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

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Sunday, 19 May 2013

Matthew Sweeney Vinyasa Unlocked DVD

Now this is interesting, a couple of videos from Matthew Sweeney appeared on YouTube this morning. First one looks particularly interesting....



and yet....

And yet I wonder who it's aimed at.

Excellent Mathew has those beginner versions of Sun Salutations, the stepping back, stepping forward, leading up to finally jumping forward but then he continues on up to floating back and floating up again to standing even via handstands. Same goes for jump back and jump through, beginner variations moving on up to advanced fancy Ashtanga.

It's a DVD for buying early in your practice perhaps and keeping hold of as you progress.

I was wondering though if it was for me.

I'm long passed those beginner variations and in a sense I'm passed all the fancy stuff too in that I'm no longer interested in a floaty stylised practice. These days I prefer to keep it simple, stripped back/down, my jump through of choice these days is Sharath's delicate little hop.

But then again perhaps it's not about being fancy, showy, there's a subtlety there in those floats up and back, a shifting of body weight, control rather than effort, craft. Perhaps it's time to revisit some of these, not for the showiness (whose to see anyway in my home practice) but for the subtlety, the delicacy and as my thoughts turn once again towards full vinyasa, for the conservation of energy.

So perhaps it is for me after all, very curious to know what else is on the DVD, not much on the website but it does say it's comprehensive.

Upcoming DVDs due in 2013
Vinyasa Unlocked (a comprehensive technique DVD) 

The video reminds me of Mathhew's 2nd book Vinyasa Krama (not to be confused with Ramaswami's Vinyasa krama). Most of the book is taken up with the five alternative sequences, the Moon sequence for example below, but there is a wonderful section at the beginning where Matthew goes through the development of Jumping back and through, backbends etc.

Here's what he has to say about it on his Website Yoga Temple

VINYASA KRAMA: Five Unique Sequences
2nd Edition

Experience the ancient method of Yoga retold in these five flowing Vinyasa Series. 

They are called the Moon Sequence, the Lion Sequence, the Bound Sequence, the Flying Sequence and the Fifth Sequence. Each series emphasises different aspects of the body and mind to create an overall Yoga program for any level of ability. They progress through basic, intermediate and advanced asana. The first two series are a great introduction to Yoga for the beginner and the later series offer inspiring possibilities for the experienced practitioner. Alternatives are provided for each of the sequences with practical and safe guidance for adapting to many individual difficulties and injuries. Each of the sequences is linked to specific breathing and meditation techniques which are accessible and safe for all levels. In addition this book provides a comprehensive visual asana library displaying over 850 individual postures. Vinyasa Krama is an extensive one of a kind resource for teachers and students of any Yoga tradition.

This updated 2nd Edition of the book is now printed in an easy to use A4 portrait style, similar to As It Is. Most of the book has been updated, including some of the written text, the Mula Bandha section and some details on Pranayama. Each of the sequences has been refined and adjusted, in particular the sequencing and postures for Chandra Krama and Simha Krama have been changed and some small corrections to each of the other series. Vinyasa Krama is now greatly improved.

If you have a previous copy I do recommend purchasing the 2ndversion, unfortunately I cannot offer a discount through the website. Any student attending one of my workshops with a signed copy of the first edition (A3) can get a discount for the new version. 


I reviewed the book briefly here a few years back (2008) , unfortunately I bought the huge A3 version, bit unwieldily, much better in the current A4 version I think .


There's also an excellent Asana dictionary at the back.

A video also appeared on Matthew's Moon Sequence this morning



Much more on his website about this one

CHANDRA KRAMA: THE MOON SEQUENCE[DVD]

This DVD is the first of a series of flowing Asana practices designed by Matthew Sweeney. Chandra Krama is intended as a support to your regular weekly Yoga practice, whether it is Ashtanga Yoga, Hatha Yoga or some other style or tradition.
The Moon Sequence is a gentle flowing Vinyasa form accessible for all levels. Although this sequence was originally intended for practice on the Full Moon, the New Moon and during the menstrual cycle, it is appropriate at any time for women and men.
This sequence emphasizes the hips, groin, lower spine and abdomen, which will feel awake and alive after moving through the postures. It takes pressure off the neck, shoulders and wrists and is useful as a regular alternative to the intensity of traditional Ashtanga Yoga. Whether old or young, this sequence is great for any age.


