Saturday, 8 August 2015

How Pattabhi Jois learned Yoga from Krishnamacharya ( from Interviews )

For several years now one question has been giving me pause...

What and how did Pattabhi Jois practice with Krishnamacharya in that first encounter in Hassan in 1927, lasting between one and two years?

Later Pattabhi Jois was to encounter his teacher again in Mysore and continue his studies but it's that first meeting that intrigues me .

Pattabhi Jois still give us the greatest and earliest insight into how Krishnamacharya may have been practicing as well as how he was teaching in the Mysore and pre Mysore period. 

Krishnamachary's own texts begin in (1934) with Yoga Makaranda  (1934)  and Yogasanagalu (1941), both written while at he was affiliated with the Mysore palace. Pattabhi Jois however, studied with Krishnamacharya for a period from 1927, we gain insight perhaps into Krishnamacharya's own practice and teaching, before the affiliation with the Palace and we find that Krishnamacharya was employing asana with vinyasa even back then. The Vinyasa count was something that he appears to have brought with him to Mysore, it predates the Mysore period. Pattabhi Jois referred to Krishnamacharya as jumping from asana to asana, again indicating vinyasa and suggesting that Krishnamacharya had been practicing this way for some time.

Below are some interviews and 'based on interviews' with Pattabhi Jois ( With Eddie Stern and Sharath, Alex Medin, Sandra Anderson. and Petri Räisänen) accounts of that early and later training in practice. The interviews suggest that even  in 1927 Pattabhi Jois was learning asana with a fixed vinyasa count, although not in fixed sequences. I've included Krishnamacharya's original asana table in groups from Yogasanagalu (Mysore 1941) as well as a section from Yoga Makaranda (Mysore 1934) on important considerations on teaching yoga that seem likely to have formed Krishnamacharya's own pedagogics when teaching the young pattabhi Jois. I've also added an example of Krishnamacharya's early instruction for paschimottanasana.


Mysore 1934. pattabhi jois has said that that's him in Kapo underneath Krishnamacharya in Blue, it seems more likely however that it may be him in pink.
UPDATE : A short section from an extended interview with Pattabhi Jois by Eddie Stern and Sharatrh in 2006-7 http://ayny.org/100-years/

"This interview with Guruji was conducted by Sharath and I in Guruji’s ancestral village, Kowshika, in 2006-7. It is posted on the occasion of Guruji’s 100th birthday". Eddie Stern 

Pattabhi Jois: After reaching Middle school… Krishnamacharya had moved into Hassan some two years ago. I didn’t know this. One day he gave a demonstration… a deputy commissioner who was a Muslim… I can’t remember his name…good man, good man, he had a good samskara, and he encouraged yoga a great deal. At the Jubilee hall in Hassan he gave a lecture [Krishnamacharya]. Along with the lecture he also demonstrated yogasanas. Our boys, some of them, after school, said that there was some game… some asanas… wrestling… something like that that was being held at the hall. So some of us went there. When we reached there he was in the midst of demonstrating asanas. I liked it so much that I decided to learn it. We returned home in the evening but that thing was going on in my mind. The next day after a bath I left for school as usual. But before going to class we found out where his house was. After school we went to his house and found him giving a lecture… some Purana I guess… Bhagavad Gita, or something. There were so many Shastris there. There were many scholars in Hassan anyway.

He saw us and… he asked who I was. I introduced myself. He asked me why I was there. I asked him if he could teach me yoga. He once again asked me who I was and where I came from. I told him everything and also that I came from the neighboring village of Kowshika. I said my father’s name was Krishna Jois who was a priest and an astrologer.

Sharath: And then what happened?

Pattabhi Jois: He agreed to teach me, and we started from the next day. By the time he taught us ten asanas… sometimes we couldn’t do them… he would beat us. And the beating was unbearable, that’s how it was. We were about 10 or 15 boys who didn’t care. We carried on unmindful of the beatings we got from him. We learnt for one or two years, he taught us certain asanas. Then my father conducted my thread ceremony towards 1929/30. …

 …after my thread ceremony, I left for Mysore.

