“One of my goals in life is to do the slowest Primary Series anywhere… rather than the quickest”. Richard Freeman

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Ujjayi breathing. Is Ashtanga traditional? Kumbhaka in Yoga Makaranda

Paul Brunton's picture of Krishnamacharya posted by Paul Harvey
OK, got a bit carried away here, lots of speculation...... just working out some things that have been rumbling around my head for some time, especially recently as I've come back to an ashtanga practice but with some tweaks ....occasional longer stays and use of kumbhaka, VK variations etc*. Is my practice traditional? Is it a traditional practice? If not/if so, then in what sense ....and does it matter?

And what do we mean by tradition anyway and how are we using it in this case?

*Not suggesting here that this is THE correct approach to practice but rather that these are options Krishnamacharya makes available to us that I've chosen to explore in my home practice for a time.

So what's up with the Ujjayi discussion?

Here's what I happen to personally think is going on.

Sharath was aware that there was some confusion over Ashtanga and Pranayama.

There was the argument back when I started Ashtanga (only five years ago, so don't take anything I write on this blog too seriously, still working it out for myself ) that ashtanga covered all the limbs within a practice of Primary series, that it's a complete practice. You have asana and then there's Ujjayi which counts for the pranayama limb then drishti which covers pratyahara and the concentration involved in the practice is the meditation. Oh and also, that Ashtanga is an ancient, traditional practice deriving from an old text, the Yoga Korunta, that was later supposedly eaten by ants.

This was always .....simplistic.

Better to argue that these elements, included in our approach to asana practice, help prepare one for  pranayama, pratyahara and the meditative limbs to come. Perhaps the approach to asana also prepares one for better understanding and employment of the yamas/niyamas also.

The confusion comes because the breathing in our asana practice has been referred to as Ujjayi, Ujjayi is also the name of a pranayama practice, therefore we might assume that we are already practicing pranayama, right there from the first breath in tadasana and throughout each series, whether it be Primary or Advanced B.

Sharath's argument seems to go like this and it's a good one, quite logical but as ever with logic we have to look to the premise.

Sharath's Argument (as I understand it).

All pranayama, by definition (many but not all definitions), employs Kumbhaka (breath retention). Ujjayi is a pranayama practice therefore Ujjayi must employ Kumbhaka.

The approach to breathing in asana, in Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga as taught by Sharath, does not include kumbhaka (breath retention) therefore it is not Ujjayi.

...in which case we need to call it something else, Sharath goes for  'breahing with sound'.

However

It's a good argument except that there is a problem with the 2nd premise  (isn't it always the 2nd )

Ujjaii is a pranayama?

Hathta Yoga Pradipka (15th C), lists eight varieties of pranayma, in the pranayama section of the book, and Ujjayi of course is included there (the later Gheraṇḍa Saṃhitā (17th C) too ), does it then follow that Ujjayi is a only to be considered a pranayama practice?

Not at all, it only means that there is a variety of Ujjayi that employs Kumbhaka that may be considered a pranayama, that would be Ujjayii kumbhaka.

There is also Ujjayi without Kumbhaka, a partial closing of the glottis that might be considered a preparatory technique or a way of focusing the mind on the breath and a technique for increasing, lengthening and/or balancing the inhalation and exhalation.

"Drishti and ujjayi are introductions and preparations of higher yogic techniques so that when the time comes for taking up a sitting practice, we are firmly established in the fundamentals of pranayama and meditation. When practicing Ujjayi properly, that is gently, smoothly and free of ambition, the Ashtanga Vinyasa practitioner will have a good head start into pranayama and will quickly progress in essential techniques like alternate nostril breaing and kumbhaka".  p 226 Gregor Maehle. Pranayama. The Breath of Yoga

"In the initial stages of this (ujayii) pranayama, as well as other pranayamas, Bahya Kumbhakam or holding out the breath need not be practiced. It is enough if the periods of breathing in the breath and breathing out are made of equal duration". Krishnamacharya

Sharath's breathing with sound is then Ujjayi without Kumbhaka, it can still be considered Ujjayi just not the pranayama variety.

It makes sense for Sharath to clear up that point  and perhaps even come up with a different name for it, but maybe it only serves to confuse thing further as in the past Pattabhi Jois seemed comfortable enough using ujjayi (implying without kumbhaka) to describe the breath and that's no doubt why many of the certified, senior and long term teachers still use the term.

Here's Manju Jois for example, who has an excellent command of English, being quite specific in his terminology in an interview in 2005

"Manju: The breathing we use is called ‘dirgha rechaka puraka’, meaning it is long, deep, slow exhales and inhales. It should be dirgha...long, and like music. The sound is very important. You have to do the ujjayi pranayama. You have to take the breath all the way in and let it go all the way out".

But then perhaps there are always mini, natural  kumbhakas at the end of the inhalation and exhalation, we may notice the one after the end of the exhalation more as we top up the mula and uddiyana bandha

"In Shirshasana, normally no kumbakam need be done, though about two seconds Unther and Bahya kumbhakam automatically result when we change from deep inhalation to deep exhalation and vice versa. During automatic pause kumbhakam takes place. When after practice has advanced and kumbhakam is deliverately practiced, Unther kumbhakam can be done up to five seconds each round and bahya kumbhaka up to 10 seconds" Krishnamacharya.

It depends of course whether we wish to refer to that mini, automatic kumbhaka of a second or two as an official kumbhakam (breath retention or not).

The above quote seems to explain much of Krishnamacharya's approach to those asana with kumbhaka in Yoga Makaranda. One assumes that in the beginning one would practice with just the regular 'automatic' mini kumbhaka and then, as one becomes more proficient, take up perhaps the lengthen of the the natural kumbhaka and thus employ ujjayi pranayama proper within asana.

Gregor Maehle in his book has some lovely things to say about Ujjayi

"Now what is the secret that requires whispering? During Ujjayi we try to make inhalation even with the exhalation and we try to make the sounds as similar as possible. But note that even after all your efforts, each has it's own distinct character. The inhalation has a more sibilant character, while the exhalation sounds more aspirate. The secret that the breath whispers consists of the sibilant sah on the inhalation and the aspirate ahem on the exhalation. If we combine these two sanskrit terms we arrive at soham, the great mantra of prana / prakriti. Soham is one of the so-called mahavakyas (great words) of the Upanishads. It means I am that....Ujjayi is the constant pronunciation of a mantra that proclaims we are not that which changes and decays but that which is permanent, immutable, infinite and immortal - pure awareness". p225 Gregor Maehle. Pranayama. The Breath of Yoga

And we get to do all that on every breath of our asana practice.

