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 .

Monday, 30 April 2012

Pages 12-13 of Yogasanagalu ; notes on the art of yoga practice

Here are a couple of lines on breathing from p13 below

'In yoganga sadhana we don’t see these (above mentioned) irregularities and with regular practice all organs will become strong.  How is that?  When practicing asanas, we need to maintain deep inhalation and exhalation to normalise the uneven respiration through nasal passages.

 In yoga positions where eyes, head and forehead are raised, inhalation must be performed slowly through the nostrils until the lungs are filled.  Then the chest is pushed forward and puffed up, abdomen tightly tucked in, focusing the eyes on the tip of the nose, and straighten the back bones tightly as much as possible.  This type of inhalation which fills the lungs signifies Puraka.

In yoga positions where eyes, head, forehead, chest and the hip are lowered, we have to slowly exhale the filled air.  Tucking in tightly the upper abdomen, the eyes must be closed.  This type of exhalation is called Rechaka.

Holding the breath is called Kumbhaka.'
from Yogasanagalu p12-13 ( page numbers refer to screenshots) below
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I'm finding a freshness, an immediacy  to the Yogasanagalu that I didn't expect.  The Yoga Makaranda seems, despite it's radical approach to asana, a more ...traditional, classical text. Perhaps because Yogasanagalu is much more of a practical manual where the Yoga makaranda comes across as half treatise on yoga. Both wonderful in their own way.

There's also a clarity, an explicitness that's coming across already in the Yogasanagalu we have so far that allows us to reflect on whether the Ashtanga of Krishnamacharya's student Pattabhi Jois was a refinement or simplification of his teachers approach that seems to becoming ever more rigid. 

All asanas are not the same. Some asana allow for longer stays and this may be required to achieve the full benefits of the posture. Other postures allow for deeply engaged bandhas and still others retention on the exhalation or even inhalation. In one posture we might seek to increase the length of the inhalation in another the exhalation. Krishnamacharya states clearly that for the full benefit of certain asana it's vinyasa/variations should be included. This appears is in keeping with Krishnamacharya's philosophy of teaching the appropriate practice to a particular student in a particular situation and environment.

For me, still drawn to an 'Ashtanga' practice along with Vinyasa Krama, the challenge remains how to bring both approaches together, to retain a frame work of an Ashtanga series and yet allow for flexibility and variability in Vinyasa, breathing and bandhas, to develop a more sophisticated approach to practice and yet still retain a simplicity.

Embracing the contradiction.

In the 1938 video below (despite the demonstration aspect) I'm finding it interesting seeing Ashtnga (Iyengar) and Vinyasa Krama (Krishnamacharya) existing side by side, suggesting not a change in an approach to teaching asana over the years, so much as a flexibility inherent in the approach from the early days.

Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu Pages 12-13

12
13

from the body making it swift and light, fourth one will make you realize Jeevatma, Paramatma, and the essense of the universe, fifth one removes ego and selfishness.  In today’s state, we need all of the above five that are elements of the 2nd limb.
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11. 3rd Limb and Authority

Third step is the asana.  People who make sincere efforts to practice the first and second steps (limbs) as much as possible, no matter what the conditions  are will have the authority to go into the 3rd step that is “Asana.”

Depending on how strong one practices detailed aspects of the 2nd and 3rd limbs, so fast will they experience the corresponding benefits. In yoganga, no practice will go to waste.  However, one should practice daily at an appropriate time with devotion, sincerity and respect and without going against how it was taught by the guru.

12. Caution

Especially those who want to start practicing the two yoganga’s “Asana” and “Pranayama” without following the aforementioned niyamas, following drawing charts and practicing on  their own freewill will not receive benefits but may also be responsible for tarnishing the name and bringing disrepute.  Unlike other practices, yoganga sadhana not only nourishes muscles.  It benefits body, musculature, and mind and according to the age of the practitioner improves the active energy, extends life, eliminates diseases, provides stability of the mind, comprehension of subtle reality and self knowledge.

