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Monday, 30 January 2012

The Ashtanga Rishi approach, Sixth Day (2nd series).

Vashistha
Everybody gets this is an experiment right? Still doing my regular straight Ashtanga practice in the evenings, this is temporarily taking the place of my morning VK practice thus the VK influence. Not suggesting anyone should replace their practice with the rishi approach but rather that it might be interesting to explore, extrcurricular as it were. If not ten asana then perhaps five or three.


It's looking at what is and perhaps isn't doable or advisable, what modifications might be called for, which asana benefit from a longer stay and which don't, what a longer stay shows up in a posture, in your technique, circulation issues for example. 


'I have gone all the way thru 1st and 2nd this way several times over the years and have found it beneficial.' David Williams


First the intro bit again...
A series of posts exploring the the 'Ashtanga Rishi Series' mentioned at the end of Nancy Gilgoff's Article (see link below) and outlined in a reply by David Willams on his forum below ( the headings in block capitals are mine.


I'll be starting each of these posts with this same introduction/reminder of the the context.

'Originally there were five series: Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, Advanced B, and the fifth was the “rishi” series'.

Ashtanga Rishi Approach
'...Doing a practice of 10 postures for up to 50 breaths is a method of preparing for "advanced series" after one has learned 1st and 2nd. It can be done once or twice a week. One does the "salutations" and then starts going thru the series, holding each posture for as long as comfortably possible. Notice which postures could be held for 50 breaths. The next time you practice this way, the postures which you could hold for 50 are omitted and new ones are added at the end. One gradually works thru the series, dropping and adding asanas, still doing 10 asanas per session. I have gone all the way thru 1st and 2nd this way several times over the years and have found it beneficiall'.

Ashtanga Rishi Series
'Then, once one has mastered all of the asanas, one can practice "the rishi series", the most advanced practice. One does the 10 postures that one intuits will be the most beneficial and appropriate for that day, holding each posture for up to 50 comfortable breaths'.

The Ashtanga Rishi approach, Sixth Day (2nd series).

Sury A x3 / Sury B x 3

Ardha badha padma paschimottanasana (25 breaths each side) Included this as a warm up for Supta vajrasna

Supta vajrasana (25 breaths) Dropped back and stayed for 15 breaths but had to come up due to the circulation in my arms being cut off, went back down again managed only five and then again for five more, circulation is a real problem with the bind, might be something to do with dropping back over the bolster.

Bakasana (25 breaths) Kind of a cross between the squeezing the thighs against the outside of the arms and the balancing approach wanted to make the most of both techniques so the squeezing in the beginning to take some of the weight off the arms and then just balancing as my legs became too tired to squeeze. Arms aren't as straight as in the regular version. if I was still doing 3rd then I might be strong enough for fifty breaths but at what cost to the wrists, not sure of the value of long stays in the arm balances. 
Nicer floaty entry HERE, name of the game in this one is conserving energy, Sharath is excellent at that by the way, check out his Primary DVD in my post yesterday morning.



Bharadvajrasana (25 breaths each side) Was looking forward to this one, nice asana for a longer stay, could have stayed for fifty each side if I had more time.

Ardha Matsyendrasana (25 breaths ) As Bharadvajrasana above.

Pincha Mayurasana (15 breaths) Wanted to leave all the leg behind head postures for tomorrow and thought I'd do a trial run of Pincha M., hard, only managed 15 breaths before I dropped out of it.

Sarvangasana (50 breaths)

Salabhasana A & B (25 breaths in each) As counter to the shoulder stand. Re recent discussion in comments to day 5, I'm approaching a long stay in an asana differently than in the short stay, think 100m and 1500 or 5000m, still running but different approach. These salabhasana are less ...engaged (see HERE for my regular Salabhasana and the new approach I'm having success with lately), we're in for the long haul. Also, I use the Vinyasa Krama drishti for this asana here (looking straight ahead), don't see the point of looking up and squishing the back of the neck for five breaths let alone 25.



Sirsasana (50 breaths)

Pranayama.
---------------------------------------------


To reiterate the plan. The idea is to run through Primary and Second series with the Ashtanga breath, equal inhalation and exhalation, take a note of how long I'm staying in the asana and then revisit the asana with the Vinyasa krama breathing. Here I'll reduce the number of breaths by lengthening the inhalation and especially the exhalation and employing breath retention where appropriate. So the same time in the pose but perhaps half or a quarter the number of breaths. This seems a more interesting approach to me than just staying in the asana for 25-50 breaths, if we're going to be in the posture that long it seems to make sense to explore the breath as fully as possible.


Ashtanga Rishi Blog post series
Ashtanga Rishi Approach, first day Paschimottanasana to Janu sirsasana A
Ashtanga Rishi Approach, second day  Janu Sirsasana B to Navasana
Ashtanga Rishi Approach, third day Bhuja pindasana to badha konasana
Ashtanga Rishi Approach, fourth day Upavishta konasana to Supta bandhasana
Ashtanga Rishi Approach, fifth day Pasasana to Kapotasana
Ashtanga Rishi Approach, sixth day Supta vajrasana to Ardha Matsyendrasana
Ashtanga Rishi Approach, Seventh Day  Eka pada sirsasana to Tittibhasana C 

3 comments:

  1. In ashtanga, the drishti for shalabasana is nose, not up!!

    Same goes for all backbends, in ashtanga.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was flicking through Yoga Mala today and found a small section on what Guruji says the older student should practice (ten poses) - thought it might interest you. I posted it on my blog for today.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So it is, I was kind of referring to how so often you see people with their heads thrown back in salabhasana. (though not sharath in the Lino book pictures I notice. I'm clumsy with drishti, never paid too much attention to it, gone with common sense drishti which most of the time is the same anyway. Not really stressed in Vinyasa krama the head is usually tilted slightly down, or your 'looking' straight ahead as in salabhasana, in twists. I try to employ 'far away mountain gaze' drishti which is what i was taught in Iado (japanese sword stuff), kind of looking but without focussing.

    Thanks dtw, nice reminder of that section. Not really the rishi approach i guess but a nice example of how the practice is adapted, nice bit there on pranayama too.

    ReplyDelete

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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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