And here's Pattabhi Jois himself in an interview in France in 1991 from Guy Donahaye's excellent site Ashtanga Yoga Sangha  (my highlighting). He's using the expression soundbreathing but for my money what he is describing is Ujjayi without Kumbhaka


"Question: Is the sound with inhaling and exhaling slightly different? If you write it, how will you write it?

Pattabhi Jois: No, no it is not different. Is not coming no different. But you can take your anus control abdomen control, after take inhalation. Inhalation where is coming? Here to is, is navel. Navel. Navel to 2 inches down. There is our place. There is you take inhale. There is press here, take exhale, now is tight. (Guruji gives example of breathing sound - inhaling and exhaling) There is different sound is not coming. Same mantram. Is pressing here, is control here (2 inches below navel), breathing, long breathing is coming. You don’t leave it here (do not release bandha). Again press, exhalation also same method.

Saswana means sound. Same sound how is you doing asanas time, you same (make same) sound (at) sitting time, long breathing same sound. But both time with sound. That is clean (cleansing) breathing. Inside all the postures it is clearing (the postures are cleaning the inside of the body). Without sound breathing, this is not clearing (cleansing the body) completely. If one dirt is there - dirty. (Guruji pretends to breathe dust without making any sound) - not is going (toxins are not eliminated) - you take – (this time Guruji demonstrates “soundbreathing”) - blood purifying.

Why? How? With sound breathing your increasing your heat body. Bodyheat increasing. That heat is making blood boiling. Blood dirty (dirt) is gone completely. Purified blood is making, that is blood cleaning.After breathing you moving all the body, whole body is movingcompletely. Thin blood very purified, thick blood dirty. That is makingsick. You can understand. That is why with breathing you must do".

Two other perspectives this

The long and the short of it: On the Ashtanga breath (which, for the record, is not ujjayi!)

and

Ujjāyī vs. Free Breathing in Ashtanga Yoga (Hatha Yoga Pradipika) by Elise Espat

*
TRADITION

SO, traditionally Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga does not employ Kumbhaka.

Here, we're using 'traditionally' to refer internally, within the practice of Pattabhi Jois' ashtanga.

Problems come when we introduce lineage and tradition in the sense of the broader scheme of things, Ashtanga's place in the Yoga tradition.

Is Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga a traditional practice, and what of lineage?

If we want to talk of lineage we need to look at Krishnamacharya, Pattabhi Jois' own teacher.

In Yoga Makaranada (1934), Yogasanagalu (1942) and in Krishnamacharya's later writings, from the 70's for example, we find constant reference to Kumbhaka in asana (see the notes at the end of this post for examples...lots of them). Ujjayi Kumbhaka, as an option again and again.

My personal view is that Pattabhi Jois simplified Krishnamacharya's teaching, I find it unthinkable to suggest that Krishnamacharya included a Kumbhaka option in almost every asana he writes about and at the time that he was teaching Pattabhi Jois, and yet didn't teach one of his long term and dedicated students that approach.

It seems more likely that Pattabhi Jois for whatever reason, felt the need to simplify the practice when writing Yoga Mala and in his own teaching, perhaps it was even suggested to him by Krishnamacharya when Pattabhi Jois first began to teach, surely he asked his teacher for pedagogic advice, just as my own teacher, Srivatsa Ramaswami did of Krishnamacharya several decades later.

Pattabhi Jois certainly must have had a copy of Yogasanagalu, it was written in the Kanada language, the same language Pattabhi Jois wrote Yoga Mala. The sequence of postures that Pattabhi Jois includes in his book follows closely how the asana were listed under Primary group in Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu's table of asana.

I have an imagine of Pattabhi Jois with Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu on his desk beside him as he writes Yoga Mala.

Just above that table of asana, Krishnamacharya writes

"Therefore, how many vinysas for asanas? Asana position comes at which vinyasa count?  When do you perform rechaka and puraka?  When to do antah kumbhaka and bahya kumbhaka?  What are its benefits?  For yoga practitioners
Yoga practitioners may be divided approximately on the basis of body type and the same instructor can teach them. In the same way, practitioners with common disease types may be divided and treated (with yoga). Yoga sadhana is without risk compared to many of the body exercises that require equipment.  Yoganga sadhana must be done standing, sitting, sideways and upside down.
All these types of asanas are given in this edition.  Interested practitioners and instructors must study carefully, practice and teach. Many asanas are also printed for ladies.  From this, we can get an idea of our ancestors behaviour".
T. Krishnamacharya Yogasanagalu

Krishnamacharya also seems to have included some breath retention in certain asana when teaching some of his later students. Ramaswami, only two years ago in fact, included a kumbhaka (breath retention ) option in certain asymmetric postures like maha mudra, seated asana like paschimottanasana, some supine postures eg. tatkamudra and if my memory is not mistaken certain inversions. These it should be pointed out tended to be postures with long stays (ten minutes or more) and generally where drawing the belly in for full uddiyana would necessitate the breath retention. The focus in Ramaswami's teaching where such breath retention occurred, does seem to be related to holding mula and uddiyana bandha for a few seconds after full exhalation rather than as an exercise in pranayama, this would explain why there is little or no mention or retaining the breath after inhalation.

NOTE: Seeking clarification from Ramaswami on this issue.

UPDATE: Ramaswami got back to me this morning with the clarification I was after.

"Yes I normally suggest bahya kumbhaka in certain asanas/vinyasas to facilitate mula and uddiyana bandhas and also jump forwards and jump throughs. However occasionally one could do antahkumbhaka in back bends when the chest expands like in urdhwa mukha swanasana, prishtanjali backbend in tadasana etc. and also in jump backs. Even as Sri TK uses the terms rechaka kumbhaka and pura kumbhaka in asanas these may be considered as facilitators of the movements and postures and effect enhancers rather than pranayamas. Usually the term pranayama is used when the regular seated breathing exercise is practised. But Sri TK used breath judiciously to facilitate and enhance effects of asanas and vinyasas." Srivatsa Ramaswami.

