, I still consider this to be Ashtanga, the 'original' Ashtanga of Krishnamacharya.
Friday, 27 January 2012
Straight friday primary after Rishi week and Dwi pada sirsasana
Yes and no.
It was a joy, as ever on a Friday, to fly through it, get lost in the flow and familiarity of the series. I was struck by something iIcan only describe as a closer... intimacy with the postures. That's perhaps to be expected, fifty breaths in Marchi D, Navasana etc, bound to feel you have... history. Felt like I'd found more space in many of the postures, everything felt a little more comfortable.
I was asked about my joints, tendons, ligaments if they feel more 'stretched' after the long stays, feels something like that, not exactly an ache but you know you've worked them there's a sensation, not unpleasant a kind of awareness of ligaments you took for granted, a parallel to the 'muscles didn't know I had' type thing.
I've decided to take a bit of time, a few weeks, before starting on the Rishi approach to 2nd series. I included most of the backbends from the first part of 2nd after the shoulder stands last week, they felt OK and I did a trial run of twenty five breaths in pasanasa and kapotasana but I'm very aware of the fact that I've only just reintroduced 2nd series. While revisiting all the Vinyasa krama subroutines in the mornings over three months for the book I was mostly practicing Primary in the evenings, My 2nd is OK but it could be better. Dwipada sirsasana for instance.
A friend mention on FB that Sharath had given her dwipada the treatment ( though then preceded to give her the next pose so it couldn't have been that bad), bit of a hard time about not having her feet far enough apart, directing her attention to his own picture on the wall of the Mysore Shala (see above). I'm sure all of us doing 2nd were particularly conscious of our own Dwipada next practice, I know I was.
I just had a look at it after this mornings practice.
Here's my first one, OK admittedly it's winter, it's cold in the home shala, I'm not very sweaty and the legs aren't moving into place. i haven't been doing 2nd that much but I always include the dwipada entry to Supta kurmasana so no excuses. As you can see the feet are very close together, i was so proud of my fantail too and that I wasn't hooking them anymore, oh well.
In the next picture you can see I've made a conscious effort to get my first leg further over my shoulder and the second leg further over the first to bring the feet further apart.
What, you can't see that... No, me neither. Part of it is the lack of sweat I need to be able to come further through my waist roll over the calf on the second leg to allow me to draw my second foot down the first leg. That in turn will stop the second leg pushing through the first and pushing my head down.....I think I know what I should be doing.... I also need to get my legs lower, my leg tends to go quite nicely over my shoulder in eka pada, even to allow buddhasana (see my profile pic) but it's that second leg...think I need to draw the knees back too, perhaps try and push the knees up which will bring the legs down... hmmm.
You can see perhaps why I want to put 2nd series Rishi off. if I'm going to stay in Dwipada for 50 breaths I want it more like Sharath's than mine above, no pressure at all on the head.
I enjoyed the Rishi experiment, the first day was the best though, where I was exploring the vinyasa Krama breathing in the longer stays. Just staying in a pose for fifty breaths feels more like a tapas challenge. I want to inhabit the posture, explore the breath. I accept the argument for equal inhalation and exhalation in Ashtanga, the lack of breath retention, medium length breathing, makes sense in the context of a flowing practice but If you going for long stays, a less energetic practice then perhaps it allows for more sophistication in the breathing practice. That's something Vinyasa Krama offers, staying in a posture for ten minutes, same as Ashtanga rishi but instead of taking fifty breaths aiming to take just ten. jun slow breaths, retention, longer exhalation, it makes sense to me.
That's another experiment for another day.
Oh here's the Rishi approach 50 breath sunpta kurmasana again with the phone call from the wife. It includes, 1 minute in, the dwipada sirsasasana entry.
Think I'm going to explore the Vinyasa Krama 'Rishi' approach next week. I have a good idea of how long the 50 breaths took in all the postures, want to take that time and then quarter the number of breaths, so five minutes in Supta kurmasana but only 12 long slow breaths with retention rather than the 50. Or perhaps stay in 10 asana for ten minutes each (where realistic) aiming for a twenty second breath cycle rather than the Ashtanga ten.
Still want to work out Sharath's secret but not feeling as bad about mine now.
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