I've been puzzling over these quotes below on Series, from Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu (1941), for some time. In much of my writing on this blog over the last few years I've been stressing that Krishnamacharya seemed to approach the asana in his Yogasanagalu table ( see Appendix below),later the Ashtanga syllabus), as groups of Primary, Middle and Proficient asana rather than as different series. Satya who has translated Yogasanagalu for us stressed to me that the translation in the table section is 'group' not 'series'.
And yet here below, in this section of Yogasanagalu (1941) Krishnamacharya is talking about Series not group, it would make sense for him to have his assistants ( Pattabhi Jois being one) drilling the class of Mysore boys through a relatively fixed led class, a Primary or Middle series, especially as the class was supposed to be just an hour. Krishnamacharya would often be in a side room teaching patients and other students one to one in a more Vinyasa Krama approach perhaps as he did with Indra Devi.
On the occasions when he was free perhaps he might work the room demanding different students to attempt more challenging variations of asana or new asana perhaps from the proficient group of asana ( Pattabhi Jois mentioned that Krishnamacharya taught '...a mountain of asana'). Or in his smaller classes at his home with the senior boys ( among them Pattabhi Jois) he would perhaps take a less fixed approach preparing them for the demonstrations with ever more challenging asana and variations.
This would then give us two approaches, a Led class series approach ( often led by his assistants inc. Pattabhi Jois) and perhaps also more of a Mysore room approach within a directed class situation or in small groups of more advanced students.
Pattabhi Jois always seemed to stress that he taught just as Krishnamacharya taught him, perhaps then the table of three asana groups in Yogasanagalu were also taught as Series, at least the Primary and Middle groups but more flexibly than the fixed series Pattabhi Jois tended to keep to and later nailed down.
power (strength) series, treatment series and the spiritual series.
Note: The description of the above series however is problematic and doesn't seem tie in with the table Krishnamacharya is referring to. His description sounds more like Yoga for the Three Stages of Life, lots of asana for the youth, asana and more pranayama focus in middle age, some asana and pranayama but more of the later limbs in the final stage of life.
In slowing down my practice in the past and exploring long stays I have at times neglect vinyasa. Where once I practiced full vinyasa even in the Advanced series, more recently I dropped back to half vinyasa, dropping vinyasa between sides and often between groups. Focussing on Krishnamacharya's Yoga makaranda instruction along with a growing distaste for the Instagram arm balance fetish led me to drop most of the more physically demanding asana. As a result I grew soft, put on a little weight, lost strength, I no longer feel as fit and healthy and yes powerful as once I did.
These quotes below then are perhaps a wake up call to balance practice, to remember the value of vinyasa and the role of a few at least more physically demanding postures ( ex. arm balances).
Recently I've returned to the more traditional and much loved Ashtanga Primary and half Intermediate I first began with, appreciating the vinyasa and occasional arm balance for the strength flowing back into my arms and legs, the wringing out of my body in the twists but balancing this by choosing appropriate asana to inhabit longer, exploring the breath more fully, the kumbhaka option. Elsewhere I've referred to this as a Proficient Primary approach ( choosing key asana through the series to practice as mudras).
Yogasanas must be only practiced with vinyasas and never without it. Vinyasas from 1 to 7 are equal in all asanas. Vinyasas create movement in the kosha (sheath), nerve, arteries, muscles and spaces between bones and helps eliminate impurities in these areas. In addition, muscle tissue develops and becomes strong.