“One of my goals in life is to do the slowest Primary Series anywhere… rather than the quickest”. Richard Freeman

NEWS:

New R. Saraswathi Resource page at the top of the blog to join those for Sharath R. Jois, Manju Jois, Pattabhi Jois, Krishnamacharya and Srivatsa Ramaswami.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Spring, first drop of sweat on the mat, state of asana.

It's spring I tell ya, 

....first drop of sweat on the mat this morning, there it was at the end of standing, was so excited that I stopped to take a photo. 



It might have happened earlier or been a towel full by now if not for the new approach to breathing  I'm taking (Simon Borg-Olivier's abdominal approach) which seems to be cutting down on sweating generally, we'll see as the humidity creeps up to 100% in this old, Air conditioner free house in Osaka, Japan.

You might prefer this image of spring


This is Sakuranomiya, cherry trees all down the river and pretty much the view from my train into work each day. It's one stop from work and I'm off there after this post, a walk along the river for an hour or so before work.

So with the warmer weather an opportunity to consider the state of play as far as practice is concerned. 

Winter has taken it's toll, the last year actually, winter was just an excuse for minimal practice. Less asana shouldn't justify a lack of commitment and engagement with those asana one does practice, I have to admit, I've let things slip.

Did come up from dropback without tapping off the wall today  that was a first for a while, kapo was, well... far from the blog header picture but I'll take it and am surprised it's not worse considering how little I practice 2nd. A little concerned at how far my legs sink back but kapo's gone and come back again before, I'm optimistic, be nice to get the heels back such that I can settle in again and breathe.


One of my favourite people in Ashtanga might be pleased to hear that my Supta Kurmasana has taken a leave of absence, again rarely practiced but I was surprised to lose it altogether, did my body just get old while I was taking it easy?

Garbha pindasana? will wait and see until it's warmer to see if that's still happening, haven't practiced it since August last year in Rethymno. Will I sweat at all with this approach to breathing 100% humidity, probably.

What else have I lost,...Marichi D still binds remarkably but only just. Others that I do practice regularly are a pleasure, Maha Mudra/Janu Sirsasana, Baddha konasana etc... karandavasana goes down but certainly not up but that was hit and miss back in Rethymno. Hasta padangustasana is enjoyable recently with the abdominal breathing...

Oh you know, asana, it is what it is. Still, Spring resolve is to be a little more committed to the asana, the form, the container and not just the breath within, one reflects upon the other.

Need to be more Stoical in my practice and in life in general

Been loving Epictetus in my ipad Stoic bible so much that I splashed out, wonderful stuff

Pranayama was a surprise, Ive been including six rounds before and six rounds after practice, Sribhashyam's ( Krishnamacharya's son) approach, which was fine but when I attempted the longer practice I was used to from Ramaswami and Vinyasa Krama this morning, I found it quite an effort.

The extra weight I'm carrying doesn't help perhaps, more lack of discipline this year that I really can't excuse by blaming it on a mild depression brought on by the years disruption or the subtle grieving that comes with parting from those one loves. 

I chose this, Epictetus, Seneca and Marcus would shake their heads I'm sure.

Still. the funk (and it's appetite) seems to be passing, sweat, cherry blossom, fine writing and ideas cheering me as well as realising this morning that I'd missed three new interviews on Lu's Ashtanga Parampara and had them to look forward to.

Read the first of the three before practice, Krista Shirley who I seem to remember had a cybershala blog a while back. Here's my FB intro to the link because I want to rush out and see some trees

 A courageous post here from Krista Shirley with an intro that must have been hard to write. And it turns out she went to Rollins in Orlando, my ex ( and one of my oldest, dearest friends) went there and I spent a lot of time visiting following cheap BA flights from my Dad. Here's Ashtanga then as an effective tool for growth and assist for healing, there's a particularly nice bit on meditation before practice ( and also a mention of home practice). Now to the mat or the other two interviews....
"I strongly believe in meditation. It has always helped me maintain balance and motivation in my practice. If you don’t already have a sitting practice, try to start with just a few minutes each day before you take practice. Sit somewhere you are comfortable and pick a word or image and focus on that for five minutes. Set an alarm on your phone when you are starting out. Even if you don’t like sitting, especially at first, this will help you better set your intention for asana, and help you regain that accountability for it as well. I think some of us sometimes allow our lives into our practice in the mental sense; we rush there and rush through asana because we might lose that sacred distinction between ‘you time’ and the rest of the day. When they blur we might feel like we don’t have time for this yoga stuff because we have too many other things we must do. Then it becomes a chore, another thing we must cross off the list….and then its no longer a treat, a reprieve from life, but just another burden. Meditation even a few minutes a day will help re-define your ‘you time’ and WHY you need it and deserve it". 




Monday, 30 March 2015

Krishnamacharya's tricky ekapada sirsasana ( or ekapada viparitakarani)

I currently have a soft spot for this headstand variation, ekapada viparitakarani


I came across it awhile back in Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda (Part II) but couldn't figure out what was going on in the instructions or how to get into it.

Recently I saw a photograph of Simon Borg-Olivier in the posture, realised that it was possible and decided to explore. 

Before trying it you should be comfortable with the 2nd series Ashtanga Vinyasa  or vinyasa Krama niralumba sirsasana (without support) variations. 



The question now is do we have both hands outstretched, palms down, as in the Ashtanga 2nd series variation and then lower and raise one leg at a time or do we take only the one hand/arm out from behind the head and lower the leg to that. Krishnamacharya's instructions are unclear. 

I suggest trying the 'both arms outstretched in frount of you' variation first. Below I'm exploring a konasana variation following a misreading of the text.


Just goes to show how easily you can get it wrong practicing from a text. I misread Krishnamacharya here. thought he had written spread the legs into konasana then lower on to the palms but actually he spreads the legs into konasana for six breaths, then brings them back together before lowering. That said, I'm sure he practiced this variation also.


Assuming you're comfortable with the Ashtanga Vinyasa 2nd series unsupported headstand variations, the approach I take to the more challenging version is to move one hand from supported headstand into tripod then stretch my arm out, the back of the hand on the mat, then follow Krishnamacharya's instructions, lowering the foot to the hand for six breaths.


Return the same way via the hand in tripod.

Another variation might be to raise up into the headstand variation with one arm already outstretched

Sharath has suggested we explore longer headstands, this might be an option to look at while doing so along with many of those found in Ramaswami's Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga.



