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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Monday, 18 November 2013

Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu - the extra asana (descriptions taken from his other works).

NOTE: Krishnamacharya wrote Yogasanagalu in 1941 while still in Mysore and while still teaching the young Pattabhi Jois. These 'extra' asana in Yogasanagalu ( the earlier asana in the book are lifted from Krishnamacharya's 1934 book Yoga Makaranda) seem to have been added in a latter reprint of Yogasanagalu, most likely 1972. However, we know from Indra Devi's account of her period of studying with Krishnamacharya in 1937 as well as the 1938 video of Krishnamacharya himself practicing, that he was teaching both the Ashtanga vinyasa approach we are familiar with from Yoga Makaranda (1934) and later the teaching of Pattabhi Jois as well as a Vinyasa Krama approach familiar from Srivatsa Ramaswami's, Desikachar and Mohan's teaching. Both approaches to asana seem then to have gone hand in hand, were taught at the same time, and may well be considered to be consistent with, as well as complimentary to, each other rather than the more prevalent opinion that there was a transition in Krishnamacharya's teaching from one style/approach to another. 

I recently heard from Satya ( who is translating the Yogasanagalu 1941 for us), he mentioned that we are well into the last section of Yogasanagalu just a few extra postures and then nadishodana and that he planned on skipping the extra asana for now and moving on to the nadishodana pranayama.

He mentioned that we probably had outlines of the postures mentioned to be going on with. If you remember the other postures mentioned in Yogasanagalu are lifted directly from Krishnamacharya's earlier book Yoga Makaranda 1934.

Here's Satya's recent mail to me.

"I don't think I mentioned it when I completed the last segment.  The next section is descriptions of asanas in the order below (photos 1 - 16)
Dandasana 1
Dandasana 2
Ardabaddha paschimatanasana part 1
Ardabaddha paschimatanasana part 2
Adhama matsyendrasana

Followed by last section on Nadhishodhana pranayama 

Nothing new in these sections that you haven't already seen in other works.   

To mark Krishnamacharya's birth, he would have been 125 today, I thought I would fish out the descriptions we have for the postures Satya mentions that are added to the end of Yogasanagalu and see what we do actually have available from his other works.

Here are the pictures ( if I'm not mistaken krishnamacharya is in hi 90's in these), just the first sixteen mentioned above (plus two extras).

See here for our ongoing translation of Yogasanagalu page

and here for the free downloads of Yoga makaranda parts 1 and 2 and much more besides
Free Downloads

Here are the descriptions I found. Most of these come from Yoga Makaranda part II, made available by AG Mohen (a different ordering of the text circulated by Krishnamacharya's students that had come to be known as Salutations to the Teacher).

Dandasana 1
Dandasana 2
Ardabaddha paschimatanasana part 1
Ardabaddha paschimatanasana part 2
Adhama matsyendrasana

Dandasana 1

from Yoga Makaranda

DANDASANA: With the arms stretched and the palms flat on the ground by the side of the body. Six rounds of deep breathing with ANTAR and BAHYA kumbhakam of one second each, each round.

Dandasana 2 ?


from Yoga Makaranda

8 Pascimattanasana or Pascimottanasana (Figure 4.19 — 4.28)
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 di⇥cult. 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 o 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.

from Yoga Makaranda part 2

40. PASCHIMATANASANAA Preliminary Exercise
While the exercise mentioned below, has not been prescribed in any of the old treatises on asanas, I have found, by experience, that a preliminary practice of this exercise makes it easy for the Paschimata and Purvatan asana positions being attained.


1. Sit on the ground, with both legs stretched in front, knees together, and feet perpendicular to the ground. Sit erect and keep spine stretched.
2. Stretch the arms and catch hold of the toes by the thumb and forefinger of the hands.
3. While exhaling, bend the trunk as far forward as possible, keeping the spine
4. While inhaling, lift the trunk and bring the body to the erect position of step (2).
5. Swing the stretched arms to either side of the body, till the arms are in a straight line
at the shoulder level. By a rotary movement of the stretched arms round the shoulder joint, first move them upwards, then forwards and then backwards and place the palms, fingers pointing to the front, above 12 inches behind the buttocks and about 18 inches apart. Keep the arms stretched.
6. While inhaling, lift the body, so that it rests on the palms and heels and is as straight as a plank. Bend the head backwards and stretch the feet so that the toes are pointed.
7. While exhaling, lower the body and reach position in step (5).
8. Bring the stretched arms to either side of the body, till they are in a straight line at
the shoulder level. Twist the arms so that the palms face upwards and rotate the arms first upwards till the arms are upright and then move them forward to catch hold of the toes by the thumb and forefinger of the hands and thus get into position in step (2).
9. Go through this cycle of movement and regulated breathing.

It may be difficult, especially in the case of those with fatty bodies, either to catch hold of the toes in step 2 & 8 or raise the body sufficiently high till it is as straight as a plank in step 6. No attempt should be made to reach these positions by unduly straining the body. It is enough to make these movements to the extent possible. In the case of step 6 undue strain will be indicated by the arms beginning to shake. By practice the body will become supple and the final positions reached in course of time.


1. Sit on the ground, with both legs stretched in front, knee together, and feet perpendicular to the ground. Sit erect and spine stretched.

2.     Stretch the arms and catch hold of the feet, by making the palms of the hands rest on the toes of the feet, and the fingers of the hands touch the soles of the feet.
3. Chin lock the chest forward.
4. While exhaling, bend trunk forward at the hip keeping the spine straight, till the
forehead touches the knee.
Note: For beginners it may be difficult to catch hold of the feet by the hands. Even if this is possible it may be difficult to bend the trunk so that the forehead touches the knees. Every attempt should be made to reach these positions, but if these are not attainable, make these movements as far as possible, and avoid undue strain. With the breath regulation to be mentioned below, the positions will become easier as practice advances. When practice has further advanced, effort should be made when bending the trunk, to make the forehead ouch the shin as far away from the knees as possible.

5.    Take not more than 12 deep breaths. In the beginning one should start with 3 deep breaths and slowly increase it to the 12 mentioned above.

6.     While inhaling, life trunk.
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 asanas are those which stretch the nerves e.g., PASCHIMATANASANA stretches and straightens up the nerves on the backside of the body, while PURVATANASANA the appropriate counter pose, stretches the nerves on the front side of the body.

A variation to the above asana which is somewhat more difficult is given below. This is attributed to Gorakshanath.

1. This is the same as given under Paschimatanasana.
2. Place the palms with fingers to the front, about 12 inches behind the buttocks and
about 18 inches apart. Stretch the arms.

3. While exhaling, bend trunk forward at the hips, keeping the spine straight, till the forehead touches the knees or as low down on the shin as possible. The knees should be kept together and not raised from the ground.
4. Take deep breaths.
5. While inhaling, lift the trunk to the position in step 2.


This can be practised only after mastering Sarvangasana. Halasana, Parsva Halasana Uttana Mayurasana, Paschimatanasana Purvatanasana etc.


1. Sit on the ground, with both legs stretched in front, knees together, and feet perpendicular to the ground. Sit erect and spine stretched.

2.     While exhaling the trunk is twisted to the leg and bent forward at the hips. The right hand catches the left foot on the outer side and the left hand on the outer side of the right foot. Please note carefully the position of the hands in the illustration. In this position the right shoulder touches the right knee cap and the trunk gets a 90 degree twist to the left so that the line joining the shoulders is at right angles to the ground.
3. Take three deep breaths.
4. While inhaling, get back to position in step (1).
5. Repeat on the other side.


from yoga Makaranda part 2


This is the counter pose to Paschimatanasana and should be practiced immediately after it.


1. Sit on the ground, with both legs stretched in front, knees together and toes pointed. Sit erect and with spine stretched.

2. Place the palms with fingers to the front, about 12 inches behind the buttocks and about 18 inches apart. Stretch the arms.

3. While inhaling, lift the body supporting it on the palms and the heels. The body should be straight as a plank and kept stretched. Bend the head backwards as far as possible. This stretches all the nerves on the front side of the body.
4. While exhaling, lower the body to the position mentioned in step 2.
5. Do three rounds.
It may be difficult, especially in the case of those with fatty bodies, to raise the body sufficiently high in step 3, to make the body straight as a plank. Undue strain should be carefully avoided, and it is enough if the body is lifted to the extent that it is conveniently possible. Undue strain will be indicated by the arms beginning to shake. As practice advances the final position will become possible.

Chatushtapeeta ?

Navasana ?

from Yoga Makaranda

20 Navasana (Figure 4.59, 4.60)
This has 13 vinyasas. In this asana, we need to keep our bodies like a boat (look at the picture). In the 7th vinyasa, maintain the position observed in the picture. That is, only the seat on the back of the body must be on the floor and all the other parts of the body must be raised o the ground. Similarly raise both legs o the ground, keeping them extended. Extend the shoulders out in front, extend the arms forward and place the palms on each leg not quite touching the knees. This is called paripurna navasana (Figure 63).
In the 7th vinyasa, lie down just as in supta padangushtasana, raise the ex- tended legs o the ground. Join the hands and interlace the fingers behind the neck, placing the head on the palms and hold the head tightly with the clasped hands. Then, as observed in the picture, raise the upper body halfway using the back and stop. This is called ardha navasana (Figure 64).

