I posted this excellent video from David Garrigues yesterday which introduces his new King of Asana (sirsasana) downloadable video course. Mostly the course gives preparation for headstand employing several Primary series postures, it also looks at stabalizing your headstand. At one point in the course David looks at a padmasana variation but otherwise he doesn't look closely at all the different variations we see demonstrated in the video below.
David's new website https://www.davidgarrigues.com/
When I saw the above video yesterday I was reminded of all the variations that Krishnamacharya would practice and teach in Mysore in the 1930s back when Pattabhi Jois was his student, only a few of these variations were unfortunately carried over into Ashtanga series. However ,Krishnamacharya continued to teach them, to his long time student Srivatsa Ramaswami for example who taught them to us on the five week TT that I attended in 2010.
Here's Krishnamacharya in 1938 demonstrating some of these variations.
The next two videos are the full sequence that Ramaswami taught us containing the Sirsasana variations that can be found in his Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga as well as my own practice book. The first video is a speeded up presentation.
Practice sheets for these variations/subroutines can be found at the end of this post.
One of the tricky variations from Krishnamacharya's 1938 demonstration video
Some variations that did get carried over to Ashtanga are found in the Ashtanga 2nd series, the seven headstands lovingly known as the seven deadlies.
Vinyasa Krama version of these less supported headstands.
I have a soft spot for this padmasana to sirsasana variation that I saw Ricky Tran practicing on Ramaswami's TT
Krishnamacharya and Ramaswami recommended long stays in a well supported headstand where almost no weight is actually on the head but rather on the forearms. We would practice a few key shoulderstand preparation asana, a five minute sarvangasana (shoulderstand) then a counterposture followed by a a five to ten minute well supported headstand then five to ten minutes of sirsasana variations before employing sarvangasana (shoulderstand) variations and finally a counterposture.
More sirsasana variations in the second half of this video.
The sirsasana mandala found in the later Ashtanga series, not recommended due to the risk of neck injury.
This next video was part of the Rishi project staying in all the asana from primary and second series Ashtanga for 25 to 50 breaths each. However, while possible long stays in less and unsupported headstands is not recommend as too much weight is placed on the head and neck, we weren't designed for it.
Some Tutorials although I recommend David Garrigues king of Asana course. First a rare talkie followed by the headstand lead in from Vinyasa Krama.
Info on the Vinyasa krama sequences can be found on my Vinyasa Krama blog
LINKS to Related posts
Below is my Earlier post on Krishnamacharya's headstands variations in full
see also perhaps
see also perhaps
and this newsletter from Ramaswami outlining the benefits of practicing these asana variations.
And also this article from Ramaswami on Sirsasana and variations
|Krishnamacharya t 84|
|Krishnamacharya at 50 in 1938 Mysore.|
Practice sheets below from my practice book
|Link to Lulu.com|
Also available on Amazon but Lulu allow me to discount.
There's a kindle version with hyperlinks to the videos
but it only really works well on the Kindle Ipad app
where you can enlarge pictures easily,
the pictures are too small on the actual kindle.
Inverted/Sirsasana variation sub-rountines
see THIS page from the top of this blog for more practice sheets
Why do inversions?
"Some contemporary yogis may read these metaphorical narrations with a
wry smile. However these inversions should be considered as unique
contributions of Yoga, for health. Within the first few minutes of
Sirsasana practice, the leg and thigh muscles, the gluteal muscles,
relax. The chest, back, shoulders and neck muscles also relax as all
these are not required to maintain the postural tone as in the upright
position. It has been found that due to the relaxation of the leg
muscles, the blood pressure in the legs drop to about 30mm.There is no
great rush of blood to the head among the adept yogis due to auto
regulation; yet the gravity helps to open up many capillaries in the
brain, head and face which may otherwise remain partially closed.
People with high blood pressure and retinal problems will have to be
careful. However persons with mild hypertension and under control with
diet, life style change and even medication could benefit from this
posture if they had learnt it from early life. It appears to increase
pressure on the shoulders which would result in the brain trying to
reduce the blood pressure. Therefore if one would practice Sirshasana
regularly for a sufficient duration, one’s pulse rate tends to reduce,
thereby reducing the strain on the heart. Gradually there is a
reduction in the blood pressure.
What is equally important is that Sirsasana helps improve circulation
of the cerebro spinal fluid, which is helpful to the brain and also
for the spinal nerve bundles—the chakras. Because of the increased
pressure in the brain due to this fluid, the pituitary secretions
increase helping the better functioning of the sympathetic nervous
system which will help in many ways including the dilatation of the
bronchial tubes giving great relief to asthmatics. There is draining
of the bronchial tubes, giving some welcome relief for those with
chronic chest congestion. Many feel increased memory power and
general better brain capacity. There are cases of even some correction
of the eyesight. The vinyasas like the twists, Akunchanasana, the
backbends like Viparitadandasana in Sirsasana and Uttanamayurasana in
Sarvangasana help the spine considerably, by not only maintaining the
flexibility of this structure but also nourish the nadis and chakras
or nerve fibers and nerve bundles in the spinal chord.
In the inversions, as mentioned in earlier articles, the internal
organs get positional correction. Pregnant yoginis may find the
inversions help relieve pelvic congestion, oedema of the legs,
conditions that are prevalent during pregnancy. Practising the
inverted poses with the variety of vinyasas gives a complete massage
to all the muscles, organs and considerably increases the blood
circulation. Perhaps equally important is the effect of the twin poses
on the major joints-- the ankles, the knees, the hips and the spine.
The intra-articular space within the joints improves and hence the
joint movements when one does the various vinyasas also will improve.
Dorsal and plantar flexions performed in the ankle joints while in
these asanas help the ankles significantly. Asanas like Akunchanasana
in inversions give good relief to the knees, while inversions help
to open the hips by dragging the big pelvic girdle down a bit and
giving more space for the femur to move and rotate nicely within the
hip socket(pl refer to Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga for headstand and
shoulder stand vinyasas). Perhaps the most benefit accrues to the
entire spine. The inter-vertebral space is enhanced and person who
practises these inversions and the vinyasas like akunchanasana and
backbends will find the spine stretching nicely and becoming more
flexible. The narrowing of the inter-vertebral space can be tackled
positively and the low back pain reduces significantly. I would say
that the inversions are the best yoga postures to alleviate low back
pain. Overall these inversions and the vinyasas in them help to keep
the spine supple and strong. It is said one is as old as the condition
of the spine. Further, because of the relaxation of the lower
extremities Sarvangasana is a good pose to help overcome insomnia.
These twin poses are very good for health".