A curious thing about Krishnamacharya ( or the editor's) presentation is that he refers to this asana as SIRSHASANA-EKAPADA-VIPARITAKARANI. I'd always assumed viparitikarani was the mudra version of sirsasana and as a mudra perhaps more static, characterised by the employment of bandhas, kumbhaka's and longer stays, lowering and raising the leg in viparitakarani was then a surprise, perhaps this is why (Hatha Yoga) is included in brackets.

I don't tend to think long stays in an unsupported headstand variations is appropriate, in the Ashtanga 2nd series variations one only stays for five breaths. It's true that Krsihnamacharya only indicates six breaths here but he tends to recommend long, slow breathing in his asana practice as well as in the vinyasa, when added to the kumbhaka  (even the shorter one of a couple of seconds recommended for sirsasana) that's a significant period of time without support for the neck.

Update
First attempt to explore this full sequence together rather than separately. Faster breathing than usual because of the recording and a little unsteady due to some anxiety about the glass shoji screens to my left (showing up especially on the second side). The second eka pada approach comes up 3 and a half minutes in.





Below are Krishnamachayra's instructions, starting off with those for sirsasana as he refers to them in the later asana.


SIRSHASANA--HEAD STAND
Sisshasana, Yoga Makaranda Mysore, 1934

This asana is so called because the head supports the whole body. This is also variously called KAPHALASANA, BRAHMASANA. These three, however, differ to some extent both in the technique and in the benefits derived. These differences have to be learnt under personal instructions form a Guru. This asana is beneficial in a large number of diseases and is rightly termed the ‘king of all the asanas’.

Technique:


1. Place something soft, like a cushion, folded blanket or carpet on the floor touching the wall.

2. Kneel on the ground facing the wall.

3. Lock the fingers together, thumbs upright, and place them about four inches from the wall. Let the elbows rest on the cushion, the elbows being not more than a foot apart.


4. Bend the neck and place the top of the head firmly on the cushion inside the knitted fingers. The thumbs should press behind the ears.

5. Eyes are to be kept closed.

6. Raise the hips, so that the knees are straightened and bring the feet as near the head
as possible. The toes, the feet and knees are to be kept together. The back will now rest
against the wall.

7. Take long breaths twice.

8. Lift both the feet simultaneously to an upright position. Toes together, knees
together. The back will rest on the wall. Straighten the back so that the whole body may rest solely on the top of the head without the support of the wall.
Note: For beginners to raise the legs upright without bending the knees will be difficult and the help of another person may be taken. If necessary the knees may be bent, brought closer to the body, the back still kept in contact with the wall and with a slight jump the legs taken above the head, and the knees still bent. The legs are then straightened slowly, the knees together, the toes together and the toes pointed.

9. Toes should be pointed and the thigh and calf muscles should be stretched.

10. Slowly inhale and exhale deeply with rubbing sensation in the throat. When exhalation is complete the abdomen should be well drawn in (UDDIYANA BANDHAM).

Note:
For proper benefit of the asana it is essential that the breathing should be regulated i.e., as long and as thin as possible,
Normal shallow breathing does not give any benefit. (Concentration on Lord Ananthapadmabanabha gives added benefit.) (a combination of asana, pranayama and dhyana gives proper benefit.) (See in this connection Sutra 47 Chapter II of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Vaschaspati Misra’s and Bala Ramodasin’s commentaries.

For the first week do not exceed six inhalations and exhalations. There should be no retention of breath. Uddiyana bandha, in the beginning should be done only once a day.
Every week the number of inhalations and exhalations may be increased by four, so that the duration of the asana is slowly brought up.

11. After the number of rounds of breathing is over, slowly bring down the legs. In the beginning the knees may have to be bent, but as practice advances, the knee can be kept straight.


12. Lie on the back relaxed and take rest for at least for three minutes.
Note: 1. For people who are overweight over 190 lbs. Sirshasana should be begun only after the weight has been reduced.



SIRSHASANA-EKAPADA-VIPARITAKARANI - (Hatha Yoga)

Preparation, move one hand from supporting the head to laying out flat in frount of you


Technique:

1. The first three steps are the same as for the last asana.

2. While exhaling, slowly lower right leg to the ground so that the right foot will rest
on the right palm. The left leg is kept upright. The thigh and calf muscles of both the legs
are kept stretched.

3. Stay in this position for 6 breaths.

4. While inhaling, raise the leg back to the upright position.

5. Repeat with the left leg.

6. The next steps are the same as in step 7 of the previous asana.





VIPARITA KONASANA:


Technique

1. The first eight steps are the same as for Sirshasana.

2. Exhaling, the legs are spread apart, and the thigh and calf muscles kept stretched,
toes should be pointed.

3. Do six deep breathing.

4. Inhaling, bring the legs together.

The next steps are the same as 11 and 12 given under Sirshasana.



DVIPADA VIPARITAKARANI

The hands outstretched variation of sirsasana in 2nd series as preparation for lowering the feet to the hands

Technique:


1. The first step is the same as Sirshasana.

2. While exhaling both the legs are lowered to the ground without bending the knees and keeping the thigh and calf muscles stretched.

3. Do six deep breathing.

4. While inhaling raise both the legs together to the upright position.

5. While exhaling bend knees and return to the floor and rest.

6.     Exhale, bend knees, so that they approach the throat, lower the hips so that the back rests on the ground and then stretch the legs, so that the whole forms a rolling movement.


7. Take rest at least for a minute.


Benefits:
The thyroid gets special benefits. The waist line is reduced. This tones up the liver. This helps in preventing piles, and helps in curing gastric troubles.
(Note: The above three variations are according to Hatha Yoga).


Note:

In the beginning it may be difficult to bring the body to an upright position without bending the knees.

So the knees may be bent and the thighs bent over the body.
The hips are raised from the ground and the back supported by the palms.
The legs are now stretched.

If there is still difficulty, then help of somebody should be taken.

If the body is fat and no help is available, the help of the wall may be sought so that it can support the heels at gradually increasing levels.

This is done by lying on the ground facing the wall perpendicular to it.
After some time the hips can also be raised by having a bedroll near the wall.
When some strength is gained the heels are removed from the wall and the legs brought upright.

(As breathing exercises are done in these positions the abdominal muscles get toned up and the stomach becomes more and more pliable and soft.


