|Another excuse to show off the new Halogen fire that's transformed winter home practice|
I though it might be an idea to lay out what's becoming a standard morning practice (from this morning in fact) but showing the influences that have resulted in it evolving as it has, in case anyone else is stumbling along in a similar direction.
Questions along the way have been
How to practice/incoporate ...well, everything?
How to develop a more integrated practice?
How to practice when you slow the breathing down, slower, slower and slower still?
How to practice when you include longer stays?
How do you choose what remains and what is omitted?
What do you sacrifice when you have less time, asana, part of the sequence or the pranayama, the meditation?
How do you structure your pranayama practice around your asana practice?
How do we approach the Primary, intermediate and Advanced asana as groups rather than series or sequence (Yogasanagalu)
I still consider my practice to be Ashtanga.
I like to think of it as 'original Ashtanga' though ( but perhaps Slow Ashtanga is less provocative), with the long slow inhalations and exhalations, longer stays and including appropriate kumbhaka (breath retention).
Because of the slowness of the breath, long stays etc. time constraints lead me to cut out postures from the regular Ashtanga sequence. I still cover though the essential key asana mentioned by Krishnamacharya/Jois/ Ramaswami
|Sirsasana (headstand ) vinyasa's -from Krishnamacharya YM2 /Ramaswami|
Patanjali prayer - from Ramaswami
Pre practice pranayama - from T.K.SRIBHASHYAM
Inhalation (PURAKA) through both nostrils in UJJAYI,
Exhalation (RECHAKA) through Left Nostril, without ujjayi,
Inhalation through both nostrils in Ujjayi, and
Exhalation through the Right Nostril, without Ujjayi.
These two breaths making one Cycle of Ujjayi Anuloma.
Inhale through the Left Nostril, without using Ujjayi,
Exhale through Ujjayi, with both the nostrils open.
Inhale, again through the Right Nostril, without using Ujjayi, and
Exhale through Ujjayi, with both the nostrils open.
This forms one Cycle.
Asana practice with mantra - from.... well me.
(mentally chanted on inhalation and exhalation focussed at the heart and linked to the breath)
either Jesus prayer
"Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner" (takes me 8 seconds to repeat...5 in marichi D)
or loving kindness prayer
"May I/you/we/they be safe. May I/you/we/they be well
May I/you/we/they be peaceful. May I/you/we/they be happy".
(takes me ten seconds to repeat)
I tend to start with the loving kindness prayer through standing and finishing, repeated on both the inhalation and exhalation (takes about ten seconds each) and the Jesus prayer through the central part of the practice (takes around eight seconds each).
Warm up short 5 min Tadasana sequence - from Ramaswami
Sunsalutations A and B - from Ashtanga
BUT practiced as individulal asana, 3-5 breaths in each stage of the Sury's with short kumbakhas - from Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda ( original). Occasionally I practice the suryanamaskara with mantras.
A couple of extra Sury A's and B's - from regular Ashtanga
Ashtanga Standing sequence -from Krishnamachrya and Jois
Focus on long slow inhalations and exhalations of 8-10 seconds each - from Krishnamacharya and Jois
Due to time constraints I need to trim down the Standing sequence, practicing some asana one day, those I miss those I miss I practice the next day or the next ( always include trikonasana).- from *Arturo
Primary or Intermediate group/sequence -from Krishnamacharya and Jois
Again trimmed down due to the length and slowness of the breath, working through all of primary and intermediate over a week - from Arturo
Working through the Primary and Intermediate asana as Subroutines - from Ramaswami.
Often this will be the same as the subroutines found in regular Ashtanga ( the marichi's for example)
Employing Vinyasa Krama to add postures as more preparation or as extension into more advanced postures- from Ramaswami.