13. Review

Body exercises can be divided into two types: Sarvanga Sadhana and Anga Sadhana.
The system which provides vigorous motion to one section of limbs while providing limited or no activities to other section is called Angabhaga Sadhaka.  I haven’t expanded on this since the current generation of youth may well imagine the examples that I am referring to.

Examples of well known body exercises that are classified under the Sarvanga Sadhaka are: Talinkhana, Garudi, etc. From these body exercises one can achieve more than necessary strong and bulky muscles resulting in impaired brain function and in these individuals respiration (inhalation and exhalation) will be irregular, but never even.

Niyama
  1. In yoganga sadhana we don’t see these (above mentioned) irregularities and with regular practice all organs will become strong.  How is that?  When practicing asanas, we need to maintain deep inhalation and exhalation to normalise the uneven respiration through nasal pasages.
  2. In yoga positions where eyes, head and forehead are raised, inhalation must be performed slowly through the nostrils until the lungs are filled.  Then the chest is pushed forward and puffed up, abdomen tightly tucked in, focusing the eyes on the tip of the nose, and straighten the back bones tightly as much as possible.  This type of inhalation which fills the lungs signifies Puraka.
  3. In yoga positions where eyes, head, forehead, chest and the hip are lowered, we have to slowly exhale the filled air.  Tucking in tightly the upper abdomen, the eyes must be closed.  This type of exhalation is called Rechaka.
  4. Holding the breath is called Kumbhaka.
  5. We have to discontinue laughter and shouting hard.  Reason?  Lungs become weak and you will start losing prana shakti.
  6. Do not hold the urge to urinate or defecate before, during or after practice.  Holding will lead to putrefacation of excreta internally therefore leading to diseases.
  7. Before practice and immediately afterwards no type of food must be taken.
  8. Foods that are very hot, sour, salty, bitter and smelling bad must be given up.
  9. Liquor, smoking, women (outside of marriage), eating fire must be rejected by the practitioner.
  10. Private parts must be held with appropriate attire during practice.
  11. It is said that these Niyamas must be followed by the yoganga practitioners in Patanjali yogashastra, Hathayoga pradipika and many other texts is mainly for our benefit and not for our misery. By practicing these Niyamas, our ancestors used to live without too much worry and have brought enormous fame and glory to the country of Bharata.

The art of yoga which had been in hibernation for some reason, has seen a resurrection due to encouragement by some very important people and it is the responsibility of the young boys and girls to make it a success.  Unlike other practices, yoga practice does not require spending money on various apparatus. Unnecesssary food or drinks are not required.  Expensive clothing and attire are not needed.  Big buildings are not necessary.  Differences in caste, creed, young-old, men-women do not matter.  However, deep desire, faith, courage, perseverence, Satvic (pure) and limited food - these are required.  There is simply no reason why this yoganga sadhana which provides so much benefits and is so simple must be given up by us, impoverished Indians.
While Foreigners have come to the growing yoga shala supported by Sri Maharaja, taken photos of the drawing charts and displaying it in their countries, it is not right that we sit still and do nothing.

Bharata, which is the home of all philosophical/spiritual sciences, we have it our hand to ensure that others don’t become teachers of our youth.  This amazing system is not being practiced along with spiritual sciences with the help of a Guru, but is being abused by some of us is very unfortunate.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Krishnamacharya's Complete 'Original' 1941 Ashtanga Syllabus inc. Proficient group

Many Thanks to Satya Murthy for translating and passing on the final group of postures from the table of asanas in Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu. This is basically a preview, for those of us who couldn't wait, of the full translation to come, still a few pages off in the ongoing translation (see the page at the top of my blog). The original table includes the numbered postures in the three groups along with Vinyasa counts, the postures place in the vinyasa count and notes on breathing as well as benefits to be gained from the asana.

I've just gone through the list of the Proficient series and all but the last two asana at the end of the list are familiar to me. To remind myself which series, Advanced A or B the postures belong to in modern Ashtanga I used my David Williams Complete Ashtanga syllabus wall chart.

