Here's more of the message.
More transcriptions and notes from Manju's TT, see the earlier post for the sketchy notes from Monday and full transcription from Tuesday.
UPDATE: Decided to include this video from an EARLIER workshop. Listening to the recordings of our workshop again I have Manju's voice, his relaxed manner clear in my head. Hopefully if you watch this video first you'll hear Manju's voice more clearly as you read the following transcription.
Wednesday I screwed up the recording and only had a chance to throw a few lines down when I got back to the apartment and M. (If anybody has a recording from Monday and Wednesday and would like to pass it along via dropbox or something I would gladly transcribe them, fascinating going through these again this closely)
Chanting: don't worry (at first ) about meaning
Listening, nobody knows how to listen anymore (re chanting, learning chants)
I thought that was a bit like Jazz, how back in the day the musician would listen to the record, learn the solos phrase by phrase, wearing out copies of the records. I started off doing that with CD's Now it seems you have the books, the Berkeley like jazz courses and learn to play long reams of notes missing perhaps that delicate phrasing of the old masters.
Guruji wanted to teach philosophy classes but nobody came
First asana then bring in drishti, then bandhas, then philosophy
Questions in bold, MJ is Manju, Me: are my questions obviously, Q: relates to questions from others on the course. I've tried to divide it up into related groups of question.
Q: It's said not to practice on full moon/ new moon days
MJ: Oh, WHY not practice on full moon days?
Q: I only thought, if you have a class on these days....?
MJ: Yes full moons are held as higher magnitude days, it means there are a lot of power there. if you look at the moon , the full moon, it is not a normal moon it's is know as a (?) moon, the moon is not taking care of anybody that day, it is on vacation. It's big and round and not responsible for anything that happens while your practicing, that's why they say you have to take a day off. The new moon and the full moon both have the same thing, we don't practice anything that day.
Q: So if we thought to give a lesson, don't do it.
MJ: You can give a lesson. But makes sure they are not trying to do anything fantastic. Sanskrit schools close all the schools at the beginning of the moon day to the end of the moon day, two days, so you don't have to go to school for two days.
MJ: No questions?
Me: Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams mentioned that there were originally five series, Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A and B... and then Rishi series. And David Williams talks about the Rishi series as taking ten postures and staying in them for up to say fifty breaths or so. And I remember in an interview with you, you mentioned that your father used to stay in some postures for a very long time, and I remember in another interview you saying that you used to choose... you would take some postures from Primary, some from Intermediate and some from Advanced. So I wondered 1. is that the Rishi series or was your father joking slightly...?
MJ: So when you start ageing you have to balance the body, in my age I have to balance it, so I don't want to get hurt or something like that. Or I want to keep my body in good shape so what we do is, you give Primary a few postures, then you pick something from Intermediate for your lower back, shalabasana, bhekasana, ustrasana something like that, then some Advanced postures to make sure you still have it.
So you pick so galvasana or astavakrasana, some of these postures... then you do some pranayama and some chanting and that will balance the whole thing.
But then the third series is named after all the sages, Vishwamitrasana, kasyapasana.... sometimes females are not supposed to practice those things, see there are so many postures, advanced postures that are not meant for females, it is male. The man picks the postures, so for example (? didn't catch the name of the posture, dighasana, trivikramasana?), leg goes this way in standing, he has to stay in this posture for at least 100 deep breaths, so that's how they all meditated in those postures... to succeed.
So that's why we practice, we're not trying to become a sage or anything, so we just keep it as simple as possible.
Me: And for you when you choose your practice, you would change it, on different days....?
MJ: Yes, it would depend on my mood, whether I felt like doing galavasana, asavakrasana, the balancing ones.... and finish by making sure I can still walk on my hands, practicing that because a lot of people after they're sixty can't do anything...well, I refuse to grow up.
Q: Why are advanced postures not for females?
MJ: It is not good for them, it has different effects on the body, for men too some postures like mulabhandasana...mulabhandasana, sitting on the heels...there are all sorts of postures that are not supposed to be practiced, that have a different effect. It (mulabhandasana?) completely takes away the sexual desire in the body, so... we are all married you know (householders), we don't want to lose that. So that's why we want to keep it simple, the practice.
|Mulabandhasana from http://www.ashtangayogachikitsa.com/gallery/|
MJ: There are so many postures in the series, so we pick only a few of them, because there are thousands and thousands of postures. It represents all kinds of reptiles, animals, birds...everything we have in the universe we have a posture for that. So we pick some postures, mostly beneficial for our health, so we practice that.
