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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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

P R A N A Y A M A - An Absolute Necessity in YOGA

Last week I posted an excellent report on a Mudra and Pranayama seminar given by one of Krishnamacharya's sons, T.K.SRIBHASHYAM, who is based in Nice, FRANCE.
http://www.yogakshemam.net

"Pearl" or the influence of Mudra and Prânâyâma in a spiritual search by Sri TK Sribhashyam

I was told about the article in a comment on an earlier post, thank you Anon..

The article below, P R A N A Y A M A - An Absolute Necessity in YOGA was also sent to me and can be found on T.K.SRIBHASHYAM's website. It's also been reproduced on my friend Madhu's, Blog Yoga = Freedom Kaivalya Maui ( Madhu is a student of T.K. Sribhashyam as well as Ramaswami)

It strikes me as an excellent treatment of the topic that gives relatively straightforward instructions for practice and yet also provides a deeper context. I've found it's added layers as well as some more context to my own pranayama practice.

A note on my own Pranayama practice.
I was taught Pranayama by Srivatsa Ramaswami ( a student of Sribhashyam's father Krishnamacharya, for over thirty years) on his Vinyasa Krama TT course. The importance of an integrated practice was stressed and, without fuss, we ( a class of mixed abilities and experience) were taught a relatively straightforward Nadi Shodana pranayama that over the two weeks of the pranayama course increased in duration. Kumbhaka's (breath retentions) were introduced as well as other pranayama's. By the end of of the course we were practicing 80 rounds of UJJAYI PRATHILOMA (see below) with approximately 20 second retention after the inhalation when we would mentally chant a pranayama mantra. As the teacher training continued we would practice our Asana each morning followed by  pranayama, pratyahara and Japa mantra meditation. 
My point being this is a practice available to anyone who practices yoga. Start simply and build gently within your own capabilities. In day to day life we tend to inhale and exhale for two or three seconds, fifteen or so breaths a minute...anything is an improvement on that. Long, slow, full attentive breathing is a good place to begin.

I thought it might be useful to outline the article first as well as pick out some practice notes for ease of reference.

The article begins by stressing the importance of pranayama in all yoga practice

"This drift from the real nature of Yoga might have many reasons. Amongst them the lack of importance given to PRANAYMA in one's practice cannot be ignored.
Very often false reasons are invoked to keep PRANAYAMA away from one's teaching or practice. Still, there is not one teacher nor one school that does not talk of PRANA.
It is true that the Yogic way for the quest of inner Self and the Search for God Realisation through Pranayama is not a simple subject. This should not be an excuse for not introducing it in the practice sessions of pupils whether they practice regularly or not".

It then presents which Pranayama's are said to act on which functions

1. Physiological functions,
as for eg. UJJAYI ANULOMA and SHITHALI.

2. Nervous System,
as for eg. UJJAYI VILOMA, UJJAYI PRATHILOMA and NADI SHODHANA,

3.  mental plane,
as for eg. NADI SHODHANA with Bahya Kumbhaka and SURYA BHEDHANA,

4.  Spiritual Quest,
like the SAMA VRITHI in NADI SHODHANA, and SURYA BHEDANA
both of them as SAGARBHA PRANAYAMA

This is followed by a recap of the techniques involved for each pranayama and interestingly, which  pranayama should be practiced at the start and which at the end of your yoga practice session.

Reminder
Puraka = Inhalation
Antah Kumbhaka = retaining breath after inhaling
Rechaka = Exhalation
Bahya Kumbhaka = Holding out the breath

In general
To be practiced at the START of your practice session
(one or more)

UJJAYI ANULOMA: 
Inhalation (PURAKA) through both nostrils in UJJAYI, 
Exhalation (RECHAKA) through Left Nostril, without ujjayi, 
Inhalation through both nostrils in Ujjayi, and 
Exhalation through the Right Nostril, without Ujjayi. 
These two breaths making one Cycle of Ujjayi Anuloma.

SHITHALI: 
Slightly open the mouth, bring out the tongue, fold it lengthwise, to make it resemble a tube, 
Inhale (aspire) through the mouth. At the end of the Inhalation, draw back the tongue, close the mouth, and... 
Exhale through Ujjayi, by both the nostrils.

UJJAYI VILOMA: 
Inhale through the Left Nostril, without using Ujjayi, 
Exhale through Ujjayi, with both the nostrils open. 
Inhale, again through the Right Nostril, without using Ujjayi, and 
Exhale through Ujjayi, with both the nostrils open. 
This forms one Cycle.

UJJAYI PRATHILOMA: 
Inhale through Ujjayi, 
Exhale by the Left Nostril, 
Inhale by Left Nostril, 
Exhale by Ujjayi, 
Inhale by Ujjayi, 
Exhale by Right Nostril, 
Inhale by Right Nostril, and 
Exhale by Ujjayi. 
These 4 breaths make one cycles, and to be of any value, a minimum of 4 cycles or 16 breaths is needed.
----------------------

To be practiced at the END of your practice session
(one or more)

NADI SHODHANA: 
This is a Pranayama where no ujjayi should ever be used. 
Inhale by the Left Nostril, 
Exhale by the Right Nostril,
Inhale by the Right Nostril, 
Exhale by the Left Nostril.
It is to be noted that a Pranayama can have KUMBHAKA: either after Inhalation (called ANTAH KUMBHAKA) or after Exhalation (called BAHYA KUMBHAKA)

SURYA BHEDHANA: 
This Pranayama should be done only in Nadi Shodhana. 
Here, the Puraka, Antah Kumbhaka and Rechaka would have a proportional time measure. 
The Antah Kumbhaka should be 4 times the measure of Puraka, while that of 
Rechaka should be of twice the measure of Puraka. 
To cite an example: Puraka = say 8", the Antah Kumbhaka = 32" while the Rechaka = 16".

SAMA VRITHI: 
Sama Vrithi is a Pranayama imperatively practiced in NADI SHODHANA. 
In this Pranayama, while following the technique of Nadi Shodhana, the time allotted to Puraka, Antah Kumbhaka, Rechaka and Bahya Kumbhaka should be the same. 
For eg. Puraka = Antah Kumbhaka = Rechaka = Bahya Kumbhaka = 5".
------------------------------------

P R A N A Y A M A  -  An Absolute necessity in YOGA

- A  dedicated homage to my father and teacher,
Sri T. KRISHNAMACHARYA.

