Saturday, 10 January 2015

Krishnamacharya's 10 minutes in Suptapada Parsvangushtasana (Suptapada Padangushtasana B)

Suptapada Parsvangushtasana  otherwise know as Suptapada Padangushtasana B. 
Parsva - to the side

It struck me this morning that I owed an apology to my friends at StoneMonkey. November last year I presented a follow up workshop to the one earlier in the year, this time focusing on the second half of Krishnamacharya's Primary series/group.

But I missed something!
from My Krishnamacharya original Ashtanga book - link to Lulu

Krishnamacharya recommends we stay 10 minutes in Suptapada Parsvangushtasana!

Perhaps I blanked it out, subconsciously didn't want to see it but there it was last night as I was flicking through....

"Stay in this 9th vinyasa for at least ten minutes and then do the 10th vinyasa".

So my apologies Stonemonkey for not giving you the opportunity to practice it.

Did I hear somebody mutter 'thank heavens'? 

It's actually quite something and with a VERY interesting by-product as a bonus.

 I practised it five minutes each side this morning ( will try the full ten tomorrow, update to come), so half as long as Krishnamacharya suggests but substantially longer than most of us probably usually practice it. I slowed the breathing right down, just as in the Utkatasana exercise I introduce on the workshop, added kumbhaka's, focal points, the works. After two minutes it was uncomfortable but from then on I could feel my body relaxing deeper into the posture,  look how flat Krishnamacharya is in it, both legs.



THE BY-PRODUCT

It struck me that I could do with a pratkriya a counter posture after such an extended stay, Krishnamacharya recommends padmasana (lotus) as a pratkriya after baddha konasana so that seemed appropriate.
I have a dodgy left knee from old operations as a kid, the knee doesn't tend to want to sit flat in padmasana so I usually practice padmasana left foot first. However, this time, after five minutes a side in Suptapada padangushtasana I had the prettiest, most grounded lotus and while binding right foot first.

SO, if your working on your padmasana an extended stay here might be just the thing, although I recommend working up to it, say add on a minute a week.

Below is the presentation in my Krishnamacharya's Original Ashtanga book available available from Amazon and Lulu ( if you'd like a copy then pick it up from Lulu  as they allow me to offer a 50% discount). There's also an extended free pdf version from my FREE DOWNLOADS page.

After that I've added the old Black and White video of Krishnamacharya from 1938 where he enters the subroutine from sarvangasana (shoulder stand). After that there's an Appendix with Krishnamacharya full instructions including benefits from Yoga Makaranda as well as a link to a free download of the text. PLUS Instructions for the subroutine from Krishnamacharya's later 'Salutations to the teacher the eternal one'/Yoga Makaranda part II


UPDATE

I've been bothered about the position of the head in picture above, Krishnamacharya's head isn't turned to the side as I was taught in Jois Ashtanga. I thought perhaps it was turned a little but I've just checked the text and he writes

"In this sthiti the head is facing upward and the other extended leg is kept straight and remains pressed against the floor". 

This fits actually because in trikonasana he doesn't turn the head either, I tended to assume it's because in tikonasana as in this posture he is staying for an extended period, ten minutes.



available from Amazon and from Lulu  


UPDATE 10/01/15

This morning I stayed for the full ten minutes each side in Suptapada Parsvangushtasana. I can't say it was any more uncomfortable than staying for five minutes except that the fingers holding my big toe started to fall asleep at one point. I did notice the difference at the end however when I went to raise my leg back up, at first it didn't seem to want to move. Perhaps this is why Krishnamacharya follows up with an extra vinyasa when the leg crosses the body, a pratkriya, counterpose.

And again ,as with yesterday, a much more comfortable lotus with both knees happily on the mat. I mentioned earlier how on account of old operations my left knee doesn't like to go into lotus first and tends to be off the ground. Sometimes I'll put a folded cloth underneath. 

from this morning after 10 minutes each side in Suptapada Parsvangushtasana, knees flat

Ten minutes didn't seem to be any more beneficial than five, tomorrow I might try three and see if there's a cut off point where the benefit is reduced.

I just remembered my old Rishi series experiments, staying for 25 or 50 breaths in ten postures a practice, working through all the postures of primary and 2nd series over a couple of weeks. i must have stayed for 25 breaths in suptapada parsvangushtasana then. here are my notes.

Supta hasta padangustasana/ Supta Parsvapadangusthasana  (25 breaths each side). I did these 25 breaths each side,in this and Supta Parsvahita below, in the usual order. The second one is the tricky one as there's strain on the neck, really need to engage the bandhas and stretch on down through the trailing leg to take the pressure off.