The Ujjayi kumbhaka option, in one form or other, seems then a consistent element in Krishnamacharya's teaching throughout his life. This perhaps makes it problematic if we seek to suggest that Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga is a strictly traditional practice following a lineage faithfully, especially if we do so to elevate it above other styles of asana practice.

Looking a little more closely and just for arguments sake*

Krishnamacharaya's Ashtanga                  Pattabhi Jois/Sharath Ashtanga

Yama/Niyama work before asana                 Yama/Niyama after time spent on asana

Asana in flexible groups, primary                 Asana in fixed even strict sequences
Middle and proficient

Variations of asana encouraged                     Variations of asana discouraged

Ujjayi kumbhaka option to many asana         Breath with sound' NO kumbhaka

Long stay options in many asana                   Only in some finishing sequence asana

Pranyama follows asana without fail              Pranayama only after 2nd series (asa rule)

Pratyahara                                                       Only hinted at through drishti

Meditative limbs                                              Little mention, almost dismissed.    

Seven days a week, no moon days                  Six days a week/moon days                                        

*Of course depending on your teacher and shala you may well be inclined to depute one or more or all of the above with "Not in my Shala".

* Plus how many of these have changed over the last thirty years?

It seems difficult to argue that Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga as currently taught is a more traditional practice  following a lineage more closely than many of the other styles of asana practice.

But then we may also ask. What about Krishnamacharya's Ashtanga yoga, is that a traditional practice and does it follow a lineage?

It's difficult to know what Krishnamacharya studied with his teacher and how it differed from the asana his own father taught him as a child. Krishnamacharya tells us in Yoga makaranda that he learned 700 asana (which implies asana variations) but what approach to them did he learn? Did he practice Ujjayii Kumbhaka in asana there in the Himalayas, was he taught vinyasas, linking breath to movement or where these elements that Krishnamacharya developed himself.

Supposedly Krishnamacharya spent between five and seven years with his teacher, Yogeshwara Ramamohana Brahmachari, in the Himalayas. Shortly after leaving the mountains he was brought to Mysore by the Maharaja to teach yoga. It was about a year later that Pattabhi Jois witnessed a Krishnamacharya demonstration and was impressed by the "jumping in and out of asana".

This seems to suggest that the vinyasa approach at least, the linking of breath to movement was in place shortly after Krishnamacharya left his teacher Yogeshwara Ramamohana Brahmachari, and that his proficiency was enough to give impressive demonstrations as if he had been practicing this approach to asana for a number of years

This would suggest that these aspects of the practice, the linking of breath to movement the entering and exiting asana in a set form were passed from Yogeshwara Ramamohana Brahmachari to Krishnamacharya who passed them in turn to Pattabhi Jois who in turn passed them to Sharath and Norman Allan, David Williams, Nancy Gilgoff....also Brian Kest and Beryl Bender Birch for that matter, who then passed them on to thir own students who in turn are passing them on to, well ...us.

There is a tradition, a lineage going back some way (What did Brahmachari teacher teach him? How much of his approach did he develop himself?), but that tradition, lineage can surely only be related to certain aspects of the practice.

Yogeshwara Ramamohana Brahmachari certainly did not teach the Ashtanga of Pattabhi Jois, as we know it today, or the Power Yoga of Brian Kest for that matter but we can surmise that some elements of Ramamohana Brahmachari teaching can be found in all.

The tradition is the linking of breath to movement, the focus on the breath.

Paul Harvey who studied with TKV Desikachar 1-2-1 for a number of years has just written something interesting on lineage.


"I find myself reflecting on the notion of ‘authentic lineage’, often transmitted within the concept of Paramparā or ‘from one to another’ as in uninterrupted succession. Both from questions asked of me and questions I have around what I see, generally within the current world of Yoga and more specifically emanating from the multifarious phases in the evolution of T Krishnamacharya’s teaching over nearly seven decades.

Currently I see various representational phrases being used in modern organisational setups around students of T Krishnamacharya such as ‘The Living Tradition of…..’ or ‘The Living Teaching of…..’ or ‘Carrying on the work of……’ or ‘According to the Teaching of……’.

For me personally authentic lineage is experienced whenever I practice. In other words it is a feeling in my heart that arises as a fruit or flower from precious seeds having been deeply rooted and tended with care, within a long 121 apprenticeship with my teacher TKV Desikachar over more than two decades.

It is an experience that both remains fresh and yet also continues to deepen and evolve and is certainly something that cannot be effaced whatever my ‘official’ status may be within the external forms laying claim to be the authentic, valid, living teachings of the tradition or teacher or student of the teacher". Paul Harvey. Center for Yoga Studies


That's asana, but what of yoga.

Is Ashtanga, as we know it today a traditional yoga practice?

This is easier and allows us to talk of tradition in the sense of ancient practices handed down over ages rather than the modern use of tradition we've been employing so far, the criteria for which is only practices handed down twice over three generations.

Don't we want tradition to refer to something more than recent practice, to mean more than a handful of decades.

Krishnamacharya is constantly referring to Shastras, to ancient texts and scriptures. Yoga is a scholarly tradition, a philosophical practice, practical philosophy. If Vivikananda left the physical practice of asana and pranayama out of his rebranding of yoga then Krishnamacharya seemed keen to put it back in, what he saw, as it's rightful place and to ground it in scripture at the same time.

He refers to Upanishads, Puranas, Sutras and Ancient yogic texts. Yoga for Krishnamacharya is an integrated practice, the practice of asana and pranayama are just as important as the other limbs in Raja yoga in fact those limbs he considers essential to the yoga project.

What is a traditional yoga practice? Krishnamacharya ties it to Patanajali, one that follows yama/niyama, that employs asana and pranayama, where the focus within the asana is on the breath, pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi, that the first five prepare you for the final three which may lead you to approach understanding, awareness, clarity.

If our practice includes those elements and with those goals then it's a traditional yoga practice, if it doesn't then it's not....or not yet.

If we only have the time and inclination for an asana practice and an occasional one at that and even if our motivation is to look and feel healthy then it can still be considered preparation for further practice ....whether we realise or intend it or not.

That quote from Gregor again

"..introductions and preparations of higher yogic techniques so that when the time comes for taking up a sitting practice, we are firmly established in the fundamentals of pranayama and meditation.

or to put it more simply

It's all good

Yoga for the three stages of life, we give of ourselves to the practice what we can, depending on our other commitments but no doubt we can probably always give more than we think, even if that's only more attention to the yamas and niyama.

