Thursday, 5 April 2012

Jumping between standing postures hmmmmm. UPDATED with my step/jump video

I was going to make some videos of this but I vaguely remember David Garrigues doing one on this a while back.  I was right it's part of his DVD,  I really should get it sometime, going by his asana kitchen there's sure to be a lot of good stuff on it.

So anyway jumping between standing.

Do you, yes, no, not so much?

I'd always tended to step nonchalantly between standing poses, jumping felt, well embarrassing actually, even here alone in the home shala, how absurd is that.

Then stepping manfully sideways became the norm and I didn't really think about it. I remember though, seeing Krishanamcharya hopping to the side and Iyengar and on Ramaswami's Vinyasa Krama course he had us hop back and forth a couple of times.

Perhaps I'm growing up a little yogically but I've introduced it into my practice now, Richard does it in his DVD's and workshop video that I've been following recently, my blasé, aloof saunter seemes somehow the more ridiculous, with Richard cheerily hopping back and forth.

It's tricky though, Nancy I think does it with her hands down on her hips or by the side, should check, seem to remember she said that jumping with your hands in prayer was something else that came in with Richard (was there some tension there back in the day?).

So I'm trying hands on hips, in prayer, by the side, giving them all a shot, will try David's approach below too for a while and see how that feels.

Jumping back to samasthiti is even trickier, especially from parasarita with the legs so far apart, feels like I'll throw a knee out or something, very very careful there, trying to work out the best approach... or departure.

So I was wondering, do you casually meander your way to the side or prance with undisguised glee

Just been trawling through Youtube, interesting who does and doesn't 'hop', been placing bets with myself as I click play on whether they will or won't, you'd be surprised : )


In the comments I was directed to Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda.

'3.Prasarita Padottanasana
Stand in tadasana karma. Jump the legs apart, placing the feet 3 mozhams ( 1 mozham = distance between the elbows and the fingertips) apart on the ground. Practice jumping and placing the feet at the correct distance all in one jump. While jumping, either puraka kumbhaka or recaka kumbaka (hold breath) can be done. there should be no noise while jumping and pressing the feet onto the floor........ after standing up jump back to tadasana'. p61
Yoga Makaranda. Krishnamacharya (Ranganathan translation)

My attempt at David's more dynamic, Hanuman leap to the side. Fun to do but I'm leaning towards something more in between.

Interesting quote from Ramaswami on FB this week

'Keeping the legs together in Tadasana, Dhanurasna, Ushtrasana and others, jumping through and back with legs together in lead sequences and suryanamaskara (rather than crossing the legs or moving the legs one after the other), taking the legs up together in inversions like headstand instead of kicking one leg up and then the other,jumping gently to Trikonasana from Samastiti rather than side-stepping are all aimed at maintaining body symmetry during the transition'. Srivatsa Ramaswami


  1. I'm spending a week practicing with David G in June, so have been practicing the hops. and yes, even all alone in my yoga room, they make me feel awkward and dorky and self-conscious. But then this morning I laughed a bit at myself, and then the move actually felt rather joyous.

  2. I finally got around to watching Sharath's 1/2 primary DVD with one of the Jones daughters as his student. She jumps into all the standing poses.

  3. krishnamacharya recommends jumping in makaranda, practicing so to get the feet in place in one go and without making a noise. also, i've been admiring Lino Miele's style in his full length primary video, now in its complete entirity on youtube. Lino has nice arm movement. for me, my legs and knees are not yet strong enough to pull it off effortlessly. there's a lot of risk, since say from prasarita, the hop requires much knee flexion and twisting and the menisci feel very prone to injury there (for me) ...

  4. I'm not a jumper. Ever since taking a workshop with that Tripschore guy Edward Clark, I've made my standing posture transitions smoother. In my mind, I've transformed the standing postures into a beautiful and flowing sequence. What happens in reality may not look so graceful. Ha!

  5. I tried jumping for a bit when I first began to practice Primary, but now it's evolved to one very light and mindful step. The jumps feel like wasted energy, not to mention hazardous to my not-so-solid knees.

  6. We were all sauntering in the olden days in Chicago - until Dena Kingsberg came to town in 1999, and called us on it. She showed us what we'd been doing, and then how it should be done (ie; jumping. She had us land on bent knees, to absorb the shock).

    Since then,I've been a jumper.

    "Lazy man cannot do [astanga]."

    That said, I do not encourage beginners or those with knee or lower back issues to jump.

