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.

Blog Comments are turned off, there are no "members" of this blog .

Thursday, 27 November 2014

from Chapter 1 YOGA RAHASYA OF NATHAMUNI - SRI T KRISHNAMACHARYA

Eddie Stern wrote at some length on Krishnamacharya's YogaRahasya of Nathamuni in this months Namarupa. I thought it might be a good opportunity to take a closer look at this fascinating text. Below are selected verses from the "hurried" translation by Ramaswami who wanted to teach the text on his LMU teacher training but at the time the KYM version was not readily available.

My friend Claudia gives a nice intro to the story of the text over on her blog
http://earthyogi.blogspot.ru/2011/05/yoga-rahasya-krishnamacharya-walks-over.html

T. Krishnamacharya

from Chapter 1 YOGA RAHASYA OF NATHAMUNI

Introduction

The learned person (dvija) can follow the yoga of devotion (Bhakti) or Prapatti (surrender). But the ignorant person should follow only the prapatti yoga,( as he has not the training and knowledge of Bhakti Yoga ). Bhakti Yoga is hat which is contained in Patanjala Yoga. Nyasa Vidya is suitable to those who are not well versed in shastras and Patanjala Yoga. (11)

More than men, women have the right and obligation to practice yoga, as they hold the key to healthy progeny. Women need to maintain good health to bring forth healthy offsprings and need to be free from afflictions and diseases due to microbes, and women shoul not allow themselves to become ill and diseased. (14,15)

Ashtanga yoga

In Ashtanga Yoga Yama along with Niyama come first. After having practiced these, one should practice asanas properly and regularly. (19)

Thereafter one should practice Pranayama and thence Pratyahara or sense control. Then one should practice dharana and dhyana to complete Samyama with Samadhi in the end. (20)

Without following this sequence (krama) or methodology, if one practices yoga as per the dictates of likes and dislikes, such an approach will not give any benefits os Ashtanga Yoga.(21)

Patanjali says in clear terms that one can get (Bhukti) material benefits (through Siddhis) and liberation from suffering (Mukti or Kaivalya). Those who practice different Samyamas to get material benefits (Siddhi) get material but impermanent benefits. One who desires liberation (Mokshaarti) through the path of Bhakti Yoga obtain it by the two tiers of Vairagya or dispassion, (I -22)

Let the lazy, non believers, ignorant, say whatever they want. What do we lose by their disparaging remarks? So thinking the Muni (yogi) goes about his pursuit with a determined mind.

The Yoga Teacher , who is well informed, quiet, self controlled should ponder over the time, place, age, avocation and energy of the student and instruct appropriately.

All asanas are not suitable for everyone, as the body structures are different being obese, lean, weak, crooked or disabled.

The yogic sages have averred that the teacher should first determine what is appropriate after finding their capabilities and the causes for their incapability.

Breathing

During daily (asana) practice, the practitioner should do inhalation, exhalation and breath holding following the Ujjayi method, within one’s capabilities.

Breath control is a necessary practice as everyone knows that life lasts only until the breathing lasts.

In Yoga practice, the exhalations and inhalations should be long and smooth. When prana is outside (exhaled) then it is called Recaka.

The yogic scholars proclaim that the breath enters the body correctly it is called puraka. !
If one is free from diseases and healthy, the breathing and worship of the Lord become easy to perform.

The Body/Senses

Even if one is a king, rich or a great scholar, if one is ill, one can never have mental peace in this world.
If one keeps one’s body under control, the senses also will be under control . With the senses under control, one enjoys peace of mind always.

The senses of perception are five in number, so are instruments of action (karmendriys). The eleventh Indriya is the mind. And the pranas are said to be ten in number.
Due to the agitation of Prana, all the indriyas also are disturbed and with the mind go towards external objects of the senses which are said to be poisonous. Therefore, one should control the Prana or vital force though recaka, puraka and kumbhaka.

The body is said to have six kosas (sacs or bag like organs) say the sages. They are the breathing bag (svasa kosa), anna kosa (food bag or stomch), mutra (of urine or bladder), mala (of feces or large intestines), rajo (blood or uterus) and virya (vitality or prostrate). (In some notes it has been mentioned virya or Rajor kosa and the other kosa would be hrudaya kosa or the heart).
By pranayama the kosas are purified. With that the whole body gets purified. And even the indriyas get purified with satwic food.

Mind

Without proper asana practice there can be no proper pranayama practice. Without Prana control, the mind cannot attain steadiness.

If the mind is steady one gets happiness (sukha) and mental peace. With a serene mind, all accomplishments take place easily. Those whose minds are in pain due to involvement pranayama is the best recourse


Bandhas

For everyone, the rate of breathing is about the same (about 15 per minute). But that number is greatly reduced by yogi by Pranayama practice. ( I-56)

It is therefore necessary to know the correct movement of the vital force (prana) The three activities (vritti) of Prana are racaka, puraka and kumbhaka.

There are three Bandhas that are important, the Mula, Uddiyana and Jalandharas. They are very helpful in controlling the prana (Pranayama).

Those who do not know the intricacies in detail, even if they practice pranayama, it will not fruitful.
The portions above below the navel should be drawn inward with effort, by contracting the mula, after complete exhalation. ..

The eyes must be kept closed and the eyeballs should be steady moving neither to the sides nor up and down. The head should be kept steady and the moth closed. (I63)

Uddiyana Bandha should be done only before eating. It can be done in different asanas, standing, sitting or even lying down.

This Bandha (Uddiyana) has the capacity to eradicate ailments of the spleen, liver and other diseases of stomach. It helps to move the shakti (kundalini). This should be practised after learning from a teacher and properly practising it.
Incorrect practice of this Bandha could lead to the disturbances of the Prana. Therefore one should approach a teacher who has learnt the Uddiyana Bandha correctly and practice it.

Uddiyana Bandha is an essential prerequisite of Jalandhara Bandha. So if one would practice Uddiyana Bandha firmly, all the nadi cakras become purified and also strong.

All the impurities that have accumulated in the spleen and liver are regularly cleaned up. Further the digestive fire increases and urinary ailments are also eradicated.
All the groups of diseases that arise out of the improper functioning of Apana Vayu are rooted out and the blood circulation also improves.

Uddiyana Bandha also removes completely tardiness and fatigue. By moderate diet one gets to do Uddina Bandha properly.
Now is explained the method of doing Bandha known as Jalandhara. It is so known as it always arrests the essence (jala) of raktha flowing through the fine vessels (capillaries) called sira

In yogic parlance, this Bandha is appropriately called Jalandhara. The essence of rakta (also known as amrita or necter) flows throg the capillary and spreads and maintains life. Since it arrests wasteful flow of the necter it is called Jalandhara Bandha.

(One may practice this Bandha) in padmasana, Brahmasana, Siddhasana, svastikasana, vajrasana, Baddhakona Bhadrasana and Mulabandhasana.