Asana is a good place to start but no doubt without some yama/niyamas (whether we even know we're following them or not) asana can become quite the ego trip and we can get lost in that (raising hand here, looking around, anyone else?) Pranayama can help, nothing to see here just sitting and breathing, quite humbling...in meditation there's even less to see and thus to brag about.

Yoga IS a meditation practice, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras a Meditation manual, we don't necessarily have to go outside the tradition to meditate, to turn to mindfulness/vipassana, Zen. We prepare ourselves with the yama/niyama and the asana, we get rid of the rajas, the agitation, we practice pranayama to eliminate the tamas, the lethargy, the dullness of mind. Turn ever inwards with pratayahara and then we begin to really concentrate, first on an object and  eventually without an object. We practice directing and holding our attention, for a long time, for a very long time.

******************
NOTES

Examples of usage of Kumbhaka (Breath retention) in asana in Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda

"When practising asana, the breath that is inhaled into the body and the breath that is exhaled out must be kept equal. Moreover, practise the asana with their vinyasas by breathing only through the nose". p27

"Brahmana kriya means to take in the outside air through the nose, pull it inside, and hold it in firmly. This is called puraka kumbhaka.
Langhana kriya means to exhale the air that is inside the body out through he nose and to hold the breath firmly without allowing any air from outside into the body. This is called recaka kumbhaka".
p27-28

"In each section for each particular asana, we have included a description and an enumeration of its vinyasas. The vinyasas in which the head is raised are to be done with puraka kumbhaka and the ones in which the head is lowered must be done with recaka kumbhaka. Uthpluthi (raising the body from the floor with only the support of both hands on the floor is called uthpluthi) should be done on recaka kumbhaka for a fat person and on puraka kumbhaka for a thin person...." p28

ASANA

1 Uttanasana
"Following the rules for tadasana (yogasana samasthiti krama) (Figure 4.1, 4.2), stand erect. Afterwards, while exhaling the breath out slowly, bend the upper part of the body (that is, the part above the hip) little by little and place the palms down by the legs. The knees must not be even slightly bent. Raise the head upwards and fix the gaze on the tip of the nose. While doing this, draw in clean air through the nostril, hold the breath firmly and maintain this position. This is called sahitha kumbhaka...." p51

2 Parsvottanasana
"...Standing in tadasana krama, draw in clean air through the nose and practise kumbhaka...." p59

3 Prasarita Padottanasana
"...Stand in tadasana krama. Jump the legs apart, placing the feet 3 mozhams apart on the ground. Practise jumping and placing the feet at the correct distance all in one jump. While jumping, either puraka kumbhaka or recaka kumbhaka can be done...." p61

4 Ardhabaddha Padmottanasana
"From tadasana, do puraka kumbhaka. After this, choose either leg and place its foot on top of the opposite thigh. Slowly, little by little, move the foot up until the back of the heel is pressed against the lower abdomen. Whichever leg is raised, move the same hand behind the back and clasp the big toe of that foot (from behind the back). Keep the other hand in tadasana sthiti and do puraka kumbhaka. After this, slowly exhale through the nose and bend the upper part of the body forward down to the floor. Place the palm down by the foot and keep it firmly pressed against the floor. Release the breath out completely, and without inhaling, practise kumbhaka and lower the head, placing it on top of the kneecap of the extended leg...."p61

6 Urdhvamukhasvanasana
"This has 4 vinyasas. Vinyasas 1, 2, and 3 are exactly as for uttanasana. The 4th vinyasa is to be done following the same method as for caturanga dandasana. But in caturanga dandasana, there are 4 angulas of space between the body and the floor everywhere. In this asana, the palms and toes are as in caturanga dandasana. However even while keeping the lower part of the body from the toes to the thighs just as in caturanga dandasana, raise the upper part of the body. Make sure that the navel rests between the hands and do puraka kumbhaka...." p65

8 Pascimattanasana or Pascimottanasana
"...This asana has many kramas. Of these the first form has 16 vinyasas. Just doing the asana sthiti by sitting in the same spot without doing these vinyasas will not yield the complete benefits mentioned in the yoga sastras. This rule applies to all asanas.
The first three vinyasas are exactly as for uttanasana. The 4th vinyasa is caturanga dandasana, the 5th vinyasa is urdhvamukhasvanasana, the 6th vinyasa is adhomukhasvanasana. Practise these following the earlier instructions. In the 6th vinyasa, doing puraka kumbhaka, jump and arrive at the 7th vinyasa. That is, from adhomukhasvanasana sthiti, jump forward and move both legs between the arms without allowing the legs to touch the floor. Extend the legs out forward and sit down. Practise sitting like this with the rear part of the body either between the two hands or 4 angulas in front of the hands. It is better to learn the abhyasa krama from a guru. In this sthiti, push the chest forward, do puraka kumbhaka and gaze steadily at the tip of the nose...." p69

11 Janusirsasana
"...This form follows the hatha yoga principles. Another form follows the raja yoga method. The practitioner should learn the difference. First, take either leg and extend it straight out in front. Keep the heel pressed firmly on the floor with the toes pointing upward. That is, the leg should not lean to either side. The base (back) of the knee should be pressed against the ground. Fold the other leg and place the heel against the genitals, with the area above the knee (the thigh) placed straight against the hip. That is, arrange the straight leg which has been extended in front and the folded leg so that together they form an “L”. Up to this point, there is no difference between the practice of the hatha yogi and the raja yogi.
For the hatha yoga practitioner, the heel of the bent leg should be pressed firmly between the rectum and the scrotum. Tightly clasp the extended foot with both hands, raise the head and do puraka kumbhaka. Remain in this position for some time and then, doing recaka, lower the head and place the face onto the knee of the outstretched leg. While doing this, do not pull the breath in. It may be exhaled. After this, raise the head and do puraka. Repeat this on the other side following the rules mentioned above.
The raja yogi should place the back of the sole of the folded leg between the scrotum and the genitals. Now practise following the other rules described above for the hatha yogis. There are 22 vinyasas for janusirsasana. Please note carefully that all parts of the outstretched leg and the folded leg should touch the floor. While holding the feet with the hands, pull and clasp the feet tightly. Keep the head or face or nose on top of the kneecap and remain in this sthiti from 5 minutes up to half an hour. If it is not possible to stay in recaka for that long, raise the head in between, do puraka kumbhaka and then, doing recaka, place the head back down on the knee. While keeping the head lowered onto the knee, puraka kumbhaka should not be done..." p79-80