I have to admit, despite having had Matthew's Vinyasa Krama book for, what,  five years, I don't think I've ever tried any of the alternative five sequences he presents. As fixed sequences, Ashtanga Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A and B always seemed plenty. I bought Matthew's Vinyasa Book back then for all the Ashtanga info at the beginning and especially the jump back and back bending progressions.

Perhaps because I never got on with the size (A3) of the first edition, I'd be tempted to practice along with the DVD or go to one of his Moon Sequence workshops just to see what it's like, how it feels, some I hear swear by it.

I wonder if the video has instruction, if it's led with a voice over calling the postures etc., tricky to practice with otherwise, oh and can you turn the ruddy music off, can't be dealing with noise while I practice.

UPDATE
Some more details on the moon sequence DVD in comments to this post

Shira Fisher19 May 2013 16:02
"I'll have to check my Moon Sequence video to see if you can turn of the music (just checked it and couldn't turn off the music). There is instruction through the asana practice and I have to say the music and Matthew's voice don't turn me off in fact they are incredibly relaxing and don't take away from the practice at all like some of my videos that I have had to disregard because of the intolerable voice and music. The music is much more subtle than the video you posted above less instrumentation and chanting influenced. I also like that the video opens and closes with the ashtanga salutations. My practice is strictly Ashtanga Primary and the moon sequence. I am opening up more with all the hip opening of the moon sequence, back bends etc it really is complimentary to the Ashtanga practice in my bodies view of things. I recommend the moon sequence as it really feels like a natural fit to my Ashtanga practice".

Thanks for filling in the gaps, I'm tempted to try it.

Heard from somebody else that the music is "very much not in the background" and that "you can't turn it off" and that while they like the Moon sequence the music puts them off using the DVD.

Ashtangi's, we don't tend to like music when we practice.....or would you disagree?
------------

I should mention Matthew's first book while I'm at it.

Ashtanga Yoga As It Is
3rd Edition



This book is a comprehensive guide to the first four sequences of Ashtanga Yoga: Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A and Advanced B as taught by Shri Krishna Pattabhi Jois. To date this is the only book available which details all of the first four traditional sequences of Ashtanga Yoga.

The third edition of Ashtanga Yoga As It Is contains an extensive range of new material, providing many relevant techniques on breathing, Asana, Bandha and Drishti. It offers insight into the practical application of Yoga philosophy including information on the Chakra, Granthi, Nadi and the Yoga sutras of Patanjali. The photographic section of the book visually depicts all of the postures, movements and breaths of the first four traditional sequences. It also presents the correct Sanskrit transliterations and the traditional Vinyasa counting for every posture. The first two editions of the book (which are currently out of print) are a simple and beautiful visual presentation of only the Asana for the traditional series.

Ashtanga Yoga As It Is provides an exploration of both the physical and psychological aspects of the practice. It aims to shed light on some core Yoga concepts and relevant self development principles. It covers the main points of the Ashtanga tradition including many previously unwritten rules advocated by Shri K. Pattabhi Jois. This is a one of a kind map to the traditional Vinyasa method.

Printed on black and white satin durable paper, the book is presented in an A4 (29x21cm) landscape format. It is spiral bound which makes it ideal for placing beside the Yoga mat.


This is An Ashtanga blogger's essential text, mine is falling apart,


Writing a post and need to check the spelling of a posture, Matthew's your man, quick and easy to find. It also has another section with all the vinyasas, the count etc. I've been taking this back and forth to the shala and the Mac for years, I need two copies. One propped up in the shala, perfect size to double check the sequence if your revisiting 2nd or Advanced after a period of time or learning them at home (perish the thought) and another copy beside the mac. Essential text.

