This blog is essentially 'sleeping'.

I've deleted or returned to draft 80% of the blog, gone are most, if not all, of the videos I posted of Pattabhi Jois, gone are most of the posts regarding my own practice as well as most of my practice videos in YouTube, other than those linked to my Vinyasa Yoga Practice Book).

Mostly I've just retained the 'Research' posts, those relating to Krishnamacharya in particular.

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Ashtanga and Ageing / Maturity : Flexibility within the system of Ashtanga

Ashtanga and Ageing/ Maturity: Ashtanga Vinyasa for the Three stages of Life - Flexibility within the system of Ashtanga ; Pattabhi Jois' Yoga Mala

"As the bodily constitution of each human being is different, it is important to practice the asanas accordingly. The benefit to be had from one asana or pranayama can be derived just as well from another that better suits the structure of a person’s body". 
Pattabhi Jois Yoga Mala p30

‘You are old, Father William’ (1865)
Lewis Carroll

“You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
“And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head –
Do you think, at your age, it is right?”

“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.”


*

UPDATE  (18th Feb 2016)

I loved Tim Miller's blog today, quoting Krishnamacrya and an idea he stressed to Ramasswami, Yoga for the three stages of Life. Tim will be 65 on Saturday, Happy Birthday and many happy returns.


"Krishnamacharya said that one’s yoga practice should change with the seasons, both with the seasons of the year and the seasons of one’s life. It’s not appropriate to practice the same way in winter as one does in summer. In the springtime of our life we are young, filled with energy and enthusiasm, and our practice should reflect that kind of energy. The summer is a time of the ripening of our practice, and finds us at our physical peak in terms of our asana practice. With the coming of the autumn of our life the natural evolution of our practice is for it to become more introspective—to devote more time to pranayama, mantra, devotional practices, meditation and philosophical study—and to begin to back off a little on the intensity of our asana practice. As the winter of our life begins—that’s me right now—our practice becomes even more introspective. It is important to continue to do enough asana to remain healthy and reasonably supple, but it is unrealistic to think we can practice the same way at 65 as we did at 35. Even though I have a few more aches and pains now, am a bit thicker in the middle, and don’t have quite the strength or flexibility I used to, I still love the practice and continue to do the first and second series regularly. On some days I do my special “Ashtanga for Senoirs” practice, which contains parts of first and second series, done with fewer vinyasas in the space of an hour or so. The one great gift of the aging practice in regards to asana practice is this: the longer you practice, the better the quality of attention that you bring to the practice. Isn’t this what it’s all about anyway?" Tim Miller - Tuesdays with Timji


*

NOTE: I added maturity to the title of this post, We don't have to wait until we reach our 50s to take a more flexible approach to our practice, as our practice matures we may wish to worry less about attaining new postures, new series and seek to explore further those we have, taking an ever more subtle approach to the breath and our length of stay. We may choose to practice less asana, half a series perhaps to allow us to do so.


Those who don't know any better (usually from outside Ashtanga but unfortunately sometimes from within) tend to think of Ashtanga as a rigid, fixed, system, a one size fits all, a fit yourself to the sequence rather than the other way around kind of a deal. It's understandable I suppose, when you present a sequence as a sequence on a cheat sheet it does look kind of fixed and to be fair to the critics some do seem to teach it that way.

from Ashtangayogaleeds

It's not been my experience however,  but then I'm a home Ashtangi, I started out withDavid Swenson's Ashtanga book with several variations sitting alongside the state of an asana, hell there was even the occasional prop. And then at the back of David's book there were the short versions of practice, 10 minutes, 20, 45 minute variations of the sequence, this was my introduction to Ashtanga.

I continued to approach my practice this way, adapting, using variations, the occasional prop, to work towards a posture I was struggling with.

Now that Sharath has his own Ashtanga book out I hope people still buy his grandfather'sYoga Mala. If you're only going to buy one please still go with Yoga Mala  it's a beautiful book ( surely Pattabhi Jois had his teacher Krishnamacharya's Yoga Mala on the table next to his typewriter/notebook).

I keep stumbling upon sections I'd either missed or forgotten like these on the flexibility inherent in our practice.

From Shri K. Pattabhi Jois' Yoga Mala


Flexibility within Ashtanga 1.

"For people over fifty, it is enough to practice some of the easier and more useful asanas, as well as some of the pranayamas. Those who have been practicing for many years, however, can do any asana or pranayama without a problem. Older people who want to start yoga, however, will find practicing the following ten asanas sufficient [see Chapter 2 for detailed descriptions of individual asanas]: first, the Surya Namaskara (types 1 and 2); then Paschimattanasana; Sarvangasana; Halasana; Karnapidasana; Urdhva Padmasana; Pindasana; Matsyasana; Uttana Padasana; and Shirshasana. It is preferable to do these in concert with the vinyasas [breathing and movement systems], but if this is not possible, then practicing while focusing on rechaka and puraka will suffice. Shirshasana should be practiced for at least ten minutes, and the rest, for at least ten rechaka and puraka while in the state of the asana [see fn. 39]. By practicing in this way, the body and sense organs will become firm, the mind purified, longevity will be increased, and the body will be filled with fresh energy.
For the middle-aged, it is best to do all the asanas. The more they are practiced, the stronger the body becomes, and obstacles such as disease cease to be a problem. Pranayama is easier, the mind becomes more harmonious as the quality of sattva [purity] comes to predominate, and intellectual power and longevity are augmented.