... by  T.K.SRIBHASHYAM, Nice, FRANCE
                     
        
                       Whatever be the reason for teaching Yoga, it is a certainty that the pupil, slowly but definitely, quests for the ULTIMATE REALITY.  Even if multitudes of methods, school, ideas and individuation have drifted Yoga from its real value, yet, it is because of the incessant search of pupils that Yoga continues to have an important place in the inner reflections of people all around the world.
           This drift from the real nature of Yoga might have many reasons.  Amongst them the lack of importance given to PRANAYMA in one's practice cannot be ignored.

Very often false reasons are invoked to keep PRANAYAMA away from one's teaching or practice.  Still, there is not one teacher nor one school that does not talk of PRANA.
          It is true that the Yogic way for the quest of inner Self and the Search for God Realisation through Pranayama is not a simple subject.  This should not be an excuse for not introducing it in the practice sessions of pupils whether they practice regularly or not.
      In fact, Pranayama maintains and  keeps our spiritual life alive, just as our breath that keeps our biological one alive.  For the same reason very often Pranayama is confounded with our physiological breath. Indeed, the relation between the two seems so juxtaposed that we get mixed up.  It is just like a tool and the basic raw material out of which the tool is made up of.  The tool is so much and so often used that we seldom think of the importance of the basic metal that give birth to the tool.  Still, we know that the quality and the value of the basic material are the determining factors for the utility, value and life of the tool. Same way, in the eyes of the Yogic Masters, our physiological breath is but a tool.
      The Great Masters of India used this relation to the utmost and derived great benefit in their spiritual quest.  They did not use the physiological breathing merely to increase  the vital reserves, but valued it more in a metaphysical sense.   Since the physical breath is but a product of the basic material, this product should help us `know' that basic material!                                         
      That is to say, by `going beyond' the product, in which the basic material is present, one should be able to find it in its `natural form'.  This,  the VEDAS and the UPANISHADS call  PRANA, and that which helps go beyond is  AAYAMA.  So much so, the means by which the physical breath is used to `go beyond' are termed
PRANAYAMA.                                                                                                                                               
      PRANAYAMA is part and parcel of any Yogic approach worth its name.  Moreover, it is not out of place to take note that no Hindu ritual starts without a Pranayama.  This does not mean that Yoga is a religious act, but since it has its root in Hinduism, we cannot but consider it as our reference.
      Coming to the practical aspects, Yogic Science has given clear cut rules for the introduction of Pranayama in any Practice Session.  Later studies have given light on their physiological actions on the human body as a whole.
      Here we shall content ourselves with some fundamental principles:
  1.  Those that act mainly on the Physiological functions,
       as for eg. UJJAYI ANULOMA and SHITHALI.
               
  2.  Those that act mainly on the Nervous System,
       as for eg. UJJAYI VILOMA, UJJAYI PRATHILOMA and
       NADI SHODHANA,
    
3.  Those that work on the mental plane,
       as for eg. NADI SHODHANA with Bahya Kumbhaka and
       SURYA BHEDHANA,     
      
4.  Those that maintain the Spiritual Quest,
       like the SAMA VRITHI in NADI SHODHANA, and SURYA BHEDANA
       both of them as SAGARBHA PRANAYAMA
      
       Let us briefly recapitulate the technique of the above Pranayama, remembering that the Pranayama are done in a sitting posture (VAJRA ASANA or PADMA ASANA), and that the back should be straight, without any cushion or pillow under the hips.

UJJAYI ANULOMA: Inhalation (PURAKA) through both nostrils in UJJAYI, Exhalation (RECHAKA) through Left Nostril, without ujjayi, Inhalation through both nostrils in Ujjayi, and Exhalation through the Right Nostril, without Ujjayi.  These two breaths making one Cycle of Ujjayi Anuloma. 
SHITHALI:  Slightly open the mouth, bring out the tongue, fold it lengthwise, to make it resemble a tube, Inhale (aspire) through the mouth.  At the end of the Inhalation, draw back the tongue, close the mouth, and Exhale through Ujjayi, by both the nostrils. 
UJJAYI VILOMA:  Inhale through the Left Nostril, without using Ujjayi, Exhale through Ujjayi, with both the nostrils open.  Inhale, again through the Right Nostril, without using Ujjayi, and Exhale through Ujjayi, with both the nostrils open.  This forms one Cycle. 
UJJAYI PRATHILOMA:   Inhale through Ujjayi, Exhale by the Left Nostril, Inhale by Left Nostril, Exhale by Ujjayi, Inhale by Ujjayi, Exhale by Right Nostril, Inhale by Right Nostril, and  Exhale by Ujjayi.  These 4 breaths make one cycles, and to be of any value, a minimum of 4 cycles or 16 breaths is needed.              

NADI SHODHANA:  This is a Pranayama where no ujjayi should ever be used.  Inhale by the Left Nostril, Exhale by the Right Nostril, Inhale by the Right Nostril, Exhale by the Left Nostril. 
     
      It is to be noted that a Pranayama can have KUMBHAKA: either after Inhalation (called ANTAH KUMBHAKA) or after Exhalation (called BAHYA KUMBHAKA)                 

SAMA VRITHI:  Sama Vrithi is a Pranayama imperatively practiced in NADI SHODHANA.  In this Pranayama, while following       the technique of Nadi Shodhana, the time allotted to Puraka, Antah Kumbhaka, Rechaka and Bahya Kumbhaka should be the same.  For eg. Puraka = Antah Kumbhaka =   Rechaka = Bahya Kumbhaka = 5".
SURYA BHEDHANA:  Once again, this Pranayama should be done only in Nadi Shodhana.  Here, the Puraka, Antah Kumbhaka and Rechaka would have a proportional time measure.  The Antah Kumbhaka should be 4 times the measure of Puraka, while that of Rechaka should be of twice the measure of Puraka.  To cite an example: Puraka = say 8", the Antah Kumbhaka = 32" while the Rechaka = 16".

