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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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Pimping up Krishnamacharya's Life saving yoga sequence plus 8mm vintage video app for iPhone.

8mm vintage video app for iPhone

I've been exploring Krishnamacharya's so called ' Life Saving" sequence from the Der Atmende Gott movie this week. At first I tried it pretty straight, just as it's outlined on the DVD box, makes a nice extra evening practice. That straight version is represented below

Even added a video, mainly an excuse to play around with the filters on the Vintage 8mm video app from itunes.

What I'm finding more interesting though is using it as a framework for my main morning practice. I've included a couple of ideas for how you might pimp it up at the end of this post.

....or you could just use it as an alternative finishing sequence to your Ashtanga practice


 'Life saving yoga session' 

from the movie Der Atmende Gott

"Starting from the 50s more and more visitors came from the West to Krishnamacharya in Madras, to learm Yoga from him, the 'teacher of teachers'. Krishnamacharya developed for them a specific sequence that he named 'Life saving yoga session'. Yoga to extend life, the name did not fail to work. Krishnamacharya's idea was to use this sequence to lead Westerners to an unconfessional and undogmatic experience of the Divine, since their pluralistic culture would not permit an automatic access to religious matters.
The sequence, which was not taught anymore after Krishnamacharya's death and which was taught by his son TK shribayam to director Jan Schmidt-Garre after years of acquaintance during the filming of 'Der atmende Gott', is here disclosed in its original form.
Characteristic of the later Krishnamacharya and of the 'Life saving Yoga session' is the connection of postures, breathing and concentration in the sense of the orientation of the gaze and awareness of a focal point. Only when these elements form an organic connection can Yoga happen, according to Krishnamacharya

1. sit for 30-60 seconds with crossed legs in Padmasana. Concentration on Nasagra (point of the nose)

2. 16-24 Kapalabhati breaths (breath of fire, energeti inhale and exhale)

3. 12 breaths of ujjayi anuloma. Inhale: ujjayi, with slightly constricted throat, to drwa air into the lungs. Exhale: the hand forms a claw with thumb, ring- and little-fingers with which one nostril is alternately kept closed. Exhale very slowly through the open nostril, without ujjayi, beginning with the left

4. 3 breaths in matsyasana. Legs are closed in the lotus position

5. 3 breaths in bhujangasana. Start with open eyes and during the progression of movement, which start with the forehead, close the eyes. Concentration on Bhrumhadya (between the eyebrows)

6. 12 breaths in sarvangasana. The chin is closed in front of the straightened body. Hands close to the shoulderblades, concentration on Kanta (throat)

7. 12 breaths in sirsasana. Concentration on Nasagra (tip of the nose)

8. 3 breaths in halasana. Arms on the floor, hands clasped, palms towards the outside

9. 3 breaths in bhujangasana. Again start with open eyes and close them during the movement. Cncentration on Bhrumadhya (between the eyebrows)

10. 12 breaths in Maha-mudra (one-sided forward bend) six times on the left, then six times on the right. With the first inhale bring the arms over the head, with hands clasped, palms up. With the exhale get into the posture. Concentration on navel

11. 12 breaths in paschimottanasana, preparation and in maha mudra. The hands clasp the big toes, the back stays straight, neck and back form a lune. Concentration on the navel.

12. 30-60 Bastri breaths (rapid alternate breathing) in padmasana. The right hand builds a clasp as for anuloma ujjayi. Inhale and exhale through the left nostril, then change the grip and rapidly inhale and exhale through the right nostril. No ujjayi. end with an exhale from the left nostril and without pause move ot a long inhale in nadi shodan. Concentration on Nasagra

13. 12 breaths in nadi shodan (alternate breathing). Inhale very slowly from the half-closed left nostril, exchange grip ad after a short pause exhale very slowly through the half-closed right nostril. After a short pause inhale very slowly through the half-closed right nostril, change grip and after a short pause exhale through the half-clodes left nostril. No ujjayi. The left hand counts the breaths, with the thumb gliding over the twelve parts of the four fingers, from the third falanx of the little fingers in the direction towards outside to the point of the index finger. Concentration on Hrudaya (heart)

14. Prayer. Concentration on Hrudaya (heart)

In the coming book fom Shribashyam "How Yoga really was" this and similar sequences are explained in detail

*Thank you again to Chiara fro the translation from the German.

