"Amazing ! This is cool! "
The old post was this one and starts like this
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
Surrendering up, letting go
I have it all wrong of course, rather than looking for the Vinyasa Krama in Ashtanga and the Ashtanga in Vinyasa KramaI should be looking at the Yoga Makaranda in Vinyasa Krama, the Vinyasa Krama in Yoga Makranda.
And that should be the side project, in the shorter asana practice in the evening before my longer pranayama session, not my main practice.
Surrendering (up), letting go, I'm lousy at that, perhaps I should work on it as a New Years Resolution, What was that letting go of a thousand things that was doing the rounds a few years ago?
And first to be surrendered up, let go, should be my Ashtanga practice, I cling to it so.
It struck me (yet) again that I have (neglected) responsibilities, duties, giri, obligation whatever we want to call it. For whatever reason I found my way to LA not Mysore and took Ramaswami for my teacher not Sharath or Tim or Lino......
And here I am six months later back practicing Ashtanga and preparing for a workshop with Manju in Crete in August.
I was thinking about it and I think that with the dropping of the attachment (to Ashtanga) there was also a letting go of distinctions, they just dropped away.
from the same post...
"Still explore Krishnamacharya's other writings and practice of course, a Krishnamacharya course was part of my studies with Ramaswami. But I should be passing on what I learnt, sharing that approach to asana and I do happen to believe that you should only teach what you practice".
I focused on Krishnamacharya approach to practice in Yoga Makaranda, the long slow full breathing with the inhalation and exhalation (8-10 seconds) bringing out the pause between the breaths, natural kumbhaka that Krishnamacharya would often extend. Around the postures in Yoga Makaranda I would build the Vinyasa Krama subroutines that Ramaswami had taught us, that was my approach to building my Vinyasa Krama practice. The postures in Yoga Makaranda are just a selection of asana that you would need to lead into and then progress out of.
And surprise surprise, my practice would end up resembling the postures in Krishnamacharya Primary table in his later book Yogasanagalu which is of course pretty much the Ashtanga Primary of Pattabhi Jois' Yoga Mala, except that I was practicing so slowly that I didn't have time to get through the full table, the full series.
The distinctions drop away, Yoga Mala is Yogasanagalu which is Yoga Makaranda.
Ashtanga is Vinyasa Krama, movement linked to the breath.... we start at point A and move to point Z artfully/mindfully linking each movement to the breath. We practice for the time we have available.
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'
And the long, slow breath was stressed by Krishnamacharya, by Jois throughout his life and continues to be stressed by Ramaswami. It's an approach to practice that was there in the beginning of Ashtanga vinyasa and perhaps always in the background but seems to have either got lost in translation or mislaid along the way, or the practice has just gone off in a slightly different direction, not necessarily the worse for it. It's something that's always there in the background to be explored should one so wish.
Who do you know who practices/teaches/leads the practice at 8 second inhalation and 8 second exhalation (please tell me anyone you know of), few it seems, why is that? The demands of what seems to have become a fixed sequence perhaps? Jois stressed you practice what you can but somehow the focus moved to completing the full sequence, do that in full vinyasa and as we saw from my earlier post you can end up practicing for three hours and forty minutes.
But what if you drop full vinyasa (most of the week) and only stay for three long slow breaths in a posture rather than five quick ones, and what if you compromise just a little and breath fully at five second inhalations and five second exhalations throughout the practice, for every breath from the moment you get on the mat, we're back to a little over ninety minutes but with the long slow breath firmly back in place for every movement of the practice.
And there are all those little vinyasa Krama subroutines in Ashtanga anyway, the distinctions drop away.
It's not the sequences of Vinyasa Krama that I should be stressing in my own passing along, those are mainly artificial constructs for learning the relationship between postures, it's the breath, that long slow full breath, long slow full vinyasa. That approach seems just as important to promote and share as the Vinyasa Krama subroutines I practice in the evenings
That and an integrated practice, Asana, pranayama, pratyahara and meditation on the ground of the yama/niyamas.
I've been asked several times recently about what I learnt from Ramaswami's TT ( from people considering it this year), there it is right there, a long slow full breath and an integrated practice.
Perhaps the main way I part company a little with Ramaswami currently is in my practicing of a relatively fixed sequence, whether Primary or 2nd (although I tend to practice part of 2nd series, in the evenings, in very much in the VK approach of Bow, Meditative and Asymmetric subroutines).
Ramaswami's presentation is a highly flexible, adaptable system. Why would you practice a fixed sequence when your body might require some other posture one day from the next not in the fixed sequence?
I thought about this....a lot. Decided that the Ashtanga sequences are never fixed, one day to the next we're always focusing on different aspects of the series, different postures within that sequence. One day we might give extra attention to the Janu sirsasana's another day the Konasana's another day the backbends....or the inversions, it's, perhaps surprisingly, a highly flexible, adaptable approach but within a seemingly fixed sequence. Occasionally I'll bring in something a little extra to give more prep to a posture, allow it open it up or develop it a little further, just as Manju says his father would do.
And there's something about a fixed sequence, a fixed routine. However it came about, there's magic there, ritual, discipline, something special going one that I still don't understand and yet recognise more and more and consider very much worth exploring further.