           It goes without saying that a Practice session has to have a Pranayama at the beginning and one at the end, and  a minimum of 12 breaths in each.

1.     UJJAYI ANULOMA or SHITHALI are the Pranayama that is to be introduced at the start of any Practice Session.  Ujjayi Anuloma is more congenial in Autumn and Winter, whereas Shithali is better suited to Spring and Summer.  Ujjayi Anuloma removes weariness coming from excess of mental or physical work, sentimental or emotional shock, fatigue coming from improper digestion in the small intestines leading to unwholesome assimilation.  It also stabilises the mental state.  Moreover, it has the possibility of providing and maintaining continuity in the mental states obtained in different Sessions.
      SHITHALI is more a Pranayama that establishes the digestion, maintaining an `acide-base balance'.  It soothes the sense perception, has a tendency to remove the weariness of the sense organs.

      If ANTAH KUMBHAKA is more complementary to Ujjayi Anuloma, Shithali goes generally well with Bahya Kumbhaka.  In Ujjayi Anuloma, the duration of Kumbhaka should not exceed half the time of Puraka, while in Shithali, either Antah Kumbhaka or Bahya Kumbhaka should not exceed 5".

      The specificity of the 2 Pranayama is that they can be given at the beginning and or at the end of a Session.

2     UJJAYI VILOMA is a Pranayama, acting more on the nervous system, even though the practitioner finds relief in his mental state.  It soothes the nervous irritations, or excitements coming mainly from emotional, affective or sentimental overcharge in one's life.  Its action is very fast, so much so, it should be practised for a short duration say, for a continuous period of 15 days, followed by Ujjayi Anuloma which stabilises the results obtained through Ujjayi Viloma.  As the technical word Viloma indicates, the `movement' of the mind in this Pranayama is transcendental but `intensified', it is not advisable to practice Ujjayi Viloma at the end of a session, if the practitioner is to have a social life immediately after his practice.  Care should be taken in not introducing Ujjayi Viloma in case of mental depression, or in depressive tendencies.  Ujjayi Anuloma is the Pranayama for all sorts of mental depressions.
      UJJAYI PRATHILOMA acts both on the nervous systems and on the thought processes So much so, it removes all nervous excitement, bringing back to normalcy the nervous impulses, removes the interferences of superficial thought processes thereby providing a clear mental space.  We can say, that Ujjayi Prathiloma suits to those who live under such extreme emotional stress that they are unable to forget it, neither are they able to do anything else.  Once again this Pranayama is to be practised for 2 weeks, replaced by Ujjayi Anuloma.  It is to be remembered that Ujjayi Prathiloma should be practised for a minimum of 16 breaths.  It works very well in the beginning of a session.  If practiced late in the evening, it induces sleep.  If this Pranayama is introduced, care should be taken to see that Ujjayi Anuloma finds its place in the end of the session. This Pranayama is very suitable to get oneself free from the after affect of emotional shocks.

      While Bahya Kumbhaka is more suitable to Viloma, no Kumbhaka is advisable in Prathiloma.
     
As for NADI SHODHANA, it is always a Pranayama of the end of the session.  For convenient practice of Nadi Shodhana, one should have had some practice of Ujjayi Anuloma, Sarvanga Asana, and if possible Shirsha Asana. The action of this Pranayama, without Kumbhaka, is not so much on the biological changes in the body.  Its action is more on the clarity of sense perception, removal of sense confusions, attentiveness of the mind.  It should not be practiced when there is nervous irritability, emotional shock, or fear of spiritual sentiments, particularly  in those who do not believe in the value of a Divine Support, or where there is excess of fatigue.  Suitable Pranayama should be practiced at first to improve one's condition before working on Nadi Shodhana.  It is always conceivable to have done either Badha Kona Asana or Maha Mudra or Paschimathana Asana as the last Asana before doing Nadi Shodhana.

3.    NADI SHODHANA with Bahya Kumbhaka influences more the mental plane.  When we talk of mental plane, we talk of the emotions (ANUBHAAVA) and sentiments (STHAAYI BHAVA), having their physical or physiological response.  A disturbed mind, is the mind whose natural functions are overtaken by emotions or sentiments.  As long as these persist, mind will not be clarified, and without a clear mind (MANASSHUDHI) it is not possible to have an insight.

      Nadi Shodhana with Bahya Kumbhaka breaks the link between the emotions, sentiments and their physiological response.  So its action is more on the interrelation between the physical mode of emotions, and the emotional or sentimental impulse.  It goes without saying that this Pranayama comes in the end of a session, that the duration of Bahya Kumbhaka should not exceed on fourth the time of Puraka, that the conditions mentioned for Nadi Shodhana (without Kumbhaka) apply here as well.
     
      SURYA BHEDHANA in view of the important Kumbhaka it has, can be practised only when one has the physical and mental capacity and capability to assume the Kumbhaka.  Here we come to some of the important Pranayama of Yoga.  The technique clearly shows that this Pranayama outwits the physiological basis of the respiratory system.  Yet, when well practised, does not alter the O¨-CO¨ relations, and thus does not create any adverse reaction in the chemical imbalance in the body.  Moreover this Pranayama has the possibility of maintaining the Alpha Waves at will.  If the great Yoga Masters relayed on Surya Bhedhana, it should have been because they found that it works at the root of our emotions.  A regular practice of this Pranayama provides a proper control of the emotional activities of the mind.  This needs ample preparation and constant practice of Mudras like the Viparitha Karani, Maha Mudra, Ashvini Mudra and Asanas like Badha Kona Asana, Ardha Matsyendra Asana etc.  That is to say, those that have the centre of action at the root of our emotional response -- the Naval (NAABHI).  To obtain good results, this Pranayama is to be practiced sitting, facing East.