And lastly seeing as this as turned from a quick share of the two videos into a Matthew Sweeney post, mention again of Matthew's recent Article on Love Yoga Anatomy

The Evolution of Ashtanga Yoga 50 comments

and the follow up

Ashtanga Yoga 70 years or 2000? 19 comments ( inc. a couple from me)

and my own post on this

Did Krishnamacharya teach Ashtanga Primary Series? Matthew Sweeney and the Origin of Ashtanga, Yoga Korunta and Vinyasa?

and one more, a guest post by Marie HALLAGER Andersen

Guest post - Ashtanga Yoga: practice with discipline but practice smart, a response to Matthew Sweeney's recent article

18 comments:

  1. Looks awesome, but as someone just starting out on this path, with limitations wrt attending classes and shalas, I'm impressed, but don't know that it'll ever be me! Very humbling though, for sure...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you Anon. have added a note to the post asking who it's for and yet some of tips and beginning variations you may find useful perhaps and it might be something to keep coming back too. Think I'd like to see the whole video, this is just a preview of course.

      Delete
    2. Sounds like something to look into for me, as a single working mother to young children. I probably can't do it in the morning, but maybe after the children are in bed for 1/2-1 hour? You've inspired me with your steady work when I was thinking it was impossible to do without a teacher and classes, which are just not possible for me.

      On a related note, how did you get the Swenson DVDs to work for you in the UK? On amazon they seem to only work in the USA and Canada...

      Delete
    3. Re the Swenson dvd's I played mine through the Mac and they worked fine, don't have a DVD player for the TV. I think a some of David Swenson's videos are available on youtube but in several parts.

      Delete
    4. Thanks for that, I have a Mac too, so based on that info I may go ahead and order his DVD? I've ordered the ones by Mark Darby and Sharath as per your recommendations.

      Delete
    5. The Mark Darby one is just excellent. Are you going for the Swenson short forms? Might be ideal for you have less time for practice. I used his forty minute short form for almost a year. if you have the mark Darby one then you don't need another led primary...except for Sharath's which is pretty quick and allows you to go through in an hour. Nice un flashy practice from Sharath too, really stripped down.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for sharing this. It is look exactly the same as I learned from him years ago. Very logical progression and permitive with individual limitations. Not usual for me in my ashtanga teachings from others certificated teachers. As in his book: Vinyasa krama 5 unique sequences, he gives many options for each asana fundations, that give a wider vision of the body use in asana (as an end in itself).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ramaswami talks of course of employing a vast range of asana to reach every cell of the body, Matthew is taking another approach to that.

      Delete
  3. I've purchased a lot of yog dvd's over the years. I find David Swenson's and Matthew Sweeney's to be the best along to practice the versions with Guruji to hear his voice and feel the pace etc he would set. I'll have to check my Moon Sequence video to see if you can turn of the music (just checked it and couldn't turn off the music). There is instruction through the asana practice and I have to say the music and Matthew's voice don't turn me off in fact they are incredibly relaxing and don't take away from the practice at all like some of my videos that I have had to disregard because of the intolerable voice and music. The music is much more subtle than the video you posted above less instrumentation and chanting influenced. I also like that the video opens and closes with the ashtanga salutations. My practice is strictly Ashtanga Primary and the moon sequence. I am opening up more with all the hip opening of the moon sequence, back bends etc it really is complimentary to the Ashtanga practice in my bodies view of things. I recommend the moon sequence as it really feels like a natural fit to my Ashtanga practice. That being said i've also been doing my Ashtanga Practice some days like a vinyasa krama practice and really working on the tough poses for me holding them for longer periods of time i.e. 10 -15 breaths instead of 5 and this is also informing me and not moving me away from my ashtanga practice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for filling in the gaps re the Moon sequence, will add some of your comments on it to the post. thanks for this.

