Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Vinyasa Krama Lotus sequence Speeded up x 4

This is the last of the big six sequences from Srivatsa Ramaswami's Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga, that I've videoed and speeded up. I practice them on alternate days, Lotus on Friday. The full sequence takes me around around forty-five minutes but that includes, what Ramaswami refers to as the 'Lotus special balancing postures' at the end. You could leave these out if they're too challenging and go into a regular headstand, Savasana and Pranayama. They include a Lotus Mayurasana, Urdhwa Kukkutasana's, Lotus headstands, Padma Pincha Mayurasana and I throw in a Karandavasana for luck. Apart from those tricky ones at the end if you can manage lotus then it's not too difficult a sequence, to get through.... to do well is another matter, I need a lot more practice with some of these, but hey, show me an asana that couldn't do with another ten years work.

Ramaswami preface's the Sequence with this.
'The lotus posture (padmasana) is considered by conventional yogis to be the most important seated posture. Mention of this posture can be found not merely in old yoga texts but also in epics and other very ancient Indian religious and cultural books'. p189

In other words, it's old school.

The first time I did this sequence I had to take a lot of breaks to stretch out my legs, now I can do it in one go. The half lotus variations make excellent prep for the main pose and the variations after that keep it interesting. There are forward bends, twists, backbends, shoulder stands and headstands. Forty minutes in lotus, that's a respectable seated meditation practice.

As usual, I need to mention that this is my version of the sequence. I'm still getting used to it and miss things out and get the order wrong. While editing I realized I'd missed out Padma Mayurasana, one of the coolest asana in this sequence and had to go upstairs, record it and edit it in. Trouble was I'd just eaten breakfast, you really don't want to practice this posture on a full stomach. So, no substitute for Ramaswami's book.

As with all these sequences I tend to practice them after some Sury's and standing poses. I used to use a pretty standard Ashtanga Standing sequence but recently I've been using the 'On one leg' sequence from Ramaswami's book. Depending on whether there are any Shoulder stands and headstands I'll do a standard Ashtanga finishing. The Lotus sequence includes both but I tend to like to finish off with a five minute savasana and a ten minute headstand to stretch out my legs before going back into lotus for Pranayama.

One thing I do miss out here is going up to headstand from lotus. Can't for the life of me seem to manage that, very tricky. Padma Pinch Mayurasana is in the sequence, Karandavasana isn't. I added it anyway but probably shouldn't have bothered, I'm all squished up and the exit is horrible, need to start practicing it again.

The straight leg jump through pretty much came off alright again. It's really hit and miss. In my evening Primary I need a couple with my hands on books and then I'm pretty much OK with them throughout the practice. Every now and then though I completely lose it and just can't jump through, very strange, have to do another couple with the books to reset.

7 comments:

  1. Hi there! What an inspiring blog! I have been practicing Ashtanga for almost nine years ... only made it to full primary after about 8 1/2 ... and now sidelined back to 1/2 primary with modifications due to a crazy hip/hamstring insertion injury sustained during upavishta konasana! Oh well ... I keep practicing! I have just ordered the Vinyasa Krama book ... hoping to find some additional theraputic sequences while I heal ... Thank you for the informative and inspiring posts!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your post on my blog. I have tried Ramaswami's Vinyasa Krama. A very good friend and former Ashtanga teacher began teaching it a few years ago. I find it to be very complimentary to ashtanga however there is no place close to home that offers it. I'm pressing on with my ashtanga practice with a very good certified teacher and some modified postures.

    Anyway, thanks again and this is a great blog. Keep it up and I'll keep reading.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you so much for this! I was really looking forward to one on the Lotus sequence.

    This is the only VK sequence I practice now, I do Ashtanga primary + half of intermediate in the mornings and try to squeeze in some Lotus practice on 1-2 evenings during the week.

