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 .

Slow Ashtanga PLUS Yoga Makaranda Part I and II

1. Slow Ashtanga
2. Yoga Makaranda Part 1
3. Yoga Makaranda Part II

Slow Ashtanga

QUESTION: "Hey, love your posts about K , keeps me motivated. One question... in your understanding of K's yoga, how would one do a practice? If all the asanas have the vinyasas from samastiti to asana stiti and then back, like Ashtanga. So the practice would be like that, some sort of Ashtanga or maybe  a Vinyasa Krama like practice? If one is to dedicate 20 min to a pose that means the practice could be maybe 2, 3 poses and that's it then. How would you adapt that to a class for example?"

This post is an attempt to answer the question above with this morning's practice as an example but bringing in some of my older videos relating to slower practice I. E. slower breathing, longer stays (rishi approach) kumbhaka, adapting the 'sequence' to the demands of a slower practice etc. It's along the lines of the kind of practice I've been teaching in crete this summer and will be looking to present, at some point, in my upcoming workshops (see right panel of blog).

I thought I'd put this up at the top of the blog as a permanent page and develop it over time..

I think of the indications below more as options for practice that Krishnamacharya emphasised in his early Mysore writings (1930s-40s), back when he was still teaching the young Pattabhi Jois.

Slow Ashtanga
  • Longer, slower breathing
  • Longer stays in some asana, shorter stays in others
  • Kumbhaka ( retaining the breath in for between 2 and 10  seconds after the inhalation and/or retaining the breath out for between 2 and 10 seconds after the exhalation) dependent on the particular asana or mudra.
  • It may well follow the general framework of the current Ashtanga sequence but the sequence split perhaps over two or more days.
  • Due to splitting up the sequence other asana or variations of asana may be included to prepare or extend a key asana in the days practice
In my own practice time is an issue. I follow the indications and instructions for practice outlined  in Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda (Mysore 1934) and prefer to breathe slowly in the asana and vinyasas, lengthening my inhalation and exhalation, "slow like the pouring of oil". I like to explore kumbhaka and the occasional extended stay, in Mudras especially. I also prefer to practice, much of the time, with my eyes closed, employing internal drishti at different vital focal points and I like to introduce vinyasas, extra preparatory asana on days when they feel appropriate as well as perhaps extending an asana into more challenging, 'proficient' forms on the more flexible days, this is in keeping perhaps with the idea of groups of asana rather than fixed sequences. I like to practice Pranayama before and after my asana practice as well as finishing my practice with a 'meditative activity'. I was first introduced to Yoga through the Ashtanga sequences and I still maintain that general structure in my main practice but I would rather sacrifice half or more than half a sequence than these other factors and perhaps practice the asana ‘missed’ in the following day(s). I still consider this to be Ashtanga, SLOW Ashtanga.

"When once a fair proficiency has been attained in asana and pranayama, the aspirant to dhyana has to regulate the time to be spent on each and choose the particular asanas and pranayama which will have the most effect in strengthening the higher organs and centres of perception and thus aid him in attaining dhyana". Krishnamacharya - Dhyana or meditation Yoga Makaranda part II

See also this post from Tim Miller
"On Sunday November 2nd, Saturn—known as Shanischaracharya (“the slow moving teacher”)—entered the sign Scorpio, where it will remain for almost three years, until October 26th, 2017."


Sample practice from this morning Approx. 2 hours
Numbers beside the postures indicate no. of breaths unless 'times' or 'cycles' indicated
The videos may take some time to load, don't worry, your unlikely to watch them anyway, it's like watching  dry or grass grow. 

Kapalabhati in paschimottanasana (holding toes but without folding all the way forward - a kind of two leg version of mahamudra).
Ujjayi in tatkamudra - 6  breaths ( scanning vital points on inhalation, nabhi on exhalation)
Anuloma ujjai - in Vajrasana - 6 cycles

Krishnamacharya Surya Namaskara options

Krishnamacharya writes of staying for extended periods in each stage of what we now think of as a sun salutation or suryanamaskara. He writes of ten minutes or more below I take five long slow breaths in each.