The chin should be locked in the neck pit. This ensures that the head is placed symmetrical with the body so that the neck muscles may not be strained. The neck pit is the depression in front of the thyroid between the collar bones.
Note: The chin lock will not be possible in the beginning stages, but it should be kept in mind that the head is kept symmetrical with the body and the neck muscles are not strained.

The full chin lock will become possible when the body is fully upright and the palms have reached a position in the back as low as possible.


Slowly inhale and exhale with even, long breaths through both nostrils, with rubbing sensation in the throat, not more than six times at the beginning. There should be no retention of breath. The number of inhalations and exhalations may be slowly increased at the rate of two each week.


Note:
The final duration of this asana can be 5 to 10 minutes when it is done by itself. If on the other hand other asanas are also being done the duration may be suitably reduced.

*

More on Krishnamacharya's headstands here
http://grimmly2007.blogspot.jp/2014/11/krishnamacharyas-1930s-mysore-headstand.html

Some more sirsasana variations from Krishnamacharya from 1938 (Mysore).


Saturday, 28 March 2015

A blog's loss of purpose.... Plus a glitzy (Love) Hotel practice

or not taking yourself ( and/or your blog) so seriously.

Nothing like practicing in a kitsch Osaka 1970s Love hotel to put things into perspective and as for the above, guilty as charged, clearly.

I'd thought a step back from the blog was in order because others seemed to be taking it too seriously (being quoted freaked me out a bit - You're quoting a blog, you know that right) but ended up taking it more seriously than anyone else, thinking to go out on a big post, what was I thinking!

Some have kindly said my last post was my best post ever, I'm inclined to think that the first one probably was, certainly less pretentious.

So rather than posting elsewhere, all fresh and clean, it's back to basics here and to practice, which is what it is, and less reflection on what that might be.

*

Besides, interesting times are ahead, the cold weather has pretty much gone, the cherry blossom is coming into bloom and the threat of Osaka's humidity is almost upon us and in a house with no air conditioning, what effect is that going to have on practice.

Here's the glitzy Love Hotel practice post that I shamefully posted elsewhere rather than sharing with you who have continued to visit here.

Leak in the bathroom, bath being ripped out, it's going to take a week.
In the past, with an extended family sharing small houses, the short stay hotel was born, a chance to get away from the kids, the in-laws etc.

It's also possible to have a long stay, all night in fact  and is often the cheapest most comfortable option in town (from 8pm - 2pm = 5100 yen).

Osaka they has come to embrace kitsch, the above is one of the ... 'fanciest' unfortunately it was full when we arrived so had to go across the street.
 At first glance  Glitzy, a close inspection shows it's age, the 70's perhaps which might explain the Saturday Night fever dance floor.

A room with ten thousand loves stories, if the walls were inclined to whisper....



Heart shaped graphic equaliser, obviously.
The jazz station had a fondness for Lester young,he would have approved I think. 
...and how could I resist practicing here.



with so many blown bulbs, it reminded me a little of code, The matrix perhaps, and the more I think about these rooms....
unfortunately there was only a red HAL like light (above the bed..... I know), not green,
wrong movie. 




sarvangasana
Sirsasana

Krishnamacharya's Sirsasana ekapada vipariakarani - (Hatha Yoga)
 See HERE
The windows of such hotels are shuttered, discrete.... letting the world in the following morning however, temples and magnolia
Morning.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Updated: Yoga's loss of purpose.

UPDATE

This post was a response to quite aggressive criticisms sent to me regarding Sharath Jois following notes, recorded in good faith, at his recent conference see here Frond yoga with Becky May​ 

Included  in this post is an exchange on Krishnamacharya....

Becky isn't recording here so there's no transcription, however she reports Sharath's response to a question.

"There was a question I didn’t hear, but that I assume asked something along the line of why different students of Krishnamacharya teach yoga so differently.

‘Pattabhi Jois was a student of Krishnamacharya for 25 years. Go and ask those students who changed his teaching why. I didn’t waste my time wondering why other teachers changed the teaching – you ask them!’"

The post below suggests that many of the important changes or alternative approaches to practice introduced into Ashtanga Vinyasa were already in place before Sharath joined his grandfather, the most significant being for me the fixed sequence.

Pattabhi Jois studied with Krishnamacharya for twenty-five years or more and I imagine he experienced many forms of Krishnamacharya's teaching; one to one or in a very small group of students for two years in Hassan in 1924, as part of a much larger group in the Mysore Palace classes in the 1930s and no doubt on a one to one basis as one of Krishnamacharya's advanced students and assistants. 

I imagine in that time he was taught in each and every variation of practice outlined here, from slow breathing to fast, long and short stays, following both a more generally fixed and a more flexible format. 

Many of the changes presented here are changes to how Pattabhi Jois himself first presented the teaching in Yoga Mala but it doesn't follow that it went against how Krishnamacharya taught him at different periods. 

How Pattabhi Jois taught in later life may be different in certain details from how Krishnamacharya presented practice in Yoga Makaranda but so too is how Krishnamacharya himself taught in later years, the vinyasa count for example, implicit but not necessarily included for every asana. Pattabhi Jois may well be taking aspects of how he was taught by Krishnamacharya in different situations and applying them to similar pedagogic situations he encountered in his own teaching. The large groups of boys at the Mysore palace, put at 100 by some, and the large room of 80 today in Gokulam, Mysore.

The changes I present here might be better seen as alternatives, or options for practice as I suggest, that can be reclaimed and reintroduced into our practice, perhaps one at a time rather than all at once and explored in our home practice.

Kumbhaka however seems to be something that Pattabhi Jois never taught, Manju has gone so far as to suggest that it is 'wrong' and there are cases where Krishnamacharya has indicated not to include kumbhaka, when for example first practicing certain asana and mudra, Sirsasana and sarvangasana for example ( although later one may introduce short kumbhaka of a 2-5 and perhaps later even 10 seconds). That doesn't imply however that we can't or shouldn't explore kumbhaka for ourselves following the guidelines for practice presented to us in Krishnamacharya's own Yoga Makaranda (1934). Kumbhaka is also something that Krishnamacharya continued to teach and encourage throughout his teaching career.