Sharath: How many boys were learning with you.

Pattabhi Jois: There were some hundred boys to start with.

Sharath: In Krishnamacharya’s house?

Pattabhi Jois: At the Jagan Mohan Palace. There were some hundred fellows. But one wrong move, and there would be severe beatings. All of them quit unable to take the beatings. The last man standing was Keshava Murthy and of course, me.

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from interviews with Pattabhi Jois

Namarupa Magazine, fall 2004. http://tinyurl.com/o9fz3j9

1.What did Krishnamacharya teach you?
What my teacher taught me is exactly the same method I am teaching today. It was an examination course of primary, intermediate, and advanced asanas. He also taught me philosophy. For five years, we studied the great texts. He would call us to his house and we would stand outside and wait to be called in. Sometimes, we would wait the whole day. He would usually teach us for one or two hours every day: asanas early in the morning and, around 12 o’clock, philosophy class. He also taught us pranayama, pratyahara [sensory withdrawal], dharana [concentration], and dhyana [meditation]. And, in addition to the Yoga Sutras and Bhagavad Gita, he also taught Yoga Vasishta, Yoga Yajnavalkya, and Samhita. And all in Sanskrit.

3. What was the most important thing Krishnamacharya taught you?
When he left for Madras he told me, “Make this yoga method the work of your life.”

4. How long did you study with Krishnamacharya?
I studied with him from 1927 to 1953. The first time I saw him was in November of 1927. It was at the Jubilee Hall in Hassan and, the next day, I found out where he lived and went to his house. He asked me many questions, but finally accepted me and told me to come back the next morning. Then, after my thread ceremony in 1930, I went to Mysore to learn Sanskrit and was accepted at the Maharaja’s Sanskrit College. There, I was reunited with Krishnamacharya in 1931, when he came to do a demonstration. He was very happy to find me studying at the college.

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 Sandra Anderson http://www.ashtanga-yoga-victoria.com/k-pattabhi-jois.html

Where did you learn yoga?
K Pattabhi Jois: From my guru, Krishnamacharya. I started studying with him in 1927, when I was 12 years old. First he taught me asana and pranayama. Later I studied Sanskrit and advaita philosophy at the Sanskrit College in Mysore and began teaching yoga there in 1937. I became a professor and taught Sanskrit and philosophy at the College for 36 years.


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Eddie Stern http://kpjayi.org/biographies/k-pattabhi-jois
"At 12, he attended a yoga demonstration at his middle school that inspired him to learn more about the ancient practice. He was so excited about this new discovery, he arose early the next morning to meet the impressive yogi he had seen, Sri T. Krishnamacharya, one of the most distinguished yogis of the 20th Century.

After questioning Guruji, Krishnamcharya agreed to take him on as his student, and for the next two years, unbeknownst to his family, Guruji practiced under the great yogi’s strict and demanding tutelage every day before school, walking five kilometers early in the morning to reach Krishnamacharya’s house. He was ambitious in his studies and driven to expand his knowledge of yoga. When he would read the Ramayana and other holy books on the veranda of his house, his family members would say, “Oh, look at the great pundit. Why are you wasting your time with books? Go tend to the cows!”

When Guruji turned fourteen, he was given the Brahmin thread initiation – the ceremony in which a Brahmin boy becomes a man and is initiated into the spiritual life. Soon after the significant ceremony, and with two rupees in his pocket, Guruji secretly ran away from home to seek Sanskrit study at the Sanskrit University of Mysore. After getting off the train, he went straight to the admissions department, showed his thread as proof of being Brahmin [this would gain him free admission], and was accepted to the school. He dutifully attended classes and his studies, and continued his yoga practice, even giving demonstrations that secured him food privileges at the university mess. With little money, life in the beginning was difficult for Guruji, who also begged for food at Brahmin houses. It was three years before he wrote to his father to tell him where he was and what he was doing.

