Always nice to come across a video of Manju that I haven't seem before (this one from last year, posted By Natasha ) especially after recently reading Manju's new book.
Still no LOOK INSIDE on Amazon for Manju's new book so see perhaps my review
The first fifteen minutes, Manju's led chanting of shanti mantras followed by Q and A.
Here's a quick rundown of the questions and Manju's answers, the questions and answers are paraphrased NOT quoted.
At 14.40 Manju was asked...
Q: How long to stay in one posture?
Manju: Ten breaths
Note: This ties in with Manju's first book where most of the postures have ten breaths indicated up until the longer stays through 'Finishing'.
Q: How can we tell when, where to stop someone?
Manju: (Practitioners) Should always be working on something. If they are struggling with a posture then perhaps a posture from elsewhere in the series, even second series might help.
Q: What to do about injuries?
Manju: There are no injuries in yoga, just injuries from bad teachers. Everybody should know their limitations
Q: Do we have to complete one series before moving on to the next or can we combine series depending on students needs, ie therapy
A: Yes, you can mix...... eg. some people can do backbends without doing anything else
Note: This seems to be a focus of Manju's recent 'Yoga Therapy' themed workshop and new book, written in conjunction with a couple of his students - Manju has always seemed to suggest that his father, Pattabhi Jois, never intended us to get hung up at one posture in the series for too long, at Marichiyasana D say, but rather to continue on through the series (and indeed into the next). That doesn't mean we should stop working on Marichiyasana D however, it'll come....eventually. Manju suggests substituting an alternative twist, bhardvajrasana perhaps or ardha matsyendrasana both from the Intermediate series.
Q: What do you think about meditation, sitting
An interesting section where Manju is asked about meditation, it's hard to hear his answers clearly and I hesitate to paraphrase but he seems to be suggesting that there are many approaches to meditation, that the practice of the asana can be a meditation just as sitting can. he seems to be suggesting that practicing daily affects, changes our mind over time....., just as sitting does.
Q: Breathing, different lengths, breath holding?
Manju: You're not supposed to hold the breath, it's pranayama, not in asana.
Q: Some people are teaching this.
A: Some teachers make up things. It's what I learned, it makes logical sense, from Krishnamacharya, to Pattabhi Jois, don't change anything
Note: I take issue with Manju's answer here. While it's true that Manju's father Pattabhi Jois stressed, on a several occasions, that there should be NO breath holding (and of course he may have been indicating the tendency to accidentally hold our breath when struggling with a posture rather than an intentional kumbhaka while settled in an asana), it's equally true that Pattabhi Jois' teacher, Krishnamacharya indicated that it was an option to be encouraged (see Appendix 1 below). In Krishnamacharya's book Yoga Makaranda, written in Mysore in 1934 when Pattabhi Jois was his student, Krishnamacharya indicated Kumbhaka, holding the breath in or out, for almost every posture he described and gave clear instruction for.
A teacher who suggests, recommends or introduces kumbhaka in asana as an option in their teaching isn't 'inventing something' but rather, RECLAIMING possibly the most significant element of Krishnamacharya's approach to asana. Continuing on beyond the Intermediate asana without exploring kumbhaka certainly doesn't strike me as 'Advanced practice' whatever the later series may be called. Six series without kumbhaka is still, to my mind, a beginners practice
Q: I know it's supposed to be 99% practice, 1% theory. What's your suggestion for that 1%?
Manju: No clear answer here
Q: Did the series come from Krishnamacharya, your father ( Pattabhi Jois), before?
The asana were there but the sequences were not there.