      Delete
  4. Just took a peek at that 9 min preview. Goodness, there was a lot of info in that little vid, with no voice over even. Two points where it hit my need-to-know: the breakdown into tiny increments for the jumpthrough, something I struggle with even now, 3.5 years into ashtanga, and the hangback by the wall hand positions section. While the intro sun salutes didn't address where I'm at not, ho hum, fast foward. :) So maybe with a range of options this dvd would serve many people. Might I humbly suggest that you, Grim, The Yogi Formerly Known As Jump-Back-Guy may have forgotten how avidly your pursued your quest of the Ultimate Jump Back back in the day! I bet this would have been a gold mine for you back then, haha. Although, as you say in your Kino/Splits post, man there are a ton of (free!) resources out there now that weren't out there even four or five years ago for the home practitioner. The advanced stuff (meaning, anything I can't do, haha) becomes more of an inspiration "this is where we're going" bit than an actual "practice along". Looks like a solid one with lots of entry points for lots of people.

    Anyway, thanks for forwarding this along! Your blog is always a great source for info on what's happening and new in the ashtanga world.

    ReplyDelete
  5. No, I know, Jump-back-guy would have loved this ( as I kind of point out in a different context in the kino post). My point though was that I'm kind of at a point where I have the basics and the fancy stuff is less interesting to me now than it was. I added that paragraph in response to the first comment above. If your just starting out then there's something on the DVD for you but so much of it is way beyond you. I remember getting John Scott and Lino's dvd but it was years before I could really practice with them. So perhaps it's for somebody who has been practising for a few years but needs to finally nail down their jump throughs and drop backs and have a go at some of the flourishes.

    "The advanced stuff (meaning, anything I can't do, haha) becomes more of an inspiration "this is where we're going"

    See, I'm not sure I agree with you there, I'm not sure that it is where we're going or perhaps should be going and perhaps it does us a disservice. It's surely not about ever more advanced postures or a more floaty practice, perhaps a Primary where the mind doesn't waver for 90 minutes followed by good pranayama and a focussed meditation is where we should be going, the other stuff is perhaps a distraction from that.....says me having just posted on the splits : ) God, getting so dammed pious lately!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I see what you mean about the 90 minutes of unwavering focus--but think how utterly boring that would be as a video!! :) You can't film the inner practice I guess. Althought honestly, lately, I don't know if that IS where my practice is going (the mind focus thing) as I'm just not seeing it manifest. Not that yoga is at fault for not delivering the goods, but maybe MY mind, or my crazy practice in a room full of kids, is never going to be able to achieve any percentage of samadhi. Maybe I'm just not there yet (maybe another lifetime?). I used to put stilling the mind and those sorts of things as my compass point, but seeing so little (zero?) change in my mental state over three+ years of practice has meant I've had to focus on other aspects of the practice or else lose motivation, if that makes any sense. Different goals for different points in the arc of a practice perhaps? I haven't given up on mind-stilling, but a better hang-back seems like a doable goal whereas stilling this brain of mind seems hopeless. You, on the other hand, my friend, you're like a prodigy, I'll just have to watch on and admire... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is of course that whole yoga for the three stages of life thing, where you don't focus on the meditation aspect of practice that seriously until after the kids are all grown up .
      In that sense one can perhaps focus on the craft instead along with a little preparation for when that time eventually comes around. been thinking a lot about Ashtanga as craft lately, in my business we talk about the work, so if your making a new key for an old sax say, that lump of metal as you work (v) on it is called the work (n). I like that idea the series as the work. I like the attitude of 'craft', there's a pride in it of course, at being good at what you do but there's less ego perhaps. A craft is something your part of (think guilds) you learn the skills, perfect them, apply them. in writing too no?

      I'm spoilt of course, no kids, loads of time to myself allowing me to practice twice a day and still have time to read around the subject. Also a job which seems to suit the practice, cleaning an old sax I can spend the whole day focussing on the breath if I want or chant away silently to myself. Or I might spend the whole day padding, brain aches when I get home from six or seven hours of intense concentrating . Do wonder how it will be when the current situation I'm in shifts somewhat and I have less time and a more stressful job.

