Saturday, 1 November 2014

A handwritten copy of a sample Practice (for Diabetes) by T Krishnamacharya PLUS Krishnamacharya did speak (some) English

I shared practice sheet from ever generous Paul Harvey (http://www.yogastudies.org) on fb yesterday and was asked a question about Krishnamacharya's English.

"A handwritten copy of a sample Practice by T Krishnamacharya for a student with diabetes.
It was shared with me by TKV Desikachar from his father’s teaching files.
Follow link to download or view this practice as a PDF"

http://www.yogastudies.org/2014/10/sample-practice-t-krishnamacharya-student-diabetes/
David Hurwitz pointed out that in Yoga Yajnavalkya Ch. IV 35-46 Visvodara is situated in the middle of the belly. .

Note: I'm guessing the fourth asana down is pindasana

For more of Krishnamacharya's practices see his Emergence of Yoga by his third son TK Sribhashyam

from Emergence of Yoga by Krishnamacharya's 3rd son TK Sribhashyam

Did Krishnamacharya speak (any) English

As it happens he sees to have spoken a little. I came across my notes from reading  a Namarupa article which interviewed Richard Schechner , he studied with Krishnamacharya, the lessons conducted in English.
here's my original post

Namarupa : Richard Schechner's notebook on his studies with Krishanamacharya


and my notes on reading the article...

Notes from Namarupa 115 article

http://www.namarupa.org/volumes/1305.php

K taught him in an English which sounded very clear yet very terse, as when he had Richard hold a pose and told him something like, “Keep mind fixed on the god.” p4

When he studied with K in Madras (Chennai), it was just for about 4 weeks. He would go to K’s house in Madras, 4 or 5 times a week, and they would work in a private room for more than an hour at a time. K said this was the first part in a full course of study that would comprise 7 stages.

At the end of these 4 weeks of study, when Richard was about to leave Madras, K invited him to return to India again to continue to the second course, and Richard said he told K he’d be back. “That’s what they all say,” K responded (to paraphrase). In the end, Richard did not return.

But Richard said that to his surprise, even after just a month’s study, K told him he could teach others what he had learned. However, he said that it should be taught one on one, or at the most he should teach two at a time. p4

my practice of pranayama permanently changed the way I breathe. p5

Richard said that when he asked K if this was an acceptable way of lying down, K said no, he should lie on his back, legs extended and arms at his side. Furthermore, K told him not to lie with palms up or legs wide apart, which he said was not good. He instead had him lie with palms down and feet together (as in tadaka mudra), which he said was better for the blood flow. p6

Richard said K’s teaching methodology consisted of 4 steps. First, he would demonstrate. Then he would dictate the steps verbally and Richard would take notes and/or draw a picture. Then K had

Richard do it while he dictated the steps. Lastly, Richard would do it on his own and K would watch without dictating.

K said to practice for only 45 minutes to an hour; longer was not good for the organs.
Richard asked K early on (1st meeting) what yoga was. K laughed and said they could get to that next time. Richard said he kept asking K, and eventually K gave him a vedantic interpretation: union of the soul with God.

For years, he has been sharing what K taught him, with performers. He often leads long workshops, and the asanas and breathing exercises p7

So, it was through them, and maybe some people at Kalakshetra too— I don’t remember who— that I got introduced to Krishnamarcharya. I went to meet him. He interviewed the people who wanted to study with him. Joan went with me. We talked with K. I don’t know how he interviewed others. With me, he met me, he asked a few questions such as why did I want to study yoga, he looked me over with his very wide but gentle eyes. After not very long, he said he would accept me as a student. I had no idea who he was, beyond a yoga teacher. I didn’t know then that he was the yoga teacher, the great Krishnamarcharya. He was simply a teacher I found by asking. He was the teacher people sent me to. p10

The drawings are mine, but the words are his, in his own very particular way of speaking English: “Sit on soft mat, face east, pray God. Stretch both legs forward. Toes, heels, knees together. Do not bend knees, while with hissing sound in throat pit, go over head both arms, turning palms up.”



“Interlock fingers, turn hands upwards, tight fingers, straight elbows. If possible, shoulders joined with ears. Erect spine. “Chin down between two collar bones. Eyes and mouth closed,” I mean, I can hear him saying these things. p12

“Expand chest, spread shoulders, chin down against chest. Keep chin like log”— I like that one— “Repeat 6 exhalations, inhalations with hissing sound. Lie down flat, rest 1 minute.”
p12

“Must keep lower, middle, upper portions of body like a stick. Lower is buttocks, rectum, thighs, knees, legs, ankles, feet and toes. Middle is shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists, hands, fingers, chest, stomach, gut and genitals. Upper is neck, face and head. Throat pit: place at the bottom of throat where the two collar bones join. Constriction of inside of throat at that point produces hissing sound. Stick pose is very good for reducing fat, for tonsil complaints, to free circulation and respiration and pain in joints.” p12

And then he ends with telling about the “hints” and what yoga is based on. “These poses you should practice continually.” In other words, by that he meant don’t begin one without the other. Like the shoulder stand, the headstand and the body twist, always do them [sequentially].... “Hints: Do not practice with loaded stomach. Do not exhale/inhale with force. Do not speak in the middle of an exercise.” [laughter] “Should not be practiced in the open air.” That was really striking to me.

