I've put up posts about the four year syllabus Pattabhi Jois was asked to teach at the Sanskrit college around 1940 based no doubt on the Krishnamacharya's Primary, middle and advanced group table that turned up in Yogasanagalu(1941).
See this post: Complete Yogasanagalu asana table .
As a syllabus it needed to be relatively fixed. He seems to have found it a useful teaching model so essentially kept it and taught it to the western students when they came. he gave Nancy and David a copy of the syllabus in 1973/4.
|Page 1 of 4 See this post : The 'Original' Ashtanga yoga Syllabus given to Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams by Sri K Pattabhi Jois in 1974 Mysore|
It's curious re Kumbhaka, I can find no evidence that Pattabhi Jois ever practiced it in Asana other than perhaps kukkutasana (where nauli is mentioned). Manju is adamant that his father didn't and went so far as to say it was wrong.
See this post Manju TT Q and A
It's possible that Krishnamacharya never taught kumbhaka in asana to Jois or the boys of the palace other than perhaps having them chant while holding a posture (which would involve breath retention - see the Manju TT Q and A link above).
|Chanting while holding an asana can be considered kumbhaka, See THIS post|
Krishnamacharya may have saved kumbhaka for his private students and patients.
Surely though Pattabhi Jois had Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda on the table beside him as he wrote Yoga Mala, he surely would have explored it himself after reading Krishnamacharya's text, and yet decided not to include it, for whatever reason, in the Yoga syllabus he was teaching at the sanskrit college.
He doesn't even seem to have taught it to his children although it's something I would love to ask Saraswati.
Pattabhi Jois does seem to have mentioned long stays, the Rishi series for example ( David Williams asked what/how to practice after Advanced B) where ten postures are supposedly held for fifty breaths, also Manju says his father would stay for long periods of time in certain postures.
See this post : The Ashtanga Rishi Series
We also know that Pattabhi Jois talked about very long and slow breathing, 10, 15 even 20 second inhalations and equal exhalation.
Pattabhi Jois was a realist however and understood that practicing this slowly and with longer stays would take hours, he seems to have been more attached to the fixed sequence and thus happier to compromise with the length of the breath and the number taken in a posture, at least with beginners.
|See this post:Research: Full Vinyasa Primary, 10 long slow full inhalations and exhalations in every asana. How Long?|
Pattabhi Jois was also flexible with the sequence if the need called for it and in the beginning....
See this post: Flexibility within the system of Ashtanga ; Pattabhi Jois' Yoga Mala
he seems to have encouraged pranayama after asana practice (although adapted the criteria for this perhaps as the numbers visiting KPJAYI increased).
|Pattabhi Jois teaching pranayama to Richard Freeman|
So some small difference in presentation perhaps but essentially the practice is the same (although personally I suspect kumbhaka to be essential but that's just my own prejudice),
*Movement follows breath, stay for a bit, repeat.
The fixed sequence is a useful pedagogic tool but a wise teacher will no doubt respect your exploration of different options and approaches to your practice over time, which may include taking longer, slower, inhalations and exhalations, staying longer in certain postures practicing half a series to allow time for such explorations of the breath and why not perhaps introducing kumbhaka and seeing how that fits for you.
The teachers job, as I see it, is merely to expose you to these options, especially when they come from within the tradition, to be available for you and allow you the space, hold the space, for you to grow your practice.... even if this means moving away from the approach to practice the teacher may themselves hold dear.
* How fast you move will depend on the breath, it's natural to explore, "What if I breathe more slowly, what if I breath more quickly?" as well as to notice the pause between the inhalation and exhalation, the exhalation and inhalation, the natural, automatic, kumbhaka, "What if I hold it longer, what if I try to eliminate it altogether"? And while you stay for a bit, what do you do, read a book, think about whatever comes up, look around the room or continue to follow the breath, to fix one's attention either externally or internally. " ...and how long should I stay in this and what of this...what if I stay longer here, less time there?" And how long to keep repeating, if the rajas, the agitation, is less then perhaps I can repeat less and stay here for more than a bit, for longer, much longer and just follow the breath or focus on an object, the absence of an object.
And then repeat, daily.