Down in the left corner of the poster David has written an introduction to the syllabus, here's part of it.
http://www.ashtangayogi.com/HTML/the-complete-asana-poster.html


'When I arrived in Mysore in 1973, the "Ashtanga Yoga Syllabus" was framed and hung on the wall of Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute. Pattabhi Jois told me the syllabus was the list of the four
series of postures and pranayama from the Yoga Korunta, written in the 12th century by the yogi, Vamana. He explained to me that this ancient text was taught orally to his guru, T. Krishnamacharya, by his guru in
Tibet, Rama Mohan Brahmachari. Several years later, Krishnamacharya, following the directions of his guru, found a written copy of the Yoga Korunta in the library of the Maharaja of Calcutta. Krishnamacharya made
a copy of the manuscript.
Krishnamacharya showed the Yoga Korunta to his student, Pattabhi Jois. The text included all of the basic yoga asanas, from elementary to advanced, detailed move by move, breath by breath'.

Here's four of the five pages of the table from the Yogasanagalu.

...and here's Satya Murthy's translation of the asana lists.

The Primary and Middle series are pretty close to the Primary and 2nd series taught now in Mysore. A few 2nd series asana are missing from the Middle sequence but most of these turn up in the Proficient series. I seem to remember David Williams writing or saying in an interview that originally there was just Primary, Intermediate and Advanced series asana, the Advanced postures later being ordered into Advanced A and B series ( and then later again into 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th series.

Proficient series correspondence with David Williams Ashtanga Syllabus
Advanced A Series
1-9, 13-20, 37, 39-41, 53, 
Advanced  B Series
21-28, 30, 35, 38, 42-45, 47-51, 55-56
2nd series
10-12, 29, 31, 33, 52, 54
?
34, 36, 46,

Yogasanagalu was written in 1941, Krishnamacharya continued to teach at the Mysore palace until 1954 so we might expect that the Asana list we have here would have been tweaked and played with a little, it may well have ended up even closer to the Ashtanga syllabus we have now.

It seems pretty safe to argue that this is the original Ashtanga syllabus.

UPDATE

Below is a first draft of a Proficient 'group' practice sheet, I hesitate to call it a series as I suspect it wasn't intended to be practiced as such, this raises questions regarding how we practice advanced postures currently. practice sheets for the primary and Middle group of postures are on the Yogasanagalu project page at the top of the blog

This is mainly for my own use something for me work from and explore in practice. The pictures are all old ones I had on file, some better than others, some at the very beginning of approaching a posture. I'm still not sure of many of the versions of the posture referred to in the list, it's a working document, hopefully from this something more accurate will develop.






* I didn't have 39. Trivikramasana(supta) 40. Trivikramasana (utthita) on file, the pictures here are just a reminder. 51. Suptakandasana is a sketch based on David Williams from His Complete Syllabus poster, it's a posture I've never tried and am probably still a way from realising.

Here's Iyengar performing many of the advanced asana in the list but in a demonstrating setting. Krishnamacharya's own demonstration in the video of shoulder stand and headstand vinyasas is very similar to the approach he taught Ramaswami in the 50's-80's and how Ramaswami in turn passed them on to us in his Vinyasa Krama TT course and workshops. The main difference I would point out is the breathing, outside of a demonstration setting, would be long and slow inhalation and exhalations with longer stay's in postures and breath retention where appropriate.



UPDATE 13/01/14

Following on from the Krishnamacharya Primary series and intermediate series, slight, rearrangement of postures from Yoga Makaranda and Yogasanagalu, I was asked if there was a Krishnamacharya a Advanced Series practice poster coming. Well no, not really, I'm not convinced the advanced postures are best suited in a series or were ever intended as such but rather as optional extentions or perhaps substitutions for postures in the previous groups/series.

And of course if Pattabhi Jois had taught a two year course instead of four back in the 40s he probably wouldn't have formalised one either, perhaps it's a distraction

Practicing Pratyahara - 10 techniques


Krishnamacharya Shanmukha / sat mukhi mudra - Pratyahara


“Ṣat Mukhi Mudrā –A means to ‘Listen’ to the Space within the Heart.”