4.    For any spiritual quest, one has to purify the mind, in a way as to free it from sentiments, that are against those of the Creator or God.  At the same time, the Home of the Soul, the Heart (HRUDAYA) should be cleared of all emotions, except those that are Divine.  This can be done only if the  outward tendencies of the sense perceptions revert towards Inward Insight (ATMA AVALOKANA).  Since the Mind follows the senses, the sentiments follow the mind, the emotions follow the sentiments, PRANA follows the emotions, and the Soul (ATMA) follows Prana, we have to work in such a way as to reverse these outward tendencies.  That is to say, as long as the sense perceptions do not look Inward, it would not be possible to bring back the Prana, the Mind and Soul into the Heart.  This is the essential role of the Pranayama of the 4th Category.                 
     
All the Pranayama under this heading belong to principle of Nadi Shodhana. They are always to be practised at the end of a session.  Further, they are to be followed by Nadi Shodhana with Concentration on HRUDAYA.  The practice session containing Pranayama of this category should contain Asanas like Matsya Asana, Bhujanga Asana, Dhanura Asana, Sarvanga Asana, Shirsha asana, Ardha Matsyendra Asana, Badha Kona Asana, Paschimathana Asana. Moreover, the number of breaths used in all the Asanas and Mudras put together should be inferior to the number of breaths of all the Pranayama finding their place  in the same Session. All the Pranayama of this series should be done facing East.
     
      According to Hindu Tradition, the Pranayama under this category should be SAGARBHA (= Conceivable).  That is to say, during the practice of these Pranayama, the image in the Mental Space should be that of God, or a Divine Object of Contemplation, and there should be silent muttering of God's name (or a Mantra).  Non believers in God, or those not having conviction in such an entity should adopt appropriate means.  They can use a non-physical object like an unique Star, a Horizon Point or the Dark Hallow of the Early Morning Rising Sun.  In any case, the object in the mind should be beyond the Time-Space Reality.

      The SAMAVRITHI, to be effective should have a minimum of duration of 8 sec. at each phase (or 32 secs for one breath), and it is always practised in Nadi Shodhana.  This Pranayama works at the base of our Verbal Expressions.  This, in the Manifested State (VYAKTHA) is located in the Perineum (MULA), while at the Unmanifested state (AVYAKTHA) it is situated in NAABHI, considered as the Link between the Creator and Man. From the Manifested Sound Expression, the Shabda (the sound) assumes `colour' through the emotions, which find their root at Naabhi.  (It is to be noted that the SHIRSHA or the fontanelle becomes the link between Man and the Creator, in his transcendental path).  So much so, Naabhi has a dual role:  That of linking the creator with man, and that of `shading' the manifested sound through emotions.  This manifest sound, is what is at the basis of expression--spoken or otherwise, and when used through words, becomes language or as the Indian Psychology calls ALAMKARA (= Aesthetic Language).  All our reactions -- sentimental or emotional --  raise from the interactions or the disequilibrium amongst these various localisations.  As long as a perfect balance is not acquired between these, man is subject to emotional disturbances and they will not provide him Peace of Mind (CHITHA SHANTI).  SAMAVRITHI PRANAYAMA acts in this direction.  Its main centre of action is at Naabhi, and its aim is to delay the emotional activities, a delay sufficient for the mind not to follow the emotions.  The actions of this Pranayama is not felt immediately, but in our daily life.
     
      It is imperative to have had long practice of the Pranayama of the 3rd Category, before putting into practice those indicated in this last category.  Moreover, this Pranayama is efficacious only if the mind is in concentration with some Vital Points like Naasagra, Kanta, Hrudaya, Kurma Nadi, Naabhi.  The Points to be chosen depends on the psychological constitution and emotional set up of the student.  This Pranayama has a good complementary if Ujjayi Anuloma 16 breaths is introduced at the beginning of a session.  Similarly, Samavrithi is not to be practiced when one is under an emotional stress or in a depressive mood.  Also, it is advisable not to practice this Pranayama when one is not used to Concentrate on Vital Points.  The above mentioned actions of this Pranayama reside mainly on the  Concentration Points introduced (SAGARBHA PRANAYAMA).  If practiced as a respiratory exercise, it has every chance of bringing to surface emotions with their physiological response. The importance of this Pranayama in Yoga is to be measured from the fact that it is one the very few Pranayama with Kumbhaka as long as Rechaka  that the Yogic Literature describe. 

      We now come to the Pranayama that has already been reviewed under the 3rd Category (SURYA BHEDHANA). Technically speaking, this Pranayama is the same as the one we studied before.  But in this category the aim is to render Prana its natural and original function of being in close association with ATMA, and to show ATMA the path of the Supreme soul (PARAMATHMA) or the Creator.  (It is here that we understand the meaning of Prana Aayama: extending Prana towards the Creator).  In this Surya Bhedhana, concentration is an essential factor. The concentration during Puraka (Inhalation) is used in such a way as to centralise all the mental faculties including the sensorial ones in HRUDAYA, to stabilise them in HRUDAYA during Antah Kumbhaka, so that cleared of all influences with regard to the external world, the mind reflects  itself, during Rechaka, its Original Nature of revealing the qualities of Atma.
     
      This Pranayama is also called ABHYANTARA VRITHI (or the Inner Movement), because the Sense and the Mental activities instead of going outward, turn inwards.  In this Pranayama, the Concentration Points applied are: Naasagra, Bhrumadhya, Lalaata, Kanta, Kurma Nadi and Hrudaya.
     
      Yet another Pranayama, which should be practised facing East.  The effect of this Pranayama, is increased if followed by a Prayer.  It would not be a repetition, if it is said that a Practice Session having this Pranayama should have only the Asanas and Mudra as is indicated under Sama Vrithi.  Moreover, the only occasion when Nadi Shodhana, can be introduced as a Pranayama at the beginning of the session, is when Surya Bhedhana as mentioned here finds its place in the end of the session, and the Asanas and Mudra are those that are mentioned under Sama Vrithi.

      Here are but some indications for the application of Pranayama, and it is beyond doubt that if properly used, under the keen observation and guidance of a Teacher, any student of Yoga will find the real value and benefit that Yoga Stands for.

---------------------------------

For more on Pranayama take a look at Claudia's blog where she is conducting a book club on Gregor's Maehle's Pranayama book. 
Pranayama The Breath Of Yoga, by Gregor Maehle.


