This post ( taken from three earlier posts) looks at examples of Krishnamacharya's own late period asana practice as presented by his son in the book Emergence of Yoga as well as Krishnamacharya's own pranayama practice. In the third section of the post I take a closer look at Krishnamacharya's 'life saving' practice.
Exploring for ourselves Krishnamacharya's own practice outlined below, those coming from Ashtanga might like to explore it as it stands as a lighter moonday practice or perhaps on a Saturday. In regular practice, we might like to play with the concentration points and breathing options outlined when we reach the individual asana in our regular morning practice.
Those coming from Vinyasa krama might like to use the asana presented as signposts and bring in other asana as preparation and extensions, see my approach to the life saving practice at the end of the post.
Part I An outline of Krishnamacharya's own practice?
from the French (and English ) edition(s )of T. K. Shribashyam book, Emergence du Yoga
My Translation and Notes
I now have the English translation of the book
In the presentation below you'll notice mention of concentration points for many of the asana and especially the mudra. here's the page from Emergence of yoga that explains how Dhyana is introduced inot Krishnamacharya's practice through focussing on these vita;/focal points.
taken from my earlier post on Drishti
Kapalabhati (see notes below) - 32 breaths
Ujjayi Anuloma (see notes below) - 6 cycles A.K. (antha-kumbhaka = holding at top of inhalation) 5 seconds, Concentration Kanta (throat)
Utthita pada Angushtasana - 6 breaths B.K. (Bhya-kumbhaka = holding at end of exhalation) 5 seconds, Inhalation concentration: Mula and Kanta (throat) , Exhalation Concentration: Kanta (throat)
Supta parvata asana - 6 breaths BK 5 s inspiration Concentration Mula to kantha. Expiration concentration Kantha (throat).
Bhujangasana - 3 breaths, Concentration: bhrumadhya (between eyebrows)
Sarvangasana- 12 breaths, Concentration: kanta (throat)
Sirsasana - 12 Breaths, Concentration: lalata (center of forehead)
Ardhabadhahalasana - 3 breaths
Halasana - 3 breaths
Karnapindasana- 3 breaths
Adhomukhapadmasana (but on belly)
Concentration: Kanta (throat)
Ardhabadha padma paschimotanasana - 3 breaths, inhalation Concentration: nabhi (navel), Exhalation Concentration: Kanta (throat)
Badhakonasana - 12 Breaths, Inhalation Concentration: Mula and Shirsha Exhalation Concentration Mula
Basti ( pranayama) 60 cycles
Nadi Shodana ( pranayama) - cycles, Abhyantara Vritthi
Pranayama Notes from Yoga makaranda ( Part II)
from P R A N A Y A M A - An Absolute necessity in YOGA
... by T.K.SRIBHASHYAM, Nice, FRANCE
UJJAYI ANULOMA: Inhalation (PURAKA) through both nostrils in UJJAYI, Exhalation (RECHAKA) through Left Nostril, without ujjayi, Inhalation through both nostrils in Ujjayi, and Exhalation through the Right Nostril, without Ujjayi. These two breaths making one Cycle of Ujjayi Anuloma.
SHITHALI: Slightly open the mouth, bring out the tongue, fold it lengthwise, to make it resemble a tube, Inhale (aspire) through the mouth. At the end of the Inhalation, draw back the tongue, close the mouth, and Exhale through Ujjayi, by both the nostrils.
UJJAYI VILOMA: Inhale through the Left Nostril, without using Ujjayi, Exhale through Ujjayi, with both the nostrils open. Inhale, again through the Right Nostril, without using Ujjayi, and Exhale through Ujjayi, with both the nostrils open. This forms one Cycle.
UJJAYI PRATHILOMA: Inhale through Ujjayi, Exhale by the Left Nostril, Inhale by Left Nostril, Exhale by Ujjayi, Inhale by Ujjayi, Exhale by Right Nostril, Inhale by Right Nostril, and Exhale by Ujjayi. These 4 breaths make one cycles, and to be of any value, a minimum of 4 cycles or 16 breaths is needed.