Q: What must form an essential part of a person’s daily practice?
A: A minimum of ten minutes in Antaḥ Trāṭakam, Ṣat Mukhī Mudrā or Mahā Mudrā is essential.
– Śrī Krishnamacharya – The Pūrnācārya – published by the KYM in 1997

Note: Ramaswami would have us practice this for five minutes after pranayama


below from Hatha Yoga Pradipka chapter 4
मुक्तासने सथितो योगी मुद्रां सन्धाय शाम्भवीम |
शॄणुयाद्दक्ष्हिणे कर्णे नादमन्तास्थमेकधीः || ६७ ||

muktāsane sthito yoghī mudrāṃ sandhāya śāmbhavīm |
śṝṇuyāddakṣhiṇe karṇe nādamantāsthamekadhīḥ || 67 ||

Sitting with Mukta Âsana and with the Sâmbhavî Madill, the Yogî should hear the sound inside his right ear, with collected mind. 67.

शरवण-पुट-नयन-युगल
घराण-मुखानां निरोधनं कार्यम |
शुद्ध-सुष्हुम्णा-सरणौ
सफुटममलः शरूयते नादः || ६८ ||

śravaṇa-puṭa-nayana-yughala
ghrāṇa-mukhānāṃ nirodhanaṃ kāryam |
śuddha-suṣhumṇā-saraṇau
sphuṭamamalaḥ śrūyate nādaḥ || 68 ||

The ears, the eyes, the nose, and the mouth should be closed and then the clear sound is heard in the passage of the Suṣumnâ which has been cleansed of all its impurities.


*

Off work for a couple of days with a medial calf strain, this is sometimes referred to as 'tennis leg'

Tennis leg’ is an incomplete rupture of the inside of the calf muscle (figure 1). It is a typical tennis injury that often occurs in players in the 35 to 50 age group. This muscle injury may occur as a result of a sudden contraction of the calf muscles, for instance during a sprint. Symptoms are a sudden, sharp or burning pain in the leg, sometimes accompanied by an audible sound. In most cases, the player is unable to continue play because of the severe pain. Depending on the severity of the injury, recovery may take between a few days and six weeks'.

Here's a very (very ) slim argument against Mark Singleton's Yoga Body...

Tennis leg is NOT a yoga injury, run thorough a practice in your mind, can you think of any posture any movement where you're at risk of tennis leg (if you can then your probably doing it wrong).  'A sudden contraction of the calf muscles'? No, of course notwe don't do sudden. That's where the similarity between western gymnastics and Krishnamacharya's asana practice falls down.

OK, said it was a slim argument ( a very slim argument )but it came to mind after I pulled the muscle suddenly, deciding to run up a hill ( was a little late and had a flat so no bike) and while hobbling the rest of the way to work Thursday.

I actually really liked Mark's book and highly recommend it, don't think I agree with some of his conclusions but that's no reason for not recommending it, it's a great read and will challenge some of your assumptions and force you to think them through, always good.

Here's an interesting discourse between Ramaswami and Mark Singleton.

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So I'm at home and haven't had a decent practice since Wednesday evening. I tried modifying practice, (some light on your feet seated and supine) but my heart hasn't been in it. I missed practice Thursday morning making up the practice sheets for the Yogasanagalu practice (that's why I was running late) and was looking forward to practicing it when I got home and over the weekend.

Still there's pranayama (second part of Richard Freeman's on line pranayama course -more to come on that soon) and pratyahara.

With time to spare I decided to reread the Yogayajnavalkya Samhita, this is probably the second most important text on Yoga, (no not the HYP, that's a relative newcomer, Yogayajnavalkya is old school, it's where HYP gets all it's good stuff from) not as old as Patanjali's Yoga sutras but not far off. Yajnavalkya also wrote one of the ten major Upanishads, the Bruhadarankya Upanishad, it includes one of the most famous peace chants

oṁ asato mā sad gamaya
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya
mṛtyor mā amṛtaṁ gamaya
oṁ śānti śānti śāntiḥ – bṛhadāraṇyaka upaniṣad 1.3.28

Lead Us From the Unreal To the Real,
Lead Us From Darkness To Light,
Lead Us From Death To Immortality,
Let There Be Peace Peace Peace. – Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.3.28.