It may just be that Kumbhaka in asana was something that Krishnamacharya never taught Pattabhi Jois directly. Perhaps, after encountering or being given by Krishnamacharya a copy of Yoga Makaranda perhaps) he asked Krishnamacharya and was told to practice as he had been taught, just as Pattabhi Jois told Nancy Gilgoff

“Guruji… everything is changing… what will I do… how should I teach?”
Without hesitation he said “You teach the way I taught YOU!” 
Nancy Gilgoff from HERE

See also this on parampara and how change can come about authentically

Once our practice is established the onus is on us to consider taking it forward rather than perhaps pursuing it as an end in itself, employing our practice towards attaining a purpose that may be free to change and broaden. 

That purpose may change from more worldly concerns to those of a soteriological nature (the attainment of transcendent moksha (liberation), my contention below is that following a fixed sequence may maintain us in the former and be a distraction from pursuing ( or exploring) the latter, the natural progression towards the other limbs of Ashtanga yoga.

SRI PATTABHI JOIS
"Three of the disciples of my Guru, Sri Pattabhi Jois, Sri B K S Iyengar and Sri T K V Desikachar, propagated Yoga in the modern times and their influences have been phenomenal. The oldest of them, Sri Pattabhi Jois, taught the unique adaptation of my Acharya’s asana teaching, christened Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. It has caught the imagination of hundreds of thousands of Yogis all over the world and is practiced with tremendous enthusiasm. His passing away at the ripe old age of 94 leaves a void in the Yoga World. A tremendous teacher, Guruji was dearly loved and highly respected in the Yoga world. I had not met him but am aware that he was an ideal student of my Guru. The debt to a father is repaid by the offspring by exemplary conduct. “What good karmas the father should have done to get such a wonderful offspring”, people should say of the son/daughter. Likewise it is said that a student should bring out the glory of the teacher by his teachings -- “Acharyam praksayeth.” People should wonder, “Who was his teacher?”
Sri Jois by his relentless and pioneering work on Yoga brought name, fame and respect to the legacy of his teacher Sri Krishnamacharya.
Om Shanti".

Sivatsa Ramaswami



***


Yoga's loss of purpose

This started off simply as a comment and share of the blog below but became a little longer as I tried to work out my own thinking such that I decided to turn it into a blog post 

It is not intended as a criticism of anybody but rather of a questioning, of choices made, paths taken that I am far from qualified to pose let alone attempt to answer, it also of course reflects my own prejudice for practice, still.....

It questions the essential meaning/purpose of our practice, has it been lost, mislaid, is it hidden from view by other more urgent but perhaps more mundane reasons for practice, have we replaced transcendent with worldly transformational. This is a search for answers to these questions by retracing our steps, to look again at turnings that were chosen.

*


When I look at the Ashtanga practice I was first exposed to eight years ago and then at Pattabhi Jois' Yoga Mala as well as Krishnamacharya's original texts I find major differences. Pattabhi Jois claimed on several occasions that he only taught that which Krishnamacharya taught him. We now know that the sequences, as well as the approach to the practice of them,  that Pattabhi Jois presented was closely based on the groups of asana that Krishnamacharya presented, there are differences however, perhaps they don't matter so much, mere details only... or perhaps the changes are so dramatic as to question the basis and purpose of the practice we engage in.

Yoga history might be seen as one of democratisation*, the ancient shrouded ascetic practices and texts made more readily available by the medieval Hatha yogis in their manuals but even these became ever more obscure, connected as they were to individual sects often requiring initiation into how to approach the practices outlined.
*train of thought inspired by James Mallinson

Krishnamacharya stripped back some of the more obscure practices that had grown up in the different sects and presented an approach to yoga, influenced by hatha yoga texts but tied more closely to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and made available to the householder.

The practices may have changed but not the purpose, still essentially soteriological, one of self realisations, and/or of knowing god.

Pattabhi Jois might be seen as having gone even further, along with his fellow student of Krishnamacharya, BKS Iyengar, he made Krishnamacharya's presentation of householder Ashtanga yoga available outside India.

 Yoga's soteriological justification however may have become lost along the way

“metaphysical knowledge always has a soteriological purpose.” Mircea Eliade.

For me this may have happened with the change from Krishnamacharya's loose groups of asana to Pattabhi Jois' fixed sequences. A quirk of history, a response to a pedagogic imperative to produce a four year syllabus.

Krishnamacharya may well have presented a simpler version of his understanding of yoga to his students, the boys of the Mysore palace ( or what he felt was appropriate to them at the time), but his texts give us a clearer understanding of how he himself saw the possibilities of yoga.

For Krishnamacharya, asana was always intended as part of an integrated practice, but even in asana practice,  in that one limb, Krishnamacharya saw possibilities for seeking realisation, he saved a place for it, there between every inhalation and exhalation and between every exhalation and inhalation.

With the move to a fixed series the focus can have a tendency to shift to completing the series. If time is an issue then compromises are often made with the breath rather than the series itself, the length of each breath, the pace, the number. To complete the sequence more attention is perhaps given to the mechanics of the asana, to it's place within the sequence. And then, once a series is completed..., well, there is another and then another.

Note: Pattabhi Jois does outline some different approaches to the series in Yoga Mala dependent on age and health

People were drawn to these flowing series for different reasons, transformations of sorts perhaps but often at a more mundane level, necessary perhaps but more worldly transformations in physique, habits... mood.

Pranayama teaching was offered in the beginning but mostly seemed tacked on the end and that too turned into a series. Pattabhi Jois' philosophy talks were so under attended that he gave up on them altogether, students were given a pass as far as mediation was concerned although many would look outside for alternative forms of meditation rather than from within yoga.

The Yoga Sutras with simplified commentaries were flicked through but rarely studied and if studied then seldom practiced.

Yoga became asana, asana posture, posture shapes.

It is that which was picked up by the west as it became available just down the street, in the local studio, rather than committing oneself to extensive periods of study in India or with teachers who had made that commitment themselves whether in India or in their home practice. Free from purpose, from meaning, yoga was free to be appropriated, adapted beyond recognition. The irony is that many, believing they came from an authentic practice, would criticise the offspring as 'Not yoga'.

Much the same seems to have happened in Iyengar with it's strong focus on alignment and however much Iyengar himself referred to each asana as a prayer. In the Desikachar lineage perhaps something similar happened with the attention on asana ( and admittedly some pranayama and chanting/meditation) shifted to health and therapy.