I enjoyed the book but as with so many of the books on pranayama one can end up spending more time reading the book than actually practicing it, perhaps never getting around to actually practicing at all (this should not suggest that I support the overused "5% theory 95% practice" idea, my least favourite quote in yoga but rather theory and practice, hand in hand skipping through the daisy's). Claudia's series of posts might help to avoid that and offer a way into the text.

While reading the book and exploring the subject in more depth you might like to try the approach to practice below. This is a translation of Krishnamacharya's basic 'Life Saving practice' taught to the director of the movie on Krishnamacharya, Der Atmende Gott (The Breathing God) by  the author of the article above, Krihnmacharya's son, T.K. Sribhashyam. This was presented in the sleeve cover to the DVD. It beings and ends with simple pranayama and covers the keys some asana one would hope to include in each asana practice, paschimottanasana, mahamudra, Sarvangasana, Sirsasana.

If you have an Ashtanga practice you could perhaps just add the pranayama sections on at the beginning and end of your practice. 

Here are the practice sheets from my earlier post ( Thank you again to Chiara for the translation of her German edition).
Pimping up Krishnamacharya's Life saving yoga sequence plus 8mm vintage video app for iPhone.



Saturday, 8 December 2012

Asana Lists, lists and more lists plus TAN postures, Counter postures

See below for lists

1. Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, B, C, D
Current (ish) Ashtanga

2. 1974 Ashtanga Syllabus

followed by Pattabhi Jois' teacher Krishnamacharya's asana lists and tables in

3. Yoga Makaranda (original 1936)

4. Yoga Makaranda (part II) / Salutations to the teacher and the Eternal one  (Date Unknown)

5. Yogasanagalu (1941)

Srivatsa Ramaswami studied with Krishnamacharya 1950's-80's

6. Vinyasa Krama


---------------------------------

I came across this on Tan postures in the recent release from AG Mohan of what he calls Yoga Makaranda (part II)

"Note: In the case of all ‘TAN’ - asanas it is important that the counter pose is done immediately after. The appropriate counter pose is given after each asana. TAN-asana are those which stretch the nerves e.g., PASCHIMATANASANA stretches and straightens up the nerves on the backside of the body, while PURVA TANA asana, the appropriate counter pose, stretches the nerves on the front side of the body".
Yoga Makaranda (part II) p24

That got me thinking of how many TAN postures there were in Ashtanga and elsewhere. Which then got me thinking about lists (see below)

Several Tan postures mentioned in Primary series but Tan postures don't seem to come up from Intermediate onwards.

There are still counter postures though right,  but as many as there perhaps should be?


Standing
Samasthiti
Surya Namaskara A
Surya Namaskara B
Padangushtasana Padahastasana
Utthita Trikonasana
Parivritta Trikonasana
Utthita Parshvakonasana
Parivritta Parshvakonasana
Prasarita Padottanasana A  B  C  D
Parshvottanasana
Utthita Hasta Padangushtasana
Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana
Utkatanasana
Virabhadrasana (A & B)

Dandasana
Paschimattanasana (3 types)
Purvatanasana
Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimattanasana
Tiriangmukhaikapada Paschimattanasana
Janu Shirshasana A B C
Marichyasana A B C D
Navasana
Bhujapidasana
Kurmasana
Supta Kurmasana
Garbha Pindasana
Kukkutasana
Baddha Konasana
Upavishta Konasana
Supta Konasana
Supta Padangushtasana
Ubhaya Padangushtasana
Urdhva Mukha Paschimattanasana
Setu Bandhasana

Finishing
Urdhva Dhanurasana
Paschimattanasana
Sarvangasana
Halasana
Karnapidasana
Urdhva Padmasana Pindasana Matsyasana
Uttana Padasana
Shirshasana
Baddha Padmasana
Padmasana
Uth Pluthi
Shavasana

I do like the aspect of Ashtanga where your constantly passing through upward and downward dog, always felt like a resetting of sorts and perhaps takes the place of 'official' counter postures.

This, it should perhaps be mentioned, is one of the nice aspects of the subroutines in Ramaswami's presentation of Vinyasa Krama, Pratkriya (counter postures) are included and stressed in most of the subroutines that make up the sequences and is one of the benefits of working at the subroutine level. below is an example of the Vinyasa Krama Asymmetric subroutines from my practice book.


-------------------------------------------------

ASANA LISTS

About the lists : Sri K. Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga is presented in sequences. In the 1974 syllabus below, given to Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams, we find Primary, Intermediate and Advanced series which match up relatively closely with the table of postures presented in Jois' teacher Sri T. Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu. In yogasanagalu however the postures are presented as groups rather than sequences, Primary, Middle and Proficient groups of asana. Pattabhi Jois' presentation of Ashtanga retained the Primary and Intermediate series mostly the same as in Yogasanagalu but split Advanced series into Advanced A and B, then A, B, C and D (see below) and currently refers to the syllabus as Primary, Intermediate (or 2nd series) 3rd, 4th 5th and supposedly 6th series.

Krishnamacharya's 1936 book Yoga Makaranda contained a selection of asana from the different groups/series of postures familiar to current Ashtanga as does the later Yoga Makaranda (part II), supposedly the original of the notes known as Salutations to the Teacher and Eternal one. In the original Yoga Makaranda the postures are described with a full vinyasa count similar to present Ashtanga. In Yoga Makaranda (part II), in most cases, just the asana are described.

In Yoga Makaranda (part II) there is also a categorising of asana into different kinds of postures, seated, lying down, face up, topsy-turvy etc. This is developed further in Srivatsa Ramaswami's presentation of (Ashtanga) Vinyasa Krama into, Standing, Triangle, On one leg, Asymmetric, Seated, Bow, Supine, Inverted, Meditative and Lotus sequences. Ramaswami was a student of Krishnamacharya's from the mid 1950's to the 1980's, the sequences he presents are made up of smaller subroutines taught to him by krishnamacharya over many years. Pattabhi Joi's Ashtanga sequences can themselves be seen to be made up of several smaller subroutines, the Marichiyasana's, Janu Sirsasana's for example in Primary and the backbending postures in intermediate series for example.

