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.

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Sunday, 27 May 2012

More of Krishanamacharya's Yogasanagalu translation : Complete Pranayama section plus Moolabhanda






Pranayama

There are many types of pranayama.  The special pranavayu kriya sadhana that improves life expectany, brightens prana, corrects inhalation and exhalation from lungs is called “pranayama.”



The radiance that shines on the face and other organs is called prana shakti.  Some people call it as atma shakti.
This radiance seems to disappear from the face and different organs in a person with disease.

We see that the radiance is totally lost in all parts of a dead body.

We need to try to improve this radiance day by day.

The only way to improve this is by the 4th step of yoganga called “pranayama.”

The basis of pranic energy is prana vayu(air).  This is not like the air around us. It is very subtle, with amazing lighting speed like a warm flood of radiance.

This is hidden in the chest cavity.  The cavity is between the two lungs.

The same place is the location of the atma and the antaryami (inner controller). The bright radiance exists because of them.

When its movement is normal, the pulse from the heart is regular and our life is full of hope and joy.

If this is poisoned, our movements become slow and ultimately  becomes stop and go.  Finally the heart and the organs stop working and the body’s radiant brightness disappears. This stage is called death in common language.

To summarize this,

“यावत्प्रानः स्थितो देहे तावज्जीवनमुच्यते”

“Yavatpranah sthito dehe tavajjivanamuchyate”


meaning, our bodies are only alive until the pranavayu and pranashakti takes residence and keep it radiant, once they are lost, there is no life according to people who have experience in yoga shastra.

In order to make this pranavayu and prana shakti always permeate our body, there are three important types of pranayama - 1. Suryabhedana 2. Ujjayi 3. Sheetali

Procedure -

Suryabhedana

Exhale slowly and deeply through the right nostril (keeping the left nostril closed with the right pinky and ring fingers). After a brief interval, inhale in the same way with the same nostril.  After, hold your breath as per capacity (5 seconds initially) exhale through the left nostril the the same way as described before (close the right nostril tightly with the right thumb and loosen the two fingers on the left side).  Inhalation and retention are same as before.  During retention, both nostrils must be closed by the respective fingers.

Exhalation is “rechaka”, inhalation is “puraka” and retention is “kumbhaka” according to Yoga shastra.  How many rechaka we perform, the same number of puraka and kumbhaka must be performed.  This is Suryabhedana.  Right side puraka, left side rechaka, and no puraka on left side according to some.

This improves pranavayu, pranashakti, knowledge and life expectancy.


Ujjayi



Slowly and deeply Inhaling through both nostrils (puraka) while creating a sound in the back of the throat, hold (as per one’s ability) and then exhaling (rechaka) through the right nostril.  After this, as before, puraka and kumbhaka and then exhale through the left nostril. Afterwards Puraka.  This increases appetite, improves digestive fire and cleanses the bile ducts.

Sheetali

Folding the tip of the tongue  like a boat and pushing it out about half and inch in front of the puckered lips, keeping it tight as per ability, perform puraka and kumbhaka through the boat shaped tounge.  During kumbhaka, the tongue must be withdrwan inside the mouth. Rechaka procedure is similar to that of Ujjayi pranayama.  

During exhalation (rechaka) phase of the second and third pranayama, hand and finger positions must be held as described in suryabhedana pranayama.

This reduces thirst, heat in the head, chest pain and vertigo.




Three Bandhas

1. Moolabandha 2. Uddiyanabandha and 3. Jaladarabandha.  Bandha means - binding, tying or confining.  When you are practicing the yoganga called pranayama, the central part of the body from the base of the reproductive parts to the neck region must be tied up on our own volition.  Without these three bandhas, full benefits of pranayama can not be achieved for sure.  Therefore, practitioners must do this carefully.



Moolabhanda characteristics (in Hatahyogapradipika)

Procedure for binding


पार्श्णिभागेन संपीड्य योनिमाकुंचयद्गुदं
अपानमूर्ध्वमत्क्रुश्य मूलबंधोऽ भिधीयते॥

Parshnibhagena sampidya yonimakunchayeddgudam|
Apanamoordhwamatkrushya moolabhandho bhidhiyate||

Summary: Sit while pressing the perineum with the heel, contract the rectum firmly, withdraw and hold the lower abdomen.