Utthita Trikonasana - 10 breaths each side,(Krishnamacharya recommends ten minutes in this asana)
Parivritta Trikonasana - 3
Utthita Parshvakonasana - 3
Parivritta Parshvakonasana - 3
Prasarita Padottanasana A. - 5
Parshvottanasana - 5
Utthita Hasta Padangushtasana plus standing marichi variation - 1 full breath in each stage

(I spent longer in standing postures this morning, usually I would split these up over two days)

Dandasana - 10
Paschimattanasana - 15 (scanning through vital points on inhalation nasagra on exhalation)
Purvatanasana - 3

mahamudra -10 each side

Slower breathing, 10 second inhalations, 10 second exhalations

Janu Shirshasana A. - 1 each side
Marichyasana A  C - one full breath in each variation and on each side
Tiriangmukhaikapada Paschimattanasana - 3
Bharadvajasana - 6 each side

Maha bandha - 6 each side
Ardha Matsyendrasana - 3 each side
Baddha Konasana - 10 each vinyasa

Padmasana with variations - 10 in total
Uth Pluthi - 5

shoulderstand prep ( 3 vinyasas) 3x each variation

Sarvangasana - 12 (legs relaxed )
viparita karani (sirsasana as mudra no variations) - 12
Sarvangasana with assorted variations - 5 mins ( see THIS post )
Shirshasana with assorted variations - 5 mins (see THIS post)

Baddha Padmasana - 10

Paranayama - basti - 30 and nadi sodhana (pratiloma ujjayi) - 6 cycles
Pratyahara 3 mins
trataka - 10 mins

savasana 5 mins


The videos above and below are pretty much unwatchable,  its like trying to watch grass grow, paint dry.... an exercise in trataka perhaps.

but  it perhaps give an impression of how slower breathing, longer stays, less asana might be approached.

Examples of slow practice, Oscar practicing Vinyasa Krama on the left while I take a Krishnamacharya Yoga Makaranda  Ashtanga approach on the right

Middle group practice

The practice from this morning that I outlined above was based on the Primary group asana, tomorrow I will most likely base my practice on the middle group, a similar approach to standing as above with perhaps some time spent on some tadasana backbending preparation variations from vinyasa Krama.

More time in Utthita Hasta Padangushtasana perhaps, in preparation for pasasana.

Tiriangmukhaikapada Paschimattanasana and krounchasana

I usually switch to the Vinyasa krama Bow sequence leading up to ustrasana, laugh vajrasana and kapotasana. The Bow sequence follows quite closely the layout of Ashtanga 2nd but with some extra vinyasas.

below kapotasana.

and in the leg behind head postures

I've started to leave out dwi pada sirsasana altogether and just practice a longer stay in yoga nidra


On the third day I would tend to switch back to primary group asana and explore some of the asana I missed from the regular Ashtanga sequence this morning and on the fourth day, asana missed from tomorrows Middle group.


We can practice less postures, below supposedly an example of Krishnamacharya's own personal practice from Krishnamacharya's 3rd son, TV Sribhashyam's book Emergence of Yoga.



The Yoga Makaranda was Krishnamacharya's first book, it was written in 1932, supposedly over four days and published in the Kanada language in 1934 and later translated into Tamil. It was clearly a major influence on Krishanamacharya's student Sri K Patarbhi Jois's own book Yoga Mala and of the Ashtanga practice we know and love, as well as many of the current popular styles of Yoga.

Last Summer I was fortunate enough to study the text, line-by-line with Ramaswami, Krishnamacharya's student of over thirty years, on his 200 hour Vinyasa Krama TT course.

This book may well be considered the source, the holy grail and thanks to the generosity of Lakshmi & Nandini Ranganathan the text has now been made freely available such that we can decide for ourselves, enjoy.

'...I ask that you do not sell it but you are welcome to put it on a website for anybody to download, to email further, or to lend your manuscript to be copied by anybody. It does have typos (remember, we did this in 2006 and planned to do a final revision or new edition later) but I think it is actually otherwise reasonable (we would welcome corrections and comments). Most importantly, it will accomplish our goal that people read what Krishnamacarya had to say without interruption and without censorship. The book is powerful and wonderful and I hope any of you that reads it finds it as meaningful and relevant as we did.'
Nandini (Ranganathan).

Another version of the text has just been published by Media Garuda, I ordered a copy, which arrived this week, before I was aware of a dispute regarding their edition. The background to this dispute can be found HERE, I leave you to make up your own minds about it.

The Media Garudu edition is, it has to be said, a nicely produced book. The pictures are beautiful and it has a nice layout. At the back are a series of line drawings showing the vinyasas in and out of the postures as outlined in the text. It also has footnotes. My first impression of these were that they often seemed to seek to bring the 1930's text in line with a more recent conception of Yoga possibly held by the publishers that did not seem necessarily in keeping with the original text, but perhaps I'm being unfair.