12 Upavistakonasana
"This has 15 vinyasas. Recaka kumbhaka is its primary principle...." p83

13 Baddhakonasana
"This has 15 vinyasas. The 8th vinyasa is the asana sthiti. The 1st to the 6th vinyasas are like the 1st till the 6th vinyasas for pascimottanasana. In the 7th vinyasa, just like the 7th vinyasa for pascimottanasana, keep the hands down and bring the legs forward in uthpluthi. But instead of straightening them, fold the legs and place them down on the ground. Folding them means that the heel of the right foot is pasted against the base of the right thigh and the heel of the left foot is pasted against the base of the left thigh. When the legs are folded in this manner, the soles of the feet will be facing each other. Hold the sole of the left foot firmly with the left hand and hold the right sole firmly with the right hand. Clasping the soles together firmly, do recaka kumbhaka, lower the head and place it on the floor in front of the feet..."
 p85-86

14 Supta Padangushtasana
"...The first krama for this has 21 vinyasas. Through the 6th vinyasa, it is exactly as for pascimottanasana. In the 7th vinyasa, lie down facing upwards instead of extending the legs and sitting as in pascimottanasana. While lying down, the entire body must be pressed against the ground. The toes must point upwards and the back of the heels must be stuck to the ground. This is also called savasana by other schools. This is the 7th vinyasa for supta padangushthasana. In the 8th vinyasa, slowly raise the right leg straight up. Hold the big toe of the right foot with the fingers of the right hand, do recaka kumbhaka and remain in this position for as long as possible. .."p86

17 Utthitahasta Padangushtasana
"...First, push the chest forward and stand erect with equal balance. While standing this way, make sure that the head, neck, back, hips, arms and legs are aligned properly and gaze at the tip of the nose. The feet must be kept together. Now, raise one leg up slowly and maintain this position with the extended leg kept straight out in front at the height of the navel. The knee should not bend and the leg must be kept straight for the entire time that it is being raised. After the leg has been raised about 3/4 of the way without any assistance, take the first three fingers of the corresponding hand (the same as whichever leg was raised) and tightly clasp the big toe of the raised foot. Remain in this position for some time. Keep the other hand on the hip. Inhalation and exhalation of the breath must be slow and of equal duration. One says the sthiti is correct if there is the same measure of distance between the standing leg and the raised leg. In this there are many other forms.
After staying in this sthiti for some time, take either the face or the nose towards the knee of the raised leg and place it there. Recaka kumbhaka must be done in this sthiti. That is, expel the breath completely from the body, maintain this position and then without allowing any breath into the body, bend the upper body. Now carefully pull in the stomach as much as one’s strength allows and hold it in. Stay in this sthiti for at least one minute..." p99

18 Baddhapadmasana
"...Place the right foot on top of the left thigh and the left foot on top of the right thigh. Take the hands behind the back and tightly clasp the big toe of the right foot with the first three fingers of the right hand and tightly clasp the big toe of the left foot with the first three fingers of the left hand.
Press the chin firmly against the chest. Keep the gaze fixed on the midbrow. Sit down, keeping the rest of the body straight. This has the name baddhapad- masana. This asana must be repeated on the other side (that is, first place the left foot on top of the right thigh and then the right foot on top of the left thigh) in order to exercise both sides of the body.
This has 16 vinyasas. The 8th and 9th vinyasas are the asana sthiti. The other vinyasas are like pascimottanasana. Study the pictures (Figures 4.52, 4.53) and learn how to keep the gaze. In this asana, one must do puraka kumbhaka..." p103

25 Marichasana
"This has 22 vinyasas. This needs to be done on both the left and the right sides. Study the sannaha sthiti (the preparatory state) of marichasana in the picture. This sthiti is the 7th vinyasa.
The right-side marichasana paristhiti is shown in the second picture. Maricha Maharishi was known for bringing this asana to public knowledge and hence it is named for him.
Stay in the 7th vinyasa for some time doing puraka kumbhaka. After this, do recaka and come to the 8th vinyasa. Stay in this position for as long as possible. In case your head starts reeling (you get dizzy), come back to the 7th vinyasa, do puraka kumbhaka, close the eyes and remain here for some time. The dizziness will stop.
The 9th vinyasa is like the 7th vinyasa. The 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th vinyasas are like the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th vinyasas of janusirsasana.
The 14th vinyasa is marichasana sannaha sthiti on the left side. This is demonstrated in the 3rd picture. The 15th vinyasa is the left-side marichasana paristhiti. This is demonstrated in the 4th picture. In the 14th vinyasa do puraka kumbhaka and in the 15th vinyasa do only recaka..." p115

26 Niralamba Sarvangasana
"This has 14 vinyasas. The 8th vinyasa is the asana sthiti. The form depicted in the picture is the 8th vinyasa. This is niralamba sarvangasana paristhiti. In order to get to this sthiti, slowly raise the arms and legs either together or one-by- one in the 7th vinyasa . Do only recaka at this time. Never do puraka kumbhaka..." p115

27 Ekapada Sirsasana
"This has two forms: dakshina ekapada sirsasana and vama ekapada sirsasana. Both these forms together have 18 vinyasas. The first picture depicts dakshina ekapada sirsasana and the second picture vama ekapada sirsasana. The 7th and 12th vinyasas are the asana sthitis of these different forms. For this asana, you need to do sama svasauchvasam (same ratio breathing). In the 7th vinyasa, the left leg, and in the 12th vinyasa the right leg, should be extended and kept straight from the thigh to the heel. No part should be bent.
Keep the hands as shown in the picture. In this sthiti one needs to do equal ra- tio breathing. When the hands are joined together in ekapada sirsasana paristhiti, one must do puraka kumbhaka. One must never do recaka..." p120