In 1932, he attended a yoga demonstration at the university and was pleased to discover that the yogi on stage was his guru, Sri Krishnamacharya. Having lost touched after Guruji left Kowshika, they recommenced their relationship in Mysore, which lasted twenty-five years”.

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Petri Räisänen http://www.petriraisanen.com/guruji.asp
”Sri K. Pattabhi Jois began to practice astanga yoga at age 12. He had seen a demonstration and heard a speech by T. Krishnamacharya in Hassan's community hall in March of 1927, and this impacted him greatly. After intense questioning by T. Krishnamacharya, two days later K. Pattabhi Jois stood on a mat as a student (sasthaka) of Krishnamacharya and received his first Astanga Vinyasa Yoga class under his soon-to-be Guru. He came and practiced daily with him for two years.

The path of yoga is not necessarily ideal for a child living in a regular Brahmin family. Yoga used to prepare the aspirant for the life of a monk (sannyasis), living outside of society and was not of particular benefit to being part of a family. This ended up causing some conflict with his parents, and for a time he chose to hide his intense interest in the path of yoga. The 12-year-old Pattabhi Jois woke up two hours before his school-classmates, walked five kilometers along a path to Hassan, where T. Krishnamacharya's school was, did his practice while Krishnamacharya counted the vinyasas... and then went to regular school.

After he was officially initiated as a Brahmin in 1930 by his father (young boys are ritually brought into the Brahmins, and are given the characteristic thread {upavita} around their body), he moved to Mysore and enrolled himself in the Sanskrit university, Parkala Math.

In Mysore, he met his guru, T. Krishnamacharya, anew, as he had come to demonstrate astanga yoga. Krishnamacharya opened a yoga shala in 1931 in a wing of Jaganmohan Palace, upon invitation of his student and friend Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV (1894 - 1940), the Maharaja of Mysore. T. Krishnamacharya and K. Pattabhi Jois's guru/student relationship began again and continued until 1953, at which point T. Krishnamacharya moved with his family to Madras (now Chennai).

T. Krishnamacharya's teachings followed the teachings of Rishi Vamana in the Yoga Koruna. K. Pattabhi Jois and about a hundred other students performed the asanas according to the exact technique described therein. They learned all the asana's numbers, the breathing, the movements from one asana to another, and deep concentration. Their guru did not accept even the least bit of fatigue or forgetfulness (when T. Krishnamacharya moved to Madras, he changed his teaching style and became much softer). K. Pattabhi Jois developed quickly under his guru's burning eyes, and so their guru/student relationship deepened, and T. Krishnamacharya began to teach K. Pattabhi Jois daily in yogic theory according to ancient texts, philosophy and practice, as well as the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to heal various illnesses”.

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R. Alexander Medin http://www.ashtanga.com/html/article_medin_alex.html
"Pattabhi Jois was also one of the first students of Krishnamacharya. The two first met in Hassan, Karnataka in 1927 where Krishnamacharya was doing a Yoga demonstration in the Jubilee Hall. Pattabhi Jois became so overwhelmed by what he saw that the following day he approached Krishnamacharya for instruction. Although Krishnamacharya left him to practice on his own a few months later, their teacher-student relationship was to last for nearly thirty years.  During this period, Pattabhi Jois had the great fortune of learning asana, pranayama and various aspects of Indian philosophy from T. Krishnamacharya, alias "The Grandfather of Modern Yoga."

Pattabhi Jois claims that the style of Yoga he teaches is exactly the same as what Krishnamacharya taught him. He openly admits that he has refined some of the sequences of postures given him by Krishnamacharya and grouped them into a clearer, systematic development of sequence. This he claims was something that took place after years of personal observation and experience from the practice, all for the sake of facilitating a greater opening in the body and paving the way for a more integrated experience of Yoga to take place".