Me: Sorry, I meant if those postures we're not supposed to be practicing why are they in the series?
MJ: Some people want to become sages, they don't want to be dealing with anything else. You have always a choice about what you do.
Me: And I guess five breaths is not so long.
MJ: Five breaths is just a show, show me that you can stay in that posture for thirty minutes. then that becomes a challenge. See that's what they did. They were very determined person, so Durvasana(?) "if god don't want to meet me then I will go on strike. "I will do THIS posture". So he got in the posture and did not come out, start feeling numb, then he feel nothing, that's what those sages did and why their postures are named after them.
Q: And the same about the vinyasas? I was wondering as we are ageing we pick the postures. Is it the same counts for vinyasas, how many vinyasas we do, each side...?
MJ: Well it depends on our energy level. if we are feeling fit go ahead and do it. But we talk about certain postures that keep our body in a good shape. Every 3000 km we take our car and get the engine checked, same thing, the body needs to be and also practice certain positions so that we don't have a hip problem. Because usually when people start getting older, if they do nothing... in yoga we talk about keeping the spinal chord very healthy, strong...that's why we do all the postures, take many positions. So we bend, ustrasana lagu vajrasana, kapotasana, all this way and shalabhasana and bhekasana all go this way and then marichyasna Cand D and Bhardvajrasana all twisted, it needs to be twisted, then in the krumasana it needs to be round. So once you practice all these spinal positions there will be no calcium deposits where the bones can not move anymore and that's how osteoporosis starts. Mostly females get the osteoporosis. That's why we see more female's doing yoga, less men but men will get it later, they will pay later if they don't do it now. That's why spinal problems are very important, we don't over do it but some people are overdoing it because they are nimble then they can hurt more, you have to be sensible about it.
Q: Again about age. What is the best age in your opinion to teach children? So when we can start?
MJ: You can start girls from the age of six, it's a good age for them you can start working on their spin and they grow healthier and healthier, boys it should be more like ten because if you start boys earlier their muscles start growing, that's what happened to me, so you have to wait until ten.
Also, don't force them to do yoga. All you have to do is just practice in frount of them and you get their attention, "Oh mummy's doing that, I'm going to do it".
MJ: So Ashtanga yoga is the eight limbs of the yoga, hatha yoga is the basis of the tree, these all come off the branches that we have to go through. so that's why we say there are Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana Samadhi, Yama, Niyama, yama/niyama come at the end. So that's where we start.
Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is all about the purification of your own body, that's why we start with the asana, pranayama, mantra chanting... then when we start being there yama and Niyama start coming automatically. See there is no secret practice for that. It is called disciplining yourself, your thoughts, your body.... what you eat. We don't say people should change their diet because that all happens by the niyama. the Niyama will tell you how to keep your body, what to eat. The body becomes really sensitive from practicing yoga. It will tell you what kind of food you like.
See yoga is all simple, it's everything else that is complicated.
Q: Manju, How many times should they practice in the beginning, when they are just starting the practice? Six times already or less?
MJ: I think if you start every practice everyday, this is another dish on the table. For beginners they should do it every day
Q: How do I keep this feeling of relaxation (from the practice) when I get to the office?
MJ: Offices are depressing places for anybody. A lot of people are allergic to work. So we suggest you might try gayatri chanting. See gayatri chanting sets up a circle around you, to protect you. When we teach this you have to believe it, you have to have complete faith , you have to believe it, you see yoga doesn't work for the people who doubt all the time, "Is this really going to work"?
So you can add it to your daily life, a little chanting or if you get depressed at the office. Sit down for a few minutes, a little chanting
Om Bhuh Om Bhuvaha Om Swaha Om Maha Om Janaha Om Tapaha Om Satyamm,
Om Tat Savitur Varenyam Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodyat
Aum Apo Jyoti Raso Amritram Brahma Bhuh Bhuvaha Swarom
All the chanting that we teach are protection for the mind body, the whole thing, for the universe. When you start doing that nothing can come close to you. You'll feel stronger than you think.