Here are some print out practice sheets.

Pimping up Krishnamacharya's 'Life Saving' practice with some Vinyasa Krama

Start off the same with 1. and 2., the breathing preparation, perhaps just seated with the legs crossed if you find moving directly to lotus a little tough ( the movies director, Jan Schmidt-Garre sits crossed legged in the film rather than in half or full lotus).

I then come back up to standing for the basic 10 minutes Tadasana hand and arm variations that I like to use as a warm up, I do this whether I'm practicing Vinyasa Krama or Ashtanga.

I tend to follow this with a couple of Sun Salutations A and B, the full ten, five of each or 2x A and  3x B or just one of each taken nice and slow, or perhaps with the surynamaskara mantra, depends how much warm up you feel you need that morning.

I like to include Trikonasana A and B whatever I do because it's such an excellent twist.

Next up I include the Utthita hasta padangusthasana sequence because I still hate it so figure it must be good for me one way or other.

Transition back to seated for...

Ardha badha padma maschimottanasana as lotus prep ( this morning I preceded that with janusirsasana A)

Other Asymmetric subroutines or parts of subroutines are an option here, perhaps to include some mores twists.

Back on program with stages 4. and 5. matsyasana and bhujangasana

After Bhujangasana I like to do some more backbending Bow postures followed by Ustrasana and possibly kapotasana finishing backbends with urdhva Dhanurasana and perhaps a drop back or two.

from my Kindle Vinyasa Yoga Practice book

The vinyasa krama shoulderstand prep that Ramaswami recommends

6. Shoulderstand

Another bow posture, Salabhasana perhaps as counter to the shoulder stand

7. headstand

And of course one could include some of the shoulderstand or headstand variations.

8. halasana

9. Bhujangasana again or another bow variation.

10. maha mudra

I like to add another twist here, Ardha and/or purna matsyendrasana or perhaps Bharadvajrasana to keep the more meditative vibe going from maha mudra

back on program again with

11. A long paschimottanasana and it's counter purvottanasana

12. and 13. Pranayama

But of course it's flexible, at each stage you can add more or less of a particular Vinyasa krama subroutine or two. 

Each day could have a different focus,  Bow postures one day after stage 5. another day Supine vinyasas at 6.  or More Asymmetric at 9. or 10., seated subroutines at 11.

or my own practice book for the practice sheets perhaps

Either way Krishnamacharya has included what he considers the key, essential postures of maha mudra, paschimottanasana, Shoulderstand and headstand.

In the video above I included a few jump back and through variations, use as many as those as you wish or perhaps keep it very simple transitioning only between stages.


  1. recostnWow, the devil's in the detail.

    I like the 12-part counting, using the 3 parts of 4 fingers on the left hand.

    Also looking forward to trying palms outward in Halasana, after so long doing it palms in, per Ashtanga method.

  2. "recostnWow, the devil's in the detail.' Sorry didn't catch your meaning there was taht a typo or am I being slow.

    Good point about the twelve count, ideal for the hand

    I hadn't noticed that he has you turn the palms out in halasana, tried it this morning and it felt comfortable, more so than in prasariata C where everytime i try it I'm struggling to keep my little fingers linked, the floor helps in halasana.

  3. "Recostn" ...... That was from the spam-checker that you need to enter to comment. The cursor went walkies when I wasn't watching!

    Yes, I tried turning out my palms in Halasana, and felt like I was in strangely unfamiliar territory, but I'll stick with it for a while and see if anything new opens up. The best things happen slowly. I'd noticed many of Krisnamacharya's photos feature him teaching long stretches with fingers interlaced and it seems to be very good for easing compression in the cervical spine and easing generally achy shoulders. Great for deepening the breath too.