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"T. Krishnamacharya's teachings followed the teachings of Rishi Vamana in the Yoga Koruna. K. Pattabhi Jois and about a hundred other students performed the asanas according to the exact technique described therein. They learned all the asana's numbers, the breathing, the movements from one asana to another, and deep concentration". Petri Räisänen 

Pattabhi Jois refered to his first encounter with Krishnamacharya in Hassan as watching him "jump from asana to asana" (suggesting a vinyasa count to each asana), Vinyasa then was clearly present in that first encounter with Krishnamacharya in 1927 ( for Krishnamacharya's jumping to be accomplished enough for demonstration it suggests that he had been jumping from asana to asana for a number of years, suggesting that it may well have been a technique he learned from his own teacher - anyone who has tried to jum back and through will probably agree).

Petri has referred to Pattabhi Jois as having to perform his asana along with the other students to the correct count. Although Krishnamacharya employed groups of asana rather than fixed sequence ( we may however expect there to have been a general framework of asana not unlike the order we find the asana placed in the Primary group from the table below). The asana table below may well go back then before Mysore and be the outline for Pattabhi Jois's own practice  with Krishnamacharya in Hassan. 

Krishnamacharyas Asana 'Syllabus' in groups Primary, Middle and Advanced. From Krishnamacharya's yogasanagalu (1941)








It seems pretty clear that Pattabhi Jois, on being asked to develop a four year college syllabus for the Sanskrit college in 1940 based it on the table that formed the central element of Yogasanagalu. Pattabhi Jois' Primary and Intermediate series follow closely the table with a handful of minor alterations, his Advanced and B series required more development however.


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Krishnamacharya was critical of how Yoga was being taught in India and indicated strongly in his Yoga Makaranda how he felt it should be taught, we can assume then that to some extent at least this informed his own teaching of the young Pattabhi Jois.

from Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda (Mysore 1934)

Now, in this chapter, I will demonstrate the yogasanas that are in practice, the method to practise them, their names, and the benefits received by their practice.

2.3 Warning
The obstacles to becoming an adept yogi are sleep, laziness and disease. One has to remove these by the root and throw them away in order to keep the body under one’s control, to conquer the senses, and to make the prana vayu appear directly in the susumna nadi. Asana siddhi will help all this. To acquire this skill in asana quickly, recite the following slokam every day before practising yoga:
Jivamani Bhrajatphana sahasra vidhdhrt vishvam Bharamandalaya anantaya nagarajaya namaha
Repeat this prayer, do namaskaram to adisesha, perform the relevant puja, meditate on adisesha and then begin the practice. When I explain the rules of yogasana, if the position of the head has not been specified, then keep the head in jalandara bandha. Similarly, if it does not specify where to place the gaze, then the gaze should be directed towards the midbrow. If the position of the hands has not been specified, then the hands should be kept as in siddhasana. Whenever there is a krama where some part of the body has to be held with the hand, and the placement of the hand has not been described, hold the relevant part of the body with the first three fingers of the hand (including the thumb). Make sure to remember this.

When practising the asanas, it is important to do both the right and left sides. First practise the right side and then the left side. If you don’t do this, the strength of yoga will not reach all parts of the body.