29 Yoga Nidrasana
"This has 12 vinyasas. The 7th vinyasa is yoga nidrasana sthiti. The first 6 vinyasas for kurmasana are the first 6 vinyasas for this. In the 7th vinyasa, sit like you did in dvipada sirsasana and instead of keeping the two legs on the back of the neck, first lie back facing upwards. Then lift the legs up and place them on the back of the neck.
In dvipada sirsasana, we joined the hands together in prayer and placed them next to the muladhara cakra. In this asana, following the krama, take the shoul- ders (that is, the arms) on both the left and right sides over the top of the two thighs, and hold the right wrist tightly with the fingers of the left hand beneath the spine. Study the picture.
In the 7th vinyasa, after doing only recaka, arrive at the asana sthiti. Then, one should do puraka kumbhaka and lie down...." p123

32 Bhairavasana
"This has 20 vinyasas. The 8th and the 14th vinyasas are the right and left side asana sthitis.
From the 1st until the 7th vinyasa, follow the method for ekapada sirsasana. In the 8th vinyasa, instead of keeping the hands at the muladhara cakra (as in ekapada sirsasana), hug both arms together tightly as seen in the picture and lie down looking upwards. While remaining here, do puraka kumbhaka, raise the neck upwards and gaze at the midbrow...". p129

33 Cakorasana
"This has 20 vinyasas. This is from the Kapila Matham.
After observing that this follows the form of flight of the cakora bird, this came to be called cakorasana. In the Dhyana Bindu Upanishad, Parameshwara advises Parvati that “There are as many asanas as there are living beings in the world”. We readers must always remember this. The 8th and 14th vinyasas are this asana’s sthitis. The 7th and the 13th vinyasas are like the 7th and the 13th vinyasas of ekapada sirsasana. In the 8th and the 14th vinyasas, press the palms of the hand firmly into the ground, do puraka kumbhaka, raise the body 6 angulas off the ground and hold it there. Carefully study the picture where this is demonstrated. Keep the gaze fixed on the midbrow. The other vinyasas are like those of bhairavasana..." p131-132

37 Trivikramasana
"This has 7 vinyasas. From the 1st to the 5th vinyasas and then the 7th vinyasa, practise following those for utthita hasta padangushtasana. Practise the 2nd and 7th vinyasas as shown in the picture (study it carefully) and remain in these positions. The 2nd vinyasa is the right-side trivikramasana sthiti. The 6th vinyasa as shown is the left-side trivikramasana sthiti. The picture shown here only demonstrates the left-side trivikramasana. It is important that equal recaka and puraka kumbhaka must be carefully observed while practising this asana. Keep the gaze fixed on the midbrow. Both legs must be held straight and must not lean or bend to any side...".
p136

38 Gandabherundasana
"This has 10 vinyasas. The 6th and 7th vinyasas show the asana sthiti. The first picture shows the 6th vinyasa and the second picture shows the 7th. In the 4th vinyasa, come to caturanga dandasana sthiti and in the 5th vinyasa proceed to viparita salabasana sthiti. In the 6th vinyasa, spread the arms out wide, keeping them straight like a stick (like a wire) as shown in the picture. Take the soles of both feet and place them next to the ears such that the heels touch the arms and keep them there.
Next, do the 7th vinyasa as shown in the second picture. This is called supta ganda bherundasana. In this asana sthiti and in the preliminary positions, do equal recaka puraka kumbhaka. Keep the gaze fixed on the midbrow. This must not be forgotten". p142

23 comments:

  1. Grimmly

    Given below is the mention of "breath" in the Ashtanga Vinyasa System in the site http://kpjayi.org
    " Breathing is rechaka and puraka, that means inhale and exhale. Both the inhale and exhale should be steady and even, the length of the inhale should be the same length as the exhale. Breathing in this manner purifies the nervous system.

    The same method stands for the breath. Long even breaths will strengthen our internal fire, increasing heat in the body which in turn heats the blood for physical purification, and burns away impurities in the nervous system as well. Long even breathing increases the internal fire and strengthens the nervous system in a controlled manner and at an even pace. When this fire is strengthened, our digestion, health and life span all increase. Uneven inhalation and exhalation, or breathing too rapidly, will imbalance the beating of the heart, throwing off both the physical body and autonomic nervous system."

    Note : There is no mention of Ujjayi anywhere .Only long even inhale and exhale is recommended .

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Krishna. No mention of breath with sound either. Same with Krishnamacharya, as far as I can see he doesn't mention Ujjay by name in relation to asana anywhere In Yoga Makaranda.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Manju Jois is often a good source as his English is excellent and he's very clear about what he is and isn't saying. Here he in in an Interview in 05

    "Manju: The breathing we use is called ‘dirgha rechaka puraka’, meaning it is long, deep, slow exhales and inhales. It should be dirgha...long, and like music. The sound is very important. You have to do the ujjayi pranayama. You have to take the breath all the way in and let it go all the way out".

    ReplyDelete
  4. And here's Pattabhi Jois himself in an interview in France in 1991 from Guy Donahaye's excellent site Ashtanga Yoga Sangha .

    He's using the expression soundbreathing but for my money what he is describing is Ujjayi without Kumbhaka

    "Question: Is the sound with inhaling and exhaling slightly different? If you write it, how will you write it?

    Pattabhi Jois: No, no it is not different. Is not coming no different. But you can take your anus control abdomen control, after take inhalation. Inhalation where is coming? Here to is, is navel. Navel. Navel to 2 inches down. There is our place. There is you take inhale. There is press here, take exhale, now is tight. (Guruji gives example of breathing sound - inhaling and exhaling) There is different sound is not coming. Same mantram. Is pressing here, is control here (2 inches below navel), breathing, long breathing is coming. You don’t leave it here (do not release bandha). Again press, exhalation also same method.

    Saswana means sound. Same sound how is you doing asanas time, you same (make same) sound (at) sitting time, long breathing same sound. But both time with sound. That is clean (cleansing) breathing. Inside all the postures it is clearing (the postures are cleaning the inside of the body). Without sound breathing, this is not clearing (cleansing the body) completely. If one dirt is there - dirty. (Guruji pretends to breathe dust without making any sound) - not is going (toxins are not eliminated) - you take – (this time Guruji demonstrates “soundbreathing”) - blood purifying.

    Why? How? With sound breathing your increasing your heat body. Bodyheat increasing. That heat is making blood boiling. Blood dirty (dirt) is gone completely. Purified blood is making, that is blood cleaning.After breathing you moving all the body, whole body is movingcompletely. Thin blood very purified, thick blood dirty. That is makingsick. You can understand. That is why with breathing you must do".