PRACTICING PRATYAHARA


Anyway, I'd forgotten but Yogayajnavalkya Samhita has one of the best treatments of pratyahara I've come across. I've tended to think of pratyahara as the Cinderella limb of Ashtanga, so often neglected, overlooked and yet I've always suspected it should be given more attention but how.....

Technique1. Shanmukhi mudra/ Yoni mudra  (sealing the senses)
Ramaswami taught us to practice pratyahara using Shanmukhi mudra (sealing the senses ) thumb closing the ears, first and index fingers lightly on the eyelids, third fingers resting gently on the sides of the nose and the pinky on the corner of the mouth. Apart from the thumbs the fingers are just a gesture, your not pressing into your eyes or nose.

So after your pranayama practice you take up Shanmukhi mudra and withdraw the sense for five to ten minutes.

Technique 2 (nada yoga)
Researching it recently I came across linking pratyahara with nada yoga (yoga of sound), withdrawing the senses inward and picking up and then focussing on an internal sound, that might be your heartbeat, a hum, ringing, whatever the sound that's most subtle, for me it's a hum.

The Yogayajnavalkya Samhita and Pratyahara/pranayama techniques.

http://shrifreedom.org/yogapratyahara.shtml

The first couple of techniques use the marman points, this is a little like Yoga Nidra, if your familiar with it, where you shift your attention slowly from your toes to your fingertips to the top of your head.

You might have tried something similar if your having trouble sleeping, tense the big toe for a moment then relax it, move on to the other toes and the the foot, the ankle, the lower leg.... there's probably more but I usually drop off to sleep by the time I get to the knees.

The Marma points are supposed to be little energy or nerve centres centres.

The yogayajnavalky links these with pranayama you exhale practice breath retention, and then move the prana from one point to the next.

Technique 3.
Focus the prana at the ankle and then shift it from one point to the next up to your forehead.

Technique 4.
Focus the prana at the forehead, between the eyebrows and mentally move it from one point to the next down to your ankle.

Technique 5
This is interesting, came across it by accident, it's an article on the indian martial art Marma Shastra that uses pressure points or the marma's to inflict pain or injury (reminds me a little of my old Aikido/Aki-jitsu days).


Marma Shastra Meditation
Marma knowledge is the mother of all Chi/Prana information. The martial arts aspect of this ancient knowledge, going back to the beginning of the fifth root race, has been said to be more lethal than far eastern martial arts. What is known is that the cleansing and energizing of the marmas results in more physical, emotional and mental poise with a more sonorous voice. Eso- terically, when energized on the Tantric and non-dual paths, the marmas can act much like the mitochondria of the cells and that they are focal points of power. Ashramically, the disciple (once enough of the samskaras are transformed and transpersonal Love, the soul Love of presence) can receive real help and direction in service. The energies can be both outgoing and ingoing, in other words, the inbreathing of energies through the marmas can provide very accurate information to the ashram. This oper- ates analogously to digital information.

Traditionally, there are 107 marma points in the body with the 108th being at region of the brahmarandra.

The marma points can be energized for purposes of healing. There is a way of applying healing to another via their marma points. It is not until the dis- ciple has been sufficiently cleared of the samskaras, and enough time in consecrated service that the hierarchical functioning begins to impact the life.

Below we have presented a form of meditation and Pratyahara using marma points according to this yogic teaching, as Vasishta Samhita states,

“One should practice concentration by drawing one’s Prana by the power of attention from each of these marma regions.”

To do this, practice the following method carefully, using inhalation and exhalation at each marma region, much like flexing and relaxing of the muscles. It is important to prepare by following the breath foce, and doing the following through any awareness practice through the sense of presence.