We now come to the Pranayama that has already been reviewed under the 3rd Category (SURYA BHEDHANA). Technically speaking, this Pranayama is the same as the one we studied before. But in this category the aim is to render Prana its natural and original function of being in close association with ATMA, and to show ATMA the path of the Supreme soul (PARAMATHMA) or the Creator. (It is here that we understand the meaning of Prana Aayama: extending Prana towards the Creator). In this Surya Bhedhana, concentration is an essential factor. The concentration during Puraka (Inhalation) is used in such a way as to centralise all the mental faculties including the sensorial ones in HRUDAYA, to stabilise them in HRUDAYA during Antah Kumbhaka, so that cleared of all influences with regard to the external world, the mind reflects itself, during Rechaka, its Original Nature of revealing the qualities of Atma.
This Pranayama is also called ABHYANTARA VRITHI (or the Inner Movement), because the Sense and the Mental activities instead of going outward, turn inwards. In this Pranayama, the Concentration Points applied are: Naasagra, Bhrumadhya, Lalaata, Kanta, Kurma Nadi and Hrudaya.
As for NADI SHODHANA, it is always a Pranayama of the end of the session. For convenient practice of Nadi Shodhana, one should have had some practice of Ujjayi Anuloma, Sarvanga Asana, and if possible Shirsha Asana. The action of this Pranayama, without Kumbhaka, is not so much on the biological changes in the body. Its action is more on the clarity of sense perception, removal of sense confusions, attentiveness of the mind. It should not be practiced when there is nervous irritability, emotional shock, or fear of spiritual sentiments, particularly in those who do not believe in the value of a Divine Support, or where there is excess of fatigue. Suitable Pranayama should be practiced at first to improve one's condition before working on Nadi Shodhana. It is always conceivable to have done either Badha Kona Asana or Maha Mudra or Paschimathana Asana as the last Asana before doing Nadi Shodhana.
3. NADI SHODHANA with Bahya Kumbhaka influences more the mental plane. When we talk of mental plane, we talk of the emotions (ANUBHAAVA) and sentiments (STHAAYI BHAVA), having their physical or physiological response. A disturbed mind, is the mind whose natural functions are overtaken by emotions or sentiments. As long as these persist, mind will not be clarified, and without a clear mind (MANASSHUDHI) it is not possible to have an insight.
Nadi Shodhana with Bahya Kumbhaka breaks the link between the emotions, sentiments and their physiological response. So its action is more on the interrelation between the physical mode of emotions, and the emotional or sentimental impulse. It goes without saying that this Pranayama comes in the end of a session, that the duration of Bahya Kumbhaka should not exceed on fourth the time of Puraka, that the conditions mentioned for Nadi Shodhana (without Kumbhaka) apply here as well.
Part II Krishnamacharya's Pranayama
What for example would your own personal pranayama practice be like?
Last year I picked up the Original French version of Emergence of yoga, written by Krishnamacharyas 3rd son T. K. Sribhashyam.
Amazon link Emergence du Yoga by Krishnamacharya's Son T. K. Sribashyam
My Review here
I took the section on Krishnamacharya's own practice ( apercu (overview?) in French, translated as 'Insight' in the English edition) and turned them into practice sheets and have been practicing them off and on all year
One example - Krishnamacharya own practice?
Quick Review: The Breathing God : Der Atmende Gott. DVD cover translation
REVIEW: Breath of God, Documentary on T. Krishnamacharya
There's a section in Emergence of Yoga titled 'Insight into my Father's practice session', I can't decide if 'insight' here means actual practices of Krishnamacharya as observed by the son or notes written down by the father, or practice sessions that are pretty much the kind of approach and content Krishnamacharya was taking at the time, after a lifetime of study and practice.
Nestled in amongst the integrated asana and pranayama practices is this example of a pranayama session. The book actually has a small chapter containing eleven other pranayama practice sessions. I don't remember this particular Pranayama session being in the original French version, I gave my copy away when the English edition came out so can't check.
It's a pleasure to practice, a nice mixture of pranayama's and I particularly like the employment of mantra's.
Ramaswami taught us to mentally recite a pranayama mantra built on the Gayatri in the kumbhaka after the inhalation,
My pranayama page
....here they are employed at each stage of the pranayama, mentally recite the Gayatri once on the inhalation, four times on the kumbhaka and twice during the exhalation.