2.4 Important Observations
From ancient times, while doing veda adhyayanam, the svaras (the notes udatta (elevated), anudatta (grave) and svarita (middle/articulated)) in the aksharas (syllables) of the vedas are observed and mastered without fail; in music, the rules of sruti (division of octave), layam (metre or time), thrtam and anuthrtam are followed; in pathyatmaha (verses of 4 lines each) poems the rules for chandas, yati, and parasam have been established and are carefully followed; in mantra upasana, the anganyasa, karanyasa, sariranyasa, kalaanyasa, matrukanyasa, ji- vanyasa, tattvanyasa are experienced and understood. Similarly in yogasana, pranayama and the mudras, the vinyasas handed down from ancient times should be followed.
But nowadays, in many places, these great practitioners of yogabhyasa ignore vinyasa krama and just move and bend and shake their arms and legs and claim that they are practising asana abhyasa. This is being done not only in yogabhyasa but also in veda adhyayanam and in mantra upasanas where the rules are being ignored and people shamefully practise this as though it were part of their worldly affairs. If this behaviour continues for some time, even the vedas will be ruined.
Everybody knows that anything that is done without following the prescribed rules will not give any benefits. When we know that this is true, is there any need to reiterate this for the great traditions of yogabhyasa, veda adhyayanam and mantra upasana which provide the best benefits? Some people, who are involved in sahavasa dosha and interested only in worldly benefits, say that they do not see any point in following sanatana dharma or karma yoga. There are reasons for their saying this. I would like to briefly mention one or two points addressing this.

1. They are not following the rules such as vinyasa.

2. Their guru is not teaching them using the secrets and techniques that are

in his experience.

3. The guru has not instructed them properly about the place and time of

practice, the appropriate diet and drink and activities for the practitioner. As a result of many people teaching yogabhyasa in this fashion, many leave the path of yoga saying that they do not see the benefits in yogabhyasa and fall into the traps of various diseases. They do not exercise the body properly and spend money unnecessarily. Instead of following the system properly, they lose their way and waste time on unnecessary pursuits and have started saying that these times are not appropriate for sanatana dharma and karma. Some others, in order to hide the mistakes and bad actions that they have committed, keep saying that doing yogabhyasa makes one go mad and intentionally deceive great people in this manner. In spite of this terrible situation, some young men and women collect some yoga texts from here and there and eagerly begin to practise in either a correct or incorrect way. For these people, god will reveal the secrets of yoga without fail. The modern age belongs to the youth. Let the god of yoga bless them to have good health, long life and body strength.

Following the path that my guru has recommended for me, I am writing down the secrets of yoga.
Yogasana and pranayama are of two types: samantraka and amantraka. Only those who have the right to study the vedas have the authority to practise the yoga that is samantraka. All people have the right to practise the amantraka type. For each asana, there are 3 to 48 vinyasas. None has fewer than 3 vinyasas.

When practising asana, the breath that is inhaled into the body and the breath that is exhaled out must be kept equal. Moreover, practise the asana with their vinyasas by breathing only through the nose.
Just as music without sruti and laya will not give any pleasure, similarly asana practice done without vinyasa krama will not give good health. When that is so, what more is there to say about long life and strength in this context?

In yogabhyasa, there are two types of kriyas langhana kriya and brah- mana kriya. One who is obese should practise langhana kriya. One who is thin should practise brahmana kriya and one who is neither fat nor thin should practise yogabhyasa in both.

Brahmana kriya means to take in the outside air through the nose, pull it inside, and hold it in firmly. This is called puraka kumbhaka.

Langhana kriya means to exhale the air that is inside the body out through the nose and to hold the breath firmly without allowing any air from outside into the body. This is called recaka kumbhaka.
In vaidya sastra, they describe brahmana kriya as meaning a prescribed diet and langhana kriya as meaning to fast. But in yoga sastra it does not have this meaning. Without understanding these intricacies and secrets of yoga, some people look at the books and try to do yogabhyasa (like looking for Ganesa and ending up with a monkey). They get disastrous results and bring a bad name for yoga sastra. We need not pay any attention to their words.

If one practises yogabhyasa in the presence of a guru for a few years, following vinyasa and associated kriyas, the different aspects and qualities of yoga will be revealed. Instead, for those who practise an asana for only one day, and then ridicule it the next day asking what has been gained by this, the correct answer can be given by a farmer. If a person sows some seeds and then complains the next day that no seedlings have grown, no farmer will tolerate such a ridiculous statement.
Some people say that yogabhyasa is only for men and not for women. Some others say that yoga is only for brahmins, kshatriyas, and vaishyas and not for others.

