So there was the Back thing and trying to work around it and then the gungho, cowboy-up and power through it with Ashtanga and painkillers month that that seemed to sort it out. This last month has just been a steady Ashtanga/Vinyasa Krama month relatively straight AshtangaPrimary on Friday, Intermediate on Saturday and then Vinyasa Krama practice the rest of the week.
My Vinyasa Krama practice tends to be built around either Primary or Intermediate series Ashtanga ( I tend to alternate) but with more freedom to explore. So I'll switch around some of the standing postures or add a couple, spend longer in some postures or work on extensions to postures. The practice built on Primary tends to get wrapped up in hip openers, moving from the Asymmetric Janu's to Leg behind head and from Dwi pada into Supta Kurmasana, some time in spread angle poses and then work on Badha konasana and Kandasana, yoga Dandasana, that kind of thing. Then I'll get back on track for finishing. I tend to cut back the jump backs from between each posture to between sides, so I'll do all the Janu's on one side, jump back and do the other side etc.
This morning was one of my most enjoyable practices in ages. Being my day off I practiced a little later and even put some music on, the bloomin' Ravi Shankar CD I can't seem to stop playing. Now I never usually play music during practice, I tried once but ended up getting as far as Sury B before I decided it irritated me and turned it off. The Ravi is OK though and I was half way through the third time around before I turned it off for pranayama ( longggggg practice this morning).
So this mornings Vinyasa Krama practice was built around 2nd series Ashtanga, bit longer than usual but pretty much what I've been doing. Standing but with some of the VK one leg squats thrown in, want to do a post on these as I think they are great prep for dropbacks, kapo andLaghu. Then after Pasasana ( standing VK approach) and Krounchasana I work through the Vinyasa Krama Bow sequence, lots of Salabhasana vinyasas. I spent a lot of time on these this morning really opening the back. The sequence finishes with Viparita Salabhasana and gandha Bherundasana, deep this morning, could see all my feet not just my toes in gandha B and was tempted to try and take my tiptoes to the floor. I was going to film it to see why it was feeling so different but the camera dropped and broke. I took that as a bad omen so moved on to the Kapo and it's prep section plus Eka pada raja kapotasana. Got my ankles in Kapo, a mellow EPRK then did dropbacks, again very deep, slow and controlled, loving these at the moment. Backbends are coming along really nicely, pleased with them.
Sometimes I'll call that a day do a long paschimottanasana and then move on to finishing or skip the LBH and jump to the last third of 2nd. This morning I worked through the LBH poses, nice to have them back again, and even felt comfortable enough for Buddhasana. Managed the right side but not quite the left. Hang on which is the right side, I mean right leg over but left leg over that, that's the right side, right? I used all the LBH's as prep for my BadhaKonasana/Kandasana work then picked 2nd up again from Tittibhasana skipping the seven deadlies for a ten minute headstand with vinyasas instead ( only tend to do the deadlies on Saturday in the straight 2nd).
And that was it, tried to practice pranayama with Ravi but found it distracting so turned it off. Pranayama, some mantra meditation and a 10 minute savasana with Ramaswami's chanting in my ears. As usual I fell asleep for a few minutes, woke up feeling grand.
A note about finishing, again it's a blend of Ashtanga and Vinyasa Krama. At the end of my practice I'll do a short shoulderstand prep sequence that Ramaswami recommends then go into the first 5 minute shoulderstand. Sometimes I'll have a folded manduka under my shoulders. I stay up there with my legs relaxed for the first three minutes then engage my legs for the last two. Coming down I'll do a counterpose, usually urdhava danurasana. I'll then do a ten minute headstand, the first five minutes just working on my breathing, lots of bandha work, but the second five using some vinyasas from the VK inverted sequence. Coming down from that I'll do the second 5 minute headstand. I start off with Eka pada viparita dandasana and then go through the usual ashtanga finishing sequence minus the headstand (which I'd already done of course).
When I reach Padmasana after Yoga Mudra I do 36 breaths of kapalabhati then utpluthi for the next 36 and either arms raised, fingers linked for the last 36 or with my elbows up hands on shoulders. From there I'll relax my lotus a little so i get a nice level base and do my pranayama, 20 minutes of nadi shodana. I inhale for five seconds, hold for twenty while chanting the pranayama mantra in my head, exhale for ten then engage bandhas deeply for five and then inhale again ( there's a separate page at the top of my blog that goes into my pranayama practice in more depth). Finally some japa mantra meditation, repeating my short mantra in my head while going around the 108 mala beads, once twice or three times depending how I'm doing for time.
I'll come back to this post soon and add links to all the postures and sequences mentioned. Seem to have settled into this approach to practice so might stick this on a page of it's own somewhere.
I should add that this is just one approach to Vinyasa Krama. I'm heavily influenced by Ashtanga so tend to use that as a frame work to hang everything else on.
Was tempted to go and get a Bansuri flute from Southall this afternoon but decided to wait a bit, M and I have been meaning to visit on a Sunday, this makes for a good excuse. Fooled around with my large Sakuhachi instead, close enough.