Reason for the name

अधोगतिमपानं वै ऊर्ध्वगं कुरुते बलात्।
आकुंचेन तं प्राहुर्मूलभंदं हि योगिनः॥

Adhogatimapanam vai oordhwagam kurute balat|
Aakunchena tam prahurmoolabhandam hi yoginah||

Summary: This forces the apanavayu to flow upwards rather than down the rectum which can cause weakness. Therefore, this is called Moolabhanda.  According to yogi’s common usage, moola means, the bad vayu (prana)  that can cause the musculature of the lower abdomen to become weak.

Special procedure

गुदं पार्श्ण्या तु संपीड्य पायुमाकुंचयेत् बलात्।
वारं वारं यथा चोर्ध्वं समायति स्मीर​णः॥

Gudam parshrnya tu sampeedya paayumakuchayetat balat|
varam varam yatha chordhwam samayati sameeranah||

Summary: Firmly press the perineum from the heels of both feet, contract the inner rectum tightly, move the lower abdomen back and forth.



Benefits of moolabhanda

प्रानापानौ नादबिंदू मूलभंदेन चैकताम्।
गत्वा योगस्य संसिद्धिं यच्चतो नात्र संशयः॥

praanapanou nadabindu moolabhandena chaikatam|
gatva yogasya samsiddhim yachhato natra samshayah||

Summary: By practicing moolabhanda, pranavayu, apanavayu, hrudayadhwani and veeryabindu are united resulting in yogic benefits.

Special benefits

अपानप्राणयोरैक्यं  क्शयो मूत्रपुरीषयोः।
युवा भवति व्रुद्धोऽपि सततं मूलभंधनात्॥

Apanapranayoraikyam kshayo mootrapurishayoh|
yuva bhavati vruddhopi statam moolabandhanat||

Summary: The union of pranavayu and apanavayu reduces the frequency of urination and defecation.  Those who practice regularly feel youthfulness even in old age.
To be contiued.......



Notes

See previous post for notes on Surya bheda HERE

How long to practice pranayama?

In the previous section Krishnamacharya suggests a minimum of fifteen minutes of pranayama.

"After practicing this (asana) , practice 15 minutes of one of the pranayama routines followed by 5 minutes of shavasana, without failure".


Sitali in Ramaswami Yoga for the Three stages of Life

Ramaswami gooes inot a little ore detail about what's going on inside the mouth in sitali

1. Sit in a comfortable asana.

2. Curl the tongue into a roll, protrude it and inhale through the wet tongue.

3. At the end of the inhalation, release the curl, fold the tongue, and touch the top of the upper palate, even the uvula if possible, This is called jivha bandha.

4. Then stretch the back of the neck, drop the chin to around three inches below the neck pit, forming kantha bandha.

5. After Kumbhaka (retention) exhale through alternate nostrils (or both and visualise alternating).

6. Repeat wetting the tongue (before inhalation) -the air conditioning pranayama

Srivatsa Ramaswami : Yoga for the Three Stages of Life p209




More notes to come over the next couple of days.....

Sunday, 20 May 2012

More of Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu translation ; Pranayama

See the ongoing Yogasangalu translation project for the translation so far.

Translation by Satya Murthy.


Follows on from the earlier post Final page of first section.





Second Section


Asanas

Special Direction

When practicing the above listed yogasanas people with heavy bodies must do more rechaka while people with lean bodies must be doing more puraka.  These are called langhanakriya and brahmanakriya, respectively.

Most important asanas shirshasana, sarvangasana, mayurasana, paschimatanasana and baddha padmasana must be practiced daily without failure.

Other asanas are practiced according to their convenience as people become proficient.

By practicing shirshasana, sarvangasana and thier variations at very early morning, great benefits are obtained.

Those who want to expand intelligence, heart energy and Jnanendriayas (sense organs) must practice these asanas ( shirshasana and sarvangasana) for long periods.

After practicing this, practice 15 minutes of one of the pranayama routines followed by 5 minutes of shavasana, without failure.

Pranayama

There are many types of pranayama.  The special pranavayu kriya sadhana that improves life expectany, brightens prana, corrects inhalation and exhalation from lungs is called “pranayama.”



The radiance that shines on the face and other organs is called prana shakti.  Some people call it as atma shakti.
This radiance seems to disappear from the face and different organs in a person with disease.

We see that the radiance is totally lost in all parts of a dead body.

We need to try to improve this radiance day by day.

The only way to improve this is by the 4th step of yoganga called “pranayama.”

The basis of pranic energy is prana vayu(air).  This is not like the air around us. It is very subtle, with amazing lighting speed like a warm flood of radiance.

This is hidden in the chest cavity.  The cavity is between the two lungs.