    Perhaps the feet are too wide in Prasarita?

  7. There is also the option to start your standing poses in the centre of your mat, and then jumping the legs equi-distant apart, rather than starting at the top of your mat and terying to jump the right leg so far back. In your example of jumping into and back from the prasaritas, I find the method of jumping to and from the centre of the mat so much easier. Just my two cents worth :-)

  8. i've always been taught to jump. it lubricates the knees & keeps you warmer. also another chance to make sure the bandhas are tightly gripped so you aren't making a sound when you land.

  9. haven't ventured into jumping territory looks a little ridiculous from the outside, and I haven't felt compelled enough to find out....not smooth or mediative enough maybe

  10. Love that your 'cramming' for a workshop Karen but Yes, does feel awkward dorky and self conscious at first.

    Wondered who he was 'teaching' in the 1/2 primary, curious how he approaches that, is it pretty much just the count, does he show her how to approach a posture or just point at one of his pictures on the wall of Jois yoga, curious.

  11. Lino's primary is on on Youtube now Anon, that's interesting. I've had it for quite some time but haven't looked at it for a while, must do another post on it and his full vinyasa.

    Yes the makaranda does recommend the jump just checked, must add the quote to the post. It's interesting watching David's video and how he avoids any stress on the knees. he was a very good skateboarder I believe so worth checking out his technique, bent knees as C.K. mentions.

  12. I tend to agree, Kathryn, that the step to the side is smoother and more...graceful (even for me) I think I'm embracing the awkwardness in an attempt not to take myself or my practice so seriously : )

    Light and mindful step : ) yes, a little hazardous perhaps, especially if your mat is slippery or rug is still dry.

    Love that Deana called you out C.K. does Sharath ever do that in Mysore I wonder, (did SKPJ?) or does he let it pass. Curios watching the old Jois led primary from Yoga works video, everyone seems to jump except for Tim who kind of steps : )

  13. Interesting Norman, will try the centre of the mat idea. Of course back in the day there were no sticky yoga mats to stand at the top of you stood on a carpet/rug so it probably would have been like that.

    Good point about keeping you warmer cindy, especially in the standing where your trying to warm yourself up or at least keep the heat up from the sury's. makes sense.

    And yes bandhas, nancy was talking about that and how she didn't like sticky mats because a rug forced you to use your bandhas to grip the rug in standing postures. parasaritas on my new rug the first time the other week was an education.

    Yes, Completely ridiculous, Desperate, perhaps that's a good thing though, we have the tendency to think we're so cool in Ashtanga with our fancy moves, probably good for us. Because of all that's been said here re safety (knees) probably good to hold off on it at first, at least until your steady in the standing postures on something like a rug and not slipping all over the place.

  14. I step through standing, with a view to conserving energy for the lifts and the prospect of a longer practice.

    I also don't feel I'm warmed up enough to jump in the standing sequence, and lately, I'm very into feeling good during the asana practice. Anyway, who does feel like jumping up and down at 5.30am?

  15. Have added my own step/jump video. Noticed i don't really jump back, I thought I was but it's more of a springy step

    Hi Steve
    Bit noisy too at 6am, especially on my floorboards, though working on a softer landing.

    Not sure about the conserving energy argument though.

  16. This is interesting! I hate jumping but one of my teachers makes us do it, if we don't he calls us lazy! I'm interested about Lino Miele though... at his Oxford workshop last year I could swear he said no jumping and to make the movements in and out of postures a fluid movement...then just checked his DVD and he jumps! I wonder when the DVD came out and whether he did change his mind about it.

  17. Interesting about Lino Micqui. Was just trying David's more dynamic jump (he was a very good skateboarder no?) started to get the hang of it, fun actually and dynamic enough that I felt less ridiculous jumping rather than stepping. Not sure how I feel about that though, kind of liked the absurdity of the awkward hop, an antidote against taking it all too seriously.

  18. The jumping always makes me think about surfing. For example, a lot of asana technique can be seen in this short video--not very different from Lino's style of jumping:

  19. We *all* got called out, since we were all, collectively, sauntering. All of us students had the same (bad) habits as our teacher(s), and it took Dena and Lino (who both came to Chicago for the first time in 1999) to clean us up. We sauntered - all of us - until Dena hopped around like a kangaroo and showed us how to jump.

    In my experience, SKPJ did not focus on jumping / not jumping. But by the first time I practiced with him in 2000, I was a jumper.

  20. It's funny you should bring this up because I've recently started jumping/hopping after being told off a bit by Dena Kingsberg last October for not doing it. I was originally taught to do the hopping to the side, but abandoned it because I just felt silly and clumsy and didn't see the point. But I thought Dena had a good point when she asked whether I give up everything that makes me feel clumsy... She seemed to think one should learn how to do it properly before deciding on whether to give it up or not. And she seemed to think it was the "correct" method, so maybe it has some purpose after all. Anyway, since then I've been hopping away. Still feeling a bit clumsy, though better than before now that I've been hopping for about six months.

    Love the step v. hop video by the way, particularly the martini part cracked me up :)

  21. I agree onion, surfing, skateboarding, seems a similar style of jumping, looks a little more dynamic but feels actually safer for the knees, more controlled than a half committed jump.

    Doesn't seem as if the style of jumping or stepping whether in standing or in the seated section was considered that important thought it seems to have been the preference. I'm more interested in why we wouldn't choose to jump. I think safety is a good reason but if it's because we feel awkward, uncool, , slightly ridiculous or even lacking in e,egance then that raises questions no doubt of ego. I find I almost want to feel awkward and a little silly to somehow undermine my perception of the practice...if that makes any sense.

    You got busted by Dena too Bibi.

    Nice your sticking with it.

  22. Is this an area where we have room for individual interpretation and expression I wonder....jump if you feel moved to jump, glide, saunter, jive, hop, whathaveyou....?? I say a resounding YES :) That's because I can...being a home practice person 99.8% of the time.

  23. today read David Robson's article about how F*&%$ hard following correct vinyasa is

    or correct transitions...form, practice. My practice doesn't yet adhere so strictly to one form. If I'm really dragging I listen to music and even DANCE sometimes in between asanas!!

  24. Id say it's certainly a place where we have room for 'individual interpretation and expression' I would imagine in most shala's too ( I wonder, perhaps i should ask the question). But then i wonder where in the practice that isn't the case for the home ashtangi...where do I draw the line I wonder. I take liberties with the count, slowing it in some postures, paschimottanasana say and take extra breaths sometimes, ten, twenty in paschi perhaps, same with inversions. Fixed asana, sometimes i might add an extra prep pose leading up to Kapo or perhaps an extension, some of the 3rd series Leg behind head postures after eka pada sirsasana. I try not to mess with it too too much these days and in too many areas in one practice to keep it mostly consistent.

    What I'm enjoying about richard freeman's approach is that it's Richard's take on the practice, no question of whether it's original, authoritative, 'correct', it's just Richards take on the practice, quite refreshing.

    This with the step was because I realised that the main reason I didn't jump to the side was because i felt silly, decided that was the worst of reasons so switched.

  25. I find it lovely to know that a more or less 'correct' form exists, and that we can aspire to follow it, right down to the breath. The few times I've gone to a led class, or when I watch one online, I get emotional seeing everyone moving in unison. Alone, however, I will also add breaths, what I feel I need to do on that day for wherever my body/mind is at. I think it gets me through the daily practice, even when I'm sick with a head cold or dealing with other stresses that would make it very unlikely I'd go to a shala. I do aspire to follow the 'correct' practice as much as I can...hopefully more so as time goes by... I find it interesting that David Garrigues teaches NOT to follow an exact breath count. Can't remember which YouTube video it was...but watched it recently.

  26. I'm completely not sticking to the topic of jumping :) sorry

  27. David G's video titled : Guruju said, Medium Breath!

  28. I do too, if Sharath didn't exist, we would have to invent him : ) Not that I think he's teaching 'correct ashtanga', don't think there is such a thing but perhaps something we can refer to as the 'Standard' version', so that pretty much where ever you go you can walk into a shala and not be too far off the mark of how it'll be practiced there.

    No need to worry about not staying on topic here,

  29. The restorative jump with the martini and bathrobe is my kind of yoga. I don't jump because of meniscus tears. I step into it.

  30. meniscus tear, ouch, have had ops on my knees in my youth too, still have trouble with them if I walk for any length of time, curiously the yoga does"t cause a problem, some aching/pain in Janu C and unbinding lotus but otherwise fine.

    I think David's fully committed jump where you actually come off the mat , both into and out of postures is seeming safer to than a half hearted jump step, less chance of twisting.

    I'm thinking now that if your going to step then step mindfully, if your going to jump then do it fully, no half hearted trying to make you jump as least ridiculous as possible, commitment to one or the other.



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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


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