Further some yogis say that Dandasana, Kraunchasana, virasana, also are suitable to master Jalandhara Bandha.
Specifically, by contracting the throat, one should place the chin against (the region) of the heart. Then keeping the focus between the eyebrows, the eyes should remain closed. !
The wise yogi would keep the body straight and keep the backbone like a staff without any crookedness in the body and the seat firmly placed.

Placing the hands on the knees, keep the body straight and steady and keeping the throat contracted and placed firmly (against the chest)

Beginners may experience some pain in the neck in the head. But it goes away quickly with daily practice.(I-78)

Pranayama, japa, home  (fire worship), meditation, and teaching a student should be done seated for the sake only of stability of the mind.

This Bandha should not be done while standing, lyind down or walking, except in asanas where it is specially considered to be useful. It should not be done after a meal or drinkinga lot of water.

Mantra

One should use the appropriate mantra in Pranayama practice. In the treatment of all diseases Pranayama gives results.

In the world people with absolute faith in God or with full of detachment are very few. So the Shastras mention about the fruits of our action in the beginning itself.

In the world people make any efforts only after knowing the benefits of such actions. The main benefits (of pranayama with Mantras) are mental stability, relief from sorrow/ mental pain, long life and development of devotion to the Lord.

It is ordained that one should do all aspects yoga as an offering to the Lord, Sriman Narayana, the Supreme Bing.

Pranayama

As in Asana practice, in Pranayama also one should follow the correct procedures.
One should practice exhalation at the beginning to one’s capacity and then inhalation, and then breath holding. Thereafter one should increase duration of exhalation, inhalation and breath holding. (I 90)

The wise say that the breath should be smooth via the throat nadi , with a slight sound but without any break. It should be done with the mouth closed and uniformly.

One should do breathholding after both inhalation and exhalation, consistent with one’s capability. It should be done in a proper seated posture with a straight body and eyes closed.
It should be done before taking food or six hours after taking food so that the inhalations and exhalations will be be long and smooth and not rapid.

One should unequal vrittis of inhalation and exhalation only after practicing the equal duration (samavritti) pranayama.
Pranayama done without the three bandhas are not useful. Further it could lead to some ailments.

Pranayama is of two types, one done without mantras and the other with mantras. One should choose the appropriate manta for individual requirements.
Sagarbha is with mantra and vigarbha is without mantra. The smritis (texts) say that Pranayama done with mantra is commendable while the other is considered inferior.

Sagarbha pranayama destroys fluctuations/ unsteadiness of the mindl quickly. Further it it brings in longer life, clarity of the mind and removes several ailments.
By the practice of pranayama, one becomes fit to practice dharana and dhyana (meditation) . So Pranayama is very useful practice indeed.

Ujjayi, Nadishuddhi, Suryabheda, Bhastrika, Sitkaari, Sitali, lahari, Bhraamari, Kapalabhati, aandoli, are the ten pranayamas texts refer to.
But for Bhastrika and Kapalabhati, all other pranayamas should be practiced with the three bandhas, whereas the two should be done with Jalandharabandha.

All pranayamas can be done either in samavritti or vishamavritti modes. With Kapalabhati and Bhastrika, vishamavritti is not permitted.
As Headstand and Lotus are considered the best among asanas, Nadishodhana is considered the best of pranayamas.

Other pranayamas give specific benefits whereas Nadishodana gives all the benefits.
As you have faith so will the benefits be with pranayama. With devotion to the Lord Narayana always one should always partaking limited satwic food . (105)

For measuring the length of the breath ‘Om’ is agreeable to the scriptures. Whether the pranayama is equal and variable duration, mantras should be used.
All mantras merge (emanate from) Pranava, the head of all Vedas. As all rivers merge in the oceon, all mantras merge into the Pranava.

In Patanjala Yoga Sutra, Paramatma is identified with Pranava. It should be repeated (japa) with the mind meditating on its meaning.

Some experts proclaim using Gayatri with the he seven Vyahrutis and Siras in Pranayama, reflecting on the meaning as well.

This mantra pranayama referred to should be used in only vishama vritti pranayama.
Doing this with mantra pranayama while holding the breath three times, is referred to as pranayama, by the great sage Manu.

Selections from chapter 1

Selections from chapter 2

Selections from chapter 3

Selections from chapter 4 
http://grimmly2007.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/from-chapter-4-yoga-rahasya-of.html



Appendix


Relates to comments from Charlie
Bhadrapitham translated as Bhadrasana.

Sloka 1-73 from Yoga Rahasya
Translated by TKV Desikachar




from Chapter 2 YOGA RAHASYA OF NATHAMUNI - SRI T KRISHNAMACHARYA

Eddie Stern wrote at some length on Krishnamacharya's YogaRahasya of Nathamuni in this months Namarupa. I thought it might be a good opportunity to take a closer look at this fascinating text. Below is the "hurried" translation by Ramaswami who wanted to teach the text on his LMU teacher training but at the time the KYM version was not readily available.

My friend Claudia gives a nice intro to the story of the text over on her blog
http://earthyogi.blogspot.ru/2011/05/yoga-rahasya-krishnamacharya-walks-over.html

Below - Krishnamacharya with Srivatsa Ramaswami



Chapter II Viniyoga

To make available to all the different parts of Yoga, the proper method of using them this chapter called viniyoga is presented by Nathamuni.

The methods of the eight parts of yoga practice are of three types; early stage of life, steady part of life and end of life.
Srishtikrama is for Brahmacharis (bachelors(, sthiti is for family people and the laya krama is for sanyasis or renouncee Yogis. Yoga should be learnt according to the stage of life.

Srishtikrama is that method which helps to strengthen the muscles, the senses and strength to the body.

Up to the age of 25, one is called a Brahmachari. This is applicable to those who engage in the orthodox study of the Vedas. For the rest such classifications are unclear.

Brahmacharis are those who at the proper age get initiated into the studies of the scriptures and learn the branch of Vedas to which they traditionally belong to.

Such Brahmacharis must pactise the different angas of Yoga daily for the strengthening of memory of the Vedas studied and for the nourishment of the body and the senses.

The student,living in the ashram of the Guru should practice the angas of Yoga to be free of diseases, and other impediments for studies.

The student under the guidance of the teacher should practice yoga regularly in an orderly manner, for the proper development of the body, senses and the kosas/ internal vital organs.

He should focus on such practices that strengthen the brain, generative organs and the senses of sight,smell,taste,touch and hearing.


One whose inhalation and exhalation rae of equl duration and long and even, has no fear of death.

One who can exhibit this quality of inhalation in lying sitting asanas and also in pranayama practice need not fear death.

It is the excess of medhas (fat) and mamsa(flesh) inside and outside the body which block the movement of prana in the nadis, kosas, granthis and joints.

All those that help to increase the length, evenness and ease of the breath should be practiced regularly.

The scriptures aver that the position of prana, mind, the soul and the Supreme Lord are one and the same—the heart. ( II-31)


After meditating on the Lord, the Compassionate One, and surrendering everything to Him, one should start Chikitsa routine.
One should practice sthitikrama until one is 75 years old whether single or married.
For a householder practicing Yoga is difficult not possible to get it properly as the family one’s life is full of obstacles.