1. ASHTANGA 

This list is from Ashtanga Diary

Primary Series Asana List

Standing
Samasthiti
Surya Namaskara A
Surya Namaskara B
Padangushtasana Padahastasana
Utthita Trikonasana
Parivritta Trikonasana
Utthita Parshvakonasana
Parivritta Parshvakonasana
Prasarita Padottanasana A  B  C  D
Parshvottanasana
Utthita Hasta Padangushtasana
Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana
Utkatanasana
Virabhadrasana (A & B)

Dandasana
Paschimattanasana (3 types)
Purvatanasana
Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimattanasana
Tiriangmukhaikapada Paschimattanasana
Janu Shirshasana A B C
Marichyasana A B C D
Navasana
Bhujapidasana
Kurmasana
Supta Kurmasana
Garbha Pindasana
Kukkutasana
Baddha Konasana
Upavishta Konasana
Supta Konasana
Supta Padangushtasana
Ubhaya Padangushtasana
Urdhva Mukha Paschimattanasana
Setu Bandhasana

Finishing
Urdhva Dhanurasana
Paschimattanasana
Sarvangasana
Halasana
Karnapidasana
Urdhva Padmasana Pindasana Matsyasana
Uttana Padasana
Shirshasana
Baddha Padmasana
Padmasana
Uth Pluthi
Shavasana

Intermediate Series Asana List

This Intermediate series asana list is preceded by the fundamental standing asanas (from Samasthiti to Virabhadrasana B) and succeeded by the finishing asanas (from Urdhva Dhanurasana to Shavasana).

Pashasana
Krounchasana
Shalabhasana A Shalabhasana B
Bhekasana
Dhanurasana
Parshva Dhanurasana
Dhanurasana
Ustrasana
Laghu Vajrasana
Kapotasana A  B
Supta Vajrasana
Bakasana A B
Bharadvajasana
Ardha Matsyendrasana
Eka Pada Shirshasana
Dwi Pada Shirshasana
Yoga Nidrasana
Tittibhasana A B C
Pincha Mayurasana
Karandavasana
Mayurasana
Nakrasana
Vatayanasana
Parighasana
Gomukhasana A  B
Supta Urdhva Pada Vajrasana
Mukta Hasta Shirshasana A B  C
Baddha Hasta Sirshasana A  B  C  D

Advanced A Asana List
This page lists the asanas in the Advanced A series of Ashtanga yoga. The list was taken from Matthew Sweeney’s Astanga Yoga As It Is book, available at Matthew’s site. This Intermediate series asana list is preceded by the fundamental standing asanas (from Samasthiti to Virabhadrasana B) and succeeded by the finishing asanas (from Urdhva Dhanurasana to Shavasana).

Vasishthasana
Vishwamitrasana
Kashyapasana (or Kashyabasana) Chakorasana
Bhairavasana
Skandasana
Durvasana
Urdhva Kukkutasana A B C
Galavasana
Eka Pada Bakasana A B
Koundinyasana A  B
Ashtavakrasana A  B
Purna Matsyendrasana
Viranchyasana A  B
Viparita Dandasana
Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana
Viparita Shalabhasana
Ganda Bherundasana
Hanumanasana
Supta Trivikramasana
Dighasana A B
Trivikramasana
Natarajasana
Raja Kapotasana
Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana

Advanced B Asana List

This page lists the asanas in the Advanced B series of Ashtanga yoga. The list was taken from Matthew Sweeney’s Astanga Yoga As It Is book, available at Matthew’s site. This Intermediate series asana list is preceded by the fundamental standing asanas (from Samasthiti to Virabhadrasana B) and succeeded by the finishing asanas (from Urdhva Dhanurasana to Shavasana).

Mula Bandhasana
Nahusasana A  B  C
Vrshchikasana A
Shayanasana
Buddhasana
Kapilasana
Akarna Dhanurasana A B
Padangushtha  A  B
Marichyasana E F G  H
Tadasana
Samanasana
Parshva Bakasana
Punga Kukkutasana
Eka Pada Dhanurasana
Eka Pada Kapotasana
Paryangasana A  B
Parivrttasana A B
Yoni Dandasana
Yoga Dandasana
Bhuja Dandasana
Parshva Dandasana
Urdhva Dandasana B
Adho Dandasana
Sama Konasana
Omkarasana

Advanced C and D Asana List

The Advanced C and Advanced D series in Ashtanga yoga was initially part of the Advanced series. The Advanced series was later renamed the Advanced A & B series. To make the Advanced series more accessible, it was further broken down into the four Advanced series.
The order of the asanas in Advanced C and D has been known to change depending on when it was taught.


Sources:

Based mostly on the list and photos from Absolutely Ashtanga. With some added poses from Yoga Chola (German Site). It should be noted that these two sites probably got their list from David Swenson’s Advanced Series DVD. It should also be noted that the series as seen in David’s DVD (and therefore this list) is not the same as what is being taught now in Mysore.

Uttana Salabhasana A
Uttana Salabhasana B
Kanda Pidasana
Utthita Swastikasana
Simhasana
Vriksasana
Padma Vriksasana
Viparita Chakrasana
Yogasana A B
Swastikasana / Bhadrasana Siddhasana
Adho Mukha Padmasana
Bhujangasana A  B
Tiriangmukha
Uttanasana
Chakra Bandhasana
Kroukachasana A B
Shirsa Padasana
Pungu Mayurasana
Gandha Bherundasana
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana A B
Tiriang Adho Mukha Utthita Trikonasana
Supta Kandasana A B
Ardha Chakrasana
Taraksvasana A  B
Yoga Pithasana A
Yoga Pithasana B
Shirsasana
Salamba Shirsasana A B C
Niralamba Shirsasana A B C D
Parvatasana A B / Samanasana Shavasana

-----------------------------------------

2. Ashtanga Syllabus 1974








----------------------------------


3. from Krishnamacharya Yoga Makaranda 

UttanasanaSthiti

AdhomukhaUttanasana 

HastaPadottanasana

TiryangamukhaUttanasana 

Parsvottanasana-Left

Parsvottanasana-Right

PrasaritaPadottanasana 

Vamardhabaddha Padmottanasana Sthiti

VamardhabaddhaPadmottanasana 

Dakshinardhabaddha Padmottanasana Sthiti 

DakshinardhabaddhaPadmottanasana

CaturangaDandasana 1

CaturangaDandasana 2

Urdhvamukhasvanasana

Adhomukhasvanasana

AdhomukhaPascimottanasana 1
AdhomukhaPascimottanasana 2
AdhomukhaPascimottanasana 3
AdhomukhaPascimottanasana 4
AdhomukhaPascimottanasana 5
AdhomukhaPascimottanasana 6

UrdhvamukhaPascimottanasana 1

UrdhvamukhaPascimottanasana 2

UrdhvamukhaPascimottanasana 3

UrdhvamukhaPascimottanasana

Dakshina Ardhabaddhapadma Pascimottanasana 

Vama Ardhabaddhapadma Pascimottanasana

Tiryangamukha Dakshinapada Pascimottanasana 

Tiryangamukha Vamapada Pascimottanasana

VamaJanusirsasana

DakshinaJanusirsasana

Upavistakonasana

BaddhakonasanaStithi

Baddhakonasana

SuptaVamaPadangushtasana

SuptaDakshinaPadangushtasana

SuptaUtthitaVamapadaJanusirsasana

Supta Utthita Dakshinapada Janusirsasana

SuptaParsvaVamapadangushtasana 

SuptaParsvaDakshinapadangushtasana  

Supta ardhaparivrtta Dakshinapadasana

SuptaardhaparivrttaVamapadasana

UtthitaVamaParsvakonasana

UtthitaDakshinaParsvakonasana

Trikonasana 

VamaUtthitaHastaPadangushtasana 

Dakshina Utthita Hasta Padangushtasana

UtthitaPadaPascimattanasana

BaddhaPadmasana-Gaze on tip o fnose 

BaddhaPadmasana-Gaze on mid brow

 BaddhaPadmasanaYoga mudra Sthiti 1

BaddhaPadmasanaYoga mudra Sthiti 2

Bhujapidasana 1.

Bhujapidasana 2. 

Bhujapidasana 3.

ParipurnaNavasana

ArdhaNavasana

Bakasana 

Kurmasana 

UbhayaPadangushtasana

SuptaKonasanaSthiti 

SuptaKonasana  

MarichasanaSannahaSthiti-Rightside 1

MarichasanaParisthiti-Rightside 2

MarichasanaSannahaSthiti-Leftside 3 

MarichasanaParisthiti-Leftside 4

Niralamba Sarvangasana

DakshinaEkapadaSirsasana

VamaEkapadaSirsasana

DvipadaSirsasana 

YogaNidrasana

Buddhasana 1.—Right-side

Buddhasana 2.—Left-side 

Kapilasana

Bhairavasana

Cakorasana 

Skandasana 1

Skandasana 2

Durvasasana

Richikasana 1

Richikasana 2

Trivikramasana 

Gandabherundasana 1

Gandabherundasana 2

Tadasana 

Halasana.

Mayurasana

Sarvangasana

SalambaSirsasana 1

SalambaSirsasana 2

NiralambaSirsasana 

MuktaHastaSirsasana

-----------------------------------

4. from Krishnamacharya Yoga Makaranda 


SIRSHASANA--HEAD STAND
SIRSHASANA-VIPARITAKONASANAM
SIRSHASANA-EKAPADA-VIPARITAKARANI
SIRSHASANA-DVIPADA-VIPARITAKARANI-(Hatha Yoga)
VIPARITA KONASANA
DVIPADA VIPARITAKARANI
SALAMBA SARVANGASANA
MAHAMUDRA
SUPTA KONASANA
KRAUNCASANA
VAJRASANA (a)
VAJRASANA (b)
BADDHA KONASANA
PINCA MAYURASANA
PADMA MAYURASANA
MAYURASANA
BHARADVAJASANA
BHEKASANA
ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA - Section A
ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA - Section B
MARICASANA
Section D
Section E
Section F
Section G
PASHASANA
BADDHA PADMASANA
YOGA MUDRA
SUPTA VAJRASANA
 KARNAPIDASANA
SETUBANDHASANA
UTTANAPADASANA
UPAVISHTAKONASANA-A.
PARSVA UPAVISHTAKONASANA
PASCHIMATANASANA – Preliminary exercise
ASCHIMATANASANA
PASCHIMATANASANA - Final pose
PURVATANASANA
ARDHA BADDHA PADMA PASCHIMATANASANA
 TIRYANKMUKHA EKAPADA PASCHIMATANASANA
 EKA PADA PURVATANASANA
TADASANA
EKAPADA SARVANGASANA
 URDHVAKONASANA
EKA PADA SARVANGASANA
HALASANA - PLOUGH POSE 
A: PARSVA HALASANA - Section A. 
PARSVA HALASANA Section - B.
UTTANA MAYURASANA
 A. EKAPADA UTTHANA MAYURASANA Stage B
Stage C
SUPTAPADANGUSHTASANA Stage II
Stage III
Stage IV
NIRALAMBA SARVANGASANA

Yoga Makaranda (part II )/ Salutations to the Teacher and the Eternal One

CLASSIFICATION OF ASANAS 
from second section of Yoga Makaranda (part II))

The asanas are of different kinds: 

1. Standing
2. Sitting
3. Lying down
i. Face upward
ii. Face downward 4. Sideways
5. Topsy-turvyorhead-down 6. Turning
7. Jumping
8. Pumping
9. Weighing etc.

1. STANDING POSTURES:
Uttanasana
Utkatasana
Tadasana
Virabhadrasana
Trikonasana
Uttitha Parsvakonasan
Parsvottanasana
Prasarita Parsvottanasana etc.

2. SITTING POSTURES:
Paschimatanasana
Baddha Padmasana
Maricasana
Baddhakonasana
Mulabandhasana
Karnapidasana etc.

3. LYING DOWN POSTURES:
Uttana padasana
Sethubandhdasana
Supta Padangushtasana
Jathara parivritti
Supta Vajrasana
Paryankasana
Yoganidrasana
Padangushtana
Dhanursana
Bhujangasana
Mayurasana etc.