In the next few days I'll be doing a parallel reading of the texts to see how they compare and get back to you.




Just been sent a link to this, the 'mythical' part 2 of Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda

AG Mohan suggests in the Text's introduction that it was probably written in the late 1930's or 40's. (the period at which Krishnamacharya was also teaching Pattabhi Jois). The description of the asana is a little different from Yoga Makaranda Part 1, there's no passing from standing through downward dog etc. to the postures and then transitioning back to standing as in the earlier book.

However the Yoga Makaranda (1934) we're familiar with does say that pranayama will be covered in a second part and in many way part 2 is closer to Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu (1942) So it this may well have been written between the two but never published.

Something else that comes to mind as we begin reading it is that it's quite familiar in style and content to the lecture notes I posted here earlier, Krishnamacharya Salutations to the teacher and the Eternal one. In fact as we look further through the text it seems fair to suggest that this is the full, original text from which Salutations later derived, supposedly as lecture notes. Yoga Makaranda Part 2 consists of 139 pages, Salutations consists of 43 pages ( but smaller tighter print ). AG Mohan mentions that he saught clarification from krishnamacharya of a number of points in the text but that this is the original document without those notes. This may suggest then that Salutations is much of the original text with those notes and clarifications.

Yoga Makaranda (Part 2) -- Sri T. Krishnamacharya

And in case the plug-in above doesn't work for you, here are the first couple of pages, the cover page, introduction and contents to whet the appetite.


Here's the link again to the full 139 page document

And thank you again to AG Mohan for sharing it with us.


My pervious posts on Salutations to the Teacher and the Eternal One



I mentioned at the end of my previous post that one of the things I was hoping to do this week was take a closer look at Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda ( part II), released by AG Mohan at the end of last week. I had questions...

1. The similarity to Salutations the Teacher the Eternal one

2. Dating the text ( There's a mention of a book by Indra Devi)

3. Differences in style between Yoga Makaranda Part 1 and part II

4. Relation to Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu

5. It's relation to Krishnamacharya's later teaching, i.e. Yoga Therapy.

6. The curios order of the text that seemed to suggest to me the possibility of two texts combined

7. The lack of pictures ( although they are mentioned).

8. Who translated the text into English and when.

9. Did Krishnamacharya consider the text as Yoga Makaranda Part II

My own feeling is that as a text that AG Mohan dates originally to the late 30s early 40s, although the typewritten version he was given was from the 60's, It's focus on head and shoulder stands and pranayama make it a good candidate for the completion of original plan of Yoga Makaranda. I think that being the case it's fair to call it Yoga Makaranda (part II). I do wonder if Krishnamacharya ever referred to it as such however. The difficulties arise because it seems fair to assume that it was written a period of time after Yoga Makaranda and then typed up later still. Other material appears to have become included resulting in some of the confusion Enrique highlights below.

Last night I started going through Salutations and marking the page numbers corresponding to the new text in the margin.

Luckily for me Enrique has beaten me to it and produced a re-ordering/correction of the Salutations in the light of AG Mohan's release of Yoga Makaranda ( Part II) allowing us to better compare the two texts.  That text plus his comments today raise some interesting questions,  here they are below as a guest post, so as to bring the issues together more clearly. The dividing lines are to indicate the different comments.

This post is probably a work in progress that we can add to and will eventually end up with a page of it's own at the top of it's blog along with the previous post on Yoga Makaranda.

These questions should in no way be seen I hope as a lack of gratitude to AG Mohan for releasing the text, I know Enrique is just as appreciative as I am of this gift to the community.

A reminder : This post is made up of comments to the original MythicalYoga Makaranda (Part II) post which should explain it's abrupt and note like presentation.

UPDATE 21/11/12
I'm coming around to an earlier date for Yoga Makaranda (Part II) after all. I've just finished a ten hour practice, pranayama, a long slow Primary series and then, while the body was still loose, a six hour work through of the text of Yoga Makaranda (part II). It took so long because I was carefully following all the instructions, practicing all the variations, highlighting and taking the odd notes. And I hear Yoga Makaranda (part I) in the text, I really do. Admittedly there is no mention of the vinyasa count that characterises part I, but the focus on the breath is there, the postures where you can include retention after exhalation, those after inhalation, the exploration of the breath in Asana. In short pranayama in asana. The descriptions aren't as formal as in the Makaranda we're familiar with, they are more explanatory than descriptive, it's a teaching manual. At times though it's quite extreme, Mayurasana described just as we're familar with from Ashtanga 2nd series, but K. offers a variation where we take the legs into padmasana mayurasana while still balancing in regular mayurasana, tricky and hard on the nose. There are sequences almost exactly like Ramaswami's presentation of Vinyasa Krama, but in suptapa Angushtasana K. includes a full padmasana variation, something you can imagine him including back 1938 when that old demonstration video was short.

