Sunday, 8 December 2013

'El Guru' Newspaper article on my upcoming workshop and TV clip of the studio and interview with Oscar Montero


I mentioned a short while back that I would be teaching a workshop, my first at Yoga Centro Victoria  in Leon, Spain this weekend, this is at the invitation of Oscar Montero  an experienced yoga teacher there who has practiced Vinyasa Krama with me over the last year or two. It says something I think of the love and trust Oscar's students must have for him that the Workshop filled up pretty much within a week and for somebody who has never taught workshops before. Where we originally discussed a workshop of twenty Oscar has had to increase it to thirty.

I was apprehensive in the beginning, almost said no but then had an excellent Vinyasa Krama class with another student that very evening and decided to accept the invitation. Ramaswami taught me Vinyasa Krama just as he was taught by his own teacher for 33 years, Krishnamacharya. Ramaswami continues to travel and teach this method because he feels much of Krishnamacharya's approach to yoga is not being communicated...., there's an obligation there, to pass it along in turn, I probably don't do enough.

Also on Ramaswami's teacher training we studied Krishnamacharya's early works, I remember working through Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda line by line with him in the classroom and then asana by asana in the practice room. I've tried to continue that exploration of these and other early works of Krishnamacharya on this blog and in my practice.

I came to yoga through Ashtanga and over the last few years I've sought to argue for a consistency in Krishnamacharya's teaching, to find the Vinyasa Krama in Ashtanga, the Ashtanga in Vinyasa Krama and I 've come to the conclusion there was no early and late period, no 'Kehre' ( turn). Krishnamacharya was teaching both Vinyasa Krama and Ashtanga back in the 1930's in Mysore, in fact these days I fail to see clearly the distinction between the two. If we watch the 1938 Black and White movie of Krishnamacharya, his family and also Iyengar demonstrating we see Krishnamacharya practicing the shoulder and headstand sequences of Vinyasa Krama, we see Iyengar demonstrating an approach more familiar to Ashtanga, both approaches are consistent with each other.

It's true that Ashtanga tends to be more fixed in general although open for adaptation when and where necessary and perhaps it's often practiced faster than it was originally taught or intended but it can be slowed down and more often than not the standing and finishing postures are practiced more slowly and many of the finishing postures have longer stays in them. And in Vinyasa Krama, once we have learned the sequence, Ramaswami encourages us to build a practice made up of several subroutines and sequences, perhaps because of my Ashtanga roots my Vinyasa Krama practices more often than not end up looking like Ashtanga. Even if we change our practice daily there's still an intuitive Ashtanga shape to it, for me anyway.

So the workshop I will be presenting in Leon will be looking at Krishnamacharya life and early work through a discussion on Friday (I'm no expert of course, no historian but I've spent sometime exploring this area at least) . On Saturday morning we will explore the practice that Krishnamacharya himself presents in his books Yoga Makaranda and Yogasanagalu, (his 'Ashtanga books'), for me in these works he offers options for practice, vinyasa, long stays that we can explore, breathing options, variations of postures, options that we can bring into our Ashtanga or Vinyasa Krama practice or any other yoga practice we may have.

The primary postures of Yoga Makaranda rearranged into Ashtanga Primary Series order 

In the afternoon session we practice a more Vinyasa Krama approach but hopefully seeing how the early work flows through the later teaching as well as bringing in pranayama, pratyahara, the meditation limbs, the integrated practice Ramaswami encourages, as did his teacher.

*

An article just came out on the upcoming workshop in Leon's local paper, Diario de Leon. I'm a little embarrassed, uncomfortabe with the G word and it's a little too glowing perhaps but the sentiment is kind, thank you Pilar Infiesta for writing it, I hope I get to thank you in person on the workshop. My wife M. loves it of course, though refuses to call me 'eminent yogi' (disrespectful student), she does however want to put El Guru on my mat in diamante.

Here's an 'English' version via Bing of the article.


Here's a Link to the online edition 

and the online tradition translated into 'Binglish'

Yoga Guru comes Leon

The discloser's most popular yoga in the world, Anthony Grim Hall, whose blog has reached the million and a half viewers in five years on the Internet, teaches in Leon his first face-to-face workshop this coming 13th and 14th of December at the the request of one of his admirers, the yoga teacher Oscar Montero, of the Victoria Centre. Born 50 years ago in Singapore, this British resident exemplifies perfectly 'love is the power'. Until 2007 he was devoted to repairing wind instruments, especially saxophones. The theft of seven instruments was the straw that plunged him into a personal crisis that decided to leave in the library. As a gourmet, he there tasted his first book of yoga, and discovered a  6,000-year-old discipline born in the Vedic culture of India as a method to balance body, mind and soul. Interested, he swallow many more volumes on the subject, slimming his body from 94 kilos.