And yet all one perhaps needs do to rediscover the yoga is to compromise elsewhere, question the Series, the obsessive attention to alignment, to health benefits claimed for the asana, focus instead on this asana, this seat, this moment rather than the next....., slow the breath, leave a space at the top and bottom of the inhalation, the other limbs I suggest will follow.

I want to believe yoga can still mean more than the mundane.

*

Most of the changes I list below happened before Sharath joined his grandfather, some reach back to Pattabhi Jois' first independent teaching position in the 1940s at the Sanskrit college.

I imagine that as far as Sharath is concerned his grandfather was indeed presenting the practice just as it had been passed to him from Krishnamacharya.

Pattabhi Jois may have felt the same.

However Pattabhi Jois studied under Krishnamacharya as a boy, he assisted Krishnamacharya in his teens and was offered his first teaching position in his early 20s. It may well be the case that the practice Krishnamacharya passed to him was a version aimed at the large number of young boy's of the palace in their one hour asana class. This perhaps explains the differences between the practice Pattabhi Jois presented in Yoga Mala and the mature practice found in Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda.

We don't however have to go back so far, we can find major changes, not merely modifications of the series  in Pattabhi Jois' own presentation of the practice between that which we find in Yoga Mala and that presented in the World tours of the late 80s and early 90s, the period when Sharath would spend more and more time assisting his grandfather.

What Sharath is perhaps defending then is the presentation of Ashtanga Vinyasa that his father is offering in response to the growing number of students, a practice that had already traveled a long way from that which T. Krishnamacharya had presented in Mysore and perhaps changed irredeemably through the shift to a fixed Series from the more flexible asana groups.

With a fixed Series the impetus was to complete the series and as popularity increased, practicing for three hours or more became more of an issue. With less time to practice the same number of asana one was forced to choose were to compromise, as we shall see, the length and pace of the breath, the number of breaths taken, the repetitions, variations, the full vinyasa count of each individual asana...

*

Did Pattabhi Jois himself change Krishnamacharya's teaching?

In the quote at the top of the post I'm guessing Sharath is referring to Iyengar, who himself claimed to have changed elements of Krishnamacharya's "jumping" practice, so nothing controversial there.

There was certainly a turning of Krishnamacharya's flexible groups of asana into several (mostly) fixed Series and I would argue that this was a dramatic change in approach that completely changed the character and direction of Krishnamacharya's original practice ( in some good ways but perhaps in others less beneficial).

As for the rest, the longer, slower breath that Pattabhi Jois also referred to in several interviews as the ideal, was we know changed (shortened, speeded up) for beginners. We know from his son Manju that Pattabhi Jois himself practiced long stays, so that too was a departure.

My guess is though that there was a difference between Krishnamacharya's own practice (which included kumbhaka, short breath retentions ) and what he presented to the boys of the Mysore palace (a hundred students at one point supposedly and only an hour class), as well as his senior students, like Pattabhi Jois.

I find it unlikely that the young Pattabhi Jois dared to ask the terrifying master that many questions. He did supposedly ask one however, It's said that when Pattabhi Jois was asked to teach the four year yoga course at the Sanskrit college he asked Krishnamacharya to approve the syllabus. Looking at the syllabus now we can see the original four Ashtanga series (primary to Advanced B) based on on Krishnamacharya's three groups ( Primary, Middle Advanced).

Did Pattabhi Jois make it clear that he intended to teach fixed series rather than groups of asana, had he at that point even made that decision or did that come about in those first years of teaching? To Krishnamacharya it may have merely appeared as though Pattabhi Jois intended to teach those particular asana outlined under each year and that they were based on Krishnamacharya's own division of asana groups. However,  Krishnamacharya would surely have know what was being taught, just down the road, by his senior student, he perhaps saw it as an acceptable approach given the pedagogic situation. He continued to be supportive it seems of the Jois family up to a point at least into the 1970s providing Pattabhi Jois' daughter with a teaching certificate seemingly based on the sanskrit count of individual asana in 1975.

While I'm suggesting above that the essential soteriological purpose may have become lost somewhere along the way and that I indicate this happened with the shift to fixed series ( even though many approaches to yoga later abandoned fixed sequences, the damage I suggest had already been done). This is not to say that there is not a search for meaning and purpose to the practice within Ashtanga Vinyasa. With it's dedicated, six day a week practice, Ashtangi's are well placed to search for meaning but more often than not those so inclined seem to turn to other meditative practices, thus Ashtanga practice became at most an exercise in dhrana rather than dhyana, concentration rather than contemplation.



10 ways Pattabhi Jois Changed Krishnamacharya's teaching


1. Series rather than groups of asana (1940)

This had the most far reaching effect and changed perhaps the whole character of the practice, students tend to have to fit themselves to the series rather than the asana to the student. That said, the Mysore approach to teaching allows for a degree of flexibility in this. No one is expected to practice more than they are comfortable and yet peer pressure as well as that from some teachers and the images of advanced practice that flood the media should be taken into account.

2. Quicker shorter breaths.

Pattabhi Jois stressed in several  interviews throughout his life that a long slow breath (15-20 seconds each for inhalation and exhalation), just as we find in Krishnamacharya, was the ideal, however beginners begin with half that or even less. What has in fact happened is that short breaths have become the norm for beginners and experienced practitioners alike.

3. Shorter stays in asana, less breaths.

Krishnamacharya talked of long stays and both he and Pattabhi Jois mention staying in the asana and breathing for as long as possible, again as an ideal. Pattabhi Jois later reduced the number of breaths still from 8 in some postures down to 5 although the number of breaths in the finishing sequence seems to have remained the same as in Pattabhi Jois' early presentation.

4. Half Vinyasa rather than Full Vinyasa.

Each asana as a vinyasa count leading to and from the asana, we find this count outlined in Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda (1938) just as in Pattabhi Jois' Yoga Mala.
At some point this was abandoned by Pattabhi Jois in favour of half vinyasa. The argument given was that students would become tired. The tiredness however comes from having to complete a full, fixed, series rather than from the full vinyasa of an asana. This is another example of an essential element of Krishnamacharya's practice that was changed to accommodate the shift to a fixed series.

That said Krishnamacharya himself seemed to abandon the full vinyasa in favour of moving directly from one asana to another although Ramaswami has stated that for Krishnamacharya the full vinyasa was always implicit.


5. Drishti

Krishnamacharya had two dhyana/dharana drishti, between the eyebrows and the tip of the nose, Pattabhi Jois seems to have changed this first to five and then later to nine, points of attention rather than contemplation.