1. Direct your attention to your toes. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
2. Move your attention to your ankles. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize (intend or feel) this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
3. Move your attention to the middle of your calves. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
4. Move your attention to the base of your knees. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
5. Move your attention to the middle of your knees. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
6. Move your energy to the middle of your thighs. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
7. Move your energy to the root of your anus. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
8. Move your energy to the middle of your hips. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
9. Move your energy to the root of your urethra. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
10. Move your energy to your navel. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
11. Move your energy to your heart. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
12. Move your energy to the root of your throat. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
13. Move your attention to the root of your tongue. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
14. Move your attention to the root of your nose. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
15. Move your attention to your eyes. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
16. Move your attention to the point between your brows. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
17. Move your attention to the middle of your forehead. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visu- alize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.
18. Move your attention to the top of the head. On inhalation, gather your energy there. On exhalation, release it. Visualize this region of your body energized, healed and relaxed.

In this practice one concentrates both mind and Prana in each of these regions starting with the feet. Gather your attention from one marma region to another like climbing a series of steps from the bottom of the body to the top of the body. Finally, you can hold your awareness at the top of the head in the space of the Supreme Self beyond birth and death and all suffering. However, you can also direct your breath and attention to any of these marma sites to heal that area or for specific therapeutic purposes.'
from Sevanti Wellness

Pratyahara/meditation techniques

Technique 6. - Candle flame
Download your candle app from iTunes (or if you can still find a shop that still sells them buy a real one).
Stare at the candle flame for a minute or so, close your eyes and focus on the image of the flame, holding it in the minds eye until it fades. Repeat

Technique 7.
Same as above but choose an icon of a deity

Techniques 8
Choose any strong visual impression, now you could use a memory but I think the idea is to withdraw the senses from 'something actual' to it's image in the mind.

So, sit in front of a tree and use the same technique as with the candle, or look up at a blue sky, stare at the ocean, a pebble, a tree stump ( no not a tree stump, conjures up too many ideas of death, for the same reason avoid cherry blossom, we don't want to withdraw our senses only to end up with our mids getting all philosophical).

Technique 9  - Charles MacInerney's Sense Withdrawal 
I came across this one a couple of years back, practiced it for a while and then forgot about it.

'I recommend you begin the practice of sense withdrawal by focusing on sounds. With eyes closed, covered, or lights turned out, listen to all the sounds in your environment. Of all the sounds you can hear, choose to focus on the most subtle. As you improve your ability to focus your mind, the most subtle sound will become louder, and louder. Then ask yourself, is there a more subtler sound beneath the one you are focusing on. Shift your attention to this new sound until it becomes louder.

This is the most important aspect of this practice... do not attempt to "not hear" the louder sounds. Let them come and go. They are of no consequence. Stay focused on the most subtle. As you step back further and further along this chain of sounds you eventually hear your own breathing, beneath that perhaps your heart, beneath that... eventually you are hearing imaginary sounds, sounds of consciousness. Of all of these imaginary sounds, which is the most subtle? Focus on that. Eventually they say that you hear the sound of creation. The echo left over from the big bang, and when asked what does that sound like the sages would reply AAAUUUMMM.... AAAUUUMMM.... AAAUUUMMM'.

Technique 10 - OM
This last one I remember reading about somewhere but can't find the link.

I dismissed it at the time as I wasn't comfortable, Bhagavan Das has changed my thinking on that now and I'm all for big powerful AUM'ing


The idea is to chant Om/Aum nice and loud and long with good vibration. As your OM trails off there's a point where there's no actual sound but you can still kind of hear it the OM in your head, focus on that, allow it perhaps to get louder but don't force it don't engage with it just allow it to happen kind of how that irritating Trololo song seems to get louder and louder in your head until it's all you can hear.

You could use the fella's smile for technique 8. too.


Which technique do I practice? 
The one Ramaswami taught me,  Technique 1. Shanmukhi mudra/ Yoni mudra  (sealing the senses) is my bread and butter pratyahara, five minutes at least between pranayama and meditation but if I have a little extra time I work on Technique 2. nada yoga/pratyahara and recently Technique 10 - OM but in the evenings when M. is out.

Sadly I seem to be practicing the Trololo version half the day while at work.

Friday, 27 April 2012

More Yogasanagalu. Krishnamacharya on the Niyamas.


