Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Blog reviews of Ramaswami's recent 'Asana, Pranayama, & Mantras' workshop PLUS David Garrigues workshop review

Some blog nice reviews have come out this week of Ramaswami's workshop over the weekend from a couple of (predominently) Ashtanga blogs

First, four posts from Maria's  Serene Flavorful blog

Asana, Pranayama, & Mantras

Now That’s a Goal
'Oh, and I am in love with the Tadasana sequence. I grew a couple of inches, my neck unjammed itself, and it felt like I inhaled for real for the first time'.

You Are About to Find Out
'After giving lecture after lecture he still gets all excited about his subject matter, it is contagious. He is a pleasure to listen to'

'His teaching on bandhas is a whole post by itself.'

There Is A Reason
'Teacher ran out of Vinyasa Krama books. It must have struck a chord.'

And also this one from Claudia's ASHTANGA YOGA MOTHER EARTH blog who made it for one of the days.

Krishnamacharya's Yoga - Weekend With Ramaswami

'My fear was that the sequences of Vinyasa Krama were to be too slow for me compared to the vigorous practice of Ashtanga yoga I do every day.  I was mistaken.

The sequences are not fast, but the effect over the nervous system is delightful for sending one in, for the preparatoin for meditation. And there are plenty of very challenging sequences'. 

If your tempted to attend one of Ramaswami workshops, he posted on FB yesterday that..

'Between April 20 to 25 I will be teaching at my friend Pam Johnson's Heights School of Yoga in Houston Texas and here is the link

Following that in Dallas, Friday, April 27, 2012 - Sunday, April 29, 2012, there's

Vinyas Krama weekend—The Yoga of Sri T Krishnamacharya by Srivatsa Ramaswami 

for future workshops etc. see Ramaswami's upcoming 'EVENTS' page

While on the subject of blog reviews here's a wonderfully long Ashtanga one from Maya of MAYALAND blog, here's the first couple of paragraphs...

david garrigues rocks durham with a mysore intensive and weekend workshop

First things first: I survived!  I wasn’t sure a few moments in there, but yes, I pulled through, and even had a good time.  Go me!
Okay, second, let me tell you about the groovy shala where the workshop was held.  The Durham Ashtanga Yoga Club is a donation-based yoga studio (that’s right, you choose the fee) that embodies funky-cool and I mean that in the best possible way.
From the impromptu and eclectic shrines everywhere, to the stacks of yoga books, also everywhere, to the lumpy, creaking wood floors, to the Star Trek light-switch plate, or the mi casa su casa feel of the place, or the funny cat picture by the toilet (kitty caught in the act of unrolling all the paper, with the addition of a kitty-third-eye bindi, haha) or the Ganesha tiled in over the sink…this is not a swank, pristine Studio but more of an art installation that you do yoga in.  The place, originally a residential duplex on a shady street in Old Durham, is full of found objects interestingly arrayed and yoga in-jokes, plus a friendly get-it-done attitude.  I totally dug it.  The humanness, the humor, the personality—and also the sincerity of the owners and co-creators, Suzanne and Nikos, who live in part of the duplex downstairs.  Even as they joke and have fun, you can tell they are really serious about their yoga.
So, to do said yoga you carefully make your way up a narrow, circular staircase to get to the practice room itself, found in the attic of this funky old cottage, a room full of gables, corners, slanted ceilings, and skylights.............continues


  1. Thanks for the mentions. heading over to your pranayama videos. will need a guide for a few days..

  2. Your welcome. Just reread my Pranayama page, had thought I would need to rewrite it but perhaps it's not as bad as I thought. If you work with it for a little while let me know how you find it and any suggestions you might have for making it easier to work with.

    My 'first official Vinyasa Krama' lesson (Sunday) has turned into second (last night), a third coming up ( tomorrow) and may end up continuing through the week he's in town.

    So I'm getting to explore teaching pranayama. One thing that came up last night was even though the retention after the inhalation is shorter you can still do the first part of the pranayama mantra, out loud it's around six seconds but in your head it can be five, perfect for a five second retention. If your up to a ten second retention you can do the second part of the mantra and perhaps the first part of the mantra in your head while inhaling.... the last part of the mantra could then be chanted really slowly while exhaling, nice way to learn it. Come to think of it there might even be a video of that on the page.

    I found it the easies of all Ramaswami's chants to learn, love the rhythm of it, and once you have it...well, it feels precious, your whole pranayama practice comes alive, everything revolves around it and it gives you such focus.