“Breath comes short, breath whistles, much dust.” Of course, that’s India. “No smoking. Do not eat too much chili.” And then, “Yoga is based God, mind, soul, breath, restricted diet.” And then he said it [again as] “Restricted diet, soul, mind, God.” p14

His first question to me: ‘What do you want?’”

when he’s telling me the L-form, the urdhva prasarita padasana, the up-stretched foot, then, “When I finished it, Krishnamacharya tells me, ‘Do not do this exercise fast.’ He shows how many people do it fast. ‘This is very harmful to internal organs. After few years, liver, stomach, bladder, other organs all out of shape.’
p14

Leslie: And here, this is interesting. He had something under your head.

Richard: Oh yes, he always had something under my head at that point, for the lying postures. I still use that.

Leslie: But it makes your chin tuck more.

Richard: Yeah, that’s the point. He wanted my chin down.

Leslie: These days, people put things under the shoulders to take pressure off the neck. [To Eddie and

Daniel] He’s got him in dvipada pitham here, with something under the head.

Richard: I always put something under the head, still. I put a little yoga brick or roll up a towel, or my shoe, to keep my chin down. You don’t advise that?

Leslie: This is classical form. Jalandhara bandha is really the first bandha you learn. p14

RICHARD: I’ve always found yoga to be like sailing a ship. You’re looking at an island out there, and then you reach it and you realize there’s more sea on the other side. It’s always infinite. So, in my own mind, my infinite challenge is to inhale forever— or exhale forever. You know, to extend the breath. p15

Leslie: So, when he said 7 levels, the implication was that there were 7, sort of, sequences? That you learn each one as a unit, and progress through them as he teaches you? Or, when he said 7, was it this model [points to diagram in the notebook, with concentric circles].

Richard: Yeah, here are circles. Well, I don’t know, but here I see that’s also 7. So, let me see what he said here... “December. Today is the end of the
lesson, which that day was effective but very short, less than half an hour, I asked K again about the meaning of the word yoga. He laughed again, as though all this curiosity of mine was very funny. I was sitting and he was standing, and he began moving around rapidly, almost dancing. Today again, for the first time in a few weeks, he started grinning, giving me again Sanskrit names for exercises. He explained that yoga meant union with the supreme God, but that there were circles of yoga. Outer body, internal body, senses, mind, breath, soul and supreme God. ‘A man cannot control the world but he can control his body. The way to be supreme God, your God, is inward.’ When I numbered the circles from outside in, he corrected me, ‘No, supreme God is the first circle’”— See [points to diagram], I started numbering them the wrong way— “‘then the soul, the breath, the mind, the senses, the internal physical body and the outer physical body.’ p15

See, now we are doing the headstand in the lotus, which I sometimes do. I find that a real pleasurable accomplishment. To do the lotus headstand, then to bring my folded legs down to my belly, and lift up again.

Here he starts pranayama: “prana: breath, life / (a)yama: long.” p15

Leslie: So, that’s your thing with the infinite breath, of that breath that never reaches its end; that’s ayama. p16

Richard: Oh, wow. Wow. [continues further ahead in notes] So, now he’s giving variations of headstands and shoulder stands. I didn’t realize how much. Oh, the kneeling pose. And then he give me my mantra.

Leslie: But what I will say is that you’re still practicing exactly what Krishnamarcharya taught you.

Richard: Absolutely.

Leslie: No, but there was the thought of what we leave once we’re gone, what remains of us—

Richard: Is our students.

Leslie: Is our students.