Q: I assume that you are still learning, in what ways?
MJ: Well, you learn a lot of things from people, we are all students, we are all just learning from one another. Some people ask me questions and I am hmmmmm. Sometimes we don't know the answers to questions but somehow it comes to you
Q: Do you also get frustrated and stressed?
MJ: I never get stressed, tired, frustrated, no. I never complain.
I think frustration is all inside of us.
(Quotes something in Sanskrit that I couldn't catch), There's no such thing as happiness, there's no such thing as poor, there's no such thing as rich... it's everything your creating inside of you.
In Sanskrit it says 'aham-brahmasmi' I am everything. I am the creator, the destroyer and the preserver.
Yog means to unite in yourself
Manju discusses here drug companies and how we're beginning to lose faith in them especially when we consider the side effects etc. ( and thus looking for other ways to stay healthy).
MJ: So any questions that pops in your mind? ( still, after 25 minutes, Manju is happy to take more questions, encouraging them even).
Me: I wanted to ask you how, when your father was first teaching you, how he...because there is this period, we know what happened in the 70's when Nancy and David went (to Mysore). You told us stories about when you came to California and you were teaching there.. and we know what Krishnamacharya was kind of doing in the 30s and 40s and 50s, but we don't really... there is that period in between, that period when your father was teaching you yoga, teaching you the asana. Did he teach you the sequences that we learn or was he teaching you in a completely different way?
MJ: He started teaching the sequences.
Me: In the same way?
MJ: So when he wrote his first book, he was already.... he would call me and he would be sitting writing and he would call me and say :"Manju, do this posture", and I would do this, then he would make a note of that. he would research like this for days. that's how he did it, it took a long time for him to write.
Me; When did he write it first because you said it was later on that it was published, when did he first write it down, the first draft?
MJ: I was a little boy. He was always interested in writing a book about the yoga because it was all everywhere.
Me: But it was in Yoga Makaranda and Yogasanagalu (Krishnamacharya's books), it was in the kanada language wasn't it.
MJ: Yeah, If you look at the Yoga Makaranda, none of them are in sequence
Me: But Yogasanagalu was in sequences, that book had tables
MJ: My father did all the sequences for all the yoga tables he was the one who researched it, then he started bringing it all together. Because my father was the only one at the university, at the Department of the Science of Yoga, he graduated from that and did a lot of research and was able to write that. Krishnamacharya didn't put anything in order.
|pages from the asana tables in Krishnamacharya Yogasanagalu (1941)|
Link to translation project
Me: But there was, in Krishnamacharya's other book Yogasanagalu 1941, it's in tables. There's the Primary, the Middle and the Proficient. It's not in the same way as Yoga Mala, the other series but it's in three groups, very similar.
MJ: I've seen Krishnamacharya's photos of him doing suryanamaskara, just one chart.... not many photos, they were all taken in the Maharaja's studios, so they used to hang those photos in the yoga school in India where my father was teaching. these are all the rumours.
|Krishnamacharya standing below pictures of him from Yoga Makaranda.|
Me: How long were you travelling (in India)? I remember reading that you were travelling around, ran away and travelled round India..
MJ: Yes I was getting a little bored in myself and wanted to do different things. Then I had a friend a best friend an ayurvedic doctor and he had a small clinic but he wasn't doing very good either. So we were talking, why don't we just go on the road because he knew the ayureveda, I studied the Yoga put them together and travel around a little and see what it looks like outside mysore. So we just got on the train, we didn't have money for the train but when the ticket collector came we just jumped off the train, they were steam trains then, very slow you could just jump off.
We made it all the way to the north, we visited Benares... I wanted to learn dhauti Kriya.
Manju tells his Dhauthi Kriya/sadhu story here, great story, great how Manju tells it and I don't want to spoil it for you in case you get the chance to take one of his workshop.
In this series of posts
Manju Jois TT Pt 1 0f 4 : Photo preview: Manju's Workshop in Rethymno, Crete
Manju Jois TT pt 2 of 4 : Ashtanga Adjustments ?
Manju Jois TT pt 3 of 4 : Practice
Manju TT Crete pt 4a of 4 : Q and A - Development of the Ashtanga series etc.
Next post Manju Jois TT Crete Pt 4c of 4 Friday's (transcription)