|8mm vintage video app for iPhone|
I've been exploring Krishnamacharya's so called ' Life Saving" sequence from the Der Atmende Gott movie this week. At first I tried it pretty straight, just as it's outlined on the DVD box, makes a nice extra evening practice. That straight version is represented below
Even added a video, mainly an excuse to play around with the filters on the Vintage 8mm video app from itunes.
What I'm finding more interesting though is using it as a framework for my main morning practice. I've included a couple of ideas for how you might pimp it up at the end of this post.
....or you could just use it as an alternative finishing sequence to your Ashtanga practice
'Life saving yoga session'
from the movie Der Atmende Gott
"Starting from the 50s more and more visitors came from the West to Krishnamacharya in Madras, to learm Yoga from him, the 'teacher of teachers'. Krishnamacharya developed for them a specific sequence that he named 'Life saving yoga session'. Yoga to extend life, the name did not fail to work. Krishnamacharya's idea was to use this sequence to lead Westerners to an unconfessional and undogmatic experience of the Divine, since their pluralistic culture would not permit an automatic access to religious matters.
The sequence, which was not taught anymore after Krishnamacharya's death and which was taught by his son TK shribayam to director Jan Schmidt-Garre after years of acquaintance during the filming of 'Der atmende Gott', is here disclosed in its original form.
Characteristic of the later Krishnamacharya and of the 'Life saving Yoga session' is the connection of postures, breathing and concentration in the sense of the orientation of the gaze and awareness of a focal point. Only when these elements form an organic connection can Yoga happen, according to Krishnamacharya
1. sit for 30-60 seconds with crossed legs in Padmasana. Concentration on Nasagra (point of the nose)
2. 16-24 Kapalabhati breaths (breath of fire, energeti inhale and exhale)
3. 12 breaths of ujjayi anuloma. Inhale: ujjayi, with slightly constricted throat, to drwa air into the lungs. Exhale: the hand forms a claw with thumb, ring- and little-fingers with which one nostril is alternately kept closed. Exhale very slowly through the open nostril, without ujjayi, beginning with the left
4. 3 breaths in matsyasana. Legs are closed in the lotus position
5. 3 breaths in bhujangasana. Start with open eyes and during the progression of movement, which start with the forehead, close the eyes. Concentration on Bhrumhadya (between the eyebrows)
6. 12 breaths in sarvangasana. The chin is closed in front of the straightened body. Hands close to the shoulderblades, concentration on Kanta (throat)
7. 12 breaths in sirsasana. Concentration on Nasagra (tip of the nose)
8. 3 breaths in halasana. Arms on the floor, hands clasped, palms towards the outside
9. 3 breaths in bhujangasana. Again start with open eyes and close them during the movement. Cncentration on Bhrumadhya (between the eyebrows)
10. 12 breaths in Maha-mudra (one-sided forward bend) six times on the left, then six times on the right. With the first inhale bring the arms over the head, with hands clasped, palms up. With the exhale get into the posture. Concentration on navel
11. 12 breaths in paschimottanasana, preparation and in maha mudra. The hands clasp the big toes, the back stays straight, neck and back form a lune. Concentration on the navel.
12. 30-60 Bastri breaths (rapid alternate breathing) in padmasana. The right hand builds a clasp as for anuloma ujjayi. Inhale and exhale through the left nostril, then change the grip and rapidly inhale and exhale through the right nostril. No ujjayi. end with an exhale from the left nostril and without pause move ot a long inhale in nadi shodan. Concentration on Nasagra
13. 12 breaths in nadi shodan (alternate breathing). Inhale very slowly from the half-closed left nostril, exchange grip ad after a short pause exhale very slowly through the half-closed right nostril. After a short pause inhale very slowly through the half-closed right nostril, change grip and after a short pause exhale through the half-clodes left nostril. No ujjayi. The left hand counts the breaths, with the thumb gliding over the twelve parts of the four fingers, from the third falanx of the little fingers in the direction towards outside to the point of the index finger. Concentration on Hrudaya (heart)
14. Prayer. Concentration on Hrudaya (heart)
In the coming book fom Shribashyam "How Yoga really was" this and similar sequences are explained in detail
*Thank you again to Chiara fro the translation from the German.
Here are some print out practice sheets.
Pimping up Krishnamacharya's 'Life Saving' practice with some Vinyasa Krama
Start off the same with 1. and 2., the breathing preparation, perhaps just seated with the legs crossed if you find moving directly to lotus a little tough ( the movies director, Jan Schmidt-Garre sits crossed legged in the film rather than in half or full lotus).
I then come back up to standing for the basic 10 minutes Tadasana hand and arm variations that I like to use as a warm up, I do this whether I'm practicing Vinyasa Krama or Ashtanga.
I tend to follow this with a couple of Sun Salutations A and B, the full ten, five of each or 2x A and 3x B or just one of each taken nice and slow, or perhaps with the surynamaskara mantra, depends how much warm up you feel you need that morning.
I like to include Trikonasana A and B whatever I do because it's such an excellent twist.
Next up I include the Utthita hasta padangusthasana sequence because I still hate it so figure it must be good for me one way or other.
Transition back to seated for...
Ardha badha padma maschimottanasana as lotus prep ( this morning I preceded that with janusirsasana A)
Other Asymmetric subroutines or parts of subroutines are an option here, perhaps to include some mores twists.
Back on program with stages 4. and 5. matsyasana and bhujangasana
After Bhujangasana I like to do some more backbending Bow postures followed by Ustrasana and possibly kapotasana finishing backbends with urdhva Dhanurasana and perhaps a drop back or two.
|from my Kindle Vinyasa Yoga Practice book|
The vinyasa krama shoulderstand prep that Ramaswami recommends
Another bow posture, Salabhasana perhaps as counter to the shoulder stand
And of course one could include some of the shoulderstand or headstand variations.
9. Bhujangasana again or another bow variation.
10. maha mudra
I like to add another twist here, Ardha and/or purna matsyendrasana or perhaps Bharadvajrasana to keep the more meditative vibe going from maha mudra
back on program again with
11. A long paschimottanasana and it's counter purvottanasana
12. and 13. Pranayama
But of course it's flexible, at each stage you can add more or less of a particular Vinyasa krama subroutine or two.
Each day could have a different focus, Bow postures one day after stage 5. another day Supine vinyasas at 6. or More Asymmetric at 9. or 10., seated subroutines at 11.
See Ramaswami's Complete book of vinyasa yoga
or my own practice book for the practice sheets perhaps
Either way Krishnamacharya has included what he considers the key, essential postures of maha mudra, paschimottanasana, Shoulderstand and headstand.
In the video above I included a few jump back and through variations, use as many as those as you wish or perhaps keep it very simple transitioning only between stages.