  4. This Life saving yoga session is very similar to the Sivananda series.

  5. As Anonymous noticed, this is pretty similar to the typical Sivananda Yoga session:

    Initial relaxation (Savasana)
    Opening mantras - gajananam
    Eye and neck exercises

    Kapalabhati pranayama
    Anuloma viloma pranayama

    Sun salutations (Surya Namaskar)

    The Rishikesh series of asanas:

    1: Sirshasana (Headstand)
    2: Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand)
    3: Halasana (Plough)
    Sethubandhasana - Bridge
    4: Matsyasana (Fish)
    5: Paschimottanasana (Forward bend, followed by inclined plane)
    6: Bhujangasana (Cobra)
    7: Shalabhasana (Locust)
    8: Dhanurasana (Bow)
    9: Ardha-matsyendrasana (Half spinal twist)
    10: Kakasana (Crow), Mayurasana (Peacock) or Vrikshasana - Tree
    11: Padahasthasana (Stork or standing forward bend)
    12: Trikonasana (Triangle)

    Final relaxation (Shavasana)
    Closing mantras - om tryambakam

  6. Thank you Enrique for taking the time to lay this out, makes Anon's comparison clearer. i had a brief flirtation with Sivananda yoga a couple of years back but at the time was too stuck in my Ashtanga ways.

  7. Yoga Sūtra see Chapter Two 47
    prayatna-śaithilya-Ananta-samapattibhyam |
    "Unity is from Both relaxation of continued effort and the infinite."

    When Working with the breath in its Āsana INITIALLY Perhaps less appealing, but ultimately more attractive, satisfactory and Effective, to integrate a focus of samapatti (Unity) of Śaithilya (Relaxation of the breath) in Ananta (the Infinite), through a developmental Sadhana (Means to Accomplish) on Dirgha or Length, supported by Suksma or Subtlety.

    From Yoga Sutra Chapter Two 47 T Krishnamacharya Taught seen that:
    - The common denominator for successfully uniting (samapatti) both (bhyām) aspects of relaxation (śaithilya) and the infinite (Ananta) Within the practice of asana is the Breath. I saw it as the 'continued effort' (prayatna) synonymous with 'giving life' (Jivana). The continued effort of the Breath is That Which Gives life.

     lifesaving is not an asana session is focused prana, pranayama mudra and in my opionion (prayatna) synonymous with 'giving life' (Jivana)

    kapalabhati clean the nadis

     Like puraka avriti vinyasas kumbaha rechaka and transition

    parivritri puraka, rechaka, kumbaha and bandhas (in silent asanas) enclose prana sakti

    matsyanas, bajhungasana, Sarvangasana (mudraviparita) sirsasanam (viparita mudra), halasana (viparita mudra) maha mudra paschimotasana (Aswini mudra, tadanghi)

    all mudras long breath ramasmi )this is for all asnasmudras sesion in my opinion similar risshi aproach

    avriti samtraka pranayama parivritri avritri and accumulate (pranayama mantra) is more more prana in the heart

    plus prana in the heart is to lengthen life

    Krishnamacharya eternal salutations

    According to my notes

     "Pranayama For this to be effective, must also have a regular practice of Mudra, such as: Karani Viparitha, Maha Mudra and Mudra Asana asana Ashvini as Baddha Ardha Paschimathâna Matsyendra Kona asana asana. Asana and Mudra is saying anything, acting on the origin of our "emotional response" which is Nabhi, Navel. "

    tk sribashyam

  8. Thank you for sharing your notes anon. I seem to remember the pranayama article from Madhu's Kaivalyamaui blog, I must look at it again and how it compares with Salutations.

    i see what you mean re the mudras having similarities with the Rishi approach idea. going to pick that up on your other comment.

  9. "The sequence that follows, centered around the warrior pose (virabhadrasana) and its variations, was a favorite of Krishnamacharya’s. Incorporating a wide, open stance, and requiring coordination and balance, this classical vinyasa can be a good addition to a generic asana practice. It can be made more or less challenging, or modified by adding a lateral bend or different arm positions. It can also serve as a core standing vinyasa from which you flow into other asanas and then return."

    ~ A. G. Mohan, "Krishnamacharya: His Life and Teachings" (p. 156

    practice watching your video yesterday Krishnamacharya was saving my life relaxing.
      Today I wanted to add, first series krama virabadrasana specifies that Krishnamacharya taught ag mohan and union with life saving krishnamacharyas
    could achieve 30 to 45 minutes, this I found very satisfactory Union focused on breathing slowly

    fully recommended

    PS Thanks for inspiring me to try this series k saving life

  10. Thank you for this link Anon. I saw the poster when AG Mohan released it but haven't tried practicing it yet. this is a good reminder.

