Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Original Ashtanga syllabus as a teaching tool ( Danny Paradise's copy) Evolution of the Ashtanga syllabus (Yoga Korunta?).

On a previous post on the Ashtanga Advanced series my friend Gilad Harouvi posted the Ashtanga syllabus he was given by his teacher Danny Paradise, a cheat sheet for Ashtanga. I got in touch with Danny and asked him if it was OK to share here on the blog and after taking a look again (he hadn't seen this for years I suspect) he kindly gave me the go ahead.

We've seen this syllabus before of course, this is the original Ashtanga Syllabus ( see appendix at the end of the blog) given to David Williams and Nancy Gilgoff  (Danny Paradise's own teachers, he began the practice in 1976) on their first trip to Mysore to practice with Pattabhi Jois in 1973. Nancy too was kind enough to let me share the original ( and I have a copy framed in my home shala) but what I love about this one from Danny is that we can see it being used. I love all the little diagrams, the notes and check out the numbers, these correspond with the asana in BKS Iyengar's Light on yoga, more on that in a moment.

Gilad has this to say regarding the syllabus and Danny...

"As It Happens, Danny Paradise taught me first  in Summer 1986, This is how Ashtanga Started in my part of the Middle east (Israel. with Miri Harouvi Ashtanga-yoga and myself).  He Photocopied and gave me that above Mysore Syllabus, a few other cheat-sheets,the Mullabandha book and a worn out copyof  Iyengar's book (still got it!), spreading the  David williams and Nancy Gilgoff story,  and Sri KPJ. and Manju Pattabhi Jois.  Danny is the first OR among the very first few "Ashtanga Travelling persons",together with Marceau Baptiste- teaching the form  and breaking new Ashtanga ground in zillions of places around the known 5 continents - round about the same times or a bit before  Derek Ireland and Radha warrell started the first EU Ashtanga Hub in Crete. Danny Paradise was the first to be invited later to teach the high profile people like Sting and Madonna- and that started the Ashtanga BOOM and the Mysore craze. Can you Imagine, Ashtanga was not recognized at all. "Is that Yoga?" was the phrase used by Other Yoga Practitioners. Praise those first Babas!  forever indebted to them. BOM!"







Danny is one of those teachers who seems to have been teaching Ashtanga forever, (since 1979) so often we get stuck in the idea that Mysore is the centre of the Ashtanga world but there are many such centres and Ashtanga has spread out from these as much as from Mysore. There's Hawaii of course with Nancy Gilgoff, David Williams even Norman Allan is still teaching there. Encinitas and Tim Miller's Shala comes to mind of course, Boulder and Richard Freeman's yoga Workshop, Eddie's Stern's Brooklyn Yoga club in New York and that's just in the US. Manju Jois is of course is another home of Ashtanga but more of a gypsy caravan perhaps constantly traveling around the world to share his fathers teaching, likewise Danny Paradise... which corner of the world hasn't he taught Ashtanga in?

Danny is also a musician and song writer he has a charity film screening at Triyoga, Camden, London on 6th August 2016, 18:30-20:00 of a song he wrote recently on the issue of child trafficking. here are the details

If you're not in London you can watch it below


Details
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triyoga Camden
£5 recommended donation (all proceeds go to Children of the Forest)
fb page https://www.facebook.com/events/1573197859641446/

“Love will rescue you” is an animation made by Céu d'Ellia, and music by Danny Paradise and Matthew Kelly, illustrating the work done by Children of the Forest Foundation. It is short animated film which tells the story of refugees worldwide and in particular displaced and stateless children. 

Join Danny Paradise for the screening of this short film to conclude his weekend of workshops at triyoga. The film will be followed by a live auction at triyoga and then everyone is invited to the nearby bar Boho in Camden for buffet food and 1/2 price cocktails until midnight (address: 6 Inverness Street NW1 7HL)

Items being auctioned include:
- Diamond print by photographer Gem Rey, special edition signed
- Original signed + hand painted by Dom Pattinson (hand painted original)
triyoga 10 class pass
- 2 places for Danny’s Paradise 2017 triyoga workshop
- BodyTalk session with Merran Lusher
- 3 course vegan dinner for 2 at your home by Vegan Chef Day Radley, finalist of the vegetarian society chef competition (ingredients not included)
- Degustation Omnivore Menu dinner for 2 at your home by Cordon Bleu chef Alessandra Spagnoli (ingredients not included)
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I remember this Youtube video of Danny Paradise from a couple of years after I started Ashtanga.


Back in 2014 when I was in Rethymno, Crete at Kristina Karitinou's summer shala for three months (Crete, Greece is another 'spiritual' home of Ashtanga, so many European Ashtanga teachers studied with Derek Ireland here at the yoga place), Kristina fished out an old file of Derek's, inside were some old cheat sheets from the 80s and 90s, including this one which also included the numbers corresponding with Iyengar's Light on Yoga. Seems it was quite common in the early days to use Iyengar's book as a reference.





