This blog is essentially 'sleeping'.

I've deleted or returned to draft 80% of the blog, gone are most, if not all, of the videos I posted of Pattabhi Jois, gone are most of the posts regarding my own practice as well as most of my practice videos in YouTube, other than those linked to my Vinyasa Yoga Practice Book).

Mostly I've just retained the 'Research' posts, those relating to Krishnamacharya in particular.

Blog Comments are turned off, there are no "members" of this blog .

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

7 of 7 Seven elements that helped me achieve the Jump back

Felt this was important so have changed this series from six elements to seven

December 08

7. Focusing on the pelvis in space.

All the work I've done lately on the press to handstand and focusing on the pelvis in space appears to have benefited my Jump back.



I'm employing the other six elements but my attention is now focused on my pelvis.I'm getting much more lift. First time it happened, after the handstand work I was taken by suprise. I'd already got the jump back I wanted, or so I thought but this was so much easier, more controlled, effortless almost. Is this the moola bandha without the mysticism? I know they talk about the moola bandha as being at the base or floor of the pelvis but surely my moola bandha isn't any stronger than it was last week. Only thing that's changed is a shifted focus of attention and a conscious effort to lift from the pelvic floor while engaging Uddiyana, employing stretchy arms and pressing down.

More control on the Jump up to jump through too though I made a hash of the swing through by being too close to the wall.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

6 of 7 Seven elements that helped me achieve the jump back

November 08

6. Stretchy arms

This is strongly connected with 5 of 6 and pressing down but I wanted to present it as a separate element because I think it's so important, has made a huge difference and i wanted to stress that. The two of them together have also helped me virtually push up to handstand from forward bend in the Sury's (posts to come on that) without a jump.

I've lifted most of this from this post

In Navasana have your palms open facing slightly up, reach up towards your toes more (not suggesting your should always do Navasana this way but this will just give you the idea of what I'm talking about). Your shoulders should have rounded as if your hands are two ends of a bow the string goes from one hand to the other, the bend in the bow around your shoulders, really stretch that bend around your shoulders making your arms grow and grow. Now drop your shoulder blades down your back and try and keep that as you come down to prepare to lift up for your jump back. Your arms should feel really long now so bend at the elbow and ground them firmly, really press into the ground and push up. Your pushing up like a normal press up rather than trying to lift up. Now keep going up and up and up Mister fantastic stretchy arms

*By the way I'm thinking about a new camcorder for these videos,any suggestions? Something cheap, HD perhaps but nothing too fancy At the moment I'm just using my phone. None of the YouTube or cnet camcorder reviews give an idea of which would be best for recording this kind of thing indoors

5 of 7 Seven elements that helped me achieve the jump back

October 06

5. Pushing Down to lift up

Had read about this here and there. Different teachers. John Scott saying you should push up into your lift off but I've always lifted up. When you think about it it makes much more sense. We do push ups not lift ups and when we first start getting into jump backs it's almost like were trying to drag ourselves up. Now it could be that my core has become stronger or that I've become stronger all round or that my control and technique has improved such that I'm able to Push up where I couldn't before. However, I suspect it was mostly just a mental block re enforced by the constant reference to "lifting" up. It might also be something to do with following along with Kino's DVD. I picked up on her saying something like"Bring the shoulders further apart and draw your shoulder blades down your back". She mentioned this just before going into the lift off.

This is linked with the next post 6 of 6 on stretchy arms but to focus on the pushing down element. While seating with crossed legs lean forward draw your shoulders apart rounding them, draw your shoulder blades down your back (VERY IMPORTANT) place your hands just in front of your hips, shoulders over your hands and push/press down to lift up. If this is confusing try a couple of regular press ups to get the idea fixed in your head then try it again.

I remember an old physics lesson at school where we were told there was no pulling just pushing, when we pull something towards us were really applying pressure behind. Perhaps it's the the same here there's no lifting just pushing/pressing up

Shot from the front to try to catch the pushing down element.

4 of 7. Seven elements that helped me achieve the Jump back

September 08

4. Belly up (Bandhas)

Being a good Heideggarian I'm bracketing the Bandhas (according to Martin it allows us to focus on what something is without considering whether it exists). With no fuzzy yellow balls in the house the jury is still out. I like that Kino Mcgregor doesn't mention them in her primary series DVD, she just says "lift your belly up". This seems enough, you can get into the whole esoteric, mystical bandha thing if you want but it seems a bit much at times, for my taste at least. Besides I hate the whole Bandha response to the jump back.