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Grimmly

    Thanks for another interesting article. We may never know the truth due to those damn ants.

    I think might be right about Pattabhi Jois simplifying or streamlining things for his system, wasn't it designed for busy householders/modern people? Adding longer holds/kumbhakas would significantly increase the time required to practice.

    In his pranayama book (sorry don't have it to hand to give you the page numbers), Gregor Maehle suggests integrating the kumbhakas into certain asana poses during vinyasa practice(e.g. tadaga mudra before shoulderstand, and padmasana) but he differentiates between that and "formal" pranayama practice as according to him you wouldn't count time on your breathing while still pracicing vinyasa.

    Lastly, for the ujjayi, I thought that was just meant to slow down your breath and help you to control it.

    Rob

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very amazing.
    Now i've understand perfect why Sharat said this.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Rob. re the householder bit. I think krishnamacharya was very much aware of this, he was a householder himself. He would talk of choosing which asana you practice carefully to allow yourself time to practice pranayama and meditation. he would also give a handful of key asana that you should practice everyday along with 15 minutes pranayama, after that it was up to you and how much time you had available. The problem, I think, comes with Krishnamacharya's loose flexible groups of primary, middle and proficient asana being turned into fixed, sequences. Where before you could chhose a few asana do long stays in some but not in others, with a fixed sequence you appear to be pretty much tied to a 90 minutes asana practice and wondering how to find time for any pranayama let along the occasional longer stays in an asana or two.

    But it only appears to be the case. Pattabhi Jois, another householder of course, was aware of this too and in yoga mala he says do the surys and standing along with the final three postures and your good to go, if that's all the time you have available ( Kino is teaching that very approach online currently ). We dont have to do a whole sequence, we can practice up to navasana say and then do the second half of the sequence the next day, this Pattabhi Jois' own suggestion on one of those France 91 interviews I believe. if we only practice half the sequence we have time available for longer stays perhaps in shoulderstand or headstand or paschimottanasana and/or we have time available for some pranayama, pratyahara, concentration practice.

    Both Krishnamacharya and Pattabhi Jois strike me as very realistic in their approach to the householder. K's two books seem to have to different goals , Yoga makaranda a full treatment of Yoga practice (especially if he had gotten around to the second proposed part) and in Yogasanagalu, a realistic approach to the practice for the householder

    I agree re Ujjayi, but I like Gregor's soham mantra idea. Must look again for that bit on ujjayi in asana in his book.

    Thanks Anon, glad it was useful

    ReplyDelete
  8. funny iwas reading blogs over the weekend and came across one from authorized teacher David Robson, wherein he discusses his Ujjayi dilemma:
    http://torontobodymind.ca/blogs/david/same-river

    He posts quite a good perspective also on the whole "tradition" of Ashtanga, from the perspectives of a student and teacher.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Anon. yes, YogaRose.net mentions his post in the link I added 'The long and the short of it'. My post is basically three other posts I've half written recently but not put up, one on the Ujjayi discussion, another on Tradition and not judging other styles and third on integrated practice...probably why this post is so tenuously linked together and hung on the Ujjayi hook, came out over pre practice espresso....you can probably tell that the espresso was pretty stung.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Strong not stung

    ReplyDelete
  11. I look forward to your post on "Tradition and not judging other styles and third on integrated practice." Something to this effect which you might find curious of of use can be found in the Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers code of ethics. Note "d" and "e" below. I personally always cringe when I hear yoga practicioners of one feather "bashing" other practitioners of another:

    1.Professional Ethics of Iyengar Yoga Teachers

    a.Iyengar Yoga teachers dedicate themselves to studying, teaching, disseminating, and promoting the art, science and philosophy of yoga according to the teachings and philosophy of B.K.S. Iyengar, and to maintaining high standards of professional competence and integrity. (Tapas, ardor)

    b.Iyengar Yoga teachers study and stay current with the teaching and practice of yoga as taught by B.K.S. Iyengar and the Iyengar family. This can be done directly by study with Mr. Iyengar and the Iyengar family or indirectly by participation in IYNAUS activities and study with certified Iyengar Yoga teachers of at least one higher level of certification. (Svadhyaya, study of the self)

    c.Iyengar Yoga teachers accurately represent their education, training, and experience. (Satya, truthfulness)

    d.While teaching, Iyengar Yoga teachers do not mix the techniques of Iyengar Yoga with any other systems of yoga, or with any other discipline. (Aparigraha, non-coveting)

    e.Iyengar Yoga teachers are not publicly critical of other Iyengar Yoga teachers’ character or of other systems of yoga. (Ahimsa, non-violence)

    f.Iyengar Yoga teachers do not use any “figure and temple” service mark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in the name of B.K.S. Iyengar unless they have been approved to do so by, and have paid the required fee to, the service mark committee of IYNAUS. (Asteya, non-stealing)

    From: http://iynaus.org/teach/ethical-guidelines

    ReplyDelete
  12. I smiled when I read " in public' Anon.

    No, I meant THIS post is made up of those three HALF WRITTEN posts, that's why part is on Ujjayi, another part on tradition and another integrated practice all loosely linked together....it's an untidy post.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your blog posts are always a treat, but this one is sterling. Thanks a lot for your sharing your ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hey Grimmly - thanks for the fascinating post & interesting discussion. I'm interested by 2 things that you say: 1) that pranayama is only pranayma if it involves kumbhaka. On a recent pranayama intensive I took, we learned a variety of pranayamas, and not all of them involved retention, although the majority did. I always thought that pranayama was about "controlling" the breath, not necessarily "retaining" it.

    2) This is the first time I've heard of a technique of integrating pranayama with asana - I have always thought of them as quite separate practices. Do you also practice pranayama separately? What do you feel you get from combining them?

    ReplyDelete
  15. HI La G

    re point 1. that pranayama is only pranayama if it involves kumbhaka. I've mentioned that under what I'm guessing is the first premise of Sharath's argument. In brackets I add that it's not always defined that way (indicating my own suspicions : ), would make an interesting post.

    point 2 is very interesting and certainly a post or series of posts to come on that.

    Again it will depend on your definition and ideas on pranayama. I think Krishnamacharya employs quite short kumbhakas in such cases. he argues that there is always a kumbhaka anyway in that there's a moment at the end of the inhalation before the exhalation begins, a mini kumbhaka if you will. In a sense he's just elongating that to a couple of seconds, same with the exhalation. Ramaswami teaches the same thing. It was natural to me in Vinyasa Krama and I didn't think about it too much, coming back to Ashtanga and exploring it in the context of the Yoga makaranda is making me look at it more closely.

    I consider it an 'advanced' or rather proficient ( to use krishnamacharya's term) practice and somewhere to go perhaps if your really not into ever new postures and series or think that realistically your never going to get beyond kapo. Exploring the asana you do have in such a way strikes me as quite a sophisticated approach to asana practice and excellent prep for pranayama etc.

    What do i get out of it? I don't know still exploring and thinking about it. there's a sense where your staying in a posture longer and have the time to explore different aspects of the asana but with the kumbhaka, the pranayama, you get to direct the breath to areas in the body. made me think i might actually look at chakras more seriously if only as points to direct attention and making me think about prana more, again if only as a concentration and focussing exercise.

    I want to do a series of posts, perhaps on my Krishnamacharya blog , exploring the kumbhaka in each of the postures i list at the end of the post.


    hope that makes sense, trying to comment on ipad

    ReplyDelete
  16. For what it's worth, I distinctly recall Ramaswami responding to a student's question re: breathing while in an asana. He said, in that particular instance, in the asana we were practicing,that if the breath is retained/restrained, that constitutes a pranayama. In the asana we were practicing, we were advised not to retain/restrain the breath but to breath freely, with sound. Otherwise, I always assumed a pranayama counted as one inhale/exhale, with holds on either end. Otherwsie, we use ujjayic breath to slow the breath and moderate it to eaqual measures via the glottis/pallate.

    ReplyDelete
  17. hi Anon, thanks for your comment. I've revised the section of the post where I mention Ramaswami's teaching to make things a little clearer. It's perhaps misleading of me to use the term Kumbhaka here with it's pranayama conotations. Mostly, in the postures I'm referring to, the objective of the breath retention would be to engage and hold mula and uddiyana bandha for five to ten seconds. This of course was an option for those comfortable with practicing the bandhas and generally in postures where we would be staying for a considerable period of time, paschimottanasana, maha mudra, headstand etc. I studied with Ramaswami on his TT course for five weeks so there was a lot of time available for us to explore the longer stays option Krishnamacharya, however, as you'll see from the notes section on Yoga Makaranda would employ breath retention in asana after both the inhalation and exhalation. I've referred to it throughout this post as an option but reading through again he's often quite insistent about the kumbhaka.

    My memory of Ramaswami's teaching on the breath in asana, and confirmed by his books, was to employ Ujjayi breathing, long and slow (generally without kumbhaka unless engaging and holding the bandhas).

    "smooth inhalations and slow exhalation through a partially closed glottis produce ujjayi's characteristic hissing sound" Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga p3",

    "Ujjayi is almost invariably done in asana practice. In fact Ujjayi is given pride of place by many hatha yogis" yoga for the three stages of life p195

    ReplyDelete
  18. Grim, apologies for the frequent divergent comments, but your discussion is so darned intriguing. You write: "The tradition is the linking of breath to movement, the focus on the breath."

    However, I was browsing Paul's Desikachar practice notes over on yogastudies.org and noted the following points of interest, along with discussion on the importance breath (which I've omitted below):

    *There are two categories of practice, the Śikṣaṇa Krama way, according to the rules, or the Cikitsa Krama way, the application or adaptation of a posture to suit a particular person or a particular situation.
    ...
    *The traditional model, Śikṣaṇa, for Yoga was to stay in a posture, Krishnamacharya introduced movement in the postures.
    ...
    *He decided that you could be in one posture and do a number of variations.

    From: http://www.yogastudies.org/2012/05/principles-of-yoga-practice/

    ReplyDelete
  19. Fascinating comment Anon and thank you for the link, I havn't read that page in a long while, different things jump out at you when your focussing on different aspects of practice.

    My bit about linking breath to ovement being the tradition is because i see that as something central that seems to reach back through Krishnamacharya, and I'm guessing here to his teacher. Only a short while after leaving his teacher he was giving demonstrations of jumping (moving) in and out of postures, I'm assuming he had been practicing like that for a number of years to be that impressive which puts him back practicing like that in the mountains. Supposition.

    This bit....
    *The traditional model, Śikṣaṇa, for Yoga was to stay in a posture, Krishnamacharya introduced movement in the postures.
    ...is very interesting. is that why we find the long stays and retentions in Yoga makaranda. Yest we find the movement in and out of postures too. Perhaps Yoga makaranda is a snapshot of a practice in transition.
    thank you again for this

    ReplyDelete
  20. Grim, would you ask your freind to translate "Śikṣaṇa"? I can't find a suitable explanation for it via Google. I am curious if the "Risi" series discussed by Jois could have any historical relation to this "traditional" Śikṣaṇa practice of long stays.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anon...are you there same Anon throughout or are there several of you i wonder.

    i double cheked with Ramaswami, didn't want to misrepresent him and he came back this morning with this comment

    "Yes I normally suggest bahya kumbhaka in certain asanas/vinyasas to facilitate mula and uddiyana bandhas and also jump forwards and jump throughs. However occasionally one could do antahkumbhaka in back bends when the chest expands like in urdhwa mukha swanasana, prishtanjali backbend in tadasana etc. and also in jump backs. Even as Sri TK uses the terms rechaka kumbhaka and pura kumbhaka in asanas these may be considered as facilitators of the movements and postures and effect enhancers rather than pranayamas. Usually the term pranayama is used when the regular seated breathing exercise is practised. But Sri TK used breath judiciously to facilitate and enhance effects of asanas and vinyasas." Srivatsa Ramaswami.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anon, Do you mean Satya, he speaks Kanada isn't the word your refering to Sanskrit? Śikṣaṇa, I'm not certain but I've seen it translated as perfection.

    Interesting re the Rishi connection idea. We only have the one reference to Rishi from Pattabhi Jois....it may well have been a joke but Yoga Makaranda does have those long stays so there may be something to your connection

    ReplyDelete
  23. on this posting, the "Anon" comments are all by me, Anon. ;)

    Great to read Ramaswami's note--and thanks for reaching out to him for the clarification.

    ReplyDelete

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A Reminder

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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