One can immediately state that these people have never read the yoga sastras.

Some other great people scare people by saying that yogabhyasa will drive one mad, and have proceeded to completely destroy the jitendriya tattvam (doctrine of conquering the senses) and other such vairagyam in this world. There seems to be no limit to this kind of hilarious statements.
Those who have minutely examined the Upanishads, the Brihadaranyaka, and Yoga Yajnavalkya Samhita, and who have carefully studied and compared the yoga texts will not utter such foul sentences.

In each section for each particular asana, we have included a description and an enumeration of its vinyasas. The vinyasas in which the head is raised are to be done with puraka kumbhaka and the ones in which the head is lowered must be done with recaka kumbhaka. Uthpluthi (raising the body from the floor with only the support of both hands on the floor is called uthpluthi) should be done on recaka kumbhaka for a fat person and on puraka kumbhaka for a thin person.

Those who ignore these rules and only do yogabhyasa according to their wishes, by following picture books, will be unhappy as a result because they will obtain absolutely no benefits from this. These people then ridicule yogavidya and their sanatana dharma, and start doing physical exercises that are contrary to our country’s ahara guna (diet), jala guna (water) and vayu guna (climate) and waste a lot of money on this. Who is at fault?

Ordinarily, any physical activity will initially cause the body pain. Similarly, yogabhyasa will also initially cause some physical pain. But in a few days, the pain will subside on its own. When we do physical exercises, there are two types: exercising some parts of the body and exercising the entire body. Nowadays, we follow Western exercises and methodology, think that this is easy, spend a lot of money on it, procure expensive equipment from abroad and exercise with no consistency or routine. This is not an achievement of the body but a bodiless effort or a body destroying effort. We did not make up these names. We realize this from the kinds of kriyas that are being followed by the practitioner of these exercises. Moreover, such exercises will give proper blood circulation to some parts of the body while reducing the blood flow in others. This will result in poor strength, and eventually will cause paralysis and lead to an early, untimely death.

To make things worse, when we observe the practitioners of the kinds of physical exercises that exist nowadays, they make loud noises while practising and we notice that they breathe through their mouths. This is very dangerous. It is a danger to our lives. We have life only as long as prana vayu exists in our body. Therefore, such exercises are not suitable for people in our country. It is more intelligent to spend the money nourishing the body than to spend the money on such physical exercises.

There are only three forms of physical exercises that give equal strength to the joints and blood vessels in our bodies: yogabhyasa, karadi sadhana (fencing or fighting with weapons) and archery. I don’t know why people have given up the skill of archery in the present day.

Karadi sadhana can be found to exist here and there but it must be stated that even this does not follow the proper krama nowadays. Through no fault of anybody’s, everybody starts dividing into camps, competing with one another and eventually end up fighting. Moreover, fencing is an effort only for achievement in this world and is not the way to get any permanent results. The greatest fault in karadi sadhana is that many do not achieve the subtle benefits of strength of mind and balance in the body. Good health, longevity, happiness, strong mind and strong body are the five aspects that are essential for a man. If these five parts are not functioning properly, one cannot understand the essence of the universe. With no understanding of this, even acquiring a good life has no meaning. In modern times, many types of strange phenomenan are occurring. Among these, using the skill of discernment to examine the good and the bad, the time has come to carefully choose only the good. This skill to discern exists only in human beings and in no other living beings. If one wants to develop such a skill, it is essential to have complete physical strength, strength of mind, and similarly one needs to conquer each of the five aspects mentioned earlier. The secret of the five aspects is what we call yoga.

