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

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Sharath and Pattabhi Jois Interviews plus... Best jump through, jump back ever....unless you know of better

This ruddy throat infection is a pain. I've practiced while sick with a bunch of things over the last few years, colds, flu, kidney stones, stomach flu, sprains, osteoarthritis but a throat infection is the worst. My ujjayi is right out the window and thus my rhythm. I was trying to make the ujjayi as light as possible but then decided I didn't need to engage it at all as the dodgy throat was giving me natural ujjayi anyway. All the time your wondering if your making it worse and if inversions especially are a bad idea, encouraging the infection to spread further up the throat into the mouth perhaps, enough already.

So I settle on a shorter practice, standing, some key asana and move on to pranayama (without ujjayi) and meditation.....

Yesterday I posted on the (one of the ) secret(s) to floating up to Handstand, the same secret as behind the straight leg jump through and even utthita eka padmasana perhaps.

And I was thinking yesterday, great I can float up to handstand......but why would I want to?
Here's the link to the post
http://grimmly2007.blogspot.co.uk/?m=0

Did a few more this morning to cheer me up and have to say it is fun, kind of magical the way you float up like that, even when lacking polish and finesse, and as i said yesterday, develops good bandha control so why not.

And I also saw this, perhaps THE best jump through and jump back ever.....unless you know of something even cooler ( post a link in comments perhaps) anyway it's my current favourite.


It doesn't matter of course how you transition back and forth to the next posture, you can make it nice and smooth without ever leaving the ground and besides the jump through you end up with may not be the one you'd hoped for. I'd like to have that nice elegant flick through straight leg jump through that laruga and Owl have but I seem to be stuck with the more dynamic shoot through version. Still it's something to plug away at over the years, enjoy the process and try not to get too hung up on it or anything else for that matter.... except perhaps the breath.

Here are two interviews one recent one with Sharath the other with his Grandfather, Pattabhi Jois, thought it would be nice to post them together. The first, the one with Sharath is a translation I think from the Russian, perhaps conducted at Ashtanga Moscow.

http://www.ashtanga.su/
And an English translation of the site

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ashtanga.su%2F


The second interview I found on a blog ( part of a longer 2004 interview for Namarupa magazine) while trying to find the interview where Pattabhi Jois mentions Primary for life, 2nd series for teachers, Advanced for demo ( I know Michael Gannon mentions Pattabhi jois saying this several times in his video).
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Sharath interview (2011)
1. What can you say about russian students? (of course smth good -_-)

They’re dedicated students. Ashtanga yoga is new, but they’re dedicated, you can see that, very focused in their practice and they listen exactly what to do.
- You said that “Very good. All beginners.”
It’s first for me to come to Russia, so these many new faces. In that basis I just that said. But most of them know the practice, they’re very focused in their practice. They know what they’re doing

2. May be they differ from other foreign students? Finnish, american students...

Students’re all same. As I told you in the conference that yoga has been practicing for many years in the other parts of the world. So people there are little more advanced, that is because they’ve been practiced it for many years. Even in Russia after time passes people will also be very advanced, they’ll go higher levels in their practice.

3. Which qualities of character do people need to develop and which things to pay more attention to?

Yoga should be practiced as a spiritual practice. It’s not just like an exercise. If you do like that it has certain limitations. If you do it like spiritual practice, there’s no limit for that. You can go higher dimensions and higher levels in this practice. So it’s always good to practice thinking it’s a spiritual practice and we should bring spirituality in our practice. That is very important. Instead of just doing it like exercise, aerobics, gymnastics. If you bring more spirituality in your practice, then I think it’s more effective. This whole practice will be more effective. So students have to bring that.

4. I remembered one Guruji’s expression: “Primary series – very important, second series – for teachers, advanced – for demonstration”. May be you can comment smth?