APPENDIX 1

The evolution of the Ashtanga syllabus

The story goes that while a student of Krishnamacharya, Pattabhi jois was asked by the Maharaja of Mysore to teach a four year yoga course at the Sanskrit college in Mysore. Pattabhi Jois needed a four year syllabus. It seems he took (with approval) his teacher Krishnamacharya's table of asana, added Surya namaskaras but kept primary and Intermediate pretty much as it was in the table ,with minor tweaking, and re arranged the Advanced group of Asana into Advanced A and B. We know from the 1938 video that Krishnamacharya was teaching many more Advanced asana than are listed in the table, Pattabhi Jois, who also practiced and demonstrated many of these asana, no doubt added them in.

It should be stressed that Krishnamacharya lists 'groups' of asana not sequences. Following Pattabhi Jois we are so accustomed to think of Ashtanga as consisting of sequences and to assume that Krishnamacharya later changed his teaching that it's hard to view the related asana Krishnamacharya taught otherwise. However,  Krishnamacharya barely mentioned sequences or series in his writing, he stressed related groups of asana. While we tend to think of Krishnamacharya as mostly teaching the young boys of the Mysore palace, the truth of the matter is that he may have had much less contact with the boys than we imagine. Iyengar mentioned that he was taught directly by Krishnamacharya a couple of hours at most. Generally the asana class in Krishnamacharya's Yoga school seems to have been Led by Krishnamacharya's senior students, Pattabhi Jois for example being one of them. No doubt the classes followed a loose structure not unlike the order in which the asana are placed in Krishnamacharya's table, while Krishnamacharya was in a side room teaching patients and private students a less dynamic approach to asana, the Vinyasa Krama perhaps that Krishnamacharya CONTINUED to teach throughout his life (in the 1938 video we see some of the variations that Ramaswami, Krishnamacharya's student of 30+ years teaches today). On occasion when Krishnamacharya wasn't teaching privates he no doubt worked the room, giving extra preparatory asana here, more advanced variations or progressions there, the mountain of asana that Pattabhi Jois refers to.

Did Krishnamacharya develop the Ashtanga method for the boys of the palace? 

It is tempting to think so, however, Pattabhi Jois mentioned that when he first encountered Krishnamacharya in Hasan giving a lecture and demonstration, Krishnamacharya was jumping from asana to asana. This was in 1924, several years before Krishnamacharya began teaching asana to the boys of the Mysore palace. Anyone who has worked on jumping back and through knows it takes several years to master, certainly for it to look good enough for a demonstration. We may expect then that Krishnamacharya had been jumping from asana to asana for several years, perhaps learning it from his own teacher several years before. The jumping suggests what we tend think of as vinyasa, the connecting each stage of the breath to each movement towards an asana and back to standing as well as the placing of the attention on a fixed spot (between the eyebrows or the tip of the nose).

I suspect ( and this is really only my own current theory) that there was indeed a text of some kind (not necessarily as old as is often suggested) that has become know as the Yoga Korunta that Krishnamacharya or his teacher Yogeshwara Ramamohana Brahmachari knew of, perhaps having the table with the asana, and perhaps the vinyasa and/or kumbhaka indicated in the form of notes and this was what either Ramamohana Brahmachari used to teach Krishnamacharya or that Krishnamacharya used in developing his approach to practice. I suspect that it was Krishnamacharya's teacher who used the table and perhaps knew of or had heard about a copy of the text existing in the Calcutta library (leading to the eaten by ants story). 

Of course it may well be that there was no text and that the asana table was Krishnamacharyas cheat sheet with notes from him or his teacher along with some vague reference that it was all or in part somehow connected with a text called yogakorunta, as with Danny Paradise's cheat sheet above perhaps.

Yogeshwara Ramamohana Brahmachari was said to have been recommended to Krishnamacharya because of his knowledge of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, I suspect it was from him that Krishnamacharya encountered the unusual interpretation of yoga sutra 2-47 ( see Ramaswami below) as being concerned with the breath and that this became connected with the vinyasa count in the asana table in Ramamohana Brahmachari's teaching. The asana table Krishnamacharya gives us in his Yogasanagalu (1941) is incomplete, if he had come up with the table of asana himself I suspect he would have have completed it (I could no doubt come up with the appropriate kumbhaka I suspect in a few minutes to complete the table). Krishnamacharya seemed to want to keep the table just as it was.

It's worth noting perhaps that while Krishnamacharya doesn't mention a Yoga Korunta in the long bibliography for Yoga Makaranda (1934) he does mention a Yogakuranti in the short bibliography for Yogasanagalu (1941) which includes the table of asana.

Krishnamacharya
A vinyasa Krama variation from the 1934 Yoga Makaranda photo shoot?


from Srivatsa Ramaswami's newsletter June 2012

"My Guru had written a book called “Yogasanangalu” in Kannada, a copy of which I have had for a long time, but never read it as it is in Kannada. Of course I have gone through the wonderful asana pictures of my Guru in it many many times. Recently I found a few pages of the translation in the blog pages of my friend Antony Hall and I am reproducing the relevant portion from it hereunder (Thank You Tony)

Sri Krishnamacharya wrote:

“Vinayasas” many people are curious about its secret. Some others want to know its basis. I agree.
“prayatnashithilyanantasamapattibhyam” (Yoga Sutra II 47)

Please see Patanjala yogasutra and Vyasabhashya (P 2, S 47)

Both type of people (practitioners), be happy . Vachaspathi Misra in that commentary

“Saamsiddhiko hi prayatnah shariradharako na yogangasyopadeshtavyasanasya kaaranam. Tasmat upadeshtavyasanasyayamashadhakah virodhi cha swabhavikah prayatnah. Tasya cha yadruchhikasanahetutayaa sananiyamopahamtyatvat.”