  11. Any more information about the Shribashyam "How Yoga really was" book? I can't seem to find anything online.


    1. Still nothing on his website Nick

    2. Thanks for the link; I sent them an e-mail.

    3. Let me know if you hear anything yourself Nick.


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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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Sribhashyam (2) Table of asana (1) TAN postures (1) tatakamudra (2) tattvas samkhya (1) ten breaths in each asana (1) The 'Original' Ashtanga yoga Syllabus given to Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams by Sri K Pattabhi Jois in 1974 Mysore (1) the asana before the asana (1) the breath (1) The breathing God (4) The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga : Subroutines page numbers (1) The Four Immeasurables (1) The Indian Review (1) THE KALAMA SUTRA (1) the Original gita (2) the Original Yoga Sutras (2) The Purnacarya (1) The Viniyoga letter (1) This is yoga 1941 (1) This is yoga life magazine (1) tibet (1) Tirieng Mukha Eka Pada Paschimattanasana (1) Tirumular Thirumandiram (1) tittibhasana (1) TK Shribhsyam (1) TKV Desikachar (1) tradition (1) Trataka (1) Trikonasana (1) TRS Sharma (2) uddiyana bandha (2) uddiyana kriya (1) uddiyana mudra Kino (1) ujjayi (1) unsupported headstands (2) urdhva dhanurasana (1) Urdhvamukhasvanasana (1) ushtrasana (1) utthita parsvakonasana (1) vajrasana (1) Veena (1) Vinay Kumar (1) Vinyasa (1) Vinyasa count (2) Vinyasa Krama (11) Vinyasa Krama 200HR TT program (1) Vinyasa Krama practice routine (1) Vinyasa Krama practice sheets (1) Vinyasa Krama Sister blog (1) Vinyasa Krama speeded up Ashtanga slowed down (1) Vinyasa Krama triangle subroutines (7) Vinyasa Yoga (1) Viparita Salabhasana (1) vipassana (1) vipraita salambhasana (1) Virasana (1) Vital points (1) VK Asymmetric seated sequence (8) VK Bow sequence (1) VK Inverted sequence (1) VK Lotus sequence (1) VK On one leg sequence (7) VK On your feet sequence (2) VK Seated Sequence (7) VK supine sequence (1) When I'm laid in the Earth. (1) Why meditation (1) why practice mudras. (1) Why practice yoga (1) Why Yoga (1) Wildyogi (1) Yamini Murthanna (1) Yoga (4) yoga and ageing (1) Yoga and pregnancy (3) Yoga and weight (1) Yoga Body (1) Yoga for Diabetes (1) Yoga for the three stages of life (4) Yoga for women (1) Yoga Gurandam (1) Yoga Korunta (3) yoga korunti (1) Yoga Makaranda (10) Yoga makaranda ( part II) (1) Yoga makaranda asana list (1) Yoga Makaranda part 2 (1) Yoga Makaranda Part II (2) Yoga makaranda translation. (1) yoga makaranda. (1) Yoga Meditation (1) yoga mudras (1) Yoga Nidrasana (1) yoga of action (1) yoga of motion (1) Yoga Philosophy (5) Yoga raading list (1) Yoga Rainbow festival (1) Yoga Science (1) Yoga sutra 1:33 (1) Yoga Sutras (3) Yoga Sutras II-49 (1) Yoga Sutras transliteration (1) Yoga therapy articles (1) Yoga Therapy for Children with Special Needs (1) Yoga tradition of the Mysore palace (1) Yoga Vinyasa yoga (1) Yoga yajnavalkya (1) Yogacarya Krishnamacharya - The Purnacarya (2) Yogacarya Krishnamacharya - The Purnacarya. Edited by Mala (1) Yogakriyas (1) Yogasanagalu (32) Yogasanagalu asana list (1) yogasanagalu translation (4) Yogasanagalua (1) Yogayajnavalkya (1) Yogeshwara Ramamohana Brahmachari (1) Yvonne Millerand (2) Yyvonne milerand (1)