So although I think the texts has been worked on and added to over the years, adapted in line with projects that never bore fruition, I'm coming around to the idea that the bones of text may well have been originally  written down in the late 30's early 40's.

Watching the demonstration footage again may make you think twice about the text also.

But back to Enrique's guest post.....

Guest post by Enrique Matías Sánchez

As you already noticed, this is the original manuscript of the _Salutation to the Teacher and The Eternal One_ you posted on September 24th.

Mohan's video shows a couple of pictures of the manuscript. _KYM's Salutation_ seems to contain the typewritten text as it was, without the handwritten corrections. Mohan's file adds those corrections, which according to the video were made by Desikachar and himself.

The main difference between these two documents is the order of the contents.

I modified Mohan's file to reorder the contents in the same way as _KYM's Salutation_, so that we can easily compare them and spot the corrections.
I also added some formatting to make it easier to navigate.

This version of Salutation_ is available for download at

Besides the differente ordering, there are three sections that were not included in _KYM'm Salutation_:


Mohan's video shows that at least the first one was published as an article in KYM's magazine.


Who has the order right, Mohan or KYM? I'm afraid none of them.

It's pretty odd that Mohan's file starts with 19. Sirsasana. If that was supposed to be the beginning of the book, it should obviously have number 1 (or 43, it this was indeed the continuation of Yoga Makaranda).

It makes much more sense to start with the Yamas & Niyamas, and the Classification of Asanas, as KYM's Salutation does.

Further proof is that in page 76 of Mohan's file we read:
``A short description of each of these asanas and the distinctive curative effect of each will be given in the *following* chapters.''

But in that file all the asanas have already been explained!

What happened to the 18 sections that should precede Sirsasana? Maybe in this book Krishnamacharya explained Pranamayas (14 Bhastrika, 15 Sitkari, 17 Sitali) before the asanas?


It's clear that Mohan's file doesn't have the right order.

As we can see in Mohan's video, the typewritten pages are not numbered. It's no surprising that after so many years they got displaced.

For instance, steps 4-7 for Sarvangasana appear under Dvipada Viparitakarani (in KYM's Salutation are in the right place).

Does this mean that KYM's Salutation has the right order? I would say no.

If it did, it would not include Maha Mudra twice (pages 25 and 37).

Besides, in page 16 of KYM's document we read:

``Out of the eight steps in Yoga, the first two, YAMA and NIYAMA, deal with the cleanliness, physical and moral for maintaining proper ethical standards. The next two steps are asanas and pranayamas and *these have been dealt with in previous chapters*.''

And then goes on to explain Tadasana, Sirsasana and all the others.

While Mohan presents the asanas following their numeration, KYM's document is just reminiscient of it (this can be clearly seen in the Table of Contents of my Corrected Salutation).

It's also strange that the treatments for asthma and hernia are explained before saying which diseases are amenable for Yogic treatment. Mohan has that right.

Maybe I'll try to put everything in a more coherent order. It's a pity Mr. Mohan didn't share all the pictures of the original typewritten manuscript, which could probably provide some clues.
I guess the original Indian manuscript would give us a definitive answer, but we don't even know whether it's still existent.

Dating the book is a bit difficult.

Indra Devi studied with T. Krishnamacarya around 1937-39. I'm not sure whether "Yoga for Americans" was her first book on Yoga.

By the way, I don't think K. thought of this writing as Yoga Makaranda part II. If he did, he would not have included again the Yamas and Niyamas, and the asanas already covered there.

I think this is a standalone work, providing a much more personal vision of Yoga.

To me, YM was written as an encyclopaedic work:
- he includes the shatkarmas, which he didn't use to teach
- the 10 yamas and 10 niyamas as per HYP, instead of the Yoga Sutras, etc.

I find the approach in Salutation different, more in line with his later teachings.

I won't dare to date it in relation to the Yogasanagalu until we have a complete translation of it.

Ah, the Yoga Gurundam is mentioned in the Sitali and Setubandhasana sections, as well in the classification of asanas. While it would describe some asanas, K doesn't mention it prescribes any predefined order for practicing them.

Shall we make a timeline?

1888: K is born in Muchukundapuram, Karnataka, India.
1914-22?: K studies for 7.5 years with Rammohan Brahmachari near Lake Manasarovar, at the foot of Mount Kailash 
1926?: K. starts teaching in the Jaganmohan Palace in Mysore
1934: Yoga Makaranda is written in the Kannada language
1938: Yoga Makaranda, Tamil edition
c. 1941: Yogasanagalu in Kannada language
1941: KPJ moves to Madras
????: Yogasanagalu, 2nd edition
1950: The Shala is closed
1954: K. moves to Chennai (Madras).
1955: Ramaswami starts studying with K.
1958: Yoga Mālā by KPJ is written in Kannada
1961: TKV Desikachar becomes interested in Yoga 
1962: Yoga Mala is published
1971: A. G. Mohan starts studying with K.
1972: Yogasanagalu, 3rd edition with new photos
1976: The Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (KYM) is founded
1981: Yogasanagalu, 4th edition
1993-95: Extracts from Makaranda are published in Darsanam
1999: Yoga Mala is published in English
2006: Lakshmi and Nandini Ranganathan translate YM to English
2011: KHYF publishes YM as a book through Media Garuda

My take? Right now I think the Salutation might have been written in the 70s for the KYM (which focuses on Yogatherapy), after the 3rd edition of the Yogasanagalu. 

The preface to this edition lists his previous works, including the brief Yoganjali, but doesn't mention Salutation nor a forecoming part 2 of YM.

Even though he `expanded and altered many the topics regarding the practice' he might not be satisfied with the old text, and then decided to start a new one from scratch.

My 2¢.

from Grimmly20 November 2012 19:46

Enrique I have TKV Desikachar's 'Health Healing and Beyond' here which sketches K's early biography out nicely

Says here

1900  K. and family moved to Mysore do K could join the Parakala Math

1906  K attended University of Benares ( continued to practice the asanas and pranayama he had been taught by his father- Mohan)

1909  Returned to Mysore

1909-1914  Remained with the Swami of Parakala math, Mysore

1914  Returned to Banares, attended classes at Queens college, took vacations in the himalayas

1915 -1922  *Lived and studied with Rammohan Brahmachari near Lake Manasarovar, at the foot of Mount Kailash 

1922-24  Teaches yoga and Studies at Universities in Allahabad, Calcutta, Patna and Baroda

1924  Returns to Mysore

1925  Marries Shrimati Namagiriamma

1926  Maharaja of Mysore meets K. in Banares and invites K. to come and teach in Mysore.

1937 Teaches Indra Devi

1947 Indian Independence

1950 Shala closed

1950 K. moves to Madras to teach Yoga (family remains behind but joins him later)

1956 Moves to Madras permanently, to a small apartment.

( Kausthub Desikachar on page 117 of Yoga of the Yogi says he wrote Yogasanagalu there (in that small apartment), perhaps the 2nd edition? Or was this actually our Makaranda part 2. He writes interestingly,
"Literally translated Yogasanagalu means "Yoga Asanas". The book was an extension of his earlier book Yoga makaranda". p117 Yoga of the Yogi.

His description seems to be of the Yogasanagalu but perhaps Kausthub mixed them up? Either way, going by this, the text Kausthub is referring to had to be written between 1956 and 1961 because they moved house in '61. We also know that AG Mohan's text displayed in his video was typed up in 1960

1961  Moved to a larger apartment in Gopalapuram, Madras - TKV Desikachar becomes interested in yoga and begins to study with his Father

AG Mohan's original typewritten English translation of Yoga Makaranda (part II) text stamped with this address.

1964 Family move again to an even larger apartment In Mandavelipakkam, Madras.

1966 Series of asana photos taken and later included in Yogasangalu 

(Why did they take these photos now if Yogasanagalu had only just been revised, besides which the pictures taken don't correspond to the text of Yogasangalu, they are actually much closer to the asanas described in Yoga Makaranda ( part 2)

1975  Revised Yogasanagalu

Kausthub mentions too that K. revised Yogasanagalu in 1972 ( 3rd edition ) adding a section on posture modification (possibly the extra chapter that Satya is currently working on translation). the pictures in the edition we're translating here were taken 1966

*Now interestingly Mohan has K returning to Banares after studying yoga in the Himalayas with Brahmachari in 1918 and mentions that in a brocher K had printed in the 1960s he givs those seven years of study with Brahmachari 1911-1918

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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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