6.  Reducing time spent in an asana

These are more related to Pattabhi Jois' own presentation of a fixed sequence and not related to Krishnamacharya who seems to have had a more flexible approach to asana. The changes tend to be minor however some of the changes suggest adapting the practice to the demands of growing popularity rather than the integrity of the practice. Cutting out repetitions and variations, cut down even further the length of time spent in an asana. Taking paschimottanasana where Krishnamacharya recommended a long stay that was accommodated with the original four different hand to foot variations was reduced first to three and now to only two variations.

7.  Gateway postures

Some other changes are of note, Marichiyasana D was part of Krishnamacharya's Middle group of asana but came to be included in the Primary series and as a 'gateway' posture, often holding students up from practicing other primary group postures ( although Manju teaches that one should be held back in a posture but continue to work on it while progressing to other appropriate postures). More worrying however is that 'gateway' postures engender a sense of challenge, something to be overcome, achievement, competition when perhaps what is most desirable is to reside comfortably in an asana whether that at be Marichiyasana A or at some point D. 

8. Kumbhaka

It is unclear if Pattabhi Jois was ever taught to include Kumbhaka in asana, he was a boy at the time and even though a senior student, Krishnamacharya may not have considered it appropriate to introduce it into the boys practice. That said Krishnamacharya was happy to include it in both Yoga Makaranda and Yogasanagalu. Kumbhaka for Krishnamacharya seems to be an essential, almost defining aspect of practice that he continued to teach throughout his life.  Kumbhaka is related to dhyana what is left is a focus on the breath rather than the space between the breaths, it also has an impact on the employment of bandhas.


9. Chin to Knee rather than head to knee

Krishnamacharya mentions, head to knee, face to knee and chin to knee in certain forward bending postures and says all should be practiced, however it's clear that he favoured forehead to knee this makes sense with the employment of bandhas and especially of kumbhaka. Interestingly in the pictures of Pattabhi Jois in Yoga Mala he has his head to knee in every forward bending posture, the shape of the asana then seems to have been passed on to Pattabhi jois if not the kumbhaka. In the later pictures included in Yoga Mala of Sharath it has changed to face or chin to knee and this continues to be what is taught today.

10. Pranayama

Pranayama was an essential element of practice for Krishnamacharya as were the meditation limbs, they were to be taught once a student was able to sit comfortably in a few asana, "...a reasonable degree of proficiency", there was no suggestion of being able to sit in padmasana for three hours and the Modern Ashtanga pranayama 'sequence' takes 20-40 minutes, japa mantra meditations anything from 15 minutes. Pattabhi Jois did teach pranayama to his early students after asana practice and his Son Manju continues to do so along with post asana/pranayama chanting. This too has changed no doubt as a response to the growing popularity of the system.

*

In most of the above cases the changes seem to have come about either by accident or as a response to the growing popularity of the system and it's pedagogic demands. I would argue however that essential defining elements of Krishnamacharya practice were unintentionally compromised and the purpose of yoga lost in the process.

*

The minor changes within the Ashtanga sequence over the last few years seem less important to me than they once did  although they do question the idea of the practice as a 'sacred', handed down intact, practice. They suggest however an adapting of the practice to the demands of it's popularity. Pattabhi Jois originally called his shala a research institute, Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute AYRI. 'Research' has since been dropped from the title and the institute is now called  Krishna Patabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga institute, KPJAYI.

In summary

Clearly Pattabhi Jois changed Krishnamacharya's core teaching... for pedagogic reasons and I would argue just as dramatically as Iyengar although perhaps Pattabhi Jois failed to see it thus.
How he was taught by Krishnamacharya in the Mysore palace and what he went on to teach himself may have seemed consistent, it's only now looking closely at Krishnamacharya's early Mysore texts, Yoga Makaranda and Yogasanagalu ( texts that Pattabhi Jois would have had access to) that we can perhaps appreciate how simplified ( for the pedagogic situation) a version of Krishnamacharya's own practice came down to us.

And yet there are still great riches to be found in the practice, the fixed series has many benefits and practiced daily with dedication and devotion Modern Ashtanga vinyasa can for some be considered a transformational practice, much that Krishnamacharya presented in his texts has perhaps found other routes to the surface. The approach Sharath passes along whether differing or changed from that which Krishnamacharya perhaps hoped to see passed along is often appropriate for beginner and even intermediate students of asana, at some point the practice becomes internalised and the seed responds to that particular soil in which it finds itself.

Asana, however we encounter it can lead to Yoga, can even become yoga

There are changes to the practice made as a response to a pedagogic environment, those made for economic and or promotional reasons but there are also those subtle changes that are organic and represent growth and development.



*

Mysore Dream: How many 'yogi's' does it take to change a light bulb? Two, me and Sharath

Actually, that should of course read, Sharath and I

Now is this my third Mysore dream or the fourth ( in pretty much exactly 8 years of Ashtanga practice)?
Mysore Shala Sharath´s conference, photographed by Kia Naddermier
from this post Mysore: a first-time experience from Le journal

So last night I dreamt I was in Mysore, in the big room. My friend Susan was there, which is perhaps why I was sitting near the frount  (my preference is for the back of a room, all discreet like).

Anyway, Sharath comes in and as he walks past he turns to me and says, "Anthony, can you help me with something ( I know, Sharath knew my name, worrying ). We go over near the raised stage/platform but not on it and he asks me to give him a leg-up to change a light bulb. However, he can't quite reach and asks me to let him down, instead I grab him just above the ankles and lift him right the way up, like a circus acrobat and he finally changes the bulb. 

He turns on the light but nothing. He gets another light bulb and we do the same thing, I notice that the room is filling up and feel a little self conscious but light bulb gets changed and this time it works. Sharath thanks me and as I walk back to where I was sitting I notice that now there is a big table with all kinds of yoga books on it, once catches my eye, I pick it up..... and wake up.

When I woke up I think I could still remember the covers of the books and the title of the one I picked up but now it's gone, annoying.

*

Rather than being all deep and profound It might have something to do with M. and I going to the huge Japanese Ikea yesterday ( My first Ikea, docks area, amazing bridges, the day a curiously pleasant experience) and buying a light that I tried to change just before going to bed... didn't work, or perhaps it would have done but there's no light switch for the hall way. In Japan there is often a chord hanging down that you pull.

