NO, NOT a Christmas post!
This started off as a fb post but got too long...
I think I need to revive the old 'Developing a Home Practice' series and do an update, something on 'indifference to asana'..... No, not indifference, indifference to acquiring perhaps or of practicing so many of those I used to practice.
I'm more interested now in inhabiting asana.... no, that's not it either, not inhabiting, I don't necessarily want to stay SO long, not in the Iyengar sense, but perhaps experience the asana more fully as I pass through. 'Experiencing' the asana more in the Ashtanga context, that's closer.
Who writes on this, teaches.... THIS. Richard Freeman perhaps, always Richard, who else?
There is a moment when you practice asana, in the early Krishnamacharya approach of Yoga Makaranda, when everything seems to click into place, the kumbhaka comes on line and everything seems to light up (especially the antara kumbhaka's, the short breath retentions after the inhalation), what IS that.... and it's accumulative, each asana lighting up in a temporal row.
Except that in my case it's like bulbs in the christmas tree lights have blown and not all of them are firing but there's a taste, it's there in my mouth now carried over from yesterday as I'm about to step on the mat, what if they all lit up one after another......
What were you up to T. Krishnamacharya, did you even know, was there a taste in your mouth too, a suspicion, What if one were to practice THIS way. But then perhaps the moment was gone, another demonstration due, another book this one to be easier to understand, to practice.... commitments here, the Maharajah sending you there and then Chennai....
Pattabhi didn't seem to understand but then he was young, so young at the time, did you even bother to show him, to teach him THIS, did you show anyone or just bury it away in a phase of your own practice, from a lost or forgotten text perhaps, hidden in plain view in the Makaranda behind the 30 minute mayurasana that no one would ever practice.....
What WERE you up to for a moment there T Krishnamacharya.
OK, so perhaps it is a christmas post, the only Christmas song I can put up with, apart from Dino and 'Let it Snow', obviously.
So you want to try it for yourself, a taste perhaps.
Try it in you sun salutations, take it a little slower at least five seconds for every inhalation and five second for every exhalation (yes, including chatuaranga) at the end of each inhalation and exhalation introduce a kumbhaka, holding the breath in after the inhalation, out after the exhalation. This tends to work out that if your down, if you folding over, then it's a kumbhaka after exhalation if the head is up then's after the inhalation.
Close your eyes's throughout ( your not going anywhere and know what your doing but keep the eyes fixed as if looking between the eyebrows, don't imagine it just look to that point even though your eyes are closed ( later, tip of the nose was introduced, so if the head's up then between the eyebrows, head down gaze just beyond the tip of the nose- even if the eyes are closed).
How long should the kumbhaka be? Long enough. Try 2-3 seconds.
It's like this. There is movement in the inhalation and in the exhalation, motion corresponds to time, the kumbhaka is the absence of motion and thus in a sense the absence of time, eternity is in the kumbhaka. You want to hold your kumbhaka just long enough to get a hint of that, a suggestion ( not in some new age way but rather a suspension of the Kantian).
You might want to make the kumbhaka a little longer to 'tune in', but no more than five seconds.
If all that is interesting try a full vinyasa paschimottanasana, starting from standing, kumbhaka's throughout all the way down to the asana, while in the asana and as you vinyasa back to standing.
If that's interesting imagine what the whole practice would be like if taken this way.
You can down load Yoga Makaranda from my free Downloads page.
See this post for what Krishnamacharya's sun salutation would be like
take a look perhaps at this post and my book also on Free downloads
In my own practice (outlined at the bottom of the blog) i tend to breath a little slow, eight seconds rather than five and take only around three breaths to allow for the kumbhaka's ( same amount of time in the asana), oh and I tend to only do half a series, so one day half Primary the next day second half of primary, third day first half of 2nd series then back to primary again.