The same place is the location of the atma and the antaryami (inner controller). The bright radiance exists because of them.

When its movement is normal, the pulse from the heart is regular and our life is full of hope and joy.

If this is poisoned, our movements become slow and ultimately  becomes stop and go.  Finally the heart and the organs stop working and the body’s radiant brightness disappears. This stage is called death in common language.

To summarize this,

“यावत्प्रानः स्थितो देहे तावज्जीवनमुच्यते”

“Yavatpranah sthito dehe tavajjivanamuchyate”


meaning, our bodies are only alive until the pranavayu and pranashakti takes residence and keep it radiant, once they are lost, there is no life according to people who have experience in yoga shastra.

In order to make this pranavayu and prana shakti always permeate our body, there are three important types of pranayama - 1. Suryabhedana 2. Ujjayi 3. Sheetali

Procedure -

Suryabhedana

Exhale slowly and deeply through the right nostril (keeping the left nostril closed with the right pinky and ring fingers). After a brief interval, inhale in the same way with the same nostril.  After, hold your breath as per capacity (5 seconds initially) exhale through the left nostril the the same way as described before (close the right nostril tightly with the right thumb and loosen the two fingers on the left side).  Inhalation and retention are same as before.  During retention, both nostrils must be closed by the respective fingers.

Exhalation is “rechaka”, inhalation is “puraka” and retention is “kumbhaka” according to Yoga shastra.  How many rechaka we perform, the same number of puraka and kumbhaka must be performed.  This is Suryabhedana.  Right side puraka, left side rechaka, and no puraka on left side according to some.

This improves pranavayu, pranashakti, knowledge and life expectancy.





Notes


Pranayama
I asked Satya about the pranayama and whether there was any confusion here between Suryabhedana , which I understood to be single nostril breathing, and nadi shodana, alternate nostril breathing.


"Apparently according to K, Suryabhedana is exhable and inhale through the same nostril, hold  and then switch to the other nostril.  Maybe that is the distinction with alternate nostril breathing where you inhale with one nostril and exhale through the other.  My pranayama knowledge is very basic and I will defer to your expertise.  

I checked again, and the translation is correct. Exhale and inhale through the right nostril first, hold and then switch to the left side.  He does mention in the last but one paragraph that some people do it as what you are referring to, inhale through the right and exhale through the left, the more traditional alternate breathing". Satya


I'm wondering if my confusion here is with that first exhalation where the last of the breath is just exhaled through the right nostril before beginning the pranayama proper.


The approach to nadi shodana I was taught by Ramaswami, as taught to him by Krishnamacharya in the 1950's-80's, was to inhale through the right, hold exhale through the left hold inhale back through the left, hold exhale through the right hold and repeat. the is often described as a balancing pranayama


This differs from Krishnamachrays approach to nadi shodana in the Yogasanagalu (1941) above, where we are instructed to inhale through the right, hold, exhale through the left, hold inhale again through the right, hold and exhale again through the left and so on. Here the inhalation is always through the right nostril and the inhalation always through the left.


Ramaswami goes into more detail on this in Yoga for the Three Stages of Life p208-209 


"The first pranayama should be nadi shodana with the use of alternate nostrils. It is referred to as anuloms sand viloma by some (they are however differently inputted by different schools). A kumbhaka called suryabheda with the requisite bandhas should then be practiced. It should be followed with ujjayi, sitar, sitali, bhastrika, or any other pranayama". p208


On p209 he quotes the Yogasikha Upanishad.


" There are four types of kumbhaka to be practiced, suryabhedam, ujayii, sitalam and bhastram, which are known as sahita-kumbhakas. One should practice them and kevala-kumbhaka, facilitated by the three bandhas". p209


Ramaswami's description of suryabheda-kumbhaka, a nadi shodana pranayama is the same as we find in Yogasanagalu.


Ramaswami also mentions on p209 that ..


"Suryabheda is believed to heat up the system. hence those with low blood pressure and lethargy may benefit from it. Some schools say that candrabheda, which reverses the prices of suryabheda can help with these hypertensions." p209


In Yogasanagalu then, Krishnamacharya is choosing to present a version of nadi shodana that is perhaps the most effective for banishing lethargy, tamas, and thus inducing a more satvic state in preparation for the meditative limbs.

Breathing in asana
Krishnamacharya mentions different breathing options dependent on weight...

"When practicing the above listed yogasanas people with heavy bodies must do more rechaka while people with lean bodies must be doing more puraka.  These are called langhanakriya and brahmanakriya, respectively".

