May 2015 Newsletter from Srivatsa Ramaswami - Dogpose (श्वानासन) -
For a long time I had been wanting to upload a video containing the entire hour long chanting of Arunam or Suryanamaskara from the Yajurveda I also wanted to include in the video the suryanamaskara done in 12 steps with the dwadasa or 12 mantras of surya at the end of each of the 32 sections (anuvaka). The whole exercise would take about 2 hrs and 15 minutes. This can be done individually on Sunday mornings or in a group. I had earlier attempted to have this organized in a few places like in Houston, Austin. The participants of my 200 hr Teacher training program do it once during the program as part of the mantra program. Last year the whole exercise with a group of about 25 participants was videographed at Loyala Maryount University. I made a separate video and had it uploaded in YouTube recently. . The Suryanamaskara videos were videograhed by Kija Manhare. The yogis doing the asanas are Casey Markhem, Kelsey Garden and Samantha Calvano. The audio track of Arunam was recorded in 1985 by “Sangeetha” who have the copyright and have kindly permitted me to use it in this video. This chant or parayana as I have mentioned earlier on several occasions, used to be done by me with my teacher almost every Sunday morning for several years. The last time I met my Guru we chanted it together. This chant is done for health and longevity. In olden times the chant used to be done by pandits in a public place like a temple and sick. terminally ill people would be brought there to listen to this Aruna Parayana. Listening to Suryanamaskara chant and doing Suranamaskar are said to be good for maintaining good health and also recuperate from illness. (आरोग्यं भास्करात् इच्चेत् ārogyaṁ bhāskarāt icchet). Please listen to the chant when you have the time and share with friends. This may be used individually or in groups and in yoga studios and schools. Here is the link
My Audio Recordings
I had mentioned earlier about my sanskrit recordings in India during 1980-1995. Vaida Tu, my friend from Lithuania writes that she managed to contact the company “Sangeetha Musicals”in Chennai and with some difficulty downloaded several of the titles running to about 9 hrs. She was able to make the payment through PayPal. They have almost all the titles that were recorded including Suryanamaskara, Taittiriya Upanishad, Mahanarayana Upanishad, Aditya Hridayama and vedic chanting, Ashwamedha, Devi Mahatmyam, Mooka Panchsati, Vishnu Sahasranam, Ganesa Sahasranama, Anjaneya Sahasranama, Lalita Sahasranama, Subramanya Sahasranama, Bala Ramayana, Sundara Kanda (about 10 hrs) Siva Sahasranam and a few others more than 25 titles and 30+ hrs of recordings. Vaidu Tu bought about 18hrs of chanting for about $25. The process is a bit tricky but manageable I understand.
My upcoming programs
In May I will be teaching a one day workshop on Yoga for Internal Organs, a five day certificate program on Core Vinyasakrama Yoga and then a 13 day long program on the Bhagavat Gita sponsored by Harmony Yoga, UK
In June I will be teaching in Austin at Eastside Yoga a weekend workshop and a five day Yoga Sutra program. For more details here is the link
Then I am scheduled to teach a four day certificate program in Core Vinyasa Yoga workshop at Breathe Los Gatos in California. For complete details here is the link
And of course my 200 hr Teacher training Program is coming up at Loyola Marymount University in July/August for five weeks. For more details please use the following link
असनानिच तावन्ति यावन्तो जीवराशयः asanānica tāvanti yāvanto jīvarāśayaḥ
say some old hatayoga texts. There are as many asanas as there are species. We have several asanas bearing the names of different creatures. Cat pose, camel pose, Iguana pose, Cobra pose, Lion pose, Pigeon pose to name a few. May be one can think of creating a children's book with animals and animal poses next to one another and create an interest in yoga poses among children.
Among the animal poses children and adults love, the twin dog poses or svanasanas. Urdhvamukha and adhomukha svanasanas are well known. Many do these two in tandem as a workout. The downward dog pose is a very nice pose. One can stay in it for a while practising good breathing and all the three bandhas,-- in fact it is one of the two preferred poses in which to learn and effectively practice the mula and especially uddiyana bandha. When doing a sequence of vinyasas it is suggested that when one gets to adhomukhasvanasan one may stay for a few breaths and practice the bandhas a few times while holding the breath out. It is one of the preferred poses to learn and practice the three bandhas.
The twin dog poses form a great combination for vinyasa practitioners. Moving into the upward facing dog ( ऊर्ध्वमुखश्वानासन) position while smoothly inhaling and holding the breath in for a few seconds ( अन्तःकुम्भक) and then moving into the downward dog position (अधोमुखश्वानासन)on synchronized exhalation, then while holding the breath for a few seconds (बाह्यकुम्भक) doing the bandhas is a fun routine. One can do this routine a few times slowly with nice smooth throat breathing. It is an excellent stretch. The upward face dog position gives a good anterior stretch to the body while the well feet/heel- planted downward face dog position helps to stretch the entire posterior portion of the body. The pictures are of Dr Mahendran, Ranjit Babu. Tatyana Popovaand Klaus Koenig from my Vinyasa book, the Complete Book of Vinyasa yoga.
The downward facing dog pose is the starting point of a nice complete body stretch sequence where you can do the anterior, posterior and the two lateral stretches. Starting from adhomukha one turns on exhalation to one side to Vaishtasana and try to place the feet on the floor. It helps to stretch one side and also stretch the his laterally. Thde next step would be to turnover to purvatanasana where one gets a good anterior stretch. Then turning over one could get to stretch the other side of the body in vasishtasana. Thereafter one would turn another 90 degrees to return to Adhomukha thereby completing the cycle. One may then want to go through the cycle anti clockwise. This sequence, adhomukha, vasishtasana (vama), purvatana, vasishtasana (dakshina) and then returning to adhomukha gives a complete stretch to the body--- posterior, anterior and laterally on both sides.
Using adhomukha as a launching pose for ump throughs is well known. Jumping to uttanasana is well known among modern yogis. Jumping to Utktasana from adhomukha was a procedure taught by my guru Sri Krishnamacharya . One can also get to adhomukha and hop into Vajrasana an important seated meditative asana, Jumping through the hands to dandasana is a dream subroutine among beginners in vinyasa yoga. Usually all these jumps are done while holding the breath after exhalation (बाह्यकुम्भक).
It is possible to move from adhomukha to hand balance poses like bhuja pidasana and similar poses
Another important sequence that can emanate from adhomukha is Anjaneyasana. First one would get into godhasana or iguana pose . Then from Iguana one may get into Hanumanasana. Thereafter aided by smooth exhalation those who can do the split can slide into Anjaneyasana and do a few interesting vinyasas in Anjaneyasana. One returns to Adhomukha retracing the steps used to reach Anjaneyasana. Here is a video of the sequence done by one of the participants of the 200 hr Vinyasakrama Teacher Training Program at LMU a few years back Marina Boni and filmed by Josh Geidel . It is beautifully done, you will like it
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It is also possible to get into asymmetric seated poses like half lotus, triangmukha and others with the let preparation made while in adhomukha. It is fun to do and also watch.
Vinyasakrama can be lot of fun and is a solid yoga practice taught by Sri Krishnamacharya.