For the very old, however, who find the practice of Sarvangasana, Halasana, Uttana Padasana, Shirshasana, and Padmasana too difficult, it is enough to practice mahabandha daily, as well as rechaka kumbhaka pranayama, puraka kumbhaka pranayama, samavritti vishamavritti pranayama, and sithali pranayama. These will help them live happier and longer lives, and will insulate them from disease.

The weak and the sick, too, should gradually practice suitable asanas and pranayamas, and over time, as their strength increases, their practices should also increase. In this way, the diseases of the sick and the strength-lessness of the weak will be eliminated, leaving them healthy and vigorous.
The aspirant that goes to a Guru will find that the Guru will tailor his practice to his particular bodily constitution." p28

...the more useful asana?

People over fifty.... focus on the more useful asana. Sometimes I think Krishnamachrya's personal practice (see previous post) is a distillation of of his original Ashtanga, of Vinyasa Krama, what is left if you strip it down to it's essentials.

But I don't see it as an age thing, not a case of taking it easy but more about the direction you wish to take you practice after a period. Do we keep working towards the next asana the next series or consider more the quality of the asana, the practice as a whole, not in the sense of one practice is better than another but rather the intention behind our practice. For me personally I've become more interested in the breath, slowing it, lengthening it including appropriate kumbhakas. I'm interested in more time for pranayama and meditation and put together that means cutting back on the asana within a practice. 

Online version
On distilling

"To be sure, Baldini’s laboratory was not a proper place for fabricating floral or herbal oils on a grand scale. It would have been hard to find sufficient quantities of fresh plants in Paris for that. But from time to time, when they could get cheap, fresh rosemary, sage, mint, or anise seeds at the market, or a shipment of valerian roots, caraway seeds, nutmegs, or dried clove blossoms had come in, then the alchemist in Baldini would stir, and he would bring out the large alembic, a copper distilling vessel, atop it a head for condensing liquids-a so-called moor’s head alembic, he proudly announced-which he had used forty years before for distilling lavender out on the open southern exposures of Liguria’s slopes and on the heights of the Luberon. And while Grenouille chopped up what was to be distilled, Baldini hectically bustled about heating a brick-lined hearth— because speed was the alpha and omega of this procedure-and placed on it a copper kettle, the bottom well covered with water. He threw in the minced plants, quickly closed off the double-walled moor’s head, and connected two hoses to allow water to pass in and out. This clever mechanism for cooling the water, he explained, was something he had added on later, since out in the field, of course, one had simply used bellowed air for cooling. And then he blew on the fire.
Slowly the kettle came to a boil. And after a while, the distillate started to flow out of the moor’s head’s third tap into a Florentine flask that Baldini had set below it-at first hesitantly, drop by drop, then in a threadlike stream. It looked rather unimpressive to begin with, like some thin, murky soup. Bit by bit, however-especially after the first flask had been replaced with a second and set aside to settle-the brew separated into two different liquids: below, the floral or herbal fluid; above, a thick floating layer of oil. If one carefully poured off the fluid-which had only the lightest aroma-through the lower spout of the Florentine flask, the pure oil was left behind-the essence, the heavily scented principle of the plant.
Grenouille was fascinated by the process. If ever anything in his life had kindled his enthusiasm— granted, not a visible enthusiasm but a hidden one, an excitement burning with a cold flame-then it was this procedure for using fire, water, steam, and a cunning apparatus to snatch the scented soul from matter". Patrick Süskind Perfume 


And then there's this. I posted it on fb and my Viniyoga friends kept saying this is Desikachar's Viniyoga. Of course, it all comes from the same source (Krishnamacharya) he was always one for adapting practice to the individual needs of the students. It was there in the early Mysore days and there still in Chennai right up until he passed away.

Flexibility within Ashtanga 2

"As the bodily constitution of each human being is different, it is important to practice the asanas accordingly. The benefit to be had from one asana or pranayama can be derived just as well from another that better suits the structure of a person’s body. Some asanas are not suitable for particular people and may be painful. A Guru will understand this and be able to explain it, so the practitioner of yoga must be certain to follow his guidance." p30  Pattabhi Jois Yoga Mala

In  my own practice at Kristina's shala in Rethymno I've been cutting back to half a series giving much more time for a longer slower breath. This morning it was half standing, half 2nd series (second half) and it still took over two hours. I need to strip it back even further, less asana to leave more time for pranayama. I'm starting to think a third of the practice...... split the standing postures over the week and Primary and Second series into three each, finishing too cut back.