  3. Well done on your first official lessons Grim!!! I really need to get back onto the Vk stuff. I'm studying pranayama now as part of my course and would really like to get into it a bit more. I've tried some practices with retentions and I'm liking the retentions a lot, really calming and meditative. Something I've never done before. Can you recommend any of Ramaswami's for beginners? I don't like the single nostril ones, create a bit of anxiety :)

    Thanks for the heads up on David Garrigues workshop review. I love his posts and asana kitchen and have just invited him to the UK to teach! He said he'd love to! So a DG workshop might be on the cards around here sometime later in the year... Cool!

  4. Hi Grimmly! Thanks so much for the mention, I'm delighted you enjoyed the post. And how cool is that, you're turning into a yoga teacher after all. Sometimes a calling sneaks up on you, haha. Not saying you're called (how could I know that, right?), but people are calling you anyway (or possibly it's email? :)). You sound excited about it!

  5. Thank you Micqui, they seem to be going well, I'm enjoying it. That said I'm starting to feel the responsibility of it all of a sudden, I'm trying to pass on this stuff just as Ramaswami taught me which of course was just as Krishnamacharya taught him, can still hear Ramaswami saying "My teacher showed me this way..." really makes you want to get it right and do better with each lesson. Tough this teaching lark somehow different from the other kinds of teaching I've done.

    re pranayama.
    the alternate nostril (Nadi Shodhana) one is pretty important and standard and goes back to vedic times so something to come back to later perhaps, but I know what you mean, it can feel somehow claustrophobic at times, though I find it passes.

    Actually the guy I'm teaching said he had problems with nadi shodana because his right nostril tends to get blocked (it helped having him move his fingers higher, to block the passage just before the bone) he said he would visualise the air coming up one nostril and out the other, that's an interesting idea wonder if it does have an effect on the brain similar to actually switching nostrils.

    Anyway there's straight ujaii pranayama where you can breath in for 5 hold for 10-20 exhale for 10 and hold for 5 (or 10) with bandhas. Try it with the visualisation above so breath in both nostrils but imagining your only breathing in through the right. hold then imagine your breathing out through the left etc...

    Sitali is another nice one.

    1.Sit in a comfortable asana
    2.Curl the tongue into a roll, protrude it and inhale through the wet tongue.
    3.At the end of the inhalation, release the curl, fold the tongue, and touch the top of the upper palate, even the uvula, This is called jivha bandha.
    4.Then stretch the back of the neck, drop the chin to around three inches below the neck pit, forming kantha bandha.
    5.After Kumbhaka (retention) exhale through alternate nostrils (or both and visualise alternating).
    6.Repeat wetting the tongue (before inhalation) -the air conditioning pranayama
    Ramaswami Yoga for the three stages of life p209

    The bit about the visualisation isn't from ramaswami.

    Not sure how clear that is, may be teaching all week and its date night tonight : ) so short of time this week but will do a post with videos next week.

  6. Your welcome Maya, loved the post. Yes teaching, didn't plan on it but always said I wouldn't say no if somebody asked for Vinyasa krama. Yeah, kind of excited about it, can be a little relaxed about it on your own but teaching you kind of feel you need to nail it down more, make sure the breathing is right and that you can remember the names and which posture follows which even though you might adapt that so whoever your passing it onto has the tools to actually practice it on there own... and so much more besides.... need to study more and spend more time with my teacher.

  7. I guess that makes you like, a 2nd Generation Krishnamacharya student, a bit like who..? David Swenson, Richard Freeman? of the Vinyasa Krama world! How cool! I know how it feels to start teaching. I feel like a complete fraud teaching my little class. But I love it when they text or email me saying they love the class and really miss it when they can't attend or when they say it's the like having their day start all over again after the class. It kinda makes the responsibility all worth while :)

    The best thing about teaching something you practice daily is that you can draw directly from your own experience and not just from what another teacher taught you. That's when it feels comfortable, that's when it feels like you've become a real teacher :) (In my humble opinion)

  8. The Durham Ashtanga Yoga Club sounds awesome! Their by donation classes are completely unusual it seems. I'm all for it...wish there was more of that around. Listened to Maty Ezraty talking about running Yoga Works for 17 years at Wanderlust last night (search Youtube Maty & Wanderlust) and appreciate how challenging it must be...and that it isn't the lucrative venture it sometimes appears to be. I haven't started learning any pranayama yet, but the Mahele book might get me started. Looking forward to it :)



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from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included. "So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta