New edition to the wall of the new shala
See this link to the page that sits at the top of the blog concerning this syllabus.
'Original' 1974 Ashtanga yoga Syllabus
"In fact, David and I had no idea that there were two separate series until the end of that first four-month trip, when we were leaving, at which point Guruji gave us a sheet of paper with a list of the postures, which were listed as Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, and Advanced B. At this point he told us to practice one series a day, and only once a day".
from Ashtanga Yoga as it was (The long and the short of it ) Nancy Gilgoff
********Before that of course we had the outline of asana in Krishnamacharya's 1941 Yogasanagalu, there's an uncanny resemblance, talk about lineage.
Yesterday I posted probably the penultimate instalment of Satya Murthy's translation of that text,
Excellent News! More of Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu Translation - For remembrance Pages 84-91
Only about ten more pages to go and then we can see about posting a nicely formatted pdf edition.
Here's the list of Primary and Middle asana from Yogasanagalu, these are closest to the syllabus above, the proficient list seems to be the advanced postures thrown in any old way. I've added the sheets I made up a couple of years ago of the asana in the lists, they perhaps show up more clearly the relationship with the 1974 Syllabus and how we know it today.
*btw, the suptakandasna in the final sheet isn't me, never have been able to do it (thus far), the picture is of David Williams.
It's probably a mistake to look at this as a fixed sequence, Krishnamacharya appears to have been much more flexible in how the asana were practiced in his 'classes', that said there does seem to be intuitive, if not sequences, then groupings of asana that are perhaps added to from the proficient group. There seems to have been the familiar standing and finishing groups.
Below the sheets is a reminder of how Krishnamacharya presented the asana in his earlier 1936 book Yoga mala and reproduced those asana descriptions in Yogasanagalu.
The picture sequences below are intended as a rough visual representation of the list above.
Primary group : Standing
Primary Group : Seated
Primary Group : Finishing
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
10-12, 29, 31, 33, 52, 54
34, 36, 46,
Here's a reminder of how Krishnamacharya presented the asana to be formally practiced In both Yoga makaranda (1934) and Yogasanagalu (1941).
3. Pascimattanasana or Pascimottanasana
This asana has many kramas. Of these the first form has 16 vinyasas. Just doing the asana sthiti by sitting in the same spot without doing these vinyasas will not yield the complete benefits mentioned in the yoga sastras. This rule applies to all asanas.
The first three vinyasas are exactly as for uttanasana. The 4th vinyasa is caturanga dandasana, the 5th vinyasa is urdhvamukhasvanasana, the 6th vinyasa is adhomukhasvanasana. Practise these following the earlier instructions. In the 6th vinyasa, doing puraka kumbhaka, jump and arrive at the 7th vinyasa. That is, from adhomukhasvanasana sthiti, jump forward and move both legs between the arms without allowing the legs to touch the floor. Extend the legs out forward and sit down. Practise sitting like this with the rear part of the body either between the two hands or 4 angulas in front of the hands. It is better to learn the abhyasa krama from a guru. In this sthiti, push the chest forward, do puraka kumbhaka and gaze steadily at the tip of the nose. After this extend both arms out towards the feet (the legs are already extended in front). Clasp the big toes of the feet tightly with the first three fingers (thumb, index, middle) of the hands such that the left hand holds the left big toe and the right hand holds the right big toe. Do not raise the knees even slightly. Then, pull in the stomach while doing recaka, lower the head and press the face down onto the knee. The knees should not rise from the ground in this sthiti either. This is the 9th vinyasa. This is called pascimottanasana. In the beginning, everybody will find it very difficult. The nerves in the back, the thighs and the backs of the knees will feel as though they are being fiercely pulled and this will be extremely painful. The pain will remain for 8 days. After this, the pulling on the nerves will release and it will be possible to do the asana without any problem. This pascimottanasana has many forms. After first practising this asana with the face pressed onto the knee, practise it with the chin placed on the knee and then eventually with it placed 3 angulas below the knee on the calf. In the 10th vinyasa raise the head. In the 11th vinyasa, keeping the hands firmly pressed on the ground, raise the entire body off the ground and balance it in the air without touching the ground. The 11th vinyasa is called uthpluthi. The 12th vinyasa is caturanga dandasana. The 13th is urdhvamukhasvanasana. The 14th is adhomukhasvanasana. The 15th is the first vinyasa of uttanasana. The 16th vinyasa is the 2nd vinyasa of uttanasana. Afterwards, return to samasthiti. You should learn the intricacies of this vinyasa only from a guru.
Benefit: This will cure all diseases related to the stomach.
This asana can be done on the floor or on a mat according to the capabilities of one’s body. Learn some of the other forms of pascimottanasana krama by studying the pictures carefully. Pregnant women should not do this asana. But this can be done up to the third month of pregnancy. For men, there are no restrictions to practising this asana. If this is practised every day without fail for 15 minutes, all the bad diseases of the stomach will be removed.
This form follows the hatha yoga principles. Another form follows the raja yoga method. The practitioner should learn the difference. First, take either leg and extend it straight out in front. Keep the heel pressed firmly on the floor with the toes pointing upward. That is, the leg should not lean to either side. The base (back) of the knee should be pressed against the ground. Fold the other leg and place the heel against the genitals, with the area above the knee (the thigh) placed straight against the hip. That is, arrange the straight leg which has been extended in front and the folded leg so that together they form an “L”. Up to this point, there is no difference between the practice of the hatha yogi and the raja yogi.
For the hatha yoga practitioner, the heel of the bent leg should be pressed firmly between the rectum and the scrotum. Tightly clasp the extended foot with both hands, raise the head and do puraka kumbhaka. Remain in this position for some time and then, doing recaka, lower the head and place the face onto the knee of the outstretched leg. While doing this, do not pull the breath in. It may be exhaled. After this, raise the head and do puraka. Repeat this on the other side following the rules mentioned above.
The raja yogi should place the back of the sole of the folded leg between the scrotum and the genitals. Now practise following the other rules described above for the hatha yogis. There are 22 vinyasas for janusirsasana. Please note carefully that all parts of the outstretched leg and the folded leg should touch the floor. While holding the feet with the hands, pull and clasp the feet tightly. Keep the head or face or nose on top of the kneecap and remain in this sthiti from 5 minutes up to half an hour. If it is not possible to stay in recaka for that long, raise the head in between, do puraka kumbhaka and then, doing recaka, place the head back down on the knee. While keeping the head lowered onto the knee, puraka kumbhaka should not be done. This rule must be followed in all asanas.
While practising this asana, however much the stomach is pulled in, there will be that much increase in the benefits received. While practising this, after exhaling the breath, hold the breath firmly. Without worrying about why this is so difficult, pull in the stomach beginning with the navel, keep the attention focussed on all the nadis in and near the rectal and the genital areas and pull these upwards — if you do the asana in this way, not only will all urinary diseases, diabetes and such diseases disappear, but wet dreams will stop, the viryam will thicken and the entire body will become strong.
Whoever is unable to pull in the nadis or the stomach may ignore just those instructions and follow the instructions mentioned earlier to the extent possible. Keep the nadis in and near the rectal and genital areas pulled up, the stomach pulled in and hold the prana vayu steady. Anybody with the power to practise this will very soon be free of disease and will get virya balam. Leaving this aside, if you follow the rules according to your capability, you will gradually attain the benefits mentioned below.
After practising the asana for just one or two minutes, do not whine that you did not receive any benefits. However little effort there is, if you keep practising the asana daily for at least 5 to 10 minutes, you will start experiencing its benefits in a few days. There is no doubt about this. If you keep practising it from half an hour to an hour following the given rules, you will get the benefits mentioned below.
1. Diseases of the spleen will be removed.
2. People suffering from a low-grade persistent fever in the stomach will notice that the fever, the resulting anaemia and other such dangerous diseases will be wiped out. Continuous and recurrent cough, bloated stomach, flatulence and the first symptoms of tuberculosis will disappear. As a result of these intestinal doshas being removed, the digestive power increases and one feels hunger at the appropriate time. When you are very hungry, it is essential to eat sattvic foods cooked in pure ghee or cow’s milk or goat’s milk. Rice avul, kara boondi (fried peanut flour), kara vadai, peanuts, chickpeas — these tamasic foods should never be eaten. Eating high-quality fruits and kanda mulam is very beneficial.
When they are hungry, some people will eat terrible things without thinking about it. This is a despicable matter. Because of this, they keep catching various diseases and suffering as a result.
If one keeps practising janusirsasana according to the rules described above, then whatever diseases cause blocking of urine and faeces, increase the heat in the nadis, cause an increase in vata, if any such acute diseases occur, they will be destroyed from the root and the practitioner will be in good health very soon.
Heavy head, burning eyes, weakness of the body, burning in the urinary area, fever caused by toxins built up due to indigestion and constipation, loss of ap- petite and sense of taste in the tongue due to a spoilt tongue, laziness or lethargy — all these will be removed by practising the asana in the highest standard. That is, all diseases caused by weakness of the nadis nearby will be removed.
It is important to always remember that it is necessary to practise such asanas like janusirsasana on both the left and right sides. The reason for this is that the strength of the body should be the same on both the left and right sides. Nowadays, modern games and physical exercises give strength to only one side of the body without developing proper blood circulation on the other side. This will result in paralysis and other such diseases. Therefore, every asana must definitely be practised equally on both the left and the right side.
Janusirsasana 2nd Krama
Whichever leg was folded and placed such that the back of the foot was between the rectum and genitals, place the back of the sole of that foot instead against the top of the thigh of the outstretched leg, firmly pressing against it. Now practise according to the rules described earlier. But the benefits of this will be received very slowly. Some people will not be able to place the head on top of the knee on the first day. But one should not abandon the effort thinking that this is impossible. If one keeps practising this for one or two months daily without fail, following the prescribed rules, then it will become possible.
It will be very difficult for those who have allowed excessive flesh to grow in the stomach and hips to practise this. By practising this regularly over a period of time, all the excessive flesh that has grown in or near the stomach and hips will melt, the joints of the bones and nadis will clear up, the stomach will grow thinner and eventually the head will touch the knee. The deposits of excessive flesh are the main cause for the lack of flexibility in the body. All this can be melted away with asana abhyasa.
Many people who have a protruding stomach like a pumpkin believe that they are healthy. Others think that they have correspondingly as much more strength as their arms, legs and thighs are excessively huge, and they keep trying to enlarge the girth of the body. One can clearly say that this is a result of their stupidity. Being blessed with good health is not in the plumpness of the body. The limbs of small children are soft and supple — to lift and bend them is easy. The limbs of adults should be similarly soft and supple and strong and there should be no obstruction to the prana vayu and the blood circulation. Everybody knows that people who have overly large stomachs or who are obese often have excessive breathlessness and bloating of the stomach.
But they have not realized that the vayu sancharam is not proper in any part of the body. When there is no proper movement of air in the body, mounds of excessive flesh will collect in the body forming a barrier. Without proper air circulation, how will the dust fly away? Without water, how can the earth become soft? Similarly, in our bodies, if we want the blood to circulate and the prana vayu to flow properly without obstruction, we need to first knock down and remove the bad deposits of flesh (durmamsam) which appear like a wall. Only prana vayu has the capacity and power to completely destroy the excessive blobs of flesh that exist here and there in the body. This cannot be done with any other medicine.
The stomach is the only cause of an untimely death. There is no other reason. The dwelling place of death in the body is only the big stomach and nowhere else. Even though we desire long life and good health, why do we make our stomachs very large and leave room for death in them? Is this not a terrible thing? Therefore, by practising janusirsasana following the krama with correct instructions, one can melt away the stomach, no matter how large it is. You can definitely believe that as the stomach reduces in size, the death dwelling in it will leave the body. There is no doubt about this.
It is superior to regularly practise this janusirsasana before becoming preg- nant. One should not do it after becoming pregnant. If women who have stomach pain during menstruation practise this asana following the instructions mentioned above, in one or two months, all the germs that cause the stomach pain will be removed from the blood channels and will be expelled out of the body through the urinary tract.
This has 22 vinyasas. The 8th and the 15th vinyasas are themselves the asana sthiti. The benefit is correspondingly as great as one’s capacity for recaka.