The whole world knows that the housewife is the protector of the world undoubtedly. She gives education, food, wealth and place to live.
The housewives so fully occupied in taking care of children, grandchildren, relatives, others in want, dependents, household animals and others. But they have little time to take care of themselves.

Under such circumstances, how can women who are always occupied practice yoga? But then without them,life in this world is like flowers in the sky. (Impossile)

It is therefore necessary for women to practice a few angas of yoga with discipline, for the protection of the entire family.
They may also follow the proper dharma constantly and consistent with their asrama and varna to please the Lord.

They must cleanse the body consistent with their own family tradition, even at the risk of being criticized by others.
For householders, who should practice the sthiti krama, Pranayamais most important. This is my view.

By practice of Pranayama the dross of the nadisare eliminated from the body through the many channels.
It can be concluded that the toxins in the body are removed if one’s inhalation exhalation and retention are long even and effortless.

Due to proper regulation of the breath, the impurities are removed> then the householder attains clarity of the mind. II 48)
In Pranayama, are well known anuloma, pratiloma and viloma methods. Then it includes internal and external holding of breath.

Pranayama if done with Mula, uddiyana and Jalandhara bandhas is capable of completely uprooting all ailments.
The three bandhas are to be practiced only before taking food. One should lift the mula after exhalation and hold it firmly.

Then one should do Uddiyana bandha and thereafter Jalandharabandha. Then one can do inhalation.
Pranayama is also classified in two ways, Samavritti and vishamavritti depending on the duration of inhalation, exhalation and breathholding.

For starters, sama vritti pranayama is comfortable. The length of exhalation, inhalation and breathholding depends on one’s capacity.

Forceful breath work is detrimental to Prana, the life force. Therefore before teaching pranayama one should assess the capacity/ limitations of the learner.

Whether sama vritti or vishama vritti is practiced, the practitioner should oneself carefully follow, test and verify with clarity.
One who follows the path of yoga should practice the part of yoga called pranayama before dawn, at noon, by sunset and even midnight.

The directions of the teacher should be carefully followed by the learner, never inconsistent with tradition, whether one does samantraka or amantraka pranayama. !
It is known as vishama vritii when the duration of each aspect of pranayama is varied. The ratio of 1 to 4 to 2 for inhalation, breathholding and exhalation is the best.

This method of cleansing the nadis is acceptable for all yogis for long. With cleared nadis the prana moves freely and can do its work properly.
Ujjayi, Nadisodhana, Suryabhedha and sitali have been approved by many.
Pranayama practice done in a disciplined way will help remove ailments o bladder, liver, spleen, diaphragm and heart.

Also they will have a long life, have a steady mind provided they surrender to the lotus feet of the Lord.

The central teaching of Upanishad is the integrated approach of wisdom and action. This is possible if one has firm and healthy body (with the Lord) in the heart.

Selections from chapter 1

Selections from chapter 2

Selections from chapter 3

Selections from chapter 4 

from Chapter 3 YOGA RAHASYA OF NATHAMUNI - SRI T KRISHNAMACHARYA

Eddie Stern wrote at some length on Krishnamacharya's YogaRahasya of Nathamuni in this months Namarupa. I thought it might be a good opportunity to take a closer look at this fascinating text. Below are selected verses from the "hurried" translation by Ramaswami who wanted to teach the text on his LMU teacher training but at the time the KYM version was not readily available.

My friend Claudia gives a nice intro to the story of the text over on her blog
http://earthyogi.blogspot.ru/2011/05/yoga-rahasya-krishnamacharya-walks-over.html


CH III Vimarsanadhyaya

Without chanting and study of the scriptures (anadhyayana), the practice of yoga , without sense control or meditation (samyama), the body breath and the mind get restless. !

Regular practice of yogangas and study and chanting of the scriptures will help remove disturbances during meditation and worship of the Lord.

In the viniyoga chapter the practices for one’s benefits were explained. Now, some practices that will help one in the spiritual goal (atmarti)

If God does not exist, He does not, even so there is no loss for the believer in God. But for the non -believer, if God exists the loss is immense indeed. The nature of God is self revealing, beyond the scope of senses and mind.

Agitation of the mind, trembling of the body all happen in an intensified form always due to eating without any niyama or control.

If one wants to experience the Highest, one should practice Pranayama. It also prevents illness of intestines, spleen, liver and bladder.
The disturbances of breath lead to the diseases of the kosas. And by the practice of Pranayama alone, can the kosas be purified.

By adopting proper disciplined procedures of Yoga, which consistent with one’s capabilities, the breath comes under one’s control. There is no other method.

Selections from chapter 1

Selections from chapter 2

Selections from chapter 3

Selections from chapter 4 

from Chapter 4 YOGA RAHASYA OF NATHAMUNI - SRI T KRISHNAMACHARYA

Eddie Stern wrote at some length on Krishnamacharya's YogaRahasya of Nathamuni in this months Namarupa. I thought it might be a good opportunity to take a closer look at this fascinating text. Below are selected verses from the "hurried" translation by Ramaswami who wanted to teach the text on his LMU teacher training but at the time the KYM version was not readily available.

My friend Claudia gives a nice intro to the story of the text over on her blog
http://earthyogi.blogspot.ru/2011/05/yoga-rahasya-krishnamacharya-walks-over.html

from Ch IV KALA ADHYAAYA (final chapter).

Further one should know how favourable and unfavourable things happen to Yogis.
How and whence things that ar favorable and unfavorable emanate. Is it true or just and illusion?

Knowing this well, one should start the practice of Kriya yoga. Else the desired results may not be achieved.

As a matter of fact, everything in this world is neither favorable nor unfavorable.
Because of the constant changes of the gunas, and also due to the actions, objects change every moment, resulting in objects being favorable or unfavorable.

Whether or not a particular object is favorable or not, it is all in the mind. Due to the changes in the mind this can be viewed in two ways.
Changes take place in the mind because of past karmas, present activities and also the changes taking place in the mind itself.

Perception of the changes takes place due to the activities of the bhutas every moment and the Jivatma’s attachment to material objects. (IV-9)

The mind takes the form of the object through the senses and the objects are known as sthula and sukshma.

Man who has 16 kalas (like the moon with 16 kalas changes constantly) serves the objects, which are like poison has a dstracted mind.
!
Objects undergo unexpected changes moment after moment,thereby producing anukula or pratikula.
Why are those people who believe God provides everything, be concerned with finding what are favorable and what are not avorable. Which arguments are wasteful.
!
By the practice of Yoga one would understand what is and what is not favorable to the body.
When the body gets back its strength, the practitioner can continue with the practice to have continuous happiness’
!
When the body and senses become weak due to yoga practice, the yogi should enquire into the cause and with a steady mind set it right.
The debility could have arisen out of not following the yamaniyamas, attachment to outside objects, mindless practice and disregard for the breath.

All objects contain pure and impure aspects in equal measure. To refine objects, the virtuous qualities, the defects, the good and the bad must be known.

The body should be used to destroy the diseases of the body (by Yoga). And the disturbances of the mind can be reduced by Pranayama.

For those whose minds are always engulfed by women (or sex), what is the use of studies, tapas, religious sacrifices, study of the Vedas or observing silence. (IV 36)

One cannot conceptualize what can not be seen or hear. One can not calm the mind without Pranayama.

Improper practice of yoga leads to diseases. A disciplined practice of yoga leads to removal of diseases.
Some ailments can be eradicated by means of meditation, some are eradicated by asanas, and some others through tapas, mantras and herbal medicines.

There are different approaches resorted to to obtain good healthy body, and thereafter such learned people attempt to get different results.
These means or systems may produce ill health or other undesirable effects with an end. This is similar to cultivating plants that produce inedible fruits.

In this Kali Yuga, people to get some money, give up friends, this precious life itself, and even destroys one’s own relatives.

There are evil people who only for the sake of their stomach and sex, do not protect their own parents, children, wife and other well wishers.
Oil,wick and fire work in unison to produce a lamp, so is the life withing the body. Let it be properly nourished.

Selections from chapter 1

Selections from chapter 2

Selections from chapter 3

Selections from chapter 4 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Krishnamacharya's 1938 Shoulderstand variations. (updated with full 8 min video )

Krishnamacharya, Yoga Makaranda Mysore, 1934
"Sarvangasana 
This has 12 vinyasas. The 8th vinyasa is the asana sthiti. There are many variations in this asana. These can be divided into two main types of variations: salamba and niralamba.
This asana and the next asana (sirsasana) that will be described must be practised very carefully and with great caution, remembering the earlier warnings. Before practising these asanas, we first determine that the body is in good healthy condition. Only then can one begin practising. There might be many problems if one starts practising in a hurry. It is much better that these asanas are first learned properly under the guidance of a guru.
While describing these two asanas, the yoga sastras and experts say that in the same way that the head and the heart are the vital parts of our body, similarly, among all the asanas, these two asanas are like the head and the heart. It is said with much authority that if these two asanas are practised regularly and properly, the practitioner will experience the awakening and rise of kundalini. Due to this, they will experience the blessings of isvara and will be swallowed in the sea of eternal bliss. So say the great.  
End of First Part" from Yoga Makaranda 1934, Mysore


Krishnamacharya was teaching a variety of shoulder stand variations back in the 1930s, in Mysore, at the time he was teaching the young Pattabhi Jois. A few have made it into our Ashtanga practice, halasana, karnapindasana, urdhava padmasana and pindasana however a full range of variations was something that Krishnamacharya seemed to encourage and continued to teach throughout his life.

Below we have the screenshots from the 1938 Mysore footage followed by shoulder stand clips from the movie.

This is followed by the outline and instructions for headstands from Yoga Makaranda Part II.

At the end of the post I've included my video of Ramaswamis' shoulder stand sequence a link to his 'head and shoulder stand' benefits newsletter and the practice sheet from my Vinyasa yoga home practice book and sister blog.

My previous  post follows a similar format but for headstands.

The editor of the movie seems to have cut and spliced in the clips of Krishnamacharya's demonstrations so the order in which we find the different subroutines here should probably not be taken as a guide to practice. See the video at the end of the post along with the practice sheets for Ramaswami's ( krishnamacharya's student of over thirty years) presentation.



krishnamacharya: Screenshots from 1938 footage below




Notes from Yoga Makaranda part II

"In designing the SIRSHASANA and SARVANGASANA the rishis have automatically removed the above difficulties by adopting the topsy-turvy posture by which gravity will now aid in the free flow of blood to the organs of perception and also aid in restoring the organs in the lower part of the body to their normal places. 

These two asanas are both preventive and curative. In the case of those, however, who are unduly fatty, it is imperative that the body should first acquire some suppleness in the movement of the limbs by practicing mudras and pranayamas, before attempting these asanas.

Sayanacharya in his commentary on Patanjali’s YOGASUTRAS has given a lot of practical details to be observed in the practice of asanas. The main objective of SIRSHASANA and SARVANGASANA are not merely to arrange for a copious supply of blood to the head and upper part of the body but also to slow down the respiratory rate. 

When SIRSHASANA has been sufficiently mastered, the breathing rate which normally is about 15-18 a minute, automatically comes down to four a minute. The aim should be to reduce it to, two per minute. Thus at this rate, 24 rounds of breathing in SIRSHASANA will take 12 minutes.

It is laid down that SIRSHASANA should be done only in the mornings. This should always be followed by SARVANGASANA. The proper procedure is to do SIRSHASANA with 24 deep inhalations and exhalations. Take two minutes rest. Then do SARVANGASANA with 24 rounds of deep breathing. Take two minutes rest. Follow with some sitting asana. 

In SIRSHASANA the organs in the head and the brain get a copious supply of blood, the internal organs in the body get displaced upwards. The two minutes rest normalizes. In SARVANGASANA the blood supply to the head is restricted by resting the body on the neck and making the chin lock. The thyroid and the upper part of the internal organs of the body get displaced upwards. The two minutes rest normalizes. When a sitting asana is now done the internal organs regain their proper positions. This is the reason behind doing the asanas in this particular order.
Sayanacharya has mentioned six specific asanas for daily practice. He however prescribes that along with these some other asanas (this may vary each day) should be done.

In SIRSHASANA, normally no kumbhakam need be done (in the beginning), though about two seconds ANTHAR and BAHYA kumbhakam automatically result when we change over from deep inhalation to deep exhalation and vice versa. During the automatic pause, kumbhakam takes place. When after practice has advanced and kumbhakam is deliberately practised, ANTHAR kumbhakam can be done up to 5 seconds during each round and BAHYA kumbhakam up to 10 seconds.

In SARVANGASANA, there should be no deliberate practice of ANTHAR kumbhakam, 10
but BAHYA kumbhakam can be practiced up to 5 seconds in each round.
These deep breathings along with the asana help in slowing down the breathing rate with a consequent elongation of life. Sayanacharya prescribes that the number of deep breaths one should practice per day should not be less than 320. This number could be spread out during the day-some may be done along with asana in the morning and evening, some along with pranayama, morning, noon, evening and at midnight, or whenever some spare time is
found".

There are instructions for a few of the sarvangasana subroutines in Yoga Makaranda part II

SALAMBA SARVANGASANA - SHOULDER STAND WITH SUPPORT
from Yoga Makaranda 1934, Mysore

This asana tones up all the centres, nerves, organs, joints etc. and hence is called SARVANGASANA. The asana is of two kinds with support and without support, the former is dealt with below.

Technique:
1. Lie flat on the back, with legs stretched, knees close together and toes pointed. Raise the head and align the toes, knees and hand and return the head to the floor placing the chin on the chest. The arms lie stretched close by the side of the body with the palms touching the floor, fingers closed.
2. Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply with a rubbing sensation in the throat, through both nostrils three or four times.
3. Slowly exhale and raise both legs together. Bring the body to an upright position, the neck resting on the ground. Bend the elbows and bring the palms up to support the back on either side of the backbone, the palms being placed as near the shoulder blades as possible. The elbows should not spread out but be placed as close as possible, the distance between them will be about 12 inches.

NIRALAMBA SARVANGASANA - SHOULDER STAND WITHOUT SUPPORT


Yoga Makaranda, 1934, Mysore

Technique:

1. Take three steps of Salamba Sarvangasana, so that the body is now resting on the back of the neck.
2.Reach the halasana position variation 2. 
3.While inhaling, raise both the legs together, legs being kept together and stretched, to an upright position, the arms still continuing to lie stretched behind the head.
4. Do deep breathing and try and balance the body so that the weight is supported by the shoulders. Try and lift the arms so that the palms rest on the thighs.
5. Take deep breaths.

Note: Start with 3 deep breaths. This number may slowly be increased by one round each week. Every care should be taken that there is no strain. The number of deep breaths can be increased to a maximum of 64.
6. Retrace the steps; the arms being taken to the position behind the head, the legs lowered to the Halasana positon, then raised to the upright position and get to the Sarvangasana with support position. The body is brought to the lying down position flat on the back, by a rolling movement as in the case of Salamba sarvangasana.
Note: This asana should not be attempted before mastering the Salamba Sarvangasana, halasana, ekapada Sarvangasana.
Benefits: Of the various types of Sarvangasana this gives the maximum benefits. The thyroid gets special benefits. The waist line is reduced. The liver is toned. This asana cures gastric troubles and piles. It also prevents these diseases.

HALASANA - PLOUGH POSE



After Sarvangasana, Halasana has to be mastered before taking up the practice of Niralamba Sarvangasana. Hence Halasana is being dealt with at this stage. The final posture resembles the plough and hence the name.


Technique:

1. After coming to the Sarvangasana position, with the back upright, legs stretched and chin locked, Halasana is done as an extension.

2. The palms which support the back are brought down to touch the ground, so that the arms lie stretched with the palms down i.e., touching the ground, the fingers together and stretched. The distance between the palms should be about 12 to 18 inches.

3. While slowly exhaling, bring both the legs together slowly so that the toes touch the ground as far as possible. The back of the toes should touch the ground and not the tip of the fingers. This is done by bending at the hips, the back being as upright as possible and maintaining the chinlock. The legs have to be kept together straight and stretched, the knee together, the toes pointed and together, the thigh and calf muscles stretched.


Variation: 
There are a number of variations and these are given below. These are progressively more difficult.


1. In this variation the fingers of the outstretched arms are interlocked with the palms turned outwards and the thumbs touching the ground.

2. In the next variation the outstretched arms are brought behind the head, with a circular sweeping motion, the arms touching the ground till they are in a line with the shoulders. The palms are now upturned and the sweeping motion continued till the palms are near the toes.

3. After reaching the position in 2 above, the elbows are bent and the forearms are brought together to rest at the back of the top of the head. The right palm to catch the left elbow and the left palm catching the right elbow.

4. The next variation is where the forearms instead of being taken to the top of the head, are taken above the knees at the back of the legs. Thus the forearms are locked over the legs above the knee joint. The knees should not be bent.


Note: The positions described above give the final positions to be reached. But this may not be possible at the beginning of the practice. No attempt should be made to reach these positions by force. The bending should be made to the extent conveniently possible. With the deep inhalations and exhalations, the abdominal muscles get toned up and the body becomes more and more supple as practice advances. It is important to watch that at no stage is the body strained which will be indicated by the breathing getting laboured. By aiming to lower the toes by not more than 2-4 inches a week there should be no strain and the final position will be attained as practice advances.


4. Slowly and deeply, inhale and exhale, through both nostrils with rubbing sensation in the throat. The number of these deep breaths should in no case exceed six times.

5. While slowly inhaling the legs are raised together and brought to the upright position.

6. The body is brought to the lying down position flat on the back, by a rolling movement as in the case of Salamba Sarvangasana.

7. Rest for at least a minute.


A: PARSVA HALASANA - Section A.



Technique:

1. Take the first three steps of Salamba Sarvangasana. The body is now resting on the nect, the legs are lifted in an upright position and the back is supported by the palms.
2. Lower the stretched legs by bending at the hips, and by giving a slight twist at the hips, so that the toes which should be pointed, touches the ground at a point 21⁄2 feet to the right of the right ear. This movement is done while exhaling. The legs should be together and kept stretched throughout. The right palm should firmly support the body at the back, so that when the legs are lowered to the right of the body, the trunk of the body may not also bend to the right side, the trunk should remain upright, and facing to the front.


Note: This asana should be done with the movement in step 2, always, first towards the right of the body.
3. Take three deep breaths. There should be no holding of breath. 
4. Swing the stretched legs with the hips as centre, so that the toes describe an arc of a 
circle on the ground, at the back of the head, till the toes reach a position, 21⁄2 feet to the left of the left ear.
5. While inhaling, lift the legs to the upright central position. 
6. Take two deep breaths. 
7. Now repeat the previous movements, by lowering the legs to the left of the body. 
This is steps 2 to 6 exclusive, except that “left” should be used wherever the word “right” has been used, and the word “right” where the word “left” has been used.
8. Do the normal Halasana, Central with the toes just behind the head. 
9. Take three deep breaths. 
10. While inhaling raise the legs to the right position. 
11. Take two deep breaths. 
12. Exhale, bend the knees, so that they approach the throat, remove the support of the 
palms, lower the hips so that the back rests on the ground, and then stretch the legs so that the whole forms a rolling movement.

13. Take rest.


Note: This asana can also be done as practice advances, without supporting the back with the palms. In this variation the arms are kept stretched as in step 1.


Benefits:

1. Tones up the liver and spleen. Prevents the disorder of these organs and effects a cure if these organs are disordered.
2. Reduces excessive urination.

PARSVA HALASANA Section - B.

Though this is a variation of Parsva Halasana-A it is introduced only here, as there will be greater facility in doing this asana if the asana previously described viz., Suptha Konasana is practised first.


Technique:
The first two steps are the same as in the case of Parsva Halasana.


3. Move only the left leg in an arc, the toe always touching the ground, till the leg takes a position as far to the left of the body as is conveniently possible. The leg is moved while exhaling, and inhaling is done while the leg is at rest. The movement of the leg may be done by stages at first. As practice advances, the leg may be moved in a single movement.
4. Take six deep breaths. 
5. Bring the left leg back to the right, till the two legs are together. 
6. While inhaling, lift both the legs together, till they are upright and in the central 
position.

7. Repeat on the right side.

8-10. These steps are the same as in steps 
11, 12 and 13 of Parsva Halasana.


Note: The palms of the hands support the hips throughout the asana.


EKAPADA SARVANGASANA



Technique:
1. After reaching the position indicated as the second variation of Halasana, hold the toes with thumb and forefinger of the respective hands.
2. While inhaling raise any one of the legs to the upright position as in Sarvangasana. The palm of the hand on the same side as the leg raised is also lifted so that when the leg is upright, the palm of the land rests on the thigh.
3. Do Pranayama. 
4. While exhaling lower the leg and move back the hand to the same position as at the 
beginning.
5. Now repeat with the other leg.

Note: In the beginning the position described may not be possible. Some support to the back may be necessary at the beginning. The asana may therefore be done by starting with the first position in Sarvangasana when both legs are upright and the back supported by the palms and while exhaling slowly bring down one leg at a time, so that the leg reaches behind the head as in Halasana. The palms of the hands will still continue supporting the back. The necessary rounds of Pranayama are done in this position. Now repeat with the other leg. Bring the body to lie flat on the back with the usual rolling motion as described in Sarvangasana.
The pranayama in stage (3) will be done both holding in of breath after inhalation and holding out of breath after exhalation. The period of holding in of breath will be 4 seconds and the period of holding out of breath will be 2 seconds. The number of rounds of pranayama for each leg will be 3 rounds at the beginning which will be gradually raised as practice advances to six rounds.

URDHVAKONASANA

This asana has to be practised as a preliminary measure before taking up the practice of the next asana to be described - 

Technique:
1. Start with Sarvangasana, with the legs upright, stretched, knees together, the back supported by the palms.
2. Exhale and spread the legs still keeping them stretched, so that both legs spread equally on either side.
3. Inhale and bring the legs together. 
4. Rest. 
The number of turns should be only 2 rounds in the first week, and three rounds from the second week and four rounds after a month. 

After this asana has been mastered, 

EKA PADA SARVANGASANA


Technique:

1. Start with the Sarvangasana position where both the legs are upright, stretched, knees together, and the back supported by the palms.
2. While exhaling, bring one of the legs to the side. The left leg to the left side, and the right leg to the right side. The leg is kept stretched and leg lowered till the toe touches the ground and the leg is at right angles to the body. It will be necessary slightly to twist the leg for the toe to touch the ground. All this while the other leg should continue to be kept upright.
3. While inhaling the leg is brought back to the upright position. 
4. Some deep inhalations and exhalations are made in this position to give some rest. 
5. Repeat with the other leg. Each leg should be alternately exercised, and each leg 
moved the same alternatively exercised, and each leg moved the same number of times.

6. When both legs have come together after the necessary number of rounds, reach the lying flat on the back position with a rolling movement as in the case of Sarvangasana.

7. Rest.
Note: In the beginning it will not be possible to bring the leg down enough for the toes to reach the ground. No attempt should be made to force down the leg to reach this position. On the other hand effort should be made so that the leg does not sink down to a position so far down as to strain the muscles. It is important to see that the other leg is kept upright and stretched. As practice advances the final position will be reached.



UTTANA MAYURASANA



This is the name given to this asana according to Raja Yoga. According to Hatha Yoga the same asana has been classed under Supthapada Angusta Asana.


This is closely related to Sarvangasana. It has a number of variations and some of them are given below.
1. Start with the first three steps of Salamba Sarvangasana. 
2. Get into the position of Halasana variation 2.
3. Now bring the palms of the hand to support the hips. Note the position of the palms and the fingers in this asana carefully. The palms are at the hip level and the fingers are pointing to the front. The position of the palms and fingers therefore differ from these of Sarvangasana. The position is such that the body can effectively be supported when finally it takes a horizontal position. the elbows in this asana will be closer than in Sarvangasana. 
4. While inhaling, lift both the legs together, so that the legs get to the vertical position and the movement continued till the heels touch the ground the body forming an arch, and is supported by the heels, elbows, shoulders and the back of the head.
Note: For beginners lifting the legs keeping them stretched may be difficult. For them to make the movement easier, the legs may be bent at the knees, the heels brought near the buttocks, and the bent legs now lifted so that the thighs occupy a vertical position. The movement is further continued by bending the body further at the hips, so that the body forms an arch. The legs are also somewhat straightened, so that the soles of the feet rest on the ground. Each leg is then straightened, till both of them are stretched, toes pointed and knees together. As practice advances, the position can be reached without bending the knees.
6. Lift the head and the shoulders, so that the body is supported only by the heels, and the two elbows.

Note: For beginners lifting both the head and the shoulders may not be possible. They should therefore try to lift only the head at first, so that the shoulders may act as supports. As practice advances, after the head has been lifted, and the body balanced, the shoulders should also be lifted 
and the final position reached.



7. In this final position not more than three deep breathings should be done. There should be no retention of breath.
8. Rest for some time.


More Shoulderstand variations from the 4th edition of Yogasanagalu (This book was first published in 1941, the 4th edition in the 1970 with pictures added of Krishnamacharya still practicing a wide range shoulder stand variations in his 80s).


Pictures above from the 4th edition of Yogasanagalu (originally published 1941) when these pictures of Krishnamacharya in his 80s practicing shoulder stand variations were added to the text.

Ramaswami perhaps gives the most comprehensive treatment  of the head and shoulder stand variations he was taught in his book the Complete book of Vinyasa yoga. Below is a video of the complete Supine sequence inc. shoulderstand sequence (videos of the individual subroutines are available on my youtube channel). Notice that the variations are in groups, subroutines, it's not necessary to practice the full sequence every day but including different subroutines on different days or even parts of subroutines may be beneficial.



See Ramaswami newsletter on head and shoulder stands for benefits.

Practice sheets from my book Complete Vinyasa Yoga Home Practice book which includes hints, tips and cautions for each subroutine. (available from Free Downloads at the top of the blog or from Amazon).

It was pointed out to me that the pictures in previous sheet full sequence sheet were too small so here are the individual Shoulder stand   subroutines that make up the sarvangasana sequence, the second part of the supine sequence shown in the video above. Click to enlarge










See previous companion post




Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Krishnamacharya's 1930's Mysore headstand variations

Krishnamacharya Yoga Makranda 1934, Mysore
"Sarvangasana 
This has 12 vinyasas. The 8th vinyasa is the asana sthiti. There are many variations in this asana. These can be divided into two main types of variations: salamba and niralamba.
This asana and the next asana (sirsasana) that will be described must be practised very carefully and with great caution, remembering the earlier warnings. Before practising these asanas, we first determine that the body is in good healthy condition. Only then can one begin practising. There might be many problems if one starts practising in a hurry. It is much better that these asanas are first learned properly under the guidance of a guru.
While describing these two asanas, the yoga sastras and experts say that in the same way that the head and the heart are the vital parts of our body, similarly, among all the asanas, these two asanas are like the head and the heart. It is said with much authority that if these two asanas are practised regularly and properly, the practitioner will experience the awakening and rise of kundalini. Due to this, they will experience the blessings of isvara and will be swallowed in the sea of eternal bliss. So say the great.  
End of First Part" from Yoga Makaranda 1934, Mysore

Krishnamacharya was teaching headstand variations back in the 1930s, in Mysore at the time he was teaching the young Pattabhi Jois, unfortunately they haven't made it into our Ashtanga practice, despite the fact that the variations were something that Krishnamacharya seems to encourage and continued to teach throughout his life.

