See perhaps this related article... Did KP Jois Invent Ashtanga Yoga? By Gregor Maehle -June 29 2019
Below is a photo representation of Krishnamacharya's Primary group asana, based on the asana table in his second book Yogasanagalu (Mysore 1941).
Krishnamacharya doesn't seem to have been in favour of a fixed sequence, however there does seem to be an internal logic to how the asana were actually listed, unlike the middle group which strikes me as supplemental and the proficient group which strikes me as asana thrown down as and when Krishnamacharya was reminded of them, .
I've been practicing Krishnamacharya's Primary group as a fixed series, it works, it's a joy to practice and doesn't come with Jois' baggage.
Best of all we don't need to argue for taking a flexible approach, Krishnamacharya always seems to have taken a flexible approach. In his texts we find option after option, chin, face or head down in forward folds, kumbhaka options. We can choose to practice full vinyasa, half vinyasa or a mixture of the two. pranayama and a meditative practice are strongly recommended, yama/niyama, a code of behaviour, is a prerequisite rather than something that we may or may not get around to later.
In my own practice of the 'sequence' below (basically made up of Primary group asana and Vinyasa krama subroutines) I tend to warm up with some of Simon Borg-Olivier's Spinal movements. I tend to follow Krishnamacharya's instruction for the asana but also tend to use Simon Borg-Olivier as a guide to how I approach the asana I practice (see his 84 Key asana video course). In the inversions I tend to bring in a couple of the vinyasas we see Krishnamacharya perform in his 1938 demo footage, just for fun.
These days I also tend to take Simon's approach to pranayama, my yama/niyama and meditative practice tends to be guided by the Stoics.
This is not a new sequence, it's not MY sequence or methodology, there is no 'authority' here but rather, merely, a going back to Krishnamacharya's own Mysore texts.
The photos below mostly come from around 2009, they are merely a guide, a visual representation of Krishnamacharya's table of asana that I made up years ago for the Yogasanagalu translation project. I tend to practice many of these asana slightly differently these days. Practice them yourself, if at all, in the manner that feels most appropriate to you, introduce variations perhaps that lead you gently towards an asana seen here or skip the asana altogether, again I refer you to Simon Borg-Olivier's excellent online courses that help us, I believe, to practice more safely.
Alternatively, swim, go for a walk, breathe calmly, stare at a lake or at the stars or a painting that moves you, take a moment or better still a series of moments then do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next.
Note: in the final page above, Finishing, I've added in Sirsasana (headstand) from Krishnamacharya's 'middle' group table. Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) is a pratkriya (counterpose) to sirsasana for Krishnamachraya.
See this post for the actual table of asana from Yogasanagalu.
Krishnamacharya ‘s Middle group asana in the order he listed them in his Yogasanagula (Mysore 1941) Table of asana. Plus Standing and Finishing. See my post from a couple of days ago for the Primary group. Krishnamachraya doesn’t seem to have favoured fixed sequences. However, while I think it’s possible and even perhaps logical to practice Krishnamachray’s Standing Primary and Finishing list of asana as listed a sequence, and I now do (to disassociate myself from Jois entirely by reaching back before Jois), I’m not so sure that goes for the Middle group. I no longer bother practicing most of these so somebody else might like to give it a try and report back. It’s probably better to practice half the Primary group and then slip some of these asana and subroutines in to our regular practice.
NOTE: We can see from the 1938 demonstration by Iyengar that krishnamacharya was teaching many more proficient/advanced asana than are included on the list.
Yogasanagalu Asana table
Antah kumbhaka (purakha kumbhaka) = retention of the breath after inhalation
Bahya kumbhaka (recaka kumbhaka) = retention of the breath after exhalation
Ubhya kumbhaka = retention of the breath after both inhalation and exhalation
*In the Primary group above kumbhaka is indicated explicitly in only three postures, baddha padmasana, uttanasana and sethubandasana. In the earlier Yoga Makaranda (1934) however, kumbhaka is indicated other primary postures. This may be that while learning the Primary asana we may forgo kumbhaka in most of the primary postures until gaining familiarity and a degree of proficiency with those asana when we would then begin to work in the kumbhaka. this may be made clearer as the translation continues.
Kumbhaka (mentioned explicitly) in the Yoga Makaranda Primary asana
Tadasana (here implies samasthiti )- purakha kumbhaka
Uttanasana -purakha kumbhaka (we can perhaps presume that all the uttanasana variations would also include antha kumbhaka EG. padahastasana, parsvauttanasa
Ardha baddha padma uttanasana - recaka kumbhaka
Urdhavamukhssvanasana - puraka kumbhaka
Adhomukhssvandasana - recaka kumbhaka
Paschimottanasana - purkha kumbhaka (recaka kumbhaka implied ?)
janusirsasana - purka kumbhaka & Rechaka kumbhaka
Upavistakonasana "recaka kumbhaka is the central principle for this posture"
badhakonasana - recaka kumbhaka
Suptapaddangusthasana- recaka kumbhaka
utthitahastapadangusthasana - recaka kumbhaka
Bhujapidasana - recaka kumbhaka
marichiyasana - recaka kumbhaka ?
Krishnamacharya Mysore Inversions
As well as the 1941 table of asana and the additional proficient/advanced asana we can see BKS Iyenga demonstrating in the 1938 documentary footage of Krishnamacharya, his family and students, we can also see these Inversion variations in the 1938 documentary footage. These are very similar to those Krishnamacharya taught to his later student, of thirty years Srivatsa Ramaswami, and show, I believe, a consistency in Krishnamacharya's teaching. Krishnamacharya may well have been teaching a dynamic practice to the boys of the palace but he also appears to have been teaching endless variations as well as a slower, mudra like, practice (as can be seen from the kumbhaka focus in Yoga Makaranda Mysore 1934) perhaps to his private students in the side rooms of the palace.
Krishnamachray had a variation of Supta Padangushtasana where he would put his arm behind his head while still holding the big toe thus placing the foot on the chest. In Yoga Makaranda ( Mysore 1941) he includes both as two separate asana while in the 1938 Mysore film footage he practiced them together and enters from Niralamba Sarvangasana ( unsupported shoulderstand). I tend to practice the latter, returning to niralamba sarvangasana between sides.
This has 23 vinyasas. Up to the 8th vinyasa, this follows the method for supta padangushthasana. In the 9th vinyasa, without breaking any of the rules described earlier, pull the raised right leg down towards the ground on the same side (right side) and slowly lay it down on the ground while still clasping the right big toe. In this sthiti the head is facing upward and the other extended leg is kept straight and remains pressed against the floor. Stay in this 9th vinyasa for at least ten minutes and then do the 10th vinyasa. In the 10th vinyasa, bring the foot that is being held against the ground back to the position in the 8th vinyasa and remain here. Without letting go of the foot, move it such that the leg (or calf) sits on the chest beneath the neck and such that the elbow of the arm holding the foot is behind the neck. Remain here. In this sthiti, the head must be raised slightly. That is, there should be 6 angulas of space between the ground and the head. Inside the matham, this is called sammukha parivrtasana. Repeat this on the other side. To first practise this with the right leg and then with the left leg is characteristic of a superior yogi. The 11th vinyasa is like the 8th and the 12th is like the 7th. Do the 13th vinyasa like the 8th and then do the 14th and 15th vinyasas like the 9th and 10th. The 16th is like the 8th and the 17th must be done like the 7th. The six remaining vinyasas of this posture must be practised like the last 6 vinyasas of pascimottanasana. After this, return to samasthiti.” Krishnamacharya-Yoga Makaranda (Mysore 1934).
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