FACE DOWNWARDS:
Kapotasana
Raja Kapotasana
Urdhva Dhanurasana
Uttana Mayurasana-single & double
Navasana etc.

4. SIDEWAYS:
Vasishtasana
Viswamitrasana
Bairavasana
Ardha Chakrasana etc.

5. TOPSY TURVY:
Sirshasana (with 16 subdivisions)
Sarvangasana
(which is considered as a lying posture according to Hatha Yoga Pradipika III 79 not as a head down posture in Gerandasamhita, in Yoga Kurantam by Matsyendra and Gorakshanath)
Sirshasana
has 64 moving postures.
Sarvangasana
has 48 moving postures. In this book we shall describe a few steady and a few moving postures.

6. TURNING:
Mandalasana etc.

7. JUMPING:
Bhujapeedasana
Kurmasana
Ashtavakrasana
Caturanga Dandasana
Nakrasana
Bakasana etc.

8. PUMPING:
Urdhvamukhasvanasana
Adhomukha Svanasana, etc.

9. WEIGHING:
Urdhva Kukkutasana
Kaundinyasana
Kukkutasana
Ekapada Bekasana
Ashtavakrasana etc.


------------------------------------------

5. from Krishnamacharya Yogasanagalu 

Primary:

Uttanasana

Padangushtasana
Padahastasana
Chaturangadandasana
Urdhwamukhaswanasana
Adhomukhaswanasana
Pashimatanasana (Purvatanasana)
Parshvottanasana
Prasaritapadottasana a,b,c
Utthitatrikonasana a,b
Utthitaparsvakonasana a,b
Utkatasana
Veerabhadrasana
Ardhabaddda padmottasana
Utthitahasta padangushtasana
Triyunmukhaikapada paschimatanasana
Marichasana a,b,c
Ardhabaddhapadma pachimatanasana
Janusheersana
Bhujapeedasana
Kurmasana
Kukkutasana
Baddhapadmasana
Baddhapadmasana with yogamudra
Gharbapindasana
Suptapadungushtasana
Navasana a,b
Ubhayapadungushtasana
Urdhwamukhapachimatanasana
Halasana
Salambasarvangasana
Karnapeedasana
Urdhwapadmasana
Pindasana
Baddhakonasana
Upavishtakonasana
Suptakonasana
Uttanapadasana
Sethubandhasana

Middle:

Pashasana
Krounchasana
Dhanurasana
Dhanurasana – 2 sides
Dhanurasana – 3 Ekapada
Shalabasana
Nakrasana
Mayurasana
Ushtrasana
Bhekasana
Suptavajrasana
Laghuvajrasana
Ekapada sarvanga
Bharadwaja
Kapotasana
Ekapadasheersha
Dwipadasheersha
Yoganidrasana
Urdhwadhanurasana
Marichasana d,e,f,g
Salamba Shirshasana
Niralamba Sarvangasana
Bakasana
Suptordhwapadavajrasana
Matsyasana

Proficient

Vasishta
Kashyapa
Virinchi
Vishwamitra
Bhairava
Rajakapota
Ekapada Rajakapota
Doorvasa
Ekapada Baka, a,b
Niralamba sarvanga
Niralamba sheersha
Salamba sheersha
Urdhwa kukkuta
Vipareeta danda
Ekapada vipareeta danda
Ekapada danuh
Bakasana (hatha yoga)
Gomukhasana
Vatayanasana
Ardha matsyendrasana
Poorna matsyendrasana
Vrishikasana
Moolabhandasana
Akranadhanurasana
Ashtavakrasana
Buddhasana
Kapilasana
Vipareeta shalabasana
Karandavasana
Ekapadakapota
Padangushtadhanurasana
Ardhachakrasana
Tittibhasana
Veerasana
Samanasana
Parivruttasana
Hanumasana
Utthitaswastikasana
Trivikramasana(supta)
Trivikramasana(utthita)
Natarajasana
Simhasana
Siddhasana
Parighasana
Samakonasana
Vrikshasana
Gherandasana
Paryankasana
Tiryanmukha utthitatrikonasana
Kandapeedasana
Suptakanda
Yogadanda
Ghandaberundasana
Pinchamayura
OOrdhwapravrutapada
Yogapatta









----------------------------------------------

6.Vinyasa Krama
The Sequences and Subroutines in  Srivatsa Ramaswami's book, The complete book of Vinyasa Yoga.
Ramaswami was Krishnamacharya student from 1950's-80's

Highlighted link to video of the subroutine.

Chapter I. On your Feet sequence p. 1
(special sequences from 11th chapter)
12. khagasana p240
14. dingnamaskara p237

Ch II. Asymmetric Seated Vinyasa Sequence p35

ChIII. Seated Posterior Stretch Sequence p71

Ch IV. On One leg Yogasanas p87
44. trivikramasana p97

Ch V. The Supine Sequence p101
48. advanced lead sequence p104
50.jataraparivritti(simple) p105
53.madhyasetu p112
54.urdhvadhanurasana p113
55. advanced dvipadapitam p114
60. jataraparivritti advanced p121
61. jataraparivrittiadvanced II p122
63. sarvangasana-advanced lead sequence p123
71.karnapidasana p135

Ch VI. The Bow Pose Sequence p137
83. dhanurasana p145

Ch.VII. The Triangle Pose Sequence p147
90. samakonasana p159

Ch VIII. The Inverted posture Sequence p161
94.urdhvadandasana p168
96. mandala p169
99. viparita vrikshasana (hand stands) p174

Ch. IX. Meditative Pose Sequence p176

Ch X. The Lotus Pose Sequence p189
118. p

Ch. XI. Visesha Vinyasa Kramas p213
119. vasishtasana p219
120. anjaneyasana p223
121. halasana-pascimatana-uttanamayura sequence p228
122. utplutis p230

Ch. XII. The Winding Down Procedure p246
123. yogic postures for `breathing exercises p247
The following Pranayamas are taken from Ramaswami's other book 'Yoga for the three stages of life'.
126. The Locks ( Bandhas) p250

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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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