Two new pages (11 & 12 ) translated from Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu. Krishnamacharya on the Niyama's below


Krishnamacharya wrote his book Yoga Makaranda in 1934 in the Kannada language, the Tamil edition was published in 1938. 

Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu was first published in the Kannada language in 1941, the 3rd edition was published in 1972 

K. Pattabhi Jois wrote his book, Yoga Mālā, in Kannada in 1958, and it was published in 1962, but was not published in English until 1999

Yogasanagalu along with Krishnamacharya's other book Yoga Makaranda (downloadable HERE), was originally written in Mysore while Krishnamacharya was teaching at the Mysore Palace and while Sri K Pattabhi Jois was his student.



The Yogasanagalu translation project now has it's own page at the top of the blog just below the picture. I'll be updating the page as more of the translation comes in.

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8. Fruits of the 1st Limb

Above listed five foundations of the the 1st limb are: Ahimsa, Sathya, Asteya, Brahmacharya-Pativratya, and Aparigraha.  If we start practicing these principles in a small way, diseases related to the body, organs and mind will stop being obstacles to a happy life.  Practicing these will become joyful.

9. 2nd Limb: Niyama and its classification

1. Cleanliness in food, pleasure, sports, bath, body, mind and other activities in both internal and external aspects – this is called purity.

2.  Not feeling jealous of other people’s wealth and not feeling proud compared to other’s poverty, being always cheerful.  This is called contentment.

3. Not feeding our body which carries our life effortlessly with excess fat and performing fast at appropriate times so that the body fat can be decreased, eating moderately and on time.  This is called Tapas.

4. To prevent evil and impediments in life and to gain knowledge one must read vedas, puranas, scriptures, chant holy mantras while ruminating on its meaning and teach others.  This is called Swadhyaya.

5. Who built this tree of universe that has not stopped changing from the very minute (atomic) times undergoing many beautiful and wonderful changes;  Who must eat fruits bearing from this tree?  Why is that all are not eating these fruits equally without differences?  What is the reason?  Could someone like us plant another tree like that?  Why not?  The eternal that does not dry up but continues to give required fruits to the souls.  This creator, is he in front of us or not?  If not how does this work?  Without doubt we all realize that work does not happen without a reason. Therefore, one who is giving us this variety of unlimited fruits without end in this tree of universe must be immensely powerful, with unlimited knowledge, unfathomable, have infinite empathy and having many other amazing qualities.  His existence is documented in all vedas and puranas.  Although he exists, the reason we are not able to witness, we have to admit is our deficiency in body, faculty and mind.  Our ancestors called and praised him as “Paramatma and Sarveshvara.”  We have to resolve that we will practice sadhana to be able to see Paramatma and offer to Sarveshvara with great devotion our spiritual practices, without desire for any benefits. This is called Ishwarapranidhana.

10. Benefits of the 2nd Limb

From the above five, the first one will purify body and mind, remove environmental flaws, second will give mental happiness/contentment at all times, third one will reduce bad fat
from the body making it swift and light, fourth one will make you realize Jeevatma, Paramatma, and the essense of the universe, fifth one removes ego and selfishness.  In today’s state, we need all of the above five that are elements of the 2
nd limb.


11. 3rd Limb and Authority

Third step is the asana.  People who make sincere efforts to practice the first and second steps (limbs) as much as possible, no matter what the conditions  are will have the authority to go into the 3rd step that is “Asana.”

Depending on how strong one practices detailed aspects of the 2nd and 3rd limbs, so fast will they experience the corresponding benefits. In yoganga, no practice will go to waste.  However, one should practice daily at an appropriate time with devotion, sincerity and respect and without going against how it was taught by the guru.

12. Caution

Especially those who want to start practicing the two yoganga’s “Asana” and “Pranayama” without following the aforementioned niyamas, following drawing charts and practicing on  their own freewill will not receive benefits but may also be responsible for tarnishing the name and bringing disrepute.  Unlike other practices, yoganga sadhana not only nourishes muscles.  It benefits body, musculature, and mind and according to the age of the practitioner improves the active energy, extends life, eliminates diseases, provides stability of the mind, comprehension of subtle reality and self knowledge.

