Rather than focus on the advanced series postures themselves I wonted to focus instead on how an 'advanced' practitioner approaches their standing, the same postures we practice everyday whichever series we happen to practice.
But that's still not it, not really what I was after. What I would really like are videos of those who have been practicing for thirty, forty years rather than (merely) ten or twenty, even if they are now only practicing Primary again or even better have only ever practiced Primary. Would love to get my hands on a video of Tim Miller's current Sury or Standing or Nancy's, David Williams, Chucks"s say, or how about Richard freeman's current, day in day out, meat n potato Standing sequence, those would be nice to see. It's hard to find a video that doesn't stress/feature the floaty Matrix jump back to standing, seems to appear in our sury's around the ten year spot (guilty as charged) my guess is that after twenty years or so you drop that again and go back to the most efficient sury you've ever practiced.
There's sharath of course, never one to worry about the fancy flourishes nor seemingly distracted by an obsession with alignment, his videos are for me are about efficiency ( and any alignment arising naturally from the breath).
Anyway here's the post as I wrote it last night
Jessica Walden and what she does with the breath almost makes me want to reconsider my position on the Ashtanga Advanced series, almost but not quite. I very much doubt I'll bother practicing it again (never say never), come to think of it I barely bother with the second half of Intermediate anymore.... or much of Primary for that matter, around ten postures a practice taken long and slow seems plenty at the moment (except for Fridays obviously). This isn't so much because I'm getting older but more because of my interest in slowing the breath, introducing kumbhaka and longer stays, there's just less time if I want to follow my practice with pranayama, pratyahara and a sit. There's precedent it seems, so perhaps not so strange....
Manju Jois: Well for us it was fun to see my father doing yoga, putting himself in all these postures. You know it was really amazing. He used to pick a posture sometimes and he would like to stay in that posture for a long time. And that’s how he used to practice. And that’s how he started telling us to do that. There’s no need to do millions of postures, just try to master one at a time then you can go to the next one. I really enjoyed watching my father doing yoga. Sometimes we all used do it together too: me and my sister and my father. LINK TO FULL INTERVIEW HERE
Supposedly Pattabhi Jois said
"Primary series is for everybody, 2nd series for teachers and Advanced series for demonstration."
It's probably the only saying of his that doesn't cause me to inwardly groan when I hear it repeated, usually to justify a lazy position or lack of argument. Still, those who end up practicing Advanced A or 3rd series have usually been practicing for quite some time, I might not be that interested in the series proper but how they approach their Standing, now there's something I like to see. I'm not talking about the floaty Marix bits but the approach to standing of somebody who has been getting on the mat day in day out for years, whichever series they end up practicing. Nice then of Purple valley to divide their videos up so we can settle down and focus on standing, here practiced by David Robson (with commentary), Tim Feldmann and Joey Mills.
|krishnamacharya from Yogasanagalu|
The music in the latter two though, really, was that necessary? Call me a purist but what was wrong with the breath, it's a breathing practice after all.
|Krishnamacharya, some Standing postures|