Saturday, 27 April 2013

Chanting or playing the flute in Asana

Photo update: (thought after moving to Japan I needed an updated version of the transverse  flute photos below). This picture seemed to make perfect sense at the time. How can you tell if a posture is...proficient (Krishnamacharya's word)? The answer being of course, how well can you breath, can you make the breath long, thin, slow, like the pouring of oil (Krishnamacharya again) could you, hypothetically obviously, play a long tone on a flute, a shakuhachi say.... or chant without running out of breath.

This week we were offered the chance to have free lessons through the school 'attached' to the shop (thank you Laura... and Vicky). Sax is/was my thing so I chose flute lessons, I've fooled around with flutes for years, can test the ones I've repaired but never taken actual lessons. Come to think of it I never had Sax lessons either, Saxophone...at home. Actually it was more like Sax by the river, under a bridge by the Kamo gawa in Kyoto each morning, whatever the weather, whatever the season...... sounds familiar.
Kamo gawa, Demachiyanagi, Kyoto. Taken from the bridge I used to practice under
See that big clump of trees in the middle, contains one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto....
Shimogamo jinja, M. and I were married here : )

So flute homework and a dilemma...

Do I practice my flute before or after the Yoga?

For the last six years or so I've practiced twice a day, soon as I get up, soon as I get home. Currently it's Ashtanga in the morning, Vinyasa Krama and my main pranayama session in the evening.

When I get off the bike I'm nicely warmed up for a short, pre pranayama, asana practice, warm enough to jump into pretty much any short Vinyasa krama subroutine I may feel I've been neglecting. But if I practice the yoga first it's a little late for the flute ( neighbours). Practice the flute first and the body has cooled down and I need a longer asana practice which cuts into pranayama and meditation time. Dilemma.

I know I'm spoiled, makes me wonder which I'd choose if I ended up only able to practice once a day.

Solution?



OK, I was joking, at least I thought I was.

At first I thought this was being disrespectful to both the flute and the asana but then it struck me, what could be better practice for both than practicing playing long tones in eka pada sirsasana.

The breath should be long, thin, slow, like the pouring of oil according to Krishnamacharya.

That's one thing in janu sirsasana but eka pada sirsasana? Good way to check the steadiness of the breath.
Lord krishna

Krishnamacharya would have the Mysore boys chant mantras out loud while they were in asana, this evening, just as an experiment, I practiced a few scales and short pieces in in a handful of asana that seemed doable while holding a flute.
Krishnamacharya would have the boys of the Mysore palace chant mantras while in asana
Breath of Gods

Vrikasana
Virabhadrasana
Dandasana
Marichiyasana A
Navasana (hard)
Badha konasana ( feet made a nice prop for the book)
Eka pada sirsasana ( tried Dwi but failed)
Yoga nidrasana (favourite)
Vatyanasana (just plain silly)
Gomukhasana (nice)
Sarvangasana (teacher wouldn't approve of the jalandhara or angle of flute)
sirsasana ( didn't really work)
Padmasana


You might not want to pick up a flute but how about a simple whistle


Pick an asana of your choice, start with something simple, try to keep a steady, even note.

....or just whistle



 I also recommend exploring some chanting, out loud while in some tricky asana and see how steady you can keep your breath throughout, try the opening chant say in Marichiyasana D or Kuukutasana, Kapo or Eka Pada Sirsasana.


Niralumba sarvangasana with flute
...and just one more because I just couldn't resist and last time I tried to shoot it I'll i got was my backside and the foot joint.


Update:

Just seen the leg behind head flute picture used on a flyer for a workshop I'm presenting soon in Moscow, i though that now Ive moved to japan an update was called for.


13 comments:

  1. I am impressed you tried playing the flute in Navasana! How about a pic of that for a new blog header? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Was a very short fingering exercise repeated on each of the five D., this was an interesting experiment but a one off perhaps. I like the chanting in asana idea though, will be exploring more of that.
    Plan is to practice flute first with heat on full.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can't imagine practicing twice a day! How do you have time to socialize? LOL.

    Are you planning on reviewing David G's pranayama DVD? Just curious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just checked, can't find a post on Richard's pranayama course, perhaps i need reviewed/posted on it after all.

      Delete
  4. Never been much of a one for socialising Boodie and M. Doesn't get home from from work until after 10pm so quite spoiled for time. No plans to review David's Pranayama, bit expensive no......of course if he was to send me a copy... : ) I did and I think reviewedRichard Freeman's online course last year.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh right, well the married don't necessarily have to socialize because you've always got your plus 1! I'm staying in a lot more these days, just to budget, but when I crawl home from the office I just want to plunk my body on the bed and read. Reading is like budget travel for me.