      Like the arc of practice idea

      Delete
  7. I order his "vinyasa unlocked DVD on 1st August" and emailed Matthew at bendalot@gmail.com to see how long it would take. 3 weeks later and still not received anything thing and no reply after emailing him over 3 times, anyone else having the same issue with no replies? unless he's not getting my emails but there is no other way to contact him any ideas? or how I can solve this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anon, Matthew Just posted this on fb this morning so I guess yours should be on it's way soon.

      Matthew Sweeney
      Dear Yoga Friend,

      I am pleased to announce the launch of my NEW DVD:

      Vinyasa Unlocked
      Developing the Salute to the Sun, Jumping through and Jumping back, Back bending, Drop backs, Inversions and the Reverse wheel.

      Vinyasa Unlocked is a unique series of Yoga workshops that will enable you to learn and practice the different stages for graceful movements: simple and practical methods for improving Suryanamaskara through to Viparita Chakrasana.

      The concept behind these techniques is to help balance flexibility and strength throughout the body. We need to develop both at the same time so that our stability and grace with all Vinyasa is improved. Just as we aim to balance the inhalation and exhalation in our practice, the masculine and feminine and the Sun and Moon, it is essential that we seek to balance these qualities at the most basic level of the body. If you can develop your strength and flexibility equally, you can also begin to balance these energies in the subtle body and spiritually.

      2 DVD set, 4 hours 20 minutes

      The first DVD in this set includes great details for developing:
      ૐ the Salute to the Sun,
      ૐ jumping through and jumping back,
      ૐ headstand, forearm balance and handstand,
      ૐ back bending and drop backs, and
      ૐ the reverse wheel or tic-tacs.

      The second DVD includes a range of supporting exercises on:
      ૐ core strength,
      ૐ shoulder and upper back flexibility,
      ૐ leg strength and front body flexibility,
      ૐ variations on all the Salutes, and
      ૐ Nauli Kriya and the three Bandha.

      This DVD is available from my website or from my two main distributors in the UK and USA. You find them on my links page at the end of my website.

      All the best
      Matthew Sweeney
      www.yogatemple.com

      Delete
    2. thanks - I got a reply from Matthew saying the DVD should be with me in 10 days - my emails had been going into his Spam folder by mistake.


      Delete
  8. From matthew this morning on fb

    Matthew Sweeney
    Dear Yoga Friend,

    I am pleased to announce the launch of my NEW DVD:

    Vinyasa Unlocked
    Developing the Salute to the Sun, Jumping through and Jumping back, Back bending, Drop backs, Inversions and the Reverse wheel.

    Vinyasa Unlocked is a unique series of Yoga workshops that will enable you to learn and practice the different stages for graceful movements: simple and practical methods for improving Suryanamaskara through to Viparita Chakrasana.

    The concept behind these techniques is to help balance flexibility and strength throughout the body. We need to develop both at the same time so that our stability and grace with all Vinyasa is improved. Just as we aim to balance the inhalation and exhalation in our practice, the masculine and feminine and the Sun and Moon, it is essential that we seek to balance these qualities at the most basic level of the body. If you can develop your strength and flexibility equally, you can also begin to balance these energies in the subtle body and spiritually.

    2 DVD set, 4 hours 20 minutes

    The first DVD in this set includes great details for developing:
    ૐ the Salute to the Sun,
    ૐ jumping through and jumping back,
    ૐ headstand, forearm balance and handstand,
    ૐ back bending and drop backs, and
    ૐ the reverse wheel or tic-tacs.

    The second DVD includes a range of supporting exercises on:
    ૐ core strength,
    ૐ shoulder and upper back flexibility,
    ૐ leg strength and front body flexibility,
    ૐ variations on all the Salutes, and
    ૐ Nauli Kriya and the three Bandha.

    This DVD is available from my website or from my two main distributors in the UK and USA. You find them on my links page at the end of my website.

    All the best
    Matthew Sweeney
    www.yogatemple.com

    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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