I had the Krishnamacharya practice sheets I'd made up last year with me in Crete and practiced them after leaving Rethymno for Agios pavlos, I was looking forward to getting my hands back on the book after I arrived in Japan (I'd shipped my books over). Since arriving I've started working through all the examples of General practice in the order they're presented in the book. Sri Sribhashyam mentions that they are presented pedagogically and it's interesting to see how he's introducing the different elements of practice, alternatives to certain asana (sirsasana for example) more challenging asana, the Kumbhaka's (breath retentions) length of stay, the focal points (fascinating) and here, with Krishnamacharya's own practice, employment of mantra. The same goes for the pranayama chapter, they build up. If you find Krishnamacharya's pranayama session below too challenging for now then you can start with the first couple of pranayama's presented in the book.
We finally know who the woman in this photo is. Her name is Libbie Mathes and she studied asana and pranayama with Krishnamacharya for four years in the 1960s, this photo was taken in 1963, see her article here
The pranayama session nestled in amongst the integrated asana and pranayama practice sessions.
Difficult to read the small print?
Oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ
bhárgo devásya dhīmahi
dhíyo yó naḥ prachodáyāt
Chanted quickly the mantra takes five seconds, giving us a a 1:4:2 of five seconds for the inhalation, twenty seconds for the kumbhaka and ten seconds for the exhalation.
Narayana Gayathri Mantra
Aum Naaraayanaaya Vidmahe
Thanno Naaraayana Prachodayath
And because the Krishnamacharya Pranayama session above is quite involved here are the first two sessions from the Pranayama chapter in the book..
|MY REVIEW HERE http://grimmly2007.blogspot.jp/2014/04/emergence-of-yoga-by-krishnamacharyas.html|
A link to my own adapted version of Krishnamacharya's "life saving practice' from last year, including a video.
Update on the contents of Emergence du yoga from the French Amazon page
The origins and philosophy of Yoga
33 photos of Sri T. Krishnamacharya
131 photos Krishnamacharya students
58 pranayamas practical sessions
11 sessions of mudras
13 sessions of pranayama
Part III Krishnamacharya's
'Life saving yoga session'
from the movie Der Atmende Gott
'Life saving yoga session'
from the movie Der Atmende Gott
|8mm vintage video app for iPhone|
I've been exploring Krishnamacharya's so called ' Life Saving" sequence from the Der Atmende Gott movie this week. At first I tried it pretty straight, just as it's outlined on the DVD box, makes a nice extra evening practice. That straight version is represented below
Even added a video, mainly an excuse to play around with the filters on the Vintage 8mm video app from itunes.
What I'm finding more interesting though is using it as a framework for my main morning practice. I've included a couple of ideas for how you might pimp it up at the end of this post.
....or you could just use it as an alternative finishing sequence to your Ashtanga practice
The sequence, which was not taught anymore after Krishnamacharya's death and which was taught by his son TK shribayam to director Jan Schmidt-Garre after years of acquaintance during the filming of 'Der atmende Gott', is here disclosed in its original form.
Characteristic of the later Krishnamacharya and of the 'Life saving Yoga session' is the connection of postures, breathing and concentration in the sense of the orientation of the gaze and awareness of a focal point. Only when these elements form an organic connection can Yoga happen, according to Krishnamacharya
1. sit for 30-60 seconds with crossed legs in Padmasana. Concentration on Nasagra (point of the nose)
2. 16-24 Kapalabhati breaths (breath of fire, energeti inhale and exhale)
3. 12 breaths of ujjayi anuloma. Inhale: ujjayi, with slightly constricted throat, to drwa air into the lungs. Exhale: the hand forms a claw with thumb, ring- and little-fingers with which one nostril is alternately kept closed. Exhale very slowly through the open nostril, without ujjayi, beginning with the left
4. 3 breaths in matsyasana. Legs are closed in the lotus position
5. 3 breaths in bhujangasana. Start with open eyes and during the progression of movement, which start with the forehead, close the eyes. Concentration on Bhrumhadya (between the eyebrows)
6. 12 breaths in sarvangasana. The chin is closed in front of the straightened body. Hands close to the shoulderblades, concentration on Kanta (throat)
7. 12 breaths in sirsasana. Concentration on Nasagra (tip of the nose)
8. 3 breaths in halasana. Arms on the floor, hands clasped, palms towards the outside
9. 3 breaths in bhujangasana. Again start with open eyes and close them during the movement. Cncentration on Bhrumadhya (between the eyebrows)
10. 12 breaths in Maha-mudra (one-sided forward bend) six times on the left, then six times on the right. With the first inhale bring the arms over the head, with hands clasped, palms up. With the exhale get into the posture. Concentration on navel
11. 12 breaths in paschimottanasana, preparation and in maha mudra. The hands clasp the big toes, the back stays straight, neck and back form a lune. Concentration on the navel.