    I find the sequence very challenging, lotus seems to be my weak point. I need to pause often and there are a lot of poses I can't do, eg when I lay down with my back flat on the floor, there's no way for my lotus to go under 30 degrees in the air. This flat lotus seems to be a requirement for many poses but I find this very difficult.

    Actually it would be nice if I was able to forget about the fact that my legs are in lotus and just enjoy the meditative aspect of it. I hope it will come one day.

    ReplyDelete
  4. very true, the pradipika talks wonders of the lotus, how interesting that this sequence has you on the pose for that long!, I wonder how it must feel as you come out of it... really enjoying these, thank you

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi L, thank you. Hope you find something useful in the book, sure you will, so many variations for working around an injury. Thanks too for telling me how you got injured, upavishta konasana is my favourite posture/subroutine at the moment, i'll be careful I dont over do it.

    I know CJT not many VK teachers around, it's a shame. I agree that they're complementary, the variations can come in handy, but your lucky to have a Cert teacher nearby, hope it heals up soon.

    Your welcome KB, did you see the seated sequence video I posted. I think I mentioned at the time that it was having a good effect on my lotus especially upavishta konasana, that spread legged angle subroutine followed by the badha konasana's. ( but go easy , see Damn's comment above). I have a weaker left leg and it doesn't tend to want to lay flat, seated sequence has helped that. I was the same having to stop often to shake my legs out but i did a week of the lotus sequence and it helped.

    Ramaswami/Krishnamacharya yoga seems to be all about variation and adaption. To work on the laying down in lotus how about borrowing from his approach to navasana (again on the seated video), instead of full navasana he starts off with resting back on the forearms. I'm wondering if you tried that in lotus rolling the lotus in and out on the breath and perhaps as the lotus gets to the floor arching the back a little. Just tried it, maybe it's useful, actually I quite like it. If that doesn't make sense I'll video it.
    Love that adaptability aspect of VK, makes so much sense. As CJT says a Cert teacher might give you variations if your injured but why not all the way through, where ever you have difficulty (lIke Swenson does in his book).

    Actually Claudia this is the only sequence where I take a proper Savasana, to give my legs a chance to stretch out.

    Such nice comments, thanks everyone

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi, Beautifuel sequence. I suppose I'll be able to manage 50 minutes before work, I would like to give it a try.

    Your respiration in Vinyasa Krama seems quite powerful, I'm doing this kind of stuff, after my practice. I wonder how does it affects your asnas - I mean are you trembling or sweating or with time it became comfortable?


    The thing you do near the end is simhasana, right? I suppose you didn't want to make us watch your tongue that's why you did it in the opposite direction ;) Personally i find this position magical, I mean you can focus your gaze and listen to the slow breath.

    What I see is also that your left hip is not that flexible as rifgt ;) I'm doing ashtanga and while I was starting this practice after one year of Iyengar Yoga (well, in Poland 85 % of yoga schools are Iyengar ones - thank you David Swenson for your presence in internet!!!) my left side lotos was much better than the right one. Now I'll do Baddha Padmasana on the right side, however I'm not able to repeat it with left leg first in padmasana. Any clues?

    ReplyDelete
  7. thank you indra, let me know how it went id you do try the sequence. yes simhasana at the end, or at least a version of it. Had to face that way because of the lack of space. there's a version of it on the Seated sequence, right at the very end although my arms should be outstretched palms up elbows on my knees.

    My use of bandhas is quite intense in this sequence I aim to engage them in most poses but more fully in the classic asanas like padmasana, and the different mudra poses, maha mudra for example (Janu A without the forward bend). It's something i really like about Vinyasa krama, the space to explore things like the breath more fully. Not that you can't in Ashtanga but there is always that forward motion in Ashtanga and it's more fixed.

    I did used to get the sweats from Pranayama, less so now, Theo Barnard talks about this in his Yoga book, must do a review/write up on that.

    Running late for work, will come back to the hip question when i get back. Thanks for commenting.

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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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