"Breathing system very important, without breathing no yoga, no curing your body, no curing your body very important breathing system.... You take inhale exhale, inhale exhale, every time 10 second inhale, 10 second exhale, same position you do".
Pattabhi Jois (@ 6:30 in video below).
Recently I've been playing with the idea of changing the blog title to Ashtanga for the over 50s. In the previous post I quoted Pattabhi Jois as suggesting that after 50 we might wish to do less asana, only the most useful.
"For people over fifty, it is enough to practice some of the easier and more useful asanas, as well as some of the pranayamas. Those who have been practicing for many years, however, can do any asana or pranayama without a problem". Pattabhi Jois -Yoga Mala
Less Asana means more time, more time perhaps for long breathing....
I posted the video below of a Pattabhi Jois lecture/demonstration in Switzerland a while back, great video, my favourite of Pattabhi Jois I think. I pointed out his referring to the 10 second inhalation and 10 second exhalation six minutes in previously but some pointed out that this could be merely referring to equal inhalation and exhalation.
What brought the video to mind again was a friend reminding me of Lino's interview in the Guruji book, Pattabhi Jois again stressing long breathing and Lino exploring it, I bought the book again on kindle to check.
Here's the video.
10 second Inhalation/10 second exhalation. (6:00)
48 Suryanamaskaras every day (7.00)
finishing sequence (11:30)
150 breaths in Shoulderstand (12.35)
also the three hour headstand and where to place the head.... or not
Pattabhi Jois in interviews/conference
"Question: Doing vinyasa is it correct to stop for example in urdhva mukha svanasana for more than one breath?
Answer: Only one breath, inhale one breath, exhale. Inhale, exhale only one breath. Inhale 10 seconds or 15 seconds then exhalation also 10 seconds or 15 seconds. This is 10 times I am telling, you don’t understand!"
"Long breathing - inhalation long breathing, your chest expanding and you will be very strong after. If long breathing, inhalation is not correct or if only the exhalation is coming long, that is heart trouble is starting. That is very bad. Inhalation more you take, exhalation little down you take. There is no problem. Inhalation you want, long inhalation'. http://www.aysnyc.org
Pattabhi Jois is very aware that this would lead to an impossibly long practice, he mentions five hours (full vinyasa was being practiced back then also) in some of the quotes on the post linked to below. He mentions that these days we aren't Yogi's sitting in caves, we have jobs, he suggests perhaps that the long slow breathing is an ideal, advanced practice.
"...You can understand. Full time you take, full vinyasa you doing. Only for (completing) primary asanas takes 5 hours. 5 hours primary postures (with) full vinyasa. 50 asanas is there completely primary postures. That 50 asanas you doing taken 5 hours, with full vinyasa. You working. Another place is working. Yes you take money, you eating food, all you want. That only for your spending (free) time only for yoga, very rare (little time), very difficult also yourself. That is why you short cut you take. That is one or two hours. Two hours spent your yoga practice. That is good. That is also is good. Yes OK. That I tell you".
More quotes from the interviews on aysnyc on this post
Over 50 we (officially) get the option to practice less asana, we can go back to Krishnamacharya's original Ashtanga and reclaim the long breathing, Pattabhi Jois' ideal practice.
Truth be told there has always been the option of less asana, Pattabhi Jois mentions as much in Yoga Mala, short of time we could just do the Sury namaskara and jump to finishing. We could do that anyway, practice just the surys and finishing but with long breathing and perhaps longer stays, in Sirsasana for example as Sharath recommends.
And for those under 50, trying to stick to a full series...., rather than explore long breathing or long stays throughout the series, just pick one or two posture, baddha konasana perhaps where we might explore a long stay of fifty breaths or stick with five or ten and make them longer instead...., perish the thought we might even throw in a kumbhaka just as Pattabhi Jois' teacher instructed.
..... there's a lot of elbow room buried away within the 'method'.
This video gives a bit of an idea perhaps of what a 10 second inhalation and 10 second exhalation looks like ( it's actually probably closer to eight for each here plus kumbhakas) but more important is what it feels like to experience the breath this way in asana and we only get that from trying it for ourselves and deciding if this approach is for us.... or not.
We need a filmmaker to make one long, smooth, steady, comfortable breath look.... interesting?
Here's Iyengar in Kino shorts, with a 45 second inhalation/45 second exhalation.
"Breath is the king of the mind..."