Q. I How do I achieve the jump back?

A. Work on your Bandhas

Great, thanks that was helpful!

However bringing in and lifting up your belly (uddiyana Bandha?) does seem be effective as does tightening and lifting the pelvic floor (Moola bhanda?) see my post on avoiding lost action. Basically I suggest that tightening and lifting these areas helps keep the body tight and contained and easier to lift everything up together rather than first your torso, then your hips, then you legs etc.

So 4 of 6 is lifting up the belly. Handy to look at some of the descriptions of Uddiyana bhanda without getting too hung up on it. The lit. talks about drawing the belly in as if a thread is pulling you belly button out through your back but then you kind of suck it in and up creating a hollow under your ribs. This is great for getting in to some of the really tricky twists and bends in Ashtanga as you end up with so much more space. One of the main benefits for the Jump Back is that it enables you to tilt your hips and crossed legs up, kind of curling your body up into a ball from the bottom rather from the top. Curling all that in and up and lifting helps give you more height to get your legs/feet through and makes everything so much tighter and more controlled.

I found looking at the first couple of stages of nauli helpful without all the tummy twirling bit. here's some links. (actually am kind of into the whole Nauli thing lately and starting to get it).

Refer to stage I of this post don't think you need to take it as extreme as this, to suck it in this far, but it helps to practice this to get the idea. I find that I can't get my Jump Through right if I forget to employ belly up.

NB. If you want to get into the whole bandha thing you can do worse than checking out the ever wise (0v0) whose just posted on the topic (you might want to read her previous post and comments to get some context). Sure to be lots of very current discussion of the topic in the comments section over the next couple of days.

3 of 7. Seven elements that helped me achieve the jump back

August 08

3. Props

Ashtanga frowns on props but they can be useful. I don't necessarily suggest you should use them during your main practice although I did use Nike grips every morning for a few weeks over July/Aug. If you have some spare time in the evening try some jump backs and jump through's using yoga blocks to give you the extra height. Takes away some of the fear of rubbing your feet along the mat or smashing your little toe. Best of all though, you start to get the idea of what a full floaty Jump Back feels like. Again your getting used to how you should be shifting your body weight and exercising your core. You can hold your lolasana in the middle and just generally play around with it. I preferred Nike grips to blocks but either are fine. Also socks are useful (grip socks, great if you can find some) as you can slide along the floor (try it in the kitchen or bathroom if you don't have a wood floor) you don't get hung up on your sticky mat. I think it was John Scott who suggests putting a t-shirt on the floor and sliding it back and forth through your Jump Back. I'm also a big fan of microfiber towels as they are really soft and you can brush over the top of it without rubbing your toes raw, manduka make one. Manduka's black mats are also good when they get good and sweaty as your feet will slide through.


Grip socks

Nike grips

2 of 7. Seven elements that helped me achieve the Jump back

July 08

2. Lolasana

In June's Jump back (previous post 1 0f 6 ) we have the beginning and the end but not the middle. The middle is lolasana and is the stage we need to pass through in both the Jump back and Crossed leg Jump through. David Swenson advises practicing Lolasana and it definitely made a difference.

I'd practice it any chance I got, sometimes during practice, a few times in the evening when I got home on the mat, but more often than not while watching something on TV. It's building arm, shoulder and core strength of course and also focusing on balance and shifting body weight, but perhaps best of all it's building confidence, you Begin to get used to the idea that you can suspend your body in the air. Now it's just a case of bringing them altogether and the subject of the next post on props.

1 of 7. Seven Elements that helped me achieve the jump back

June 08

1. Changing my expectations probably made the biggest difference of all. I'd had this image of what a jump back should be from watching Lino Miele. I'd been trying to lift straight up like him and there just seemed no way I would ever be able to get my backside off the ground far enough to get my feet back and through. I thought perhaps it was something to do with my lack of Bandha control or core strength, arms too short perhaps. My Jump Back aspirations came to a full, complete and frustrating stop.

Coming across Paul Fox's tutorial allowed me to view the Jump Back differently. Here was a transition I could almost do that felt smooth and allowed me to flow much more easily between asana. It was not a million miles away from many of the Jump Backs I'd seen on you tube and I could see that it would help develop the Strength and control I felt I needed. In fact it felt like the only jump back I would ever need.