I don’t know where he said that, what meaning he said this. Usually we say that Primary series is like Chikitsa Vibhaga, like I told, to cure deseases. So these asanas are made just to cure deseases. Many deseases can be cured with these asanas like broncheatis, astma, any physical body with suffering. And second series is like Nadi Shodhana, it purifies all the nervous system. Even in Primary series nadi shodhana will happen and in second series little more intense, little more advanced, that’s all. And advanced posture are Sthira Bhaga, to bring more flexibility and strenght in your body. That is why we practice Advanced series. He must have told that many people before doing advanced always try to show up, to show their self, so I thing in that context he said this “For demonstration, for show off, but not really. You should always enjoy your practice, that is very important. You do Primary series, Intermediate or Advanced, unless you are not enjoing your practice it doesn’t make any sense in practicing. It’s boring and no sense in that. As I told you first we should think why we are practicing. We’re practicing to get mind control, to bring control to our mind and body. That is why if you do Advance or any series this doesn’t matter. Unless you’re enjoing the asanas it should be fine.

5. People have their weaknesses. What are the ways to work with them?

Whole practice is done to get rid of all these like I told you kama (lust), krodha (anger), moha (attraction), lobha (greed), madhya (pride), matsarya (jealosy) – these 6 enemies should be removed by practicing yoga. Once you get read of them which each and everyone has the light inside you, the liberation will happen. You get liberated from all these and nothing will affect you. Whole practice is based on that. That’s the main reason why we do the yoga practice.

- Many people may think that these all is theory. But you mean it literally?

Literally you have to practice. This is not just from book, just for saying, it shouldn’t be only in the books, it should be done practically. Then only it’ll be more effective. Any series you do if you don’t try to get rid of these 6 emenies you wouldn’t achieve the goal, the spiritual goal that you have to achieve, that you can’t achieve.

- Is it possible to eliminate them totally?

Completely remove these is always difficult, always minimazing, minimazing day by day, day by day. And you’ll get to that situation where it becomes like a habit. Whenever you are doing, whenever this kind of things bothers you, totally your mind starts rejecting “I shouldn’t do this, because it’s against”. This kind of feeling should come. It come slowly, it doesn’t come at once. By true practice it’ll come.

6. Can ashtanga completely cure chronic deceases?

It’s possible to cure, but you need to take some precautions and you need proper guidance from your teacher. There’re specific asanas which you should do, specific kriyas you should do, so by doing these you can get rid of all these deseases. Many things except only Primary – diet, suitable kriyas for particular desease. So the teacher will treat you as a patient, will try all these different things, which can help to cure.

7. What’s your opinion on practice and ability to conceive?

It’s mostly individual, not everyone’s body is the same – some are more sensetive, some are more stronger. So while conceiving you have to be very careful, that you should do just gentle practice, because it brings lots of heat in the body while doing asanas. So by doing too many asanas, you’ll bring more heat and it’ll be more difficult to conceive. When you planned like this you should be very careful and try to do a gentle practice.

8. What do you think about women’s dharma?

Women’s dharma is to have a family, to have children, to look after them. Husband’s dharma is to look after the wife and children and do his work.

- And how to combine dharma with practice and spirituality? Because sometimes women do practice very hard and this is bad for their family.

It’s not like that unless you can bring spirituality within you. It’s not that will come from your not being in a family, it doesn’t matter you inside or not inside your family, spirituality should happen within you. When it happens within you, if you married or not it doesn’t matter.

9. You making some innovations and changes in Shala, which you planned with Guruji. Can you tell us about it?

We are making not changes but we want to engage students in few other things. Not only doing asanas, now we have sanskrit class, we make chanting compulsory, so we keep students ocuppied. Instead of just doing practice, going out and just gossiping and wasting time. We tell them to come at 11 o’clock for chanting, so that it will help in their development of spiritual practice.

10. We heard that you are writing a book. Can you tell something.

It’s just 2-days baby in the stomach -_- (Only 2 years past… 0_o)

11. Desikachar writes in his book that Kundalini is not an energe but something that blocks our energy.

And we have to remove that block instead of rising Kundalini.