I've taken the screenshots below from the 1938 Mysore film footage and also spliced together the headstand clips from the movie.

Pattabhi Jois' grandson Sharat, mentioned recently that longer stays in headstand can be beneficial (but not in the shala as it was too busy). I seem to remember he recommended we explore forty minute or so in headstand. This would be a good time to try out some of Krishnamacharya's variations. An evening practice perhaps, or Saturday, moondays...

Below we have the screenshots from the 1938 Mysore movie followed by clips from the movie.

This is followed by the outline and instructions for headstands from Yoga Makaranda Part II.

At the end of the post I've included my video of Ramaswamis' Inverted sequence a link to his head and shoulder stand benefits newsletter and the practice sheet from my Vinyasa yoga home practice book and sister blog.

I'm working on a companion post following a similar format for Shoulderstands in the next day or two. Krishnamacharya's 1938 Shoulderstand variations.
Krishnamacharya sirsasana ( headstand) variations. Mysore 1938

The Headstand sections from the old 1938 Mysore footage  Unfortunately KYM seem to have a full version version of this with chanted yoga sutras with advertisements  causing Youtube to override my own add free settings here's a link ad free silent version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML9yZd7bIvY



From Krishnamacharya's 

Salutations to the teacher the Eternal one 
or 
Yoga Makaranda part II


Add caption


INTRODUCTION 

Whatever be the walk of life one occupies, he will not be able fully to discharge his duties or enjoy its benefits unless he ensures a healthy body, bold and clear mind and long life. For the attainment of these essential pre-requisite conditions, no system can equal the practice of YOGA which has been laid down in such meticulous detail by our ancient rishis.

Numerous asanas have been mentioned in the treatises on YOGA. Each has its own special benefits. But of all these asanas, the SIRSHASANA and the SARVANGASANA hold the top place as they give the greatest benefit, and sastras extol their benefit.



In the normal erect posture, the main organs of perception, eyes, ears, etc., and the brain do not get a copious supply of blood as they are situated above the heart, and the blood to flow to these organs has to work against gravity. Again when we breathe in, and retain the air in the lungs, there is an increase of thoracic pressure with the consequence that there is a tendency to press down on the intestines, liver, kidneys diaphragm etc., that these organs get displaced. Their proper functioning is impaired and a host of diseases, like constipation, rheumatism, varicose veins, ungainly figure etc. follow.

In designing the SIRSHASANA and SARVANGASANA the rishis have automatically removed the above difficulties by adopting the topsy-turvy posture by which gravity will now aid in the free flow of blood to the organs of perception and also aid in restoring the organs in the lower part of the body to their normal places. These two asanas are both preventive and curative. In the case of those, however, who are unduly fatty, it is imperative that the body should first acquire some suppleness in the movement of the limbs by practicing mudras and pranayamas, before attempting these asanas.
Sayanacharya in his commentary on Patanjali’s YOGASUTRAS has given a lot of practical details to be observed in the practice of asanas. The main objective of SIRSHASANA and SARVANGASANA are not merely to arrange for a copious supply of blood to the head and upper part of the body but also to slow down the respiratory rate.

When SIRSHASANA has been sufficiently mastered, the breathing rate which normally is about 15-18 a minute, automatically comes down to four a minute. The aim should be to reduce it to, two per minute. Thus at this rate, 24 rounds of breathing in SIRSHASANA will take 12 minutes.

It is laid down that SIRSHASANA should be done only in the mornings. This should always be followed by SARVANGASANA. The proper procedure is to do SIRSHASANA with 24 deep inhalations and exhalations. Take two minutes rest. Then do SARVANGASANA with 24 rounds of deep breathing. Take two minutes rest. Follow with some sitting asana. In SIRSHASANA the organs in the head and the brain get a copious supply of blood, the internal organs in the body get displaced upwards. The two minutes rest normalizes. In SARVANGASANA the blood supply to the head is restricted by resting the body on the neck and making the chin lock. The thyroid and the upper part of the internal organs of the body get displaced upwards. The two minutes rest normalizes. When a sitting asana is now done the internal organs regain their proper positions. This is the reason behind doing the asanas in this particular order.

Sayanacharya has mentioned six specific asanas for daily practice. He however prescribes that along with these some other asanas (this may vary each day) should be done.

BLOG NOTE: Krishnamacharya may well be here referring to these asana which he has indicated as as ideally practiced everyday 1. Paschimottanasana, 2. mayarasana 3. mahamudra 4. baddha konasana 5. sarvangasana 4. sirsasana

Kumbhaka 

In SIRSHASANA, normally no kumbhakam need be done (in the beginning), though about two seconds ANTHAR and BAHYA kumbhakam automatically result when we change over from deep inhalation to deep exhalation and vice versa. During the automatic pause, kumbhakam takes place. 

When after practice has advanced and kumbhakam is deliberately practised, ANTHAR kumbhakam can be done up to 5 seconds during each round and BAHYA kumbhakam up to 10 seconds.
In SARVANGASANA, there should be no deliberate practice of ANTHAR kumbhakam, 
but BAHYA kumbhakam can be practiced up to 5 seconds in each round.

These deep breathings along with the asana help in slowing down the breathing rate with a consequent elongation of life. Sayanacharya prescribes that the number of deep breaths one should practice per day should not be less than 320. This number could be spread out during the day-some may be done along with asana in the morning and evening, some along with pranayama, morning, noon, evening and at midnight, or whenever some spare time isfound.


SIRSHASANA--HEAD STAND

Sisshasana, Yoga Makaranda Mysore, 1934

This asana is so called because the head supports the whole body. This is also variously called KAPHALASANA, BRAHMASANA. These three, however, differ to some extent both in the technique and in the benefits derived. These differences have to be learnt under personal instructions form a Guru. This asana is beneficial in a large number of diseases and is rightly termed the ‘king of all the asanas’.

Technique:


1. Place something soft, like a cushion, folded blanket or carpet on the floor touching the wall.

2. Kneel on the ground facing the wall.

3. Lock the fingers together, thumbs upright, and place them about four inches from the wall. Let the elbows rest on the cushion, the elbows being not more than a foot apart.


4. Bend the neck and place the top of the head firmly on the cushion inside the knitted fingers. The thumbs should press behind the ears.

5. Eyes are to be kept closed.

6. Raise the hips, so that the knees are straightened and bring the feet as near the head
as possible. The toes, the feet and knees are to be kept together. The back will now rest
against the wall.

7. Take long breaths twice.

8. Lift both the feet simultaneously to an upright position. Toes together, knees
together. The back will rest on the wall. Straighten the back so that the whole body may rest solely on the top of the head without the support of the wall.

Note: For beginners to raise the legs upright without bending the knees will be difficult and the help of another person may be taken. If necessary the knees may be bent, brought closer to the body, the back still kept in contact with the wall and with a slight jump the legs taken above the head, and the knees still bent. The legs are then straightened slowly, the knees together, the toes together and the toes pointed.