The passionate Asana practice was reporting him unprecedented flexibility, great concentration and lung capacity. A gradual progress that he decided to share on the network through dozens of videos collecting faithfully and without embellishments the efforts of a humble person who has become a great Yogi. In one of his 'tastings' proved the teachings of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888-1989), considered one of the great masters of the history, pioneer in opening the knowledge of this discipline to all without distinction as to sex, race, and creed, and rehabilitate the importance which yoga enjoyed in the past. Krishnamacharya's ability to cripple the heart beat stunned the world. Hall has recovered and reported his texts, and has become a reference for publishers and manufacturers who ask to test their products in the field of yoga before launching them on the market.

The architect of the visit of this eminence to León, Oscar Montero, acknowledges that he feels "very excited and deeply grateful"to Anthony Hall, a person who is dedicated to practice, study, investigation and sharing everything that has to do with yoga, selfless, from a non-professional perspective. Oscar met him a year ago in London, when he sent him an e-mail, he accepted him without hesitation as his first student. He believes that "If Krishanamacharya is the father of modern yoga, Anthony is one of the most influential people on the Internet in regard to his teaching". His blog has served as a constant motivation.

*
Yoga TV Leon - Interview with Oscar Montero



And here's the studio I'll be teaching in and my friend Oscar. I can't tell you how delighted I was to see this, a class practicing Vinyasa Krama. Some of the movements, the subroutines thatI taught to Oscar that Ramaswami taught to me, the same movements Krishnamacharya taught to him. I was so excited about it I sent the video link to Ramaswami, to show him this practice is alive and well. Actually Oscar also practiced with Ramaswami , at his most recent visit to the UK.



Below is a transcription of the interview as well as a translation by Bing. I've tried to tweak the binglish to make it easier, think it's just about understandable.

If you see yourself in the video, and are coming to the workshop I look forward to meeting you and hope I can justify the faith Oscar has in me through his invition.



Transcription in Spanish and English 
( the English translation is by Bing with some very minor tweaking by me)

 00:35
 Las principales diferencias entre el yoga y la mayoría de los deportes y otras técnicas corporales, es que en yoga se busca estimular todas las partes del cuerpo, hacer infinidad de movimientos y evitar que sea un patrón repetitivo de movimientos como puede ser pasear, correr o nadar  y así estimular todas las partes por igual, con armonía, para que se oxigenen todas las partes del cuerpo. Mientras llegue la sangre, en el yoga se dice que habrá salud, cuando en una parte del cuerpo no llegue la sangre no habrá salud. Otra diferencia importante es que en yoga se hace    con la respiración consciente, lenta y profunda y en todo momento se está consciente de la respiración de manera que la mente se va tranquilizando.

The main differences between yoga and most sports and other body techniques, is that yoga seeks to stimulate all parts of the body, makeing an infinite number of movements and prevent it from being a repeating pattern of movements as it can be with walking, running, or swimming and thus encourage all parts alike, with harmony, in order to oxygenate all body parts. Where reaches the blood, yoga says that there will be health, where one part of the body does not get (fresh) blood there will be no health. Another important difference is that in yoga one becomes conscious, through slow and deep breathing and at all times one is aware of breathing so that the mind is getting calm.


 01:25
Qué es el yoga?
El yoga se dice que es un sarvanga sadhana, sarvanga significa todas las partes. Y es un sistema que busca que el cuerpo, la mente y todos los órganos funcionen perfectamente. Es un sistema para la salud que está pensado desde hace cientos de años y busca el desarrollo del sistema músculo esquelético, la salud de los órganos internos y una mente tranquila.

What´s yoga?
Yoga it is said is a sarvanga sadhana, sarvanga means all parts. And it is a system that looks for body, mind and all organs to function perfectly. It is a system for health which is designed  from hundreds of years ago and looks for the development of the muscle- skeletal system, the health of internal organs and a calm mind.


2:00
Cómo se realizan las posturas?
Las posturas se trabajan con el vinyasa. Vinyasa significa sincronizar movimiento y respiración. Este es el sistema que yo sigo. Se trata de que los movimientos que sean expansivos se hagan con la inhalación y los movimientos que sean de compresión se hagan con la exhalación. De esta manera vas tomando control de la respiración y a la vez facilitas el trabajo del cuerpo en profundidad, el trabajo de los músculos…

How are the positions done?
The positions are worked with the vinyasa. Vinyasa means to synchronize movement and breathing. This is the system that I follow. It is that movements that are expansive take on inhalation and movements that are compression are done with exhalation. This way you're taking control of the breath and at the same time provide in depthbody work, the work of the muscles...

2:28
Hay posturas más importantes?
Hay como dos tipos de posturas, unas que buscan el trabajo global de todo el cuerpo, y luego unas principales, que son las más importantes, que son las consideradas invertidas. Invertidas son porque la cabeza se sitúa por debajo de la pelvis. El efecto beneficioso se consigue cuanto mayor tiempo estás en las posturas. Estas posturas se trabajan a diario y es en las que más tiempo se permanece. Lo que tratan estas posturas es invertir el efecto de la gravedad sobre todos los tejidos, que acaban siempre descolgándose, y perdiendo el tono. Con las posturas invertidas lo que conseguimos es que vuelvan todos los tejidos, especialmente los órganos internos a coger el tono.

