Sunday, 27 February 2011

First time coming up from dropback without turning the feet out, also Diet and injury watch update

'Practicing on painkillers' poll still up over on the right of the blog. ( feel free to comment anonymously on this if you like ). I think it's an interesting topic, lots of aches and pains in a practice like Ashtanga, I'm sure we're not all using salt baths and caster oil wraps.

Think I mentioned a little while ago ( Jan 2011) the new approach I've been taking to dropping back. Basically I'm allowing my heels to lift a little as I drop and come back up. I know, I know, isn't this just switching one 'bad' habit for another. Well possibly, but it's allowing me to have my feet closer together and something interesting is happening in my hips though I can't really explain it yet, will come back to that in another post. No matter how much I practiced before I didn't seem to be able to stop turning the feet out (although I did get it down to turning out just the one) yet here I get the feeling that I might be able to eliminate the heel lift altogether.

Whatever, I kind of like the feel of this, can get a very soft, slow landing, almost touch right down to the mat on a good day, it's interesting, I like it.
Here it is from the frount to focus on the feet, also a shot from the side, at the end, so you can see the extent of the heel lift. Still work in progress but it's coming.

This head on, camera at an angle shot looks really strange, distorting somehow but is showing the feet not moving ( though watch the first toe ) which is the point.



DIET
I've allowed my diet ( by diet I just mean eating habits not Atkins or anything faddish) to get a little out of hand. Krishnamacharya would say that controlling your