Richard: Yeah. I mean, these documents also remain, but basically what remains is our students. And that can fetch back very far. I sometimes, in a class, say, okay, let’s say you’re fifty. You are in your vital time. Or, fifty-five. And you teach something really important to a five-year-old. And that five-year- old remembers it. And when that five- year-old gets to be fifty-five, she teaches it to a five-year-old. How far back can this class reach? So, it goes 2000, 1950, 1900, 1850. You know, it takes
twenty people to get back a thousand years. And I said, isn’t possible that if something is really remembered, you really found it important and you really teach it, that it’ll be passed on intact? It’ll be somewhat changed, but it won’t change that
much. So, we can reach back quite far into human knowledge history by means of oral transmission. And I believe that. So, I don’t know, I’m not a historian in yoga, but it seems to me that yoga is one of those practices, at least as I learned it. Krinamachrya was very precise. Now, I know that in oral tradition there are always variations. As you say, Iyengar went and developed his own. And I’ve taken this sequence, and when I teach it, I teach it not in the order he taught it to me but in a different order. I do the standing poses first... I do the seated poses last. And I don’t know why I decided to do that. I’m more comfortable with it, so I do it. I do it as he taught it, but I do it in a different order. So, I know that there are all these variations, but at the same time there’s a core that remains consistent, and I think that’s really important. And, you know, I know people think it’s threatened by all this digital stuff. I’m not of that opinion. I think the digital stuff, like print before, will coexist. I don’t see a great diminishment in people wanting a face-to-face. Especially when it’s something important.

Eddie: That was an amazing thing you just said about someone when they reach fifty-five telling another five-year-old. And that means to go back a thousand years you only need, twenty people.
Richard: Twenty, exactly.

Leslie: Twenty people exactly.

Richard: It’s a thousand years! Eddie: So, if the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, theoretically, were written, say 2,500 years ago, we only need fifty people to keep that link of teaching alive, and that’s like nothing. Fifty.

Richard: You could play that chain game and say, “Really remember this sentence!” And... it could be remembered. Leslie: Well, in the gurukula system it’s really close to that, because you have someone presumably in their fifties teaching seven-year-olds who come into the system at around that age.

Richard: Right.

Eddie: It’s so great, because people, so many people doubt, “Well, okay, 2,500 years, 5,000 years, is that really what he was talking about?” But if you put it in your model— I need fifty people to remember— well, yeah. p17

“November 18, 8:30.” So, I studied with him early in the morning. “K tells me that he thinks I will be able to complete one course in the time here. ‘There are seven courses to yoga,’ he says p20
Also, I think he expects, or at least knows, that I will teach what I learn. During an exercise this morning, he tells me that the exercise is good ‘for backache,’ in a way that recognizes that I will tell others so.” So, by that time, I was recognizing that this is what he was doing.
We met in a upper floor which was quite bright and airy, early in the morning. I would get up at 6orso.Mylessonwas7:30or8,foran hour or so. But I don’t remember much about the household except that it was a household. There were people there. It was not a school, it was a house, and he had this room where he taught— or, where he taught me, at least.

Oh, now, here’s something very interesting, I’ll read this. He’s giving me the tree pose. “K says, ‘When wind moves a tree, it moves this way, that way, backwards, forwards. Your body depends on your breath and moves all ways.’ Later, he says there are 12, maybe 18, variations of the tree pose.
Of the tree pose, ‘If a very short man practices this 6 months, his height will grow, but only with the inhale-exhale system. I wonder if this system is exclusively his. He tells me not to practice more than 45 minutes at a time. This includes few minutes rest in middle. ‘Yoga is mental, spiritual, not wrestling.’ He says, ‘Too many people battle and torture their way through yoga, go too fast.’ He is happy I take the time to breathe.

‘Too many people battle and torture their way through yoga, go too fast.’ p22

Later, he tells me how to organize my yoga notes for teaching. ‘Each section, yes, standing positions, laying positions, jumping, sitting positions, face up positions, face down.’ But for now, I must keep this book as it is, chronologically.” p22

“K tells me at the end it is all right for two to practice yoga together, they can learn from each other, but no more than two at a time. Again, he mentions me teaching. He says he doesn’t know how I can learn what I need in such a short stay. I tell him I will return for more study. He is sitting, getting ready for the final prayer. He laughs. ‘They all say they will return, yes, yes.’ He gets up. I start to dress. Then, he remembers he has forgotten the final prayer. This really amuses him. As I leave, he tells me again not to practice fast with jerks or for too long a time at a stretch. ‘No more than an hour.’ And as I get on my bike, he, as usual, is cooing and playing with his little, beautiful grandson.” p24

He is nice boy but his mind is very—’ K shakes and dances his head back and forth. ‘He comes and says he can stay for six months. I work out a whole program for him, and after two months, he says, ‘I have to leave.’ He goes to see his father or something. p25

He tells me to remind him to show me
headstand starting tomorrow. He tells me never to do more than 40 minutes of yoga”— he’s always worried I’m going to do too much— “

He shows me how to breathe more easily from the throat pit. He is glad my breath is coming longer.

He will teach me breathing exercises and some contemplation.
Going over the materials brought 1971 back again, clear as crystal. And K along with it all, his eyes, his delicate way of moving, his strength, his humanity. And the love and respect you and the others have. A great gift.”p25

***

See this old post

What was it like to Study Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga with Krishnamacharya?

http://grimmly2007.blogspot.jp/2013/09/what-was-it-like-to-study-ashtanga.html

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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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