|Krishnamacharya teaching Yvonne Millerand 1960's (after Mysore)|
All right, one reason, just one (as this is Part I of a series).
I feel a kind of ...responsibility to share Ramaswami's teaching more directly. Somehow or other I ended up on Ramaswami's teacher training course a couple of years ago and have been practicing Vinyasa Krama alongside my Ashtanga practice ever since, trying to balance the two. Ramaswami's teaching has enriched my own practice immeasurably and I've tried to pass that along a little through the blog but keep getting deflected by my passion for Ashtanga, it feels a little selfish somehow, an indulgence. Ashtanga is well seeded but there are not enough of us sharing Ramaswami's presentation of Vinyasa Krama, as he learned it himself over all those years with his own teacher Krishnamacharya. If I want to share that practice then I should of course be practicing it myself more diligently rather than allowing it to become sidelined. And there's so much to explore there, I've barelyscratched the surface.
But rather than dwell on that, what I'd like to do is have a running series of posts on
Life (practice) after Ashtanga.
Ashtanga so often takes over out lives, what we eat, what we drink ( or don't), what time we go to bed. It's a disciplined lifestyle and that's reflected in the practice. We know what we will be practicing...and how, one day to the next, it's laid down for us.
So what happens when we ...let go of Ashtanga?
What do we practice exactly?
Do we practice more or less?
Is it a fixed practice or more flexible, how do we respond to that. Does that reduced structure cause problems, make it more difficult to get on the mat...or easier.
Does a less structured practice affect our self-discipline in other areas of our life? How do we avoid that happening?
Is a different approach to practice reflected in other areas of our lives? I used to think that after Ashtanga I felt more ...outward facing as if I could take on the world, after Vinyasa Krama, I'd feel more ...self contained (?), I liked self-contained more.
What about our eating, our weight, our general health and fitness are any of these affected?
Do we become less flexible, less strong or does that strength and flexibility develop in other areas of practice?
And what of labels, do I change the title of this blog (yet again), get rid of Ashtanga from the title? Is it misleading? Ashtanga of course refers to those eight limbs of Patanjali's Yoga not just to Pattabhi Jois' style of practice. Given the strongly integrated focus on those limbs in Vinyasa Krama I'm not inclined to drop it.
Do we still consider ourselves practicing Ashtanga when we're not practicing Ashtanga (which one goes in italics)....labels are a problem and best done away with altogether perhaps?
I don't know, I'm curious, trying to brainstorm questions here. I know there are several readers who have given up Ashtanga, there must be hundreds...thousands(?) out there.
What's the point of having a blog if you don't explore such things.
So I'll post on this every now and again, call the posts ....say... Life after Ashtanga (part X), that way if it's not something you want to read about you can easily skip the posts.
It's Friday, 5am.
For all my experiments with my practice, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I didn't practice straight Primary on Friday morning.
Here's my response to a question on the earlier post that takes a first look a few of these questions
Hi Steve, yep happy, relieved in a way, lighter somehow it's been interesting but a bit of a struggle trying to balance the two approaches to practice.
Really nice practice this morning.
Don't think it need affect the blog that much, was posting more on anything connected to the Krishnamacharya tradition lately anyway, sometimes it'll relate more directly or be of interest to Ashtangi's than other's.
One of the aspects I was afraid to lose was the knowledge base within the Ashtanga community, a lot of writing and videos etc. floating around on technique, getting and staying on the mat, breath focus ... Most of the book on Vinyasa Krama practice I 'published' was tips, hints caution's that I'd picked up here and tried out in practice.
re the asana perspective. My VK practice tends to have a very similar shape to Ashtanga anyway.
I do my Yoga Makaranda approach to Surynamaskara, couple of breaths with kumbhaka at each stage, then a Surynamaskara with mantra and a couple of regular Ashtanga Sury B's.
Finishing is very similar but longer time spent in shoulderstand and headstand.
I know the VK sequences and subroutines pretty well so it's easy for me now, don't need to thnk about it too much but I agree it's good to practice the same sequence for an extend period.
I keep a general frame work of sury's/standing/XXXX/backbends/Inversions/finishing where the XXXX will focus on a particular sequence.that seems to work pretty well.
For now it's the meditative sequence (leading into kapo's) with a bit of Bow prep. Was planning on doing that for a week or ten days but following the moon idea is interesting, just need to make sure I have enough hip openers and twists in there too.
Did I say I only dated Ashtanga? We we're living together for quite sometime...one of those irritating relationships where you keep getting back together...then when you do meet somebody else you try to turn them into your first love : )
Don't think I feel a mysore orphan so much though I'd finally come around to the idea it might be nice to be in Mysore the same time as people I care about and would like to practice in the same room with...oh well.