Monday, 30 April 2012

Pages 12-13 of Yogasanagalu ; notes on the art of yoga practice

Here are a couple of lines on breathing from p13 below

'In yoganga sadhana we don’t see these (above mentioned) irregularities and with regular practice all organs will become strong.  How is that?  When practicing asanas, we need to maintain deep inhalation and exhalation to normalise the uneven respiration through nasal passages.

 In yoga positions where eyes, head and forehead are raised, inhalation must be performed slowly through the nostrils until the lungs are filled.  Then the chest is pushed forward and puffed up, abdomen tightly tucked in, focusing the eyes on the tip of the nose, and straighten the back bones tightly as much as possible.  This type of inhalation which fills the lungs signifies Puraka.

In yoga positions where eyes, head, forehead, chest and the hip are lowered, we have to slowly exhale the filled air.  Tucking in tightly the upper abdomen, the eyes must be closed.  This type of exhalation is called Rechaka.

Holding the breath is called Kumbhaka.'
from Yogasanagalu p12-13 ( page numbers refer to screenshots) below
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I'm finding a freshness, an immediacy  to the Yogasanagalu that I didn't expect.  The Yoga Makaranda seems, despite it's radical approach to asana, a more ...traditional, classical text. Perhaps because Yogasanagalu is much more of a practical manual where the Yoga makaranda comes across as half treatise on yoga. Both wonderful in their own way.

There's also a clarity, an explicitness that's coming across already in the Yogasanagalu we have so far that allows us to reflect on whether the Ashtanga of Krishnamacharya's student Pattabhi Jois was a refinement or simplification of his teachers approach that seems to becoming ever more rigid. 

All asanas are not the same. Some asana allow for longer stays and this may be required to achieve the full benefits of the posture. Other postures allow for deeply engaged bandhas and still others retention on the exhalation or even inhalation. In one posture we might seek to increase the length of the inhalation in another the exhalation. Krishnamacharya states clearly that for the full benefit of certain asana it's vinyasa/variations should be included. This appears is in keeping with Krishnamacharya's philosophy of teaching the appropriate practice to a particular student in a particular situation and environment.

For me, still drawn to an 'Ashtanga' practice along with Vinyasa Krama, the challenge remains how to bring both approaches together, to retain a frame work of an Ashtanga series and yet allow for flexibility and variability in Vinyasa, breathing and bandhas, to develop a more sophisticated approach to practice and yet still retain a simplicity.

Embracing the contradiction.

In the 1938 video below (despite the demonstration aspect) I'm finding it interesting seeing Ashtnga (Iyengar) and Vinyasa Krama (Krishnamacharya) existing side by side, suggesting not a change in an approach to teaching asana over the years, so much as a flexibility inherent in the approach from the early days.

Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu Pages 12-13

12
13

from the body making it swift and light, fourth one will make you realize Jeevatma, Paramatma, and the essense of the universe, fifth one removes ego and selfishness.  In today’s state, we need all of the above five that are elements of the 2nd limb.
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11. 3rd Limb and Authority

Third step is the asana.  People who make sincere efforts to practice the first and second steps (limbs) as much as possible, no matter what the conditions  are will have the authority to go into the 3rd step that is “Asana.”

Depending on how strong one practices detailed aspects of the 2nd and 3rd limbs, so fast will they experience the corresponding benefits. In yoganga, no practice will go to waste.  However, one should practice daily at an appropriate time with devotion, sincerity and respect and without going against how it was taught by the guru.

12. Caution

Especially those who want to start practicing the two yoganga’s “Asana” and “Pranayama” without following the aforementioned niyamas, following drawing charts and practicing on  their own freewill will not receive benefits but may also be responsible for tarnishing the name and bringing disrepute.  Unlike other practices, yoganga sadhana not only nourishes muscles.  It benefits body, musculature, and mind and according to the age of the practitioner improves the active energy, extends life, eliminates diseases, provides stability of the mind, comprehension of subtle reality and self knowledge.

13. Review

Body exercises can be divided into two types: Sarvanga Sadhana and Anga Sadhana.
The system which provides vigorous motion to one section of limbs while providing limited or no activities to other section is called Angabhaga Sadhaka.  I haven’t expanded on this since the current generation of youth may well imagine the examples that I am referring to.

Examples of well known body exercises that are classified under the Sarvanga Sadhaka are: Talinkhana, Garudi, etc. From these body exercises one can achieve more than necessary strong and bulky muscles resulting in impaired brain function and in these individuals respiration (inhalation and exhalation) will be irregular, but never even.