Here is my translation: 
Surely the innate effort--prayatna-- (in every being) is to sustain the body (which is prana, Prana and sariradharaka are considered synonyms). But it (the normal innate breathing) is not helpful in achieving the task on hand (achieving the yoga pose). Therefore the natural/involuntary effort/breathing (swabhavika prayatnah) is counterproductive in achieving the intended goal. Consequently a man, practicing the specific posture as taught, should resort to an effort(prayatna) which consists in the relaxation (saitilya) of the natural/innate(swabhavika) effort (breath). Otherwise the posture taught cannot be accomplished

Krishnamacharya continues to talk about using breath in asanas. “Therefore, how many breathings for which asana? When is inhalation? When is exhalation? In what way? When body is stretched forward, inhalation or exhalation? What about when you raise your head? To know this mystery and practice in order is called Vinayasa. These along with the significance of each asana will be discussed in 1 to 32.”


*

My 2012 post on the original Ashtanga syllabus



The 'Original' Ashtanga yoga Syllabus given to Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams by Sri K Pattabhi Jois in 1974 Mysore 
Posted Thursday, 30 August 2012
The 'Original' Ashtanga yoga Syllabus given to Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams by Sri K Pattabhi Jois in 1974 Mysore

"In fact, David and I had no idea that there were two separate series until the end of that first four-month trip, when we were leaving, at which point Guruji gave us a sheet of paper with a list of the postures, which were listed as Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, and Advanced B. At this point he told us to practice one series a day, and only once a day".
 from Ashtanga Yoga as it was (The long and the short of it )  Nancy Gilgoff






many thanks to Anon for passing it along and especially to Nancy for giving permission to post it this morning and share with the community at large.

Available as pfd download from googledocs
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B7JXC_g3qGlWRzZWOUltVnh3RFU

See my earlier blog post on Nancy's article
http://grimmly2007.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/dear-nancy-yoga-as-it-was-nancy-gilgoff.html

also here
http://grimmly2007.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/dear-nancy-breath-in-73.html

and here
http://grimmly2007.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/dear-nancy-head-updown-jalandhara.html



APPENDIX 2

What fascinated me seeing Nancy and David's original syllabus is how closely it resembles Krishnamachaya's table of asana in Yogasanagalu 1941

Thursday, 10 May 2012


Complete asana table from Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu, Primary, Middle and Proficient asana groups

Visit The ongoing Yogasanagalu (1941) Translation Project page for the translation we have so far.

Yogasanagalu ongoing translation page


'Therefore, how many vinysas for asanas? Asana position comes at which vinyasa count?  When do you perform rechanka and puraka?  When to do antah kumbhaka and bahya kumbhaka?  What are its benefits?  For yoga practitioners information, it is listed in the table below'.
Yogasanagalu

Yogasanagalu Asana table









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Notes

Kumbhaka
Antah kumbhaka (purakha kumbhaka) = retention of the breath after inhalation
Bahya kumbhaka (recaka kumbhaka= retention of the breath after exhalation
Ubhya kumbhaka = retention of the breath after both inhalation and exhalation

*In the Primary group above kumbhaka is indicated explicitly in only three postures, baddha padmasana, uttanasana and sethubandasana. In the earlier Yoga Makaranda (1934) however, kumbhaka is indicated other primary postures. This may be that while learning the Primary asana we may forgo kumbhaka in most of the primary postures until gaining familiarity and a degree of proficiency with those asana when we would then begin to work in the kumbhaka. this may be made clearer as the translation continues.

Kumbhaka (mentioned explicitly) in the Yoga Makaranda Primary asana
Tadasana (here implies samasthiti )- purakha kumbhaka
Uttanasana -purakha kumbhaka (we can perhaps presume that all the uttanasana variations would also include antha kumbhaka EG. padahastasana, parsvauttanasa
na, prasaritapadauttanasana.
Ardha baddha padma uttanasana - recaka kumbhaka
Urdhavamukhssvanasana - puraka kumbhaka
Adhomukhssvandasana - recaka kumbhaka
Paschimottanasana - purkha kumbhaka (recaka kumbhaka implied ?)
janusirsasana - purka kumbhaka & Rechaka kumbhaka
Upavistakonasana "recaka kumbhaka is the central principle for this posture"
badhakonasana - recaka kumbhaka
Suptapaddangusthasana- recaka kumbhaka
utthitahastapadangusthasana - recaka kumbhaka
Bhujapidasana - recaka kumbhaka
marichiyasana - recaka kumbhaka ?


Pictorial representation of the table (made up of my old file pictures ).






Krishnamacharya's Primary group (Incomplete ; made up of pictures from his Yoga Makaranada).
Original table


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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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