For such achievements in yoga, we do not need to send our country’s money elsewhere to procure any items. Whatever money we get, there is plenty of place in our country to store it. The foreigners have stolen all the skills and knowledge and treasures of mother India, either right in front of us or in a hidden way. They pretend that they have discovered all this by themselves, bundle it together, and then bring it back here as though doing us a favour and in exchange take all the money and things we have saved up for our family’s welfare. After some time passes, they will try and do the same thing with yogavidya. We can clearly state that the blame for this is that while we have read the books required for the knowledge of yoga to shine, we have not understood or studied the concepts or brought them into our experience. If we still sleep and keep our eyes closed, then the foreigners will become our gurus in yogavidya.

We have already given the gold vessels we had to them and bought vessels from them made from bad-smelling skin and have started using these. This is a very sad state. Our descendents do not need these sorts of bad habits.

The physical exercise that is yoga, this asana kriya that is with us is more than enough for us. The hut that we live in is enough. We don’t need excessive amounts of money for that. What yoga mata wishes for us is that we eat only the sattvic food that Bharatmata can give us. The ability that our youngsters have to follow outsiders can also be used to follow the knowledge and skills of our country. I have complete faith in this. In schools, it is very important to have this yoga vidya in the curriculum. I do not need to emphasize this specifically to the great scholars who know the secrets of vidya.

For the achievement of all the five angas, the means is yoga. That which gives us good health and good fortune is yoga. That which gives us long life is yoga. That which gives us power of intellect is yoga. That which makes us wealthy is yoga. That which makes us human is yoga. That which makes our Bharatmata virtuous and faithful is yoga. That which gives us the power of discernment to know what we should do and what we should not is yoga. The knowledge that helps us understand why we have taken on this life is yoga. That which gives us the answer to the question — where is our god? — is yoga and not anything else. We can say this confidently.

“Yoga is the foundation
for both
siddhi and liberation"

On analysis, yoga alone paves the way for complete ultimate knowledge of everything
A systematic pristine practice of yoga is a perfect tool for understanding one’s true nature Yoga is a state of oneness of jivatma and paramatma

That which was said then is also a proof of this. 


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Below is an example of the asana instruction for Pachimattanasna from Krishnamacharya's yoga Makranada, we can see how closely it resembles Pattabhi Jois' own instructions ( as well as style of presentation) of the asana in his Yoga Mala.

Example Asana instruction from Yoga Makaranda : Paschimattanasana

8 Pascimattanasana or Pascimottanasana (Figure 4.19 — 4.28)
This asana has many kramas. Of these the first form has 16 vinyasas. Just doing the asana sthiti by sitting in the same spot without doing these vinyasas will not yield the complete benefits mentioned in the yoga sastras. This rule applies to all asanas.

The first three vinyasas are exactly as for uttanasana. The 4th vinyasa is caturanga dandasana, the 5th vinyasa is urdhvamukhasvanasana, the 6th vinyasa is adhomukhasvanasana. Practise these following the earlier instructions. In the 6th vinyasa, doing puraka kumbhaka, jump and arrive at the 7th vinyasa. That is, from adhomukhasvanasana sthiti, jump forward and move both legs between the arms without allowing the legs to touch the floor. Extend the legs out forward and sit down. Practise sitting like this with the rear part of the body either between the two hands or 4 angulas in front of the hands. It is better to learn the abhyasa krama from a guru. In this sthiti, push the chest forward, do puraka kumbhaka and gaze steadily at the tip of the nose. After this extend both arms out towards the feet (the legs are already extended in front). Clasp the big toes of the feet tightly with the first three fingers (thumb, index, middle) of the hands such that the left hand holds the left big toe and the right hand holds the right big toe. Do not raise the knees even slightly. Then, pull in the stomach while doing recaka, lower the head and press the face down onto the knee. The knees should not rise from the ground in this sthiti either. This is the 9th vinyasa. This is called pascimottanasana. In the beginning, everybody will find it very difficult. The nerves in the back, the thighs and the backs of the knees will feel as though They are being fiercely pulled and this will be extremely painful. The pain will remain for 8 days. After this, the pulling on the nerves will release and it will be possible to do the asana without any problem. This pascimottanasana has many forms. After first practising this asana with the face pressed onto the knee, practise it with the chin placed on the knee and then eventually with it placed 3 angulas below the knee on the calf. In the 10th vinyasa raise the head. In the 11th vinyasa, keeping the hands firmly pressed on the ground, raise the entire body off the ground and balance it in the air without touching the ground. The 11th vinyasa is called uthpluthi. The 12th vinyasa is caturanga dandasana. The 13th is urdhvamukhasvanasana. The 14th is adhomukhasvanasana. The 15th is the first vinyasa of uttanasana. The 16th vinyasa is the 2nd vinyasa of uttanasana. Afterwards, return to samasthiti. You should learn the intricacies of this vinyasa only from a guru.