NOTE 2. Manju and I have argued about this in the past. I even took out my ipad and showed him Krishnamacharya's 1941 table of asana from Yogasanagalu and how the order in which the postures are listed is almost exactly the same for the Primary group as in Pattabhi Jois' Primary series. Likewise that the Ashtanga Intermediate series closely resembled the asana, and in most cases the order, of the asana listed in krishnamacharya's middle group. Krishnamacharya's table even included the same vinyasa count for each asana. Manju wasn't having it and pointed out a couple of cases where there were differences in order. We agreed to disagree on this, Manju still cooked me dinner : )
I had thought that Pattabhi Jois introduced the surynamaskara practice, that this was something krishnamacharya left out but I've since learned from one of krishnamacharya's students interviewd for the new Mysore yoga Traditions movie, that Krishnamacharya included the sun salutations, indeed, everything else after that seemed to be optional. Krishnamacharya's groups of asana were flexible rather than the strict sequences presented by Pattabhi Jois.
We can see, in Krishnamacharya' Yoga Makaranda (Mysore 1934), the same instruction for the practice of asana that Pattabhi Jois passed along to us. We can see the same vinyasa, the same focus on the breath, bandhas and drishti that Pattabhi jois carried over to his own book Yoga Mala. later pattabhi jois switched to half vinyasa rather than full and introduced nine drishti rather than the two he presented in Yoga Mala and that Krishnamacharya outlined in Yoga Makaranda ( although krishnamacharya seemed to suggest in that text that there were other drishti).
We can see in the Krishnamacharya's table of asana from Yogasanagalu (Mysore 1941), three groups of asana, Primary, Middle and Proficient. Manju says that his father originally taught three series, Primary Middle and Advanced, the Advanced series later split into Advanced A and Advanced B as we can see in the 1973 Ashtanga syllabus given to Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams. Pattabhi Jois' Primary sequence closely follows Krishnamacharya Primary group. Most of the asana in the Ashtanga Intermediate series are the same as in Krishnamacharya's Middle groups but with some reordering. Pattabhi Jois' Advanced A and B are much more fully developed as sequences than the list of proficient asana Krishnamacharya provides in his third group although we can see the same asana Pattabhi Jois includes in the 1938 Mysore demonstration By Krishnamacharya and his student BKS Iyengar.
We find the same focus on breath, bandhas and Drishti in Krishnamacharya's teaching that we see in Pattabhi jois.
I had thought that it was Pattabhi Jois who had Introduced Surynamaskara A and B, although having taken them from elsewhere. I'd believed Krishnamacharya to have been dismissive of the contemporary surynamaskara fitness trend, however following a recent interview with one of his early Mysore students Krishnamacharya does seem to have taught suryanamaskara, in fact it was said to be the only constant, everything else being more flexible.
Pattabhi Jois' contribution then seems not so much to have been content as organisation.
Asked to Present a four year syllabus for the Sanskrit college Pattabhi Jois taught, after some minor tweaking of order, Krishnamachary's Primary and Middle groups as sequences rather than flexible and introduced two more sequences Advanced A and B based on Krishnamachary's approach advanced asana.
Pattabhi Jois passed along Krishnamacharya focus on vinyasa, breath, bandha and Drishti.
In the 80s Pattabhi Jois introduced half vinyasa rather than krishnamacharya's full Vinyasa.
Pattabhi Jois later taught nine drishti points rather than two
Pattabhi Jois left out Krishnamacharya kumbhaka instruction (found for almost every one of the asana Krishnamacharya gave instruction for in Yoga Makaranda), to my mind, omitting the soul of Krishnamacharya's teaching.
This simplification of Krishnamacharya teaching (whether we consider this a good thing or not) along with his good humour, work ethic and generosity in sharing the practice are to my mind Pattabhi jois' contribution.
Q: What about feeling?
I was unclear as to Manju's answer here.
|Pattabhi Jois certainly brought a generosity of spirit, an inclusiveness in his teaching.|
My Manju Jois Resource
Appendix 2 - Side by side - 1973 Ashtanga Syllabus and Original 'Yogasanagalu Asana table 1941
Krishnamacharya and Kumbhaka
|Available here for free http://grimmly2007.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/just-published-new-book.html|
printed book available from Lulu.com
Based on the public domain translation from the Tamil.
"While practicing yoga with reverence, one can offer their essence to God during exhalation and during inhalation, imagine/suppose that God is entering your heart. During kumbhaka, we can practice dharana and dhyana. Such practices will improve mental concentration and strengthen silence/stillness. Eliminates agitation and restlessness". Krishnamacharya: Yogasanagalu (1941)
"While practicing yoga....
"While practicing yoga....
Here Krishnamacharya appears to be referring to yoga asana and that would tie in with his unique approach to asana as found in his book Yoga Makaranda (1934) written a couple of years earlier than Yogasanagalu (1941). In Yoga Makaranda he describes kumbhaka while in asana and not just padmasana but almost all asana that he describes.
"When practising asana, the breath that is inhaled into the body and the breath that is exhaled out must be kept equal. Moreover, practise the asana with their vinyasas by breathing only through the nose". p27
"Brahmana kriya means to take in the outside air through the nose, pull it inside, and hold it in firmly. This is called puraka kumbhaka.
Langhana kriya means to exhale the air that is inside the body out through he nose and to hold the breath firmly without allowing any air from outside into the body. This is called recaka kumbhaka".
"In each section for each particular asana, we have included a description and an enumeration of its vinyasas. The vinyasas in which the head is raised are to be done with puraka kumbhaka and the ones in which the head is lowered must be done with recaka kumbhaka. Uthpluthi (raising the body from the floor with only the support of both hands on the floor is called uthpluthi) should be done on recaka kumbhaka for a fat person and on puraka kumbhaka for a thin person...." p28
"...Standing in tadasana krama, draw in clean air through the nose and practise kumbhaka...." p59
"...This form follows the hatha yoga principles. Another form follows the raja yoga method. The practitioner should learn the difference. First, take either leg and extend it straight out in front. Keep the heel pressed firmly on the floor with the toes pointing upward. That is, the leg should not lean to either side. The base (back) of the knee should be pressed against the ground. Fold the other leg and place the heel against the genitals, with the area above the knee (the thigh) placed straight against the hip. That is, arrange the straight leg which has been extended in front and the folded leg so that together they form an “L”. Up to this point, there is no difference between the practice of the hatha yogi and the raja yogi.
For the hatha yoga practitioner, the heel of the bent leg should be pressed firmly between the rectum and the scrotum. Tightly clasp the extended foot with both hands, raise the head and do puraka kumbhaka. Remain in this position for some time and then, doing recaka, lower the head and place the face onto the knee of the outstretched leg. While doing this, do not pull the breath in. It may be exhaled. After this, raise the head and do puraka. Repeat this on the other side following the rules mentioned above.
The raja yogi should place the back of the sole of the folded leg between the scrotum and the genitals. Now practise following the other rules described above for the hatha yogis. There are 22 vinyasas for janusirsasana. Please note carefully that all parts of the outstretched leg and the folded leg should touch the floor. While holding the feet with the hands, pull and clasp the feet tightly. Keep the head or face or nose on top of the kneecap and remain in this sthiti from 5 minutes up to half an hour. If it is not possible to stay in recaka for that long, raise the head in between, dopuraka kumbhaka and then, doing recaka, place the head back down on the knee. While keeping the head lowered onto the knee, puraka kumbhaka should not be done..." p79-80
See this post for more examples from yoga makaranda
Side by side
1973 Ashtanga Syllabus and Original 'Yogasanagalu Asana table 1941
Appendix 2 - Notes
"In fact, David and I had no idea that there were two separate series until the end of that first four-month trip, when we were leaving, at which point Guruji gave us a sheet of paper with a list of the postures, which were listed as Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, and Advanced B. At this point he told us to practice one series a day, and only once a day".from Ashtanga Yoga as it was (The long and the short of it ) Nancy Gilgoff
many thanks to Anon for passing it along and especially to Nancy for giving permission to post it this morning and share with the community at large.
Available as pfd download from googledocs
See my earlier blog post on Nancy's article