Urdhava Dahanurasana and dropbacks - from Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga
Shoulderstand prep - from Ramaswami
Long Sarvangasana (shoulder stand ) - from Krishnamacharya ( Yoga Makaranda 2) and Ramaswami
Long headstand with vinyasas - from Krishnamacharya ( Yoga Makaranda 2) and Ramaswami
Halasana and shoulder stand variations - from Jois Ashtanga
Maha mudra and badha konasana - from Krishnamacharya and Ramaswami
Badha padmasana/ yoga mudra - from krishnamacharya/Jois/Ramaswami
Pranayama - from Krishnamacharya/Ramaswami/ Sribhashyam
This is a Pranayama where no ujjayi should ever be used.
Inhale by the Left Nostril,
Exhale by the Right Nostril,
Inhale by the Right Nostril,
Exhale by the Left Nostril.
It is to be noted that a Pranayama can have KUMBHAKA: either after Inhalation (called ANTAH KUMBHAKA) or after Exhalation (called BAHYA KUMBHAKA)
Sama Vrithi is a Pranayama imperatively practiced in NADI SHODHANA.
In this Pranayama, while following the technique of Nadi Shodhana, the time allotted to Puraka, Antah Kumbhaka, Rechaka and Bahya Kumbhaka should be the same.
For eg. Puraka = Antah Kumbhaka = Rechaka = Bahya Kumbhaka = 5".
UJJAYI PRATHILOMA: With pranayama mantra - from Ramaswami
Inhale through Ujjayi,
Exhale by the Left Nostril,
Inhale by Left Nostril,
Exhale by Ujjayi,
Inhale by Ujjayi,
Exhale by Right Nostril,
Inhale by Right Nostril, and
Exhale by Ujjayi.
These 4 breaths make one cycles, and to be of any value, a minimum of 4 cycles or 16 breaths is needed.
Japa mantra meditation- from Ramaswami
Focussing mantra at heart and with the breath and vizualizing effulgence (light)
Closing chant - from Ramaswami
|Viparita Yoga mudra|
Evening practice tends to be a couple of Vinyasa Krama subroutines outside of the regular Ashtanga series that would otherwise get missed followed by pranayama and meditation.
*Noting Arturo as an influence here because due to time limitations he would work as far as he was able on a Vinyasa krama or the Ashtanga sequence and then pick up where he left off the next day. this is a variation of that. Thank you Arturo.
Interestingly we seem to have less of an issue with meditation, if we're interested we just complement our practice with some Zen or Vipassana/Loving Kindness
More of issue it seems with pranayama
Pranayama is a problem of course if you go to a shala where it's not... encouraged.
I wonder though if it would be possible to include the pre practice pranayama after getting up and before heading off to the shala.
And perhaps the post practice pranayama and mediatation on returning home.
or in a quiet room at work
or in the car in the shala car park?
Spoiled home Ashtangi's
Do shala's provide post practice spaces for anyone who wants to meditate after practice?
I remember AYL had a separate place for finishing, not sure you could stay there for another half hour or so after savasana though, space was limited.
What do those who have reached third series sa,y and get to 'officially' include pranayama do?
Do they practice their pranayama before asana there on the mat, or afterwards in the finishing room?
I remember reading that Tim Miller has his pranayama circle before practice but I'm assuming that's before the regular Mysore self practice time begins.
What do third series folk do in Mysore, get up and practice their pranayama at home before heading off to the shala?
I was taught by Ramaswami ( who was taught this way by Krishnamacharya) that you practice Asana first to get rid of the rajas, then pranayama to get rid of the tamas leaving you in the most satvic of states ready for meditation practice.
No doubt this is the reason Krishnamacharya's son T.K.SRIBHASHYAM, includes those pranayamas ( nadi shodana, surya bhedana, Sama vrithi, the ones with kumbhaka) that 'act on the mental and spiritual plane, at the end of practice and those ( Ujjayi Viloma , Sithali, Ujjayi prathiloma and Nadi shodana without kumbhaka) that act on the physical and nervous plane at the beginning. See yesterdays post on Pranayama
It must have been twenty-five years or so ago now but I remember my then fiancé trying to persuade me into going to see Ravi Shankar, who passed away today, somewhere in London ( we we're living in Notting Hill at the time, on the Carnival route in fact). Wasn't really my thing at the time and I managed to get out of going.
What was I thinking?
Here he is in concert last year