Link to my first post

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Came across some new Jump back videos

Love this almost slow-mo Jump Back and Through from M_in_M seems to defy the laws of gravity for a moment

and a couple of new tutorials from irockwood on youtube. Lucas also has some excellent backbend tutorials.


Thursday, 31 July 2008

Moolah Bandah and lost action

OK so I'm a woodwind repairer and one of the problems we encounter a lot, is double action or lost action. Basically you go to press a key on your Saxophone and the key moves a little before it engages with the next key and begins to close it. Not always a major problem but a good player wants instant response. The problem is cured by a slightly larger piece of cork between the keys so that as soon as you press one key the other engages immediately no lost action.

And this is what I've started to think is happening with moolah bandha. Coming from a western philosophy background I'm more than a little sceptical of the bandhas and heaven forbid the ruddy Chakras (there goes half my audience, sorry). However, uddiyana bandha has been a revelation to me and now I think I know whats going on with moolah bandha. It's the same as the double action on the saxophone.

When you want to lift up for your jump back if you dont engage the bandhas your pushing on your arms lifting the shoulders and then trying to lift the mid secting and then finally your backside and your legs. the lost action is in the "and then". However, if you tighten the moolah bandha muscles and pull in and draw up the uddiyana bandha connecting those two together and time it with the pushing down on your arms and lifting up your lifting everything together at the same time so you eliminate the lost action and get better and more controlled lift.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Notes from my Jump back notebook

So I started a "Jump back" notebook and just started adding bullet points of things to remember. Sometimes these would come from watching some videos online, reading an article or sometimes from my practice. Here's what i have so far. I'll number them so if anyone wants to comment and say this one helped or that one is not a good idea it will be easier. However there's no real order other than how they appear in my notebook.

1. Sit legs outstretched

2. Hand by the side

3. Puff out chest

4. uddiyana bandha

5. Shoulders back

6. Head bent down

7. Draw shoulders forward as you lift

8. Round back as if thread pulling belly button though back and up

9. Drop chest towards floor as you bring feet through

10. Hug knees to chest, then release and hold with hip flexors

11. Sit tall, shoulders back, head bent, knees hugged to chest, toes pointed, lift and rock forward,bring shoulders forward with lift and fall forward, swing through up and back to chaturanga.

12. Start lift off a second after you begin to inhale

13. Better to jump through slowly

14. Jumping through: have shoulders a little in frount of the hands

15. Lift off: engage Uddiyana then bring pubic bone up to ribs LIKE A SPRING

16 Lift off: engage Uddiyana then push down like a spring then bring pubic bone up to ribs like the release of the spring.

17. Lolasana: hands further back, almost at hips

18. Drishti; gaze further forward

19. Squeezing in thighs, like squeezing a toothpase tube forcing the toothpaste up the tube....try it on tolasana

20. Crossing ankles higher. if you cross them together one trails below the other. cross the right ankle a little higher up the shin of the other leg

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Favourite jump back videos on youtube

Here's a list of jump back videos i've found on Youtube. I had hoped to be able to embed them but this blog doesn't seem to allow it.
First a great tutorial by Roboramma

Continuous jump backs and jump throughs

Satyasmurthey's Jump Back


Lino miele.....There's a story about a saxophone player who on hearing charley Parker, and how sublimely he played, threw his Sax off a bridge into the hudson river....watching lino sometimes makes me want to send my mat the same way


Derek Koh

not on youtube but a great jump through tutorial from Elsie on her blog Mysoremusings the fourth video is on lifting up

This from Paul Fox...Found this one very helpfull and it's how i'm currently doing my own jump back at the moment

Some great jump backs and jump throughs from idoru. His jump through seems effortless.

If anyone has come across any others please let me know.

Jumping back

I've heard it said, and been told that the Jump back is not so important and not something to get hung up on, that it will come with time etc etc. And I agree with this. I know and accept that it's just one aspect of the practice and there are many ways/variations of the jump back that allow you to string the asana together. And I'm aware that Nancy Gilgoff, supposedly, never employed the jump back.


I like the the jump back!

I want to jump back!

I WILL jump back!

I like how it links the asana. I like how the asana flow together when you can jump back out of one asana and jump through into the next. Ashtanga is a flowing practice so what's wrong with focusing on the flowing aspect.

We shouldn't have to defend our keenness to master it.