    I've always envied your ability to get copies of stuff to review. No one has EVER offered me anything, probably because I'm too black sheep, too contrary.

    Ya I looked at DG's disc but I didn't order, mainly because I wasted a boatload of money on Astanga alternatives in the last year. I go to the gym maybe once every 2/3 weeks. I used half of my Dharma Mittra classes and only 4 out of 10 of the Bikrams. There was also that CrossFit experiement and the only thing I got out of that was an irritated right wrist.

    Too bad though, because CrossFit is chock full of NON metrosexual looking dudes.

    I digress :) I didn't want to purchase another thing I probably wouldn't use. I mean, it's not even like $30. It's $110. Screw that!

    ReplyDelete
  6. $110 is a lot but then I imagine a lot of work went into it too and if it ends up giving you a stable regular Pranayama practice then it's worth every penny. I found though after Richards course that I was already settled in the Pranayama practice I learned from Ramaswami. The only reason for me to get David's is curiosity $110 would require a lot of curiosity. He's put some excellent tutorials out there for free though would have happily paid $10 each for some of those so perhaps it evens out.
    Was never that social even when I was single, tended to just stumble into relationships, met M. At University. Might be more sociable if I lived in NYC though, love the sound of some of the place you go to. Would find it VERY hard t date now stuck in my ways a bit.
    Glad your getting your practice back wasn't sure about the cross fit thing but didn't want to say anything, we're like those old sticks of seaside rock with Ashtanga running through our marrow. Had the best 2nd series this morning, first I think, full series at least, since the autumn, amazing its still there bit ragged but still there. Feels more intuitively vinyasa Krama than Primary, will be doing that every morning now except Friday and a VK primary in the evening per Pranayama.
    Nice to get offered the free stuff occasionally, only accept if its something I'd actually buy but even the have been critical of some of the stuff I was sent....do use that Manduka bolster to prop myself up in bed to read the paper Sunday morning should have mentioned that : ) have a good rest of Sunday Boodie.
    That should read pre Pranyama not per but ipad doesn't let me edit grrrrr

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just read your post, hope your Sunday gets better

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh, bummer, I was kind of hoping you, Grim, would take a look at that David G. pranayama thing, $110 is a bite without a bit more review to know what it is I'd be getting. But I am curious, very, since loved his workshop I took. And I have not yet found a way into pranayama that made sense to my stubborn, intractable brain. Tried a few, including the Richard Freeman thing, but I just fall asleep listening to his lovely, sonorous voice. I have no idea what he says, I wish I did! Maybe David G's approach would be my ticket? Or maybe I should face it and realize I'm just not ready for pranayama. My mental fluctuations are just too powerful!

    Delighted with the flute/asana combo, too funny. I have a lovely photo of my great friend Pris playing the flute while hula hooping, she says it is her best lifetime photo ever, haha. Very Vishnu. There is such delicacy in flute playing, you barely touch the instrument with your lips, to hold an asana as delicately....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. " to hold an asana as delicately...." loved that.
      I'll give it a week or two and then put out a call for reviews, a guest post perhaps.
      I'm thinking of doing something on pranayama soon too. Krishnamacharyas son T.K.Shribashyam has a nice short pranayama routine that I think would fit perfectly with Ashtangi's, I do it every morning around my Ashtanga practice and then my regular Ramaswami pranayama in the evening. The morning one is short, a little kapalabhati followed by just six rounds of an ujjayi pranayama without kumbhaka before the practice then some basti and six rounds of nadi shodana with short kumbhaka at the end of the practice. Seems like it might be a nice way in. Was thinking of doing a video or something. Here's a link to a post on the book.
      http://grimmly2007.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/emergence-du-yoga-by-krishnamacharyas.html

      Delete
  9. Kids are like little sponges, they'll soak in every good or bad thing around them. Through yoga, they are taught to be more disciplined, focused, relaxed and overwhelmed. Childhood is the best time to let your kids learn yoga. We offer children's yoga teacher training Vancouver in the winter of 2013.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed. This might be a better post of mine for a spam comment : )

      Delete
  10. I ended up doing a review of David Garrigue's Pranayama book here http://grimmly2007.blogspot.jp/2013/06/preview-review-david-garrigues-vayu.html

    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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