It’s not right. Kundalini means it’s energy which based below your muladhara chakra. Shankaracharya says: “sanskrit from Yoga Taravali”. When we do kumbhaka pranayama we awake Kundalini and it opens all the granthis – Rudra-g, Vishnu-g, Brahma-g – and travels in Sushumna nadi. So that is why then there will be no outside breathing, everything will be internal breathing. This is what the Shastra says. So it has nothing with blocking or anything. It is energy which needs to travel. It’s sleeping and coiled like a serpent. And by doing pranayama you awake that. Many people don’t have too much knowledge about this. You need to refer many books. Just saying one book it’s not possible, you should have practical experience. Once you had practical experience, you can feel and realize that within you. And it will be easier to understand what is says. So that is very important. And if you don’t have practical experience, you always speculate “It can be like this, it can be like that”. You are always guessing.

12. Which book do you recommend to read about yoga?

There’re many books about yoga, Upanishads about yoga – Katha, Kena, so many Upanishads talk about yoga. And Bhagavad Gita all 18 chapters are about yoga, Patanjali Yoga Sutra is there, and Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita, so many books. Most of the people are always saying: “Oh, Yoga Sutra says like this. Oh, HYP says like this.” But there’re many other books, which are ancient, before PYS, before HYP. Once you refer those books also, you’ll have better understanding in yoga. Cause many people always translating Yoga Sutra in a different way, and it’s a very confusing way. Yoga Sutra itself is very confusing many times. Unless you don’t refer other books, other ancient books, other Upanishads, it’s very difficult to understand PYS. There’s many translations, many interpretations, it develops more confusion, that’s all.

13. What’s the best way to practice in the big city? It’s almost impossible to go to bed at 9pm as you do, and to get up at 2 am for practice.

When you are going to bed at 1 o’clock and getting up late, you stop your breakfast, you stop eating. You don’t have time to do yoga, but you have time to eat, you have time to take bath, you have time to do many other things. Yoga also should come like that. It should come like part of your life. So then if it’s a part of your life, part of your routine, you will find time to do it. You can do it any time, not necessery particular time. It’s good if you do it in the morning, it’s more effective if you do in the morning. If you can’t do it, you can do it in the evening also. But you have to do it. If within you it becomes like habit like how you eat food, like you have breakfast. Can you survive without eating breakfast? You’re always running “I’m hungry! I’m hungry!” Like that it should come “Oh, I should do my practice, I didn’t do my practice today. I have to do it”. It should come like that.
Farewell words
Ashtanga yoga means (from one verse): “yoganga anushthana... from YS” This making a very big meaning, that by practicing all the limbs of ashtanga yoga all the impurities in our body and mind will be removed, you’ll become more pured and you’ll become more wiser. So it’s always you should keep in your mind that you should do your practice. Once you practice, your practice will heal your difficulty in life. That is the whole meaning of doing practice. It’s a life support for us. That’s why you shouldn’t stop practicing. Whatever time you have, whatever your body and mind allows you do, how much ever it’s possible you should do it. You shouldn’t stop practice it. If you keep practicing, you can build up your spiritual building very strong, your spiritual foundation within you.
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Pattabhi Jois - interview (2004)

1. How does Patanjalis classical yoga stand in relation to Hatha yoga?
Hatha yoga means the union of the opposing energies of the body and the channeling of these energies into the central pathway. And this comes about when the surya nadi [right nostril] and chandra nadi [left nostril] are controlled, and the vital energy of these two channels merges in the central pathway of the spine. So, when the prana is finally at rest and no longer moved by the various sense organs, we then realize God inside. That is our Self, our true identity. So, Hatha yoga is experiencing God inside.

2. What did Krishnamacharya teach you?
What my teacher taught me is exactly the same method I am teaching today. It was an examination course of primary, intermediate, and advanced asanas. He also taught me philosophy. For five years, we studied the great texts. He would call us to his house and we would stand outside and wait to be called in. Sometimes, we would wait the whole day. He would usually teach us for one or two hours every day: asanas early in the morning and, around 12 o’clock, philosophy class. He also taught us pranayama, pratyahara [sensory withdrawal], dharana [concentration], and dhyana [meditation]. And, in addition to the Yoga Sutras and Bhagavad Gita, he also taught Yoga Vasishta, Yoga Yajnavalkya, and Samhita. And all in Sanskrit.