Benefit: This will cure all diseases related to the stomach.

This asana can be done on the floor or on a mat according to the capabilities of one’s body. Learn some of the other forms of pascimottanasana krama by studying the pictures carefully. Pregnant women should not do this asana. But this can be done up to the third month of pregnancy. For men, there are no restrictions to practising this asana. If this is practised every day without fail for 15 minutes, all the bad diseases of the stomach will be removed.



*

Notes

 There are some differences worth noting  between how Krishnamacharya seems to have taught Pattabhi Jois and how Pattabhi Jois went on the present his Ashtanga yoga s'ystem'. 

Krishnamacharya appears to have taught flexible groups of asana, more advanced asana and variations seem to have been added to or practiced in place of the Primrya asana as the student progressed.

Pattabhi Jois was asked to design a syllabus that seems to have been based upon Krishnamacharya's table of asana groups. Although relatively fixed, Manju Jois has mentioned in interviews that his father would be flexible and often give variations to students who were struggling with an asana

Krishnamacharya taught some long stays in certain asana, these aren't present in Pattabhi Jois' presentation except arguably inversions and some of the postures from the finishing sequence. Manju Jois however has mentioned in interviews that his father , in his own practice, would incorporate extremely long stays. Pattabhi Jois has also mentioned that he would have to stay in postures for extended periods during demonstrations, the most striking example being Krishnamacharya lecturing while standing on him in Kapotasana. 

Pattabhi Jois also mentioned the idea of a Rishi series that follows advanced series where 10 asana would be chosen in which the practitioner would stay  in each one for 50 breaths.

In another instance Pattabhi Jois recommended choosing 5 asana and staying in each for twenty minutes. And in yet another, staying for up to an hour in a posture such as purna maysyendrasana in place of the long slow breathing in padmasana in the finishing sequence.

In Krishnamacharya's writing Kumbhaka in asana is everywhere, in Pattabhi Jois' writing and teaching it appears to  be almost completely absent (there is however an indication for nauli to be practiced in bhujapindasana which would involve a kumbhaka after exhalation).

This line from Petri is interesting though

"They learned all the asana's numbers, the breathing, the movements from one asana to another, and deep concentration".

Krishnamacharya would also teach  deep concentration on dharana points during the kumbhaka in asana.

3 comments:

  1. Dear Mr. Grimmly....
    Thank you for the hours of erudition and pleasure my visits to your site enduce!It´s also thrilling to realise Im reading something simultaneously with folks in Zimbabwe and the States - the global village indeed. I show up on your feed as being in Madrid though am actually in the very south _ Algeciras with a wild levante blowing and Gibraltar and Africa appearing and disappearing - the perfect Sunday. May you have a beautiful day
    Sincerely!
    Michelle

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Grimmly,

    This is of topic, but I was wondering if there's a PDF version of Yogasanagalu translation? I feel like I've seen it in one of your posts, but I'm having problem finding it.

    Thank you very much for all your work in assembling this wealth of knowledge.

    Thanks,
    Philip

    ReplyDelete
  3. No PDF versions yet Philip as there is still one more chapter, added in the later editions, still to be translated.

    ReplyDelete

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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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