Ardabaddha paschimatanasana part 1

from Yoga Makaranda part 2


1. Sit upright on the ground.
2. Stretch the right leg in front of the body. The leg should be kept stretched, toes
pointed, the back of the thigh, calf and heel touching the ground. Knees should not be raised throughout this asana. This position of the right leg should be maintained undisturbed throughout this asana.

3.      Place the left foot on the right thigh as near the groin as possible, the heel should be to the right of the navel and as near to it as possible, the sole of the foot upturned, the toes pointed and the muscles stretched. The outer side of the left knee and the left thigh should touch the ground. The two knees should be as close as possible.

4.      While exhaling, stretch the spine, keep the body upright, and take the left hand round the back and catch hold of the big toe of the left foot with the thumb and forefinger of the left hand.
The trunk should not be twisted to the left but kept facing the front.

5.       Inhale and then while exhaling, stretch the right arm and catch hold of the big toe of the right foot with the thumb and forefinger of the right hand. If it is possible, and it becomes easy with practise, the fingers of the right hand may encircle the right foot.

6.      Throw the chest forward, chin lock, keep eyes closed, stretch the spine, and take two deep breaths with rubbing sensation in the throat. The breathing is done by both nostrils, and effort is taken to make the inhaling and exhaling as slow, thin and long as possible.

7.      While exhaling, slightly twist the trunk to the right and slowly lower the trunk by bending the body at the hips without arching the spine, till the forehead touches the right kneecap. As practice advances attempt should be made for the forehead to progressively touch the shin beyond the knee and nearer the ankles.

8.      Take two or three deep breaths. This is for beginners, as practice advances, the number may be slowly increased to not more than six. Normally no retention of breath is necessary. But as practice advances, breath may be retained after inhalation and breath may be kept out after exhalation for one second each.
9. While inhaling, lift the trunk and come back to the position in step (5).
10. Repeat on the left side.

This asana tones up the liver, spleen and the intestines by the internal massage of these parts during controlled breathing. The waist line is reduced and the spinal column strengthened. It gives relief to those suffering from chronic stomach ache and cures the disorder.

Ardabaddha paschimatanasana part 2 ?


Adhama matsyendrasana

from Yoga Makaranda Part 2


1. Sit erect, with both legs stretched in front.
2. Bend one leg, say the right, at the knees, and place the foot of the right leg on the left
thigh, so that the heel of the right foot is as near the naval as possible. The tendency of the stretched leg to twist to the left should be resisted. The foot of the left leg should be perpendicular to the ground. The knees should not be more than 12 inches apart.

3.      Exhale slowly, and twist the trunk to the left, keeping the spine erect. Take the left hand behind the back so that the fingers of the left hand may catch hold of the right leg at the shin, just above the ankle.
4. Twist the head to the left so that the chin is above the left shoulder.
5. The right hand is stretched and the outside of the left foot is caught hold of by the
palm of the right hand. The fingers of the right hand should touch the sole of the left foot. In this position the shoulder blades and right arms will be in a straight line.

6. The eyes should gaze at the tip of the nose in the case of married people. In the case of those who are unmarried the gaze may be to the midpoint of the eyebrows.

7. Take deep breaths. Not more than three at the beginning stages. The number may be slowly increased to twelve as practice advances.

8. Repeat on the other side.

Note: It is important that the counter pose should be done soon after the above asana is completed. The counter pose BADDHA PADMASANA, will be described later.


1.    Sit upright, with both legs stretched in front. Bend one of the legs, say the right, at the knee and bring the heel below the seat. The outside of the knee and the thigh should touch the ground. Bend the left leg and place the left foot by the side of the right knee and to the right of it. The left foot will be firmly placed flat on the ground and left foreleg will be perpendicular to the ground.
2.     While exhaling, twist the trunk to the left and bring the stretched right arms so that the armpit is above the left thigh and the left knee touches the outside of the right upper arms and fingers of the right hand catch hold of the left foot.
Note: It should be carefully noted that to avoid danger to the elbow of the right arm, the right elbow reaches a position below the left knee as low as possible. See the illustration and note the position carefully.
3.     The left arm is taken round the back, so that fingers touch the right thigh. Care should be taken that the spine is kept erect.
4. Turn the head to the left so that the chin is near the left shoulder.
5. Take three deep breaths.
6. Repeat on the other side.

Note: The deep breaths should be taken without retention of breath and without strain to the lungs.
As a variation, to make the asana somewhat easier, the heel of the right leg instead of being placed below the seat, may be placed a bit to the left so that balancing is easier in the final position.
Benefits: This is of special benefit to those suffering from stomach complaints. This rapidly reduces the waistline.


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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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