3. What was the most important thing Krishnamacharya taught you?
When he left for Madras he told me, “Make this yoga method the work of your life.”


4. How long did you study with Krishnamacharya?

I studied with him from 1927 to 1953. The first time I saw him was in November of 1927. It was at the Jubilee Hall in Hassan and, the next day, I found out where he lived and went to his house. He asked me many questions, but finally accepted me and told me to come back the next morning. Then, after my thread ceremony in 1930, I went to Mysore to learn Sanskrit and was accepted at the Maharaja’s Sanskrit College. There, I was reunited with Krishnamacharya in 1931, when he came to do a demonstration. He was very happy to find me studying at the college.

5. What has the Western world contributed to yoga?
What is particular to Ashtanga yoga practice is what we call vinyasa, which brings together breathing with physical movement. Each posture is connected with a certain breathing sequence, which comes before and after it. This keeps the flow of energy through the spine open. It also safeguards against injury and prevents energy from stagnating in the body. Vinyasa purifies the body, the nervous system, and cultivates the proper energetic field in the body. It is essential to yoga, we believe, and gives people a direct inner experience of their potential. To feel the energy continually flowing through the spine is the effect of vinyasa. But there is nothing that comes instantly. One needs to practice this system for many years—a minimum of five to ten years—to begin to experience these deep subtle changes in the body.

6. What is unique to your style of yoga?
What is particular to Ashtanga yoga practice is what we call vinyasa, which brings together breathing with physical movement. Each posture is connected with a certain breathing sequence, which comes before and after it. This keeps the flow of energy through the spine open. It also safeguards against injury and prevents energy from stagnating in the body. Vinyasa purifies the body, the nervous system, and cultivates the proper energetic field in the body. It is essential to yoga, we believe, and gives people a direct inner experience of their potential. To feel the energy continually flowing through the spine is the effect of vinyasa. But there is nothing that comes instantly. One needs to practice this system for many years—a minimum of five to ten years—to begin to experience these deep subtle changes in the body.

7. Have your teaching methods changed over the years? Do you focus on things now that you did not when you first started?
No, they have not changed. They have remained the same the whole time. Our method from the beginning has been that a posture needs to be perfected before you move on to more difficult ones. Each posture works progressively to increase the energy level and the opening of the body.

8. What is the best remedy for helping people? Do you treat everybody equally?
Taking practice! And to make people aware of yama [the first limb of Ashtanga yoga] and niyama [the second limb of Ashtanga yoga], and of how to control their bodies—these are the best remedies. When they are aware, controlling the senses becomes easier. But, primarily, yama and niyama are the best remedies for anybody with an interest in the practice.

9. What is spiritual about the physical practice?
Behind the strength of the body, there is an energy that is spirituality, and that is what keeps us alive. To gain access to the spiritual, you need to understand the physical. The body is our temple and inside that temple is atman, and that is God.

10. How does your system facilitate the experience of yoga?
To practice asanas and pranayama is to learn to control the body and the senses, so that the inner light can be experienced. That light is the same for the whole world. And it is possible for people to experience this light, their own Self, through correct yoga practice. It is something that happens through practice, though learning to control the mind is very difficult. Most important though is the practice. We must practice, practice, practice for any real understanding of yoga. Of course, philosophy is important, but if it is not connected and grounded in truth and practical knowledge, then what is it really for? Just endless talking, exhausting our minds! So, practice is the foundation of the actual understanding of philosophy.
Part from the article from Namarupa Magazin, fall 2004.

2 comments:

  1. James Fishwick12 June 2013 at 12:07

    Interesting one here- no touch from handstand! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mt6JMgUZa5g&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For some reason your comment ended up in the Blogger spam box, only just found it. Love the video, posted it on fb and it was so popular I built a post around it, thanks for the heads up.

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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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