9. Toes should be pointed and the thigh and calf muscles should be stretched.

10. Slowly inhale and exhale deeply with rubbing sensation in the throat. When exhalation is complete the abdomen should be well drawn in (UDDIYANA BANDHAM).

Note:
For proper benefit of the asana it is essential that the breathing should be regulated i.e., as long and as thin as possible,
Normal shallow breathing does not give any benefit. (Concentration on Lord Ananthapadmabanabha gives added benefit.) (a combination of asana, pranayama and dhyana gives proper benefit.) (See in this connection Sutra 47 Chapter II of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Vaschaspati Misra’s and Bala Ramodasin’s commentaries.

For the first week do not exceed six inhalations and exhalations. There should be no retention of breath. Uddiyana bandha, in the beginning should be done only once a day.
Every week the number of inhalations and exhalations may be increased by four, so that the duration of the asana is slowly brought up.

11. After the number of rounds of breathing is over, slowly bring down the legs. In the beginning the knees may have to be bent, but as practice advances, the knee can be kept straight.


12. Lie on the back relaxed and take rest for at least for three minutes.
Note: 1. For people who are overweight over 190 lbs. Sirshasana should be begun only after the weight has been reduced.


SIRSHASANA-VIPARITAKONASANA (according to the Hatha Yoga)



Technique:
 

1. Place something soft, a folded blanket, cushion, or carpet on the floor. Kneel on the ground. Bend the neck and place the top of the head firmly on the folded blanket. Stretch the arms in front of the body, with the palms upward, fingers together and pointed, and the palms not more than 21⁄2 feet apart.


2. Raise the hips, so that the knees are straightened, and bring the feet as near the head as possible. The toes of the feet and the knees are kept together.


3. While inhaling, lift both the legs together to the upright position. The legs are spread apart, toes should be pointed, and the thigh and calf muscles kept stretched.


4. Spread the legs apart while exhaling, and the thigh and calf muscles kept stretched. (toes should be pointed).

5. Stay in this position for 6 deep breaths.

6. Bring the legs together, while inhaling.

7. While exhaling, lower the legs to the ground by bending the body at the hips. Bend
the knees and get to the kneeling position, and rest.

SIRSHASANA-EKAPADA-VIPARITAKARANI - (Hatha Yoga)



Technique:

1. The first three steps are the same as for the last asana.

2. While exhaling, slowly lower right leg to the ground so that the right foot will rest
on the right palm. The left leg is kept upright. The thigh and calf muscles of both the legs
are kept stretched.

3. Stay in this position for 6 breaths.

4. While inhaling, raise the leg back to the upright position.

5. Repeat with the left leg.

6. The next steps are the same as in step 7 of the previous asana.

SIRSHASANA-DVIPADA-VIPARITAKARANI - (Hatha Yoga)

Technique:

1. The first three steps are the same as for the last asana.

2. While exhaling, both the legs are lowered so that the feet may rest on the respective
palms. The knees should not be bent. The thigh and calf muscles should be kept stretched.

3. Stay for six deep breaths.

4. While inhaling raise both legs together to the upright position.

5. While exhaling bend knees and return to the floor and rest.
When Sirshasana has been sufficiently mastered so that one can stand steady without support, for at least 15 minutes, the following variations may be practised.


VIPARITA KONASANA:

Technique

1. The first eight steps are the same as for Sirshasana.

2. Exhaling, the legs are spread apart, and the thigh and calf muscles kept stretched,
toes should be pointed.

3. Do six deep breathing.

4. Inhaling, bring the legs together.

The next steps are the same as 11 and 12 given under Sirshasana.

DVIPADA VIPARITAKARANI


Technique:


1. The first step is the same as Sirshasana.

2. While exhaling both the legs are lowered to the ground without bending the knees and keeping the thigh and calf muscles stretched.

3. Do six deep breathing.

4. While inhaling raise both the legs together to the upright position.

5. While exhaling bend knees and return to the floor and rest.

6.     Exhale, bend knees, so that they approach the throat, lower the hips so that the back rests on the ground and then stretch the legs, so that the whole forms a rolling movement.


7. Take rest at least for a minute.


Benefits:
The thyroid gets special benefits. The waist line is reduced. This tones up the liver. This helps in preventing piles, and helps in curing gastric troubles.
(Note: The above three variations are according to Hatha Yoga).


Note:

In the beginning it may be difficult to bring the body to an upright position without bending the knees. 

So the knees may be bent and the thighs bent over the body. 
The hips are raised from the ground and the back supported by the palms. 
The legs are now stretched. 

If there is still difficulty, then help of somebody should be taken. 

If the body is fat and no help is available, the help of the wall may be sought so that it can support the heels at gradually increasing levels. 

This is done by lying on the ground facing the wall perpendicular to it. 
After some time the hips can also be raised by having a bedroll near the wall. 
When some strength is gained the heels are removed from the wall and the legs brought upright. 

(As breathing exercises are done in these positions the abdominal muscles get toned up and the stomach becomes more and more pliable and soft.
 

The chin should be locked in the neck pit. This ensures that the head is placed symmetrical with the body so that the neck muscles may not be strained. The neck pit is the depression in front of the thyroid between the collar bones.
Note: The chin lock will not be possible in the beginning stages, but it should be kept in mind that the head is kept symmetrical with the body and the neck muscles are not strained.

The full chin lock will become possible when the body is fully upright and the palms have reached a position in the back as low as possible.


Slowly inhale and exhale with even, long breaths through both nostrils, with rubbing sensation in the throat, not more than six times at the beginning. There should be no retention of breath. The number of inhalations and exhalations may be slowly increased at the rate of two each week.


Note: 
The final duration of this asana can be 5 to 10 minutes when it is done by itself. If on the other hand other asanas are also being done the duration may be suitably reduced.

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Krishnamacharya continued to teach sirsasana variations throughout his life as we can see from the pictures in 4th edition of Yogasanagalu where krishnamacharya is still practicing them in his 80's. 

Ramaswami tells the story that when he told krishnamacharya that his flexible dance school students had learned all the asana he had been taught and were there any more, Krishnamacharya asked him if he had taught them the 64 headstands. Krishnamacharya noticed that Ramaswami looked skeptical so got on the floor and demonstrated them.

Ramaswami perhaps gives the most comprehensive treatment  of the head and shoulder stand variations he was taught in his book the Complete book of Vinyasa yoga. Here is a video of the headstand or Inverted sequence. Notice that the variations are in groups, subroutines, it's not necessary to practice the full sequence every day but including different subroutines on different days or even parts of subroutines may be beneficial.


from my sister blog
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/vinyasa-krama-announce/ThMiXYbSPgk/aPkoPUKH_7IJ
Practice sheets from my book Complete Vinyasa Yoga Home Practice book which includes hints, tips and cautions for each subroutine. (available from Free Downloads at the top of the blog or from Amazon).

It was pointed out to me that the pictures in previous sheet full sequence sheet were too small so here are the individual Shoulder stand   subroutines that make up the sarvangasana sequence, the second part of the supine sequence shown in the video above. Click to enlarge












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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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