That should bring it down to the ten to fifteen postures we find in Krishnamacharya personal practice, time to breathe, time for pranayama and meditation.

I'm reminded of the Rishi series (see this page). David Williams supposedly asked Pattabhi Jois what comes after Advanced series, The Rishi series said Guruji. You take ten postures and practice them fifty breaths each.

10 postures, a life saving practice?

Here's the video of Krishnamacharya's Life saving practice, his own personal practice along the lines of which he supposedly practiced for the five years up until his death.

I'd just downloaded the Super 8 app and was playing.

I'll be teaching this as my final Vinyasa Karma class in Rethymno tonight at 6pm



"Starting from the 50s more and more visitors came from the West to Krishnamacharya in Madras, to learm Yoga from him, the 'teacher of teachers'. Krishnamacharya developed for them a specific sequence that he named 'Life saving yoga session'. Yoga to extend life, the name did not fail to work. Krishnamacharya's idea was to use this sequence to lead Westerners to an unconfessional and undogmatic experience of the Divine, since their pluralistic culture would not permit an automatic access to religious matters.
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.



See this post on pimping it up a little.

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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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Sribhashyam (2) Table of asana (1) TAN postures (1) tatakamudra (2) tattvas samkhya (1) ten breaths in each asana (1) The 'Original' Ashtanga yoga Syllabus given to Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams by Sri K Pattabhi Jois in 1974 Mysore (1) the asana before the asana (1) the breath (1) The breathing God (4) The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga : Subroutines page numbers (1) The Four Immeasurables (1) The Indian Review (1) THE KALAMA SUTRA (1) the Original gita (2) the Original Yoga Sutras (2) The Purnacarya (1) The Viniyoga letter (1) This is yoga 1941 (1) This is yoga life magazine (1) tibet (1) Tirieng Mukha Eka Pada Paschimattanasana (1) Tirumular Thirumandiram (1) tittibhasana (1) TK Shribhsyam (1) TKV Desikachar (1) tradition (1) Trataka (1) Trikonasana (1) TRS Sharma (2) uddiyana bandha (2) uddiyana kriya (1) uddiyana mudra Kino (1) ujjayi (1) unsupported headstands (2) urdhva dhanurasana (1) Urdhvamukhasvanasana (1) ushtrasana (1) utthita parsvakonasana (1) vajrasana (1) Veena (1) Vinay Kumar (1) Vinyasa (1) Vinyasa count (2) Vinyasa Krama (11) Vinyasa Krama 200HR TT program (1) Vinyasa Krama practice routine (1) Vinyasa Krama practice sheets (1) Vinyasa Krama Sister blog (1) Vinyasa Krama speeded up Ashtanga slowed down (1) Vinyasa Krama triangle subroutines (7) Vinyasa Yoga (1) Viparita Salabhasana (1) vipassana (1) vipraita salambhasana (1) Virasana (1) Vital points (1) VK Asymmetric seated sequence (8) VK Bow sequence (1) VK Inverted sequence (1) VK Lotus sequence (1) VK On one leg sequence (7) VK On your feet sequence (2) VK Seated Sequence (7) VK supine sequence (1) When I'm laid in the Earth. (1) Why meditation (1) why practice mudras. (1) Why practice yoga (1) Why Yoga (1) Wildyogi (1) Yamini Murthanna (1) Yoga (4) yoga and ageing (1) Yoga and pregnancy (3) Yoga and weight (1) Yoga Body (1) Yoga for Diabetes (1) Yoga for the three stages of life (4) Yoga for women (1) Yoga Gurandam (1) Yoga Korunta (3) yoga korunti (1) Yoga Makaranda (10) Yoga makaranda ( part II) (1) Yoga makaranda asana list (1) Yoga Makaranda part 2 (1) Yoga Makaranda Part II (2) Yoga makaranda translation. (1) yoga makaranda. (1) Yoga Meditation (1) yoga mudras (1) Yoga Nidrasana (1) yoga of action (1) yoga of motion (1) Yoga Philosophy (5) Yoga raading list (1) Yoga Rainbow festival (1) Yoga Science (1) Yoga sutra 1:33 (1) Yoga Sutras (3) Yoga Sutras II-49 (1) Yoga Sutras transliteration (1) Yoga therapy articles (1) Yoga Therapy for Children with Special Needs (1) Yoga tradition of the Mysore palace (1) Yoga Vinyasa yoga (1) Yoga yajnavalkya (1) Yogacarya Krishnamacharya - The Purnacarya (2) Yogacarya Krishnamacharya - The Purnacarya. Edited by Mala (1) Yogakriyas (1) Yogasanagalu (32) Yogasanagalu asana list (1) yogasanagalu translation (4) Yogasanagalua (1) Yogayajnavalkya (1) Yogeshwara Ramamohana Brahmachari (1) Yvonne Millerand (2) Yyvonne milerand (1)