12. 30-60 Bastri breaths (rapid alternate breathing) in padmasana. The right hand builds a clasp as for anuloma ujjayi. Inhale and exhale through the left nostril, then change the grip and rapidly inhale and exhale through the right nostril. No ujjayi. end with an exhale from the left nostril and without pause move ot a long inhale in nadi shodan. Concentration on Nasagra
13. 12 breaths in nadi shodan (alternate breathing). Inhale very slowly from the half-closed left nostril, exchange grip ad after a short pause exhale very slowly through the half-closed right nostril. After a short pause inhale very slowly through the half-closed right nostril, change grip and after a short pause exhale through the half-clodes left nostril. No ujjayi. The left hand counts the breaths, with the thumb gliding over the twelve parts of the four fingers, from the third falanx of the little fingers in the direction towards outside to the point of the index finger. Concentration on Hrudaya (heart)
14. Prayer. Concentration on Hrudaya (heart)
In the coming book fom Shribashyam "How Yoga really was" this and similar sequences are explained in detail
*Thank you again to Chiara fro the translation from the German.
Here are some print out practice sheets.
Pimping up Krishnamacharya's 'Life Saving' practice with some Vinyasa Krama
Start off the same with 1. and 2., the breathing preparation, perhaps just seated with the legs crossed if you find moving directly to lotus a little tough ( the movies director, Jan Schmidt-Garre sits crossed legged in the film rather than in half or full lotus).
I then come back up to standing for the basic 10 minutes Tadasana hand and arm variations that I like to use as a warm up, I do this whether I'm practicing Vinyasa Krama or Ashtanga.
I tend to follow this with a couple of Sun Salutations A and B, the full ten, five of each or 2x A and 3x B or just one of each taken nice and slow, or perhaps with the surynamaskara mantra, depends how much warm up you feel you need that morning.
I like to include Trikonasana A and B whatever I do because it's such an excellent twist.
Next up I include the Utthita hasta padangusthasana sequence because I still hate it so figure it must be good for me one way or other.
Transition back to seated for...
Ardha badha padma maschimottanasana as lotus prep ( this morning I preceded that with janusirsasana A)
Other Asymmetric subroutines or parts of subroutines are an option here, perhaps to include some mores twists.
Back on program with stages 4. and 5. matsyasana and bhujangasana
After Bhujangasana I like to do some more backbending Bow postures followed by Ustrasana and possibly kapotasana finishing backbends with urdhva Dhanurasana and perhaps a drop back or two.
|from my Kindle Vinyasa Yoga Practice book|
The vinyasa krama shoulderstand prep that Ramaswami recommends
Another bow posture, Salabhasana perhaps as counter to the shoulder stand
And of course one could include some of the shoulderstand or headstand variations.
9. Bhujangasana again or another bow variation.
10. maha mudra
I like to add another twist here, Ardha and/or purna matsyendrasana or perhaps Bharadvajrasana to keep the more meditative vibe going from maha mudra
back on program again with
11. A long paschimottanasana and it's counter purvottanasana
12. and 13. Pranayama
But of course it's flexible, at each stage you can add more or less of a particular Vinyasa krama subroutine or two.
Each day could have a different focus, Bow postures one day after stage 5. another day Supine vinyasas at 6. or More Asymmetric at 9. or 10., seated subroutines at 11.
See Ramaswami's Complete book of vinyasa yoga
or my own practice book for the practice sheets perhaps
Either way Krishnamacharya has included what he considers the key, essential postures of maha mudra, paschimottanasana, Shoulderstand and headstand.
In the video above I included a few jump back and through variations, use as many as those as you wish or perhaps keep it very simple transitioning only between stages.