|Vincent: "But you know what the funniest thing about Europe is... It's the little differences".|
There are some little differences here at Kristina's shala in Rethymno, Crete, I like them, I've mentioned them in passing but here's a list pretty much as they show up in Friday's Led Primary class and in those who practice here regularly. I've asked Kristina about them and shes says that all but the Utthita Parsvakonasana variation were taught to Derek Ireland by Pattabhi Jois in Mysore back in the day.
I like that these are being preserved somewhere at least, perhaps some of them in your shala. I know that several of the shalas with teachers, or students of teachers, who studied with Derek Ireland still have some of these. Perhaps these differences were only around for a few years during the period that Derek Ireland studied with Pattabh Jois, perhaps some were only part of his own practice with Guruji, we know that Pattabhi Jois taught a little differently to different students.
I'm reminded of the scene in Pulp Fiction when Vincent talks about Europe says
Vincent: Yeah, baby, you'd dig it the most. But you know what the funniest thing about Europe is?
Vincent: It's the little differences. I mean, they got the same shit over there that we got here, but it's just...it's just, there it's a little different.
Vincent: All right. Well, you can walk into a movie theater in Amsterdam and buy a beer. And I don't mean just like in no paper cup; I'm talking about a glass of beer. And in Paris, you can buy a beer at McDonald's. And you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?
Jules: They don't call it a Quarter Pounder with Cheese?
Vincent: Nah, man, they got the metric system. They wouldn't know what the f*%$ a Quarter Pounder is.
Jules: What do they call it?
Vincent: They call it a "Royale with Cheese."
Jules: "Royale with Cheese."
Vincent: That's right.
Jules: What do they call a Big Mac?
Vincent: A Big Mac's a Big Mac, but they call it "Le Big Mac."
Jules: [in mock French accent] "Le Big Mac." [laughs] What do they call a Whopper?
Vincent: I don't know, I didn't go in a Burger King.
HERE'S THE LIST OF THE LITTLE DIFFERENCE here in Rethymno.
1. Hanumanasana and Samakonasana after Prasarita A. B. C. D. subroutine - Pattabhi Jois
2. Trivikramasana after Uthita Hasta Padangustasna - Pattabhi Jois
3. Utthita Parsvakonasana variation after Utthita Parsvakonasana B - Derek Ireland
(arm between legs, twist and bind)
4. Bakasana (3x5 breaths) after bhujapindasana - Derek ireland (Pedagogic)
5. Supta Trivikramasana after Supta padangustasana - Patabhi Jois
6. (Ardho mukha) Vrksasana (handstand) after dropbacks Pattabhi Jois
7. Vrschikasana ('scorpion') after Ardho mukha Vrksasana - Pattabhi Jois
(taking legs to Vschikasana then flipping back to standing three times
before dropping all the way over into Urdhva danhurasana and then coming back up to standing, again three times).
8. Backbends after Vrschikasana - Pattabhi Jois
(A. Arms crossed over chest hands on shoulders dropped back slowly to head- five breaths, come up.
B. Arms crossed over chest, hands on chest, taken back, deeply but not to ground, five times on breath.
C. dropped back to hand, take forearms to the floor hands to heels/ankles lift up into chakra bandhasana).
Video below shows 6-8 above
9. Kristina called me back into the shala yesterday to check I'd been practicing and had mentioned what they do in sirsasana here with headstands. After 25-30 breaths you lower and raise the legs 45 degrees five times then take another five breaths in Sirsasana before lowering and taking childs pose. This one also comes from Pattabhi Jois.
Manju included this but I vaguely remember him having us go up and down three times, I don't have his book to check.
I asked Kristina how she goes about 'splitting' in her shala. The approach I had generally come across was adding 2nd series asana on to primary up until Karanadavasana when you would then split your practice and practice 2nd Sunday to thursday with straight Primary on Friday. I'm sure I've heard of some places that allow you to split after Kapotasana.
Here at Kristina's there's no such luck, you keep adding 2nd series asana on to your Primary series until you complete 2nd then you would practice both series together for a couple of weeks before switching to half primary up to and including supta kurmasana followed by full 2nd series. You them only practice like this for a few days to a week before splitting completely.
This isn't some Ashtanga marine boot camp test the idea seems to be to help you make the transition more comfortably from one series to another.
Kristina tells the story of one of her students who got in touch and asked how long he needed to practice full primary and full second, she told him just a few days to a week or two at most, turns out he had been practicing like that for a year!
One shouldn't worry about the extra asana, the little differences, these are on-going projects as are all the asana, while there may well be a pause at certain key 'gate keeper' asana, nobody seems to get held back at these for long, certainly not for years, your not expected to bind fully, marichi D or Supta kurmasana, pashasana or take Karandavasana up as well as down, these will come with time...or not.
Another thing I wanted to make a note of, Kristina is constantly calling out "Breathe.... tristana, bandhas, drishti, breathing. Breathe.... diaphragm, ribs chest, inhalation, diaphragm ribs and chest exhalation, BREATHE"
I like the reminder to begin the breath in the diaphragm rather falling into the habit of breathing higher up in the chest.