Notice I mention the strain on the neck. See the next post where I pick up on the fact that krishnamacharya doesn't turn his head. 

***

Krishnamacharya's fancy Suptapadangushtasana from sarvangasana (shoulder stand) starts at 3:40



Appendix

Instructions as found in original Yoga Makaranda
available from my GoogleDocs page HERE


14  Supta Padangushtasana (Figure 4.38, 4.39, 4.40, 4.41)
The first krama for this has 21 vinyasas. Through the 6th vinyasa, it is exactly as for pascimottanasana. In the 7th vinyasa, lie down facing upwards instead of extending the legs and sitting as in pascimottanasana. While lying down, the entire body must be pressed against the ground. The toes must point upwards and the back of the heels must be stuck to the ground. This is also called savasana by other schools. This is the 7th vinyasa for supta padangushthasana. In the 8th vinyasa, slowly raise the right leg straight up. Hold the big toe of the right foot with the fingers of the right hand, do recaka kumbhaka and remain in this position for as long as possible. This sthiti is called dakshina supta padangushtasana. While remaining in this sthiti, at no time should the elbows or knees of the extended arms and legs be bent. At this time the left hand should be placed on top of the thigh of the outstretched left leg. In the 9th vinyasa, slowly pull the right leg little by little into the front of the right chest. While doing this, gradually raise the head little by little until the face is placed against the right knee. Remain in this position for some time. The 10th vinyasa is like the 8th. The 11th vinyasa is like the 7th. The 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th vinyasas follow the method for the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th but with the left leg and arm. From the 16th until the 21st vinyasas, follow the rules for the 11th until the 16th vinyasas of pascimottanasana and after this return to samasthiti. The 12th vinyasa is called vama supta padangushthasana. From the 8th till the 15th vinyasas, no part of the body must be crooked. While one leg is raised, the other leg must definitely not be bent or curved, must not roll around or undergo any such torsion.








Benefit: It will keep the body measurements proportional and equal and will give tremendous strength to the nerves. It gives good strength to the hips. It is not appropriate for women during pregnancy. 

15 Suptapada Parsvangushtasana 
This has 23 vinyasas. Up to the 8th vinyasa, this follows the method for supta padangushthasana. In the 9th vinyasa, without breaking any of the rules described earlier, pull the raised right leg down towards the ground on the same side (right side) and slowly lay it down on the ground while still clasping the right big toe. In this sthiti the head is facing upward and the other extended leg is kept straight and remains pressed against the floor. Stay in this 9th vinyasa for at least ten minutes and then do the 10th vinyasa. In the 10th vinyasa, bring the foot that is being held against the ground back to the position in the 8th vinyasa and remain here. Without letting go of the foot, move it such that the leg (or calf) sits on the chest beneath the neck and such that the elbow of the arm holding the foot is behind the neck. Remain here. In this sthiti, the head must be raised slightly. That is, there should be 6 angulas of space between the ground and the head. Inside the matham, this is called sammukha parivrtasana. Repeat this on the other side. To first practise this with the right leg and then with the left leg is characteristic of a superior yogi. The 11th vinyasa is like the 8th and the 12th is like the 7th. Do the 13th vinyasa like the 8th and then do the 14th and 15th vinyasas like the 9th and 10th. The 16th is like the 8th and the 17th must be done like the 7th. The six remaining vinyasas of this posture must be practised like the last 6 vinyasas of pascimottanasana. After this, return to samasthiti.

Benefit: Not only does it clean the parsva nadi, it does not allow the parsva vayu to exist in the body. It destroys diseases like acute tuberculosis. Women should not do this while pregnant.







Appendix II

Instructions from Salutations to the teacher, the eternal one/ Yoga Makaranda part II


54. SUPTAPADA ANGUSHTASANA
Those who find difficuty in doing EKAPADA SARVANGASANA-side, may get the same benefits by doing SUPTAPADAANGUSHTASANA.

Stage I Preliminary Technique:


1. Lie flat on the back with legs together, stretched, and hands stretched and close to the body, and palms open and touching the ground.

2. While inhaling spread both legs and hands as wide as possible on either side of the body to an equal degree. Both legs and arms will continue touching the ground and be kept stretched.
  1. While exhaling bring back the legs and arms to the position as in the first step. 
  2. Repeat. 
Stage II
Technique:


1. Lie flat on the back with the legs stretched arms stretched and by the side of the body as in the first step of Stage I.
2. While exhaling raise one of the legs to an upright position by bending at the hips. The knees should not be bent, and the leg should continue to be kept stretched. The other leg should continue to lie on the ground stretched. While the leg is raised to the upright position the arm on the same side is raised and the toe of the foot caught hold by the thumb and forefinger of the hand.
3. While exhaling turn the leg to touch the ground so that the leg now forms a right angle with the body on the ground. The thumb and the forefinger of the hand will continue to hold the toe. If it is the right leg, it is brought to the right side of the body.
4. While inhaling raise the leg with the toe still held by the thumb and forefinger to the position in step 2.