That said, there have been times when I've stopped my practice midway through my practice frustrated at not being able to lift up and this is where the "don't get hung up on it" comments are important

I've found that the best way to go about it is find a comfortable jump back variation that fits within your practice and then start developing your jump back outside your practice.

So here are two videos the first is how I'm currently approaching my jump back in my daily practice.

The second video is of Lolasana. When I get home from work I spend a little time (10-30 mins)working on developing my Jump back(at the moment improving my lolasana), some handstand and/or jump to standing practice and just recently some experiments on working towards the drop back.

UPDATE 3 years later (8th july 2011 )

Over the last few years I've been adding my Jump backs to a progress post here's the link,
Jump back's past to present

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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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Sribhashyam (2) Table of asana (1) TAN postures (1) tatakamudra (2) tattvas samkhya (1) ten breaths in each asana (1) The 'Original' Ashtanga yoga Syllabus given to Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams by Sri K Pattabhi Jois in 1974 Mysore (1) the asana before the asana (1) the breath (1) The breathing God (4) The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga : Subroutines page numbers (1) The Four Immeasurables (1) The Indian Review (1) THE KALAMA SUTRA (1) the Original gita (2) the Original Yoga Sutras (2) The Purnacarya (1) The Viniyoga letter (1) This is yoga 1941 (1) This is yoga life magazine (1) tibet (1) Tirieng Mukha Eka Pada Paschimattanasana (1) Tirumular Thirumandiram (1) tittibhasana (1) TK Shribhsyam (1) TKV Desikachar (1) tradition (1) Trataka (1) Trikonasana (1) TRS Sharma (2) uddiyana bandha (2) uddiyana kriya (1) uddiyana mudra Kino (1) ujjayi (1) unsupported headstands (2) urdhva dhanurasana (1) Urdhvamukhasvanasana (1) ushtrasana (1) utthita parsvakonasana (1) vajrasana (1) Veena (1) Vinay Kumar (1) Vinyasa (1) Vinyasa count (2) Vinyasa Krama (11) Vinyasa Krama 200HR TT program (1) Vinyasa Krama practice routine (1) Vinyasa Krama practice sheets (1) Vinyasa Krama Sister blog (1) Vinyasa Krama speeded up Ashtanga slowed down (1) Vinyasa Krama triangle subroutines (7) Vinyasa Yoga (1) Viparita Salabhasana (1) vipassana (1) vipraita salambhasana (1) Virasana (1) Vital points (1) VK Asymmetric seated sequence (8) VK Bow sequence (1) VK Inverted sequence (1) VK Lotus sequence (1) VK On one leg sequence (7) VK On your feet sequence (2) VK Seated Sequence (7) VK supine sequence (1) When I'm laid in the Earth. (1) Why meditation (1) why practice mudras. (1) Why practice yoga (1) Why Yoga (1) Wildyogi (1) Yamini Murthanna (1) Yoga (4) yoga and ageing (1) Yoga and pregnancy (3) Yoga and weight (1) Yoga Body (1) Yoga for Diabetes (1) Yoga for the three stages of life (4) Yoga for women (1) Yoga Gurandam (1) Yoga Korunta (3) yoga korunti (1) Yoga Makaranda (10) Yoga makaranda ( part II) (1) Yoga makaranda asana list (1) Yoga Makaranda part 2 (1) Yoga Makaranda Part II (2) Yoga makaranda translation. (1) yoga makaranda. (1) Yoga Meditation (1) yoga mudras (1) Yoga Nidrasana (1) yoga of action (1) yoga of motion (1) Yoga Philosophy (5) Yoga raading list (1) Yoga Rainbow festival (1) Yoga Science (1) Yoga sutra 1:33 (1) Yoga Sutras (3) Yoga Sutras II-49 (1) Yoga Sutras transliteration (1) Yoga therapy articles (1) Yoga Therapy for Children with Special Needs (1) Yoga tradition of the Mysore palace (1) Yoga Vinyasa yoga (1) Yoga yajnavalkya (1) Yogacarya Krishnamacharya - The Purnacarya (2) Yogacarya Krishnamacharya - The Purnacarya. Edited by Mala (1) Yogakriyas (1) Yogasanagalu (32) Yogasanagalu asana list (1) yogasanagalu translation (4) Yogasanagalua (1) Yogayajnavalkya (1) Yogeshwara Ramamohana Brahmachari (1) Yvonne Millerand (2) Yyvonne milerand (1)