From inside Ikea, Osaka, looking out at the three stunning bridges ( the third and my favourite is the blue bridge just to the left of the Ikea flags).
I've also been reading conference notes this week and have written a long post ( still in Draft) on ten dramatic changes Patabbhi Jois made to Krishnamacharya's teaching ( not the minor changes in asana sequence order that may have happened, but the more serious game changing stuff that perhaps we can reclaim introduce one or more into our practice, options).

It didn't feel like previous Mysore dreams which usually happen around the time I'm tempted to visit, although I have been talking recently about going to spend a couple of weeks with Saraswati some time.

I just fished out link to my first Mysore dream.



Tuesday, 17 March 2015

More on Krishnamacharya's breath, two students 30 years apart, Indra Devi 1930s and Yyvonne Millerand 1960s


Thank you to Enrique for sending through these pages from two of Krishnamacharya's students thirty years apart, Indra Devi in the 1930s and Yyvonne Millerand in the 1960s. Also, two pages from Krishnamacharya's son TKV Desikachar's book 'Heart of Yoga'.
The selection is followed by Simon Borg-Olivier discussion of the benefits of abdominal breathing from his book Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga http://anatomy.yogasynergy.com/book


The selections relate to my earlier post on Krishnamacharya's explicit instruction for the breath in Yogasanagalu (1941)

Friday, 6 March 2015
The breath: Simon Borg-Olivier made me fall in love with asana all over again.

In that post we looked at the explicit instructions for the breath given by krishnamacharya in his early Mysore work Yogasanagalu (1941)


from Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu

1. In yoganga sadhana we don’t see these (above mentioned) irregularities and with regular practice all organs will become strong.  How is that?  When practicing asanas, we need to maintain deep inhalation and exhalation to normalise the uneven respiration through nasal passages.

 2. In yoga positions where eyes, head and forehead are raised, inhalation must be performed slowly through the nostrils until the lungs are filled.  Then the chest is pushed forward and puffed up, abdomen tightly tucked in, focusing the eyes on the tip of the nose, and straighten the back bones tightly as much as possible.  This type of inhalation which fills the lungs signifies Puraka.

3. In yoga positions where eyes, head, forehead, chest and the hip are lowered, we have to slowly exhale the filled air.  Tucking in tightly the upper abdomen, the eyes must be closed.  This type of exhalation is called Rechaka.

4. Holding the breath is called Kumbhaka.


On reading those instructions Enrique was reminded of some of the instructions for the breath found in several of Krishnamacharya's students, Indra Devi, Yvonne Millerand and also those found in TKV Desikachar's Heart of Yoga. 

It's important to remember that although indra Devi and YYvonne Millerand  were Krishnamacharya's students their writing and own instructions for the breath may well be influenced by later teachers. however One thing we do find in all these descriptions is the employment of kumbhaka (breath retention). Kumbhaka in asana is very much a feature of Krishnamacharya's early Mysore writing and may suggest that the instructions given do closely resemble those instructions given by Krishnsmacharya while they were studying with him.

In the notes section at the end of the post I've included the selection on the benefits of abdominal breathing from Simon Borg-Olivier's Book that I'm currently exploring and trying to square with Krishnamacharya's own Yogasanagalu instructions



The first two selections Enrique passed along are from Indra Devi's 'Yoga For You'.


Indra Devi famously studied with Krishnamacharya  for a short period in the 1930s, is this how Krishnamacharya taught her to breath or an approach she embraced later based on other sources.

An earlier post on Indria Devi which includes 'In the shala', a chapter from one of her books on her experience studying with Krishnamacharya.

Friday, 8 November 2013
Photo: Indra Devi teaching Marilyn Monroe Yoga 1960 ALSO Indra Devi in Mysore








*

The second two pages are from are from an Italian edition of Yvonne's Millerand Guide pratique de HathaYoga. 

Including  a much appreciated translation from the Italian by Chiara Ghiron 




Thank you to Chiara Ghiron  for the speedy translation below


First picture

Same working position: laying on the back, with bent legs, feet on the floor.

Rest your fingers on the top of your chest; elbows and shoulders rest on the floor, relaxed.

Having inhaled into the thoracic cage, we exhale relaxing until a respiratory equilibrium and then continue the exhale by 'blowing' tthanks to contraction of the abdominal muscles.

Retention with empty lungs: during this retention, gradually release abdominal contraction.

1. Inhalation: the top part of the thoracic cage lifts gently as air gets in. After the top part of the lungs have filled, the middle part also expands, then ribs remain relaxed or floating. Towards the end, a gentle expansion of the abdominal area is perceived, due to completion of diaphragmatic contraction, expansion and lowering, to ensure maximal room to the entering air

2. Retention: short, with no movement whatsoever

3. Exhalation: attention is directed to the abdomen. From the start of the exhalation, the abdomen wall flattens and gradually gets closer to the back wall with a slow voluntary action that allows dosage of rate and amount of exhaled air

4. Retention: short. The abdominal wall is kept contracted for a few seconds then released, to allow for the following inhalation that restarts movement in the thoracic cage




Thank you to Chiara Ghiron for the speedy translation below

Mechanical deep breathing exercise

- Seated, with straight, slightly open, legs, rest on the straight arms behind the back, hands on the floor. Inhale into the thoracic cage.

- Exhalation is helped by movement. While keeping exhaling, the body curls, the head lowers towards the sternum, ribs contract, the back bends sustained by the arms. The maximal air volume is expelled when the abdominal muscles contract by squeezing the internal organs: 'you blow'

- Retention: observe the abdominal surface below the midline, perceiving the tonic contraction of the abdominal muscles under the elastic skin; it is an effort which is very precisely located. With empty lungs and no other movement, this contraction is gently released and the lower abdomen rounds up a little

- Inhalation: making lever on the arms, the upper part of the spin lifts to start inhalation, opening the shoulders which move away from each other, raising the sternum. Air enters with an uninterrupted flux in a totally natural way into the top of the lungs, then into their middle portion as the thoracic cage expands and the back stretches. Lastly, the head lifts and bends backwards slowly. Resting on the arms allows for the abdominal muscles to become completely relaxed; the belly rounds up under the expanded ribs, which is a sign that the diaphragm has lowered and the inhalation has happened from top to bottom

- Retention without movement for a few seconds; exhalation is then guided again by movement of the body

This exercise will be repeated at the beginning of each class to ventilate the lungs and verify the tone of the abdominal muscles. They need to be able to contract to ensure exhalation and relax to allow lowering of the diaphragm at the end of the inhalation.