5. While inhaling release the toe and lower the leg, and come back to position in step 1.
6. Repeat with the other leg.
Note: It will be seen that steps 2 and 3 are done while exhaling, and steps 4 and 5 are done while inhaling. It does not mean that steps 2 and 3 are a continuous process done while exhaling. After steps 2, a few deep breaths may be taken. So also is the case after step 4. Movements are made while inhaling or exhaling, inhaling generally when the abdomen is not compressed by the movement. When a position, intermediate or final, has been reached deep breathings or the prescribed form of Pranayama is done. This observation generally applies to all asanas.


Stage III.

1. Lie flat on the back, both legs stretched knees together, arms stretched and by the side of the body, the palms open and touching the ground.
2. Bring the stretched left arm by a sweeping movement about the shoulder on the ground till it makes a right angle at the shoulder level with the body and the palm touching 
the ground.
3. While exhaling, lift the leg without bending the knee to an upright position so that the leg now forms a right angle with the body.
  1. Take one or two deep breaths if necessary. 
  2. Catch hold of the toe of the left leg with the thumb and forefinger of the right hand. 
  3. While exhaling, bring the left leg with the toe still held by the thumb and forefinger 
of the right hand to lie flat on the ground on the right side of the body, so that the two arms are now in a line at shoulder level at right angles to the body.
The head should be turned to the left, so that the left ear may touch the ground.
The knees should not bend and the leg should be kept stretched. The right leg should continue stretched and lie on the ground, with the toes pointing upward and the head touching the ground.

  1. Inhalations and exhalations may be done in this position. 
  2. While exhaling, raise the left leg, with the toe still held by the right hand, to the 
position in step 5. Turn the head back to the correct position.
9. Release the toe, while inhaling, bring down the left leg to the original position as in step 1.
  1. Bring the left arm to lie by the side of the body as in step 1. 
  2. Repeat with the other leg. 
Note: In the case of males, proper suspension bandages or something equivalent should be used so that the organs are kept firmly in position.
In the case of females, the upper part of the body should have a close fitting jacket. Especially in this asana, as considerable pressure is applied to the abdomen it is absolutely necessary to see that the bowels and bladder are clear before doing this asana.

Stage IV

1. Lie flat on the ground, on the back, both legs stretched, knees together, arms stretched and by the side of the body, the palms open and touching the ground.
2. While exhaling, bring both legs to an upright position by bending at the hips, keeping the knees together, and the legs stretched, the toes pointed.

3. Turn head to the left, so that the left ear touches the ground. Bring the left arm stretched, with s sweeping motion on the ground, to a position at right angles to the body.
  1. Take one or two deep breaths. 
  2. While exhaling, bring both the legs together to lie on the ground, on the right side of 
the body. The knees should not be bent, but the legs kept stretched. The toes should now be at the level of the shoulders, so that when both the toes are caught hold by the thumb and forefinger of the out-stretched right arm, the right arm and the left arm may be in a straight line at the shoulder level and at right angles to the body. As far as possible, try to keep the left side of the back near the ground as possible.
6. Do not less than six rounds pranayama. The pranayama should be done with both Anthar and Bahya Kumbhakam of two to five seconds duration each, the period of Anthar Kumbhakam being kept equal to the period of Bahya Kumbhakam.
7. While inhaling, bring the legs to the upright position, after releasing the toes. Bring the head to the normal position.

8. Repeat on the left side. The legs are straight away brought from the upright position to lie on the left side of the body without taking the legs to the position in step 1.
9. Do the same number of rounds of pranayama as on the right side, the periods of Anthar and bahya kumbhakam being the same as on the right side.

  1. While inhaling bring the legs to the upright position after releasing the toes. 
  2. Bring the head to the normal position, the arms to the normal position by the side of 
the body, and take one or two deep breaths.
12. While inhaling lower the legs to lie flat on the ground as in step one.

In some treatises on Yoga Stages II and III of Supthapadaangushta asana are called JATHARA PARIVRITTI though the asana affects other regions of the body besides the abdominal region.


Appendix III
A Vinyasa Krama approach

And while we're at it, here's the Vinyasa Krama approach, two pages from my Vinyasa Yoga practice book that place the posture in a broader subroutine and sequence. 

Srivatsa Ramaswami spent over thirty years studying with Krishnamacharya take a look at his Complete book of Vinyasa yoga and also Yoga for the Three Stages of Life.





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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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