Krishnamacharya's Primary and Middle sequence practice sheets from Yogasanagalu (1941 )





Many many thanks to Satya Murthy for the continuing translation.

Krishnamacharya wrote his book Yoga Makaranda in 1934 in the Kannada language, the Tamil edition was published in 1938. 

Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu was first published in the Kannada language in 1941, the 3rd edition was published in 1972 


K. Pattabhi Jois wrote his book, Yoga Mālā, in Kannada in 1958, and it was published in 1962, but was not published in English until 1999

This, along with Krishnamacharya's other book Yoga Makaranda (downloadable HERE), was originally written in Mysore while Krishnamacharya was teaching at the Mysore Palace and while Sri K Pattabhi Jois was his student.




Introduction to his 1st, 2nd and 3rd editions can be found HERE

The translation thus far brought together in a single post (this will live in the sidebar over on the left of my blog above the free download section).


* Apologies for the inconsistency of the pictures in the practice sheets. I wanted to make up something to explore the sequences in my own practice and these are mostly pictures I already had on file, hopefully they give a better idea of the sequences than the list of asana.



Thursday, 26 April 2012

Krishnamacharya's Primary Series (1941)

Relates to yesterdays post on Satya Murthy's translation of Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu (1941) asasna sequence table.

Made up a practice sheet of Krishnamacharya's Primary series to see what it's like to practice. I have a feeling that the sequence may well be a series of 'signposts' at each posture one or more vinyasas/variations might be included but this is speculation for now. Middle series practice e sheet to come.



'Ashtanga' Primary and 2nd series in Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu 1941


Many thanks to Satya for passing on his translation of part of the table from Krishnamacharya's  Yogasanagalu outlining a division of 'Primary' and 'Middle' series asanas


From Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu

'5.  Classification
This yoganga sadhana has been divided into three series: power (strength) series, treatment series and the spiritual series.

  1. The power series is further classified into mind and body
  2. The treatment series is divided into kosha (sheath) and Nadi (pulse)
  3. Spiritual is only one
Essential
First series requires many yogasanas and some pranayama
Second series needs some easy asanas and three pranayamas
Third series requires pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi
Later a table is shown that includes these'.

Krishanamacharya's Yogasanagalu (translation Satya Murthy).







What I find most interesting in all this is not so much that we find the essentials of the modern Ashtanga  system, in Krishanamacharya's Yogasanagalu and Yoga Makaranda, the 'tristana', we'd suspected as much already, but rather that early Ashtanga and Vinyasa Krama existed side by side.

Since encountering Vinyasa Krama through Ramaswami's teaching, two years ago, I've sought to reconcile and reintegrate what I'd thought of as the early and later teaching of Krishnamacharya. What we find in Yogasanagalu (already), the Yoga Makaranda and the 1938 video suggests that there was no division between early and later periods, that Krishnamacharyas teaching was perhaps consistent throughout his life, rather it was the situation in which he was teaching which accounts for any difference in focus.

Modern Ashtanga has perhaps tightened (simplified/narrowed?) the approach, the number and length of breaths, the breath retention in certain postures, a reduction in vinyasas and less focus on pranayama and the other limbs but this too was perhaps more a result of the teaching situation and encounter with the west.

If we watch the 1938 documentary footage of Iyengar and Krishnamacharya we see Iyengar performing many of the postures familiar to Ashtangi's and outlined in the table above in the 1941 Yogasanagalu, but we also see Krishnamacharya demonstrating many vinyasas in shoulder stand and headstand that are familiar to those who have studied Krishnamacharya's later teaching through Ramaswami and Deskichar.



 In the Yogasanagalu we also find many photographs of Krishnamacharya demonstrating vinyasas (variations) of postures very much in line with Ramaswami's Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga, representing how Ramaswami was taught by Krishnamacharya from the 1950's-80's.

Hopefully more attention will now be given to Krishnamacharya's major works

Yoga Makaranda

Yogasanagalu ( partly translated)

Yogarahasya






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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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