We find this too in Ramaswami writing, reflecting his studies with Krishnamacharya in the 1950's-80's, here for example in relation to backbends.

"In some of these backbends it may be easier and more desirable to use to use smooth exhalation rather than an inhalation. People who are obese, old and therefore less supple, anxious and tense or have some medical condition, such as hypertension, would do well to adopt exhalation, or longhand kriya during the backbends. because these are belly down positions, persons belonging to this group will be more comfortable and will achieve better results in Langhana kriya". p138 

We find several instances where in langhana kriya is mention as an option in Ramaswamis book as well as, in some cases,  the procedure for the longhand kriya option.

Friday, 18 May 2012

More on the 'original' Sun salutation of 1928

Obviously it's disingenouous to talk about the 'original' sunsalutaion, Man has been prostrating himself to the sun, no doubt, since the first dawn of awareness. Pragmatically we know what we're talking about though, right, tracing the sun salutation, the surya namaskar a, we include in our yoga practice back to it's earliest sources.

So, in yesterday's post it was 1928 and the publication of The Ten Point Way to Health by Shrimant Balasahib Rajah of Aundh


The full booklet can be found at the links below, look out for counted vinyasa, drishti, focus on breath, long inhalations and exhalations, breath retention, bandhas and a use of mantras.

The ten point way to health published 1928 (in English in 1938) online reader

Or as a free to download pdf file below and over on the left of the blog along with the other free downloads

The Ten Point Way to Health by Shrimant Balasahib Rajah of Aundh pdf JM Dent Publishers.

I mentioned too in yesterdays post, page 43 where we find


"We give the fundamentals to the age-old method of performing Surya namaskaras, and the one followed by our revered father, the late Rajah of Aundh. For fifty-five years he did these surya namaskaras".

We get more specifics on this in Chapter X. Evolution of Surya Namaskara

" It was in 1908 that we first began to do Surya namaskaras in the old style. According to this the knees were not straightened while bending over, nor was the foot brought forward on a line with the palms, and it was not necessary to stand erect at the beginning of each namakara or to regulate the breathing in a way we have indicated".


Surely the old style here is describing an ancient protestation to the sun, the focus purely on the ritual rather than any health benefits.

1909 of course predates, by around fifteen years, Krishnamacharya passing through on his way back to Mysore from the Himalayas and introducing the practice to the Rahja but he may of course been influenced in turn and come to incorporate the movements in his approach to asana.

The Practice "sound familiar?"

I mentioned above to look out for counted vinyasa, drishti, focus on breath, long inhalations and exhalations, breath retention, bandhas and a use of mantras.

Now remember this is perhaps simplified for the English speaking readers but perhaps we can recognise some of the above...

Chapter IV Breath is life

" There are three full breaths_three full inhalations, three holdings of breath, and three complete exhalations" p38


"Rhythmic breathing is one of the secrets of the wonderful power of the exercises to revitalise the body" p38-39


Without the breathing Surya namaskar a would lose half or more of their virtue" p 39


" Now try holding the breath for a few seconds" p40


"When after anything from three to sixty or more seconds you exhale, do so completely, making an aspirate sound such as huh at the end to ensure that the last particle of used air has been breathed out..."
p40

Richard freeman has been mentioning this last little puff of air in everyone of his pranayama lectures this month on Sounds True

"The best tune for your rhythmic breathing is seven-time. Count seven for each breath, making the temp quick at first, and later lengthening it. Fill your lungs in two counts, hold the breath for four, and empty them in one. We do not suggest that you always breath in seven-time. If you do so for a total of thirty minutes a day, it will be enough to tune up the rest of your breathing". p41


"The east and the west differ in their manner of exhalation, though this is not a very important distinction. We personally advocate strongly exhalation as well as inhalation through the nose only" p42.

The count
Speaks for itself

Bandhas
Not made explicit but we find much like this below throughout...

"Raise the chest and pull the abdomen in as far as possible" p44

In bending try and touch the knees with the forehead or nose. Squeezing in the abdomen will help to attain this position" p47

Drishti

"Turn your eyes upwards towards your waist" p47

"Without bending the arms drop to the right knee and lift the head as high as you can, looking upwards" p49


Alignment

"Stand so that a plummet line dropped from the top of your head should go through the shoulder, hip , knee and ankle. This is a stance taught by the ancient Yogis of India" p 44

This too reminds me of richard freeman's use of the plummet line, did that come from his Iyengar background, i also found reference to smiling while in a posture , another Freemanism.















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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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