*

Two pages on breathing from Krishnamacharya's son TKV Desikachar's 1999 book 
'Heart of Yoga'






NOTES

My earlier notes from Simon Bog-Olivier and another selection from Yyvonne Millerand

This section from Simon and Bianca's's book gives us lots to think about and work with perhaps as well as their concepts of related ha and tha bandhas..

"8.2.8.3 Abdominal and thoracic breathing
Abdominal breathing and thoracic breathing are terms sometimes used by people who teach breathing to indicate where on the body an expansion of the trunk should occur reÀecting the primary activation of either the diaphragm (abdominal breathing) or the intercostal muscles (thoracic breathing). It is incorrect to think that air is actually coming into the abdomen during abdominal breathing. In both types of breathing, the air will only go into the lungs.

Abdominal breathing is seen as an outward movement of the abdomen on inhalation and an inward movement of the abdomen on exhalation. Abdominal breathing mainly uses the diaphragm muscle, which moves downwards (distally) as it generates tension. If the abdomen is relaxed, pressure from the diaphragm will move the abdominal contents downwards (distally) and also outwards (anteriorly).

Thoracic breathing is seen as an outward and upward movement of the rib cage on inhalation and an inward and downward movement of the rib cage and chest wall on exhalation. Thoracic breathing mainly uses the intercostal muscles.

Intercostal muscle expansion of the rib cage and chest wall in thoracic breathing is essentially the same as the muscular activation used in the yogic internal lock uddiyana bandha [Section 7.4.1.3]". p227

8.4.3 The Effects of Breathing Rate on Various Body Systems
Some types of pranayama (yogic breathing exercises) require slow breathing that ¿lls and empties the entire lungs. This is sometimes referred to by other authors as complete breathing. Complete breathing requires full use of the diaphragm, the thoracic intercostal muscles and the abdominal muscles:

• The diaphragm [Table 7.4] is the main muscle used in what is referred to as abdominal breathing [Section 8.2.8]. On inhalation the abdomen gets larger as the diaphragm is activated (tenses and shortens), and on exhalation the abdomen gets smaller as the diaphragm relaxes (lengthens) and returns to its original position.

• The thoracic intercostal muscles (intercostals) [Table 7.4] are used in what is referred to as thoracic breathing [Section 8.2.8]. On inhalation the thorax (chest and upper back) gets larger as the intercostals are activated (tensing and shortening), and on exhalation the thorax gets smaller as the intercostals relax (lengthen) and return to their original position.

• The abdominal muscles [Table 7.4] are used to make a forced exhalation or a complete exhalation. 
By maintaining the grip (tension and shortness) of the abdominal muscles after the exhalation it makes it easier to expand the chest on a subsequent inhalation.

Many people have dif¿culty breathing with both the diaphragm and the intercostal muscles and are unable to expand their thorax unless they breathe quite forcefully with relatively fast and deep breathing [Table 8.1]. Fast, deep breathing forces the abdominal muscles to become activated (tense) to get the air out quickly and fully and, since the abdominal muscles have no time to relax after the exhalation, the subsequent inhalation is done with the abdomen ¿rm, thus forcing the thorax (chest and upper back) to expand.

Similarly, there are many people who can not easily relax their abdomen. Their abdominal muscles hold so much tension that these people are unable to breathe into their abdomen, and are hardly able to use their diaphragm at all, unless they spend time focusing on relaxation and slower breathing [Table 8.1]. These people tend to be doing mainly thoracic breathing while doing any physical activity.

In terms of the bandhas, the complete inhalation, i.e. the maximum possible inhalation, can be done with a tha-uddiyana bandha (chest expansion) followed and supplemented by a tha-mula bandha (abdominal expansion), while the maximum possible exhalation can be done with a ha-mula bandha (abdominal contraction) followed and supplemented by a ha-uddiyana bandha (chest contraction).

Table 8.1 compares the effects of two extreme types of breathing (fast deep breathing compared to slow shallow or tidal breathing) on the various body systems. These are only two of the many breathing possibilities that exist and each have varying effects. There is no such thing as right or wrong breathing but one must use the type of breathing that is appropriate for the situation.

Both the thoracic breathing and abdominal breathing confer possible bene¿ts and disadvantages. Ideal yogic breathing is a combination of the most advantageous aspects of both fast, deep breathing and slow, shallow breathing [Table 8.1]. In ideal yogic breathing, the three central bandhas (jalandhara, uddiyana, and mula) [Section 7.4.1] are held throughout the breath cycle. To initially learn to maintain a grip on the three bandhas, the thorax should be kept expanded (tha-uddiyana bandha) throughout the breath cycle as it would be during thoracic breathing inhalation; the lower abdomen should be kept ¿rm and drawn inwards (ha-mula bandha), as in a forced exhalation; while the back of the neck is kept long and the chin kept slightly down and inwards (ha-jalandhara bandha) [Section 7.4.1].
In optimal yogic breathing, slow relaxed diaphragmatic breathing is used to respire only a small amount of air per minute, but with the chest and abdomen held in such a way that only a small volume of air is needed to ¿ll and then empty the lung. In the most advanced stages of pranayama the key emphasis should be not on increasing lung volume from breath to breath but rather on increasing the pressure in the chest with each inhale without increasing the volume. p238

Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga http://anatomy.yogasynergy.com/book

Update 2


"I arrived just in time. Giving me a few lessons a week, he started with a simple asana practice. I was to establish a link between breath and movement. Breathing should be controlled hand movements, slower breathing, the slower the movement. Each asana followed repeated at least four times. After one hour lesson in a sitting position, I learned the sound Udzhdzhayi and be able to distinguish it from the nasal sound. He allowed me to begin the simplest Pranayama - Udzhdzhayi Anuloma and Udzhdzhayi Viloma.

Krishnamacharya used to tell me, "lift up your chest," for the fact that, due to the rise of my chest, I could fill the air flow based on my lungs. After that, he insisted on the exhale with the abdominal muscles and the perineum. Breathe in and out - of course, but with the insertion of pauses, everything changes. Coached control is felt as an affirmation of life and gives a sense of a better life, by controlling breathing and blood circulation, which are interrelated. This is what I felt.



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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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