Are there any important positions?
There are two types of positions, some which seek the global work of the whole body, the most important are considered inverted. They are inverted because the head is below the pelvis. The beneficial effect is achieved with much more time are in the positions. These positions are worked daily and with  longer stays. These positions seek is to reverse the effect of gravity on all tissues, which have just always be alienated, and losing tone. With the inverted postures, what we get is to return all tissues, especially the internal organs to take the tone.

3:18
Componentes para una buena práctica
Estos componentes que hemos hablado son las asanas, las posturas y a partir de ahí hacemos otro trabajo que se realiza sentado, donde el cuerpo lo que busca es no molestar, estar tranquilo, en una postura cómoda. Son ejercicios de limpieza, por ejemplo de las vías respiratorias, a continuación se hacen unos ejercicios de pranayama donde lo que se busca es el control de la respiración con las distintas fases que tiene. En un texto muy importante de yoga se dice que si tú quieres controlar la mente tienes que controlar la respiración. Por lo tanto hacemos un trabajo muy consciente para que la respiración sea lenta, profunda y muy suave.

Components for a good practice
These components that we talked about before are asanas, postures, and starting from there other work that is done while sitting, seeking to be quiet in a comfortable posture. They are cleaning, for example, the respiratory tract, then some pranayama exercises where what is sought is the control of breath with the different phases. A very important yoga text says that if you want to control the mind you have to control the breathing. Therefore we make a very conscious work to make breathing slow, deep, and very soft.

4:00
 Cómo sabemos que la meditación funciona?
Esto es como por ejemplo cuando necesitamos hacer un trabajo intelectual de  mucha exigencia; necesitamos estar muy concentrados. La meditación es un estado de atención dónde ya no hay distracciones. Para ello la mente necesita un estado de lucidez que se llama. Si nosotros por ejemplo estamos muy inquietos no vamos a conseguir concentrarnos, los pensamientos nos van a invadir  constantemente. Y si por ejemplo estamos cansado o con sueño pues al final nos vamos a cansar y no vamos a poder concentrarnos. Entonces de lo que se trata de la práctica es seguir todo un proceso para eliminar esta inquietud mental y también eliminar el posible cansancio, de esta manera, la mente, en ese estado de lucidez es más fácil controlarla.

Do we know that the meditation works?
This is like for example when you need to do much demanding intellectual work; We need to be very concentrated. Meditation is a State of attention where there are no distractions. For this purpose the mind needs a State of lucidity. If we for example are very worried we won't get concentrated, thoughts will invade constantly. And if for example we are tired or sleepy we are not going to be able to concentrate. Then what is the practice is to follow is a process to remove this mental restlessness and also eliminating possible fatigue, in this way, the mind, in that State of lucidity is easier to control.


8 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My previous comment was silly, so I deleted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi V. no not silly, on the money, all a bit (lot) over the top but thankfully they used the most unguru like picture to balance it out. Do wonder where they have left to go should Ramaswami come to town ( I'm reading 'of discipline' here referring to Vinyasa Krama approach rather than Yoga in general)

      Delete
  3. El Guru indeed! And shortly Guru-san? After all it is just a word meaning "teacher" isn't it? We do have a tendency to nick words from other languages and then give them special meaning that they don't necessarily deserve. Sensei anyone? In any case, I personally think Guru is a title you are given by your students, possibly on a case by case basis, not one you take for yourself. In which case it's not something you can control - just accept, hopefully humbly as you naturally would. I watched that wonderful video of the Dalai Lama yesterday, talking about farting on airplanes. He made the point beautifully. I probably paraphrase inaccurately but it was something like: Do I think of myself as something other than you because I am a Buddhist, or I am his Holiness the Dalai Lama, or I am a Nobel Laureate? No. I must think of myself simply as one of however many billion human beings. Then I can remain with a warm heart toward you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. i would have to agree that your blog is the most objective yoga blog i have encountered. You back up everything with as much evidence as possible which only leads to a better practice and options of practice. That life saving practice you posted a while back, Ramaswami's info and especially links to mantras etc has changed my practice completely. Parampara is your blog more so than any other i've read and I believe this is why things are now happening for you as you are being true to parampara and there is energy in that a truth. But more than anything is really all about the saxophone!

    ReplyDelete
  5. theway you hold your position and your sustained integrity is wonderful. please keep going and being you and doing what you do
    yours it's wonderful blog andyou have earned your yogi chops for sure
    b

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great news! I am Facebooking tweeting etc.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your wife has the right idea - of what not to become. Hope you have a wonderful time in Leon.

    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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