Niyama
  1. In yoganga sadhana we don’t see these (above mentioned) irregularities and with regular practice all organs will become strong.  How is that?  When practicing asanas, we need to maintain deep inhalation and exhalation to normalise the uneven respiration through nasal pasages.
  2. In yoga positions where eyes, head and forehead are raised, inhalation must be performed slowly through the nostrils until the lungs are filled.  Then the chest is pushed forward and puffed up, abdomen tightly tucked in, focusing the eyes on the tip of the nose, and straighten the back bones tightly as much as possible.  This type of inhalation which fills the lungs signifies Puraka.
  3. In yoga positions where eyes, head, forehead, chest and the hip are lowered, we have to slowly exhale the filled air.  Tucking in tightly the upper abdomen, the eyes must be closed.  This type of exhalation is called Rechaka.
  4. Holding the breath is called Kumbhaka.
  5. We have to discontinue laughter and shouting hard.  Reason?  Lungs become weak and you will start losing prana shakti.
  6. Do not hold the urge to urinate or defecate before, during or after practice.  Holding will lead to putrefacation of excreta internally therefore leading to diseases.
  7. Before practice and immediately afterwards no type of food must be taken.
  8. Foods that are very hot, sour, salty, bitter and smelling bad must be given up.
  9. Liquor, smoking, women (outside of marriage), eating fire must be rejected by the practitioner.
  10. Private parts must be held with appropriate attire during practice.
  11. It is said that these Niyamas must be followed by the yoganga practitioners in Patanjali yogashastra, Hathayoga pradipika and many other texts is mainly for our benefit and not for our misery. By practicing these Niyamas, our ancestors used to live without too much worry and have brought enormous fame and glory to the country of Bharata.

The art of yoga which had been in hibernation for some reason, has seen a resurrection due to encouragement by some very important people and it is the responsibility of the young boys and girls to make it a success.  Unlike other practices, yoga practice does not require spending money on various apparatus. Unnecesssary food or drinks are not required.  Expensive clothing and attire are not needed.  Big buildings are not necessary.  Differences in caste, creed, young-old, men-women do not matter.  However, deep desire, faith, courage, perseverence, Satvic (pure) and limited food - these are required.  There is simply no reason why this yoganga sadhana which provides so much benefits and is so simple must be given up by us, impoverished Indians.
While Foreigners have come to the growing yoga shala supported by Sri Maharaja, taken photos of the drawing charts and displaying it in their countries, it is not right that we sit still and do nothing.

Bharata, which is the home of all philosophical/spiritual sciences, we have it our hand to ensure that others don’t become teachers of our youth.  This amazing system is not being practiced along with spiritual sciences with the help of a Guru, but is being abused by some of us is very unfortunate.

5 comments:

  1. Hi Grimmly,

    I’m glad you are seeing it. You called it right, the immediacy of it. It is even more striking when you read it in Kannada. It is almost like this was a hand written copy, a first draft, if you will. Some of the words he could be taking straight from the chastening he had given to his students at the shala to get serious. You can almost feel his concern that if these guys don’t take this seriously, this art could be lost again. It’s funny, I have used similar lines when I teach my daughters on weekends, such as - this is the only form of exercise where you don’t need any expensive equipment and this is a practice you can keep for life. My dad used to use the impoverished line on us growing up in Mysore – You have to do yoga because we can’t afford to get sick!

    Satya

    ReplyDelete
  2. Salutations and deep gratitude to both of you. I feel like writing in this manner after reading.

    Grimmly, question why did you repeat parts of the text twice? Got lost on the repetition, am I not understanding something or is the text going over again?

    How sweet to hear him speak.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love the insight into what it's like reading it in the Kannada Satya, thank you of that.

    'You can almost feel his concern that if these guys don’t take this seriously, this art could be lost again'.

    that explains so much perhaps, Why K tirelessly promoted Yoga through demonstrations ...so that it's not lost again.

    I can't remember Satya did you say you had seen a copy of the Yoga Makaranda in Kannada, wondered if it does come across as more formal or if i'm imagining it.

    I've been wondering about the difference between this the later edition (1972?) and the first 1941 edition. Do you get the impression there were pictures in the first edition? I know he refers directly to the pictures in the Yoga Makaranda telling us to study the pictures closely, I wondered if he does something similar in the yogasanagalu also. The pictures in this edition of are very much late vinyasa krama (he's in what his seventies, eighties) and they don't correspond with the table at all.

    Glad you got to read this comment from Satya Claudia, was going to tell you about it.
    I wanted to add a preview of a couple of lines to encourage everyone to read the whole thing, have moved it to the top, maybe that works a little better.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Grimmly,
    No, I don't have a copy of Yoga Makaranda in Kannada. But reading the English version that you linked to feels very formal.
    Regarding the photos in Yogasanagalu, he has mentioned in the introduction (to 3rd edition) that photos were added new. Although he doesn't refer to them in the tables, there are references to photos in the subsequent text.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anyone here reading this and related postings about the Yogasanagalu in Mysore?

    The University of Mysore library should house all extant copies of the book. I'd be very curious to learn what additions or revisions occured in the numerous additions. It is a fascination for me that although Krishnamacharya is considered (and is) the Guru of modern yoga, his major text has not been translated into English. Mind boggling...

    University of Mysore Library Director's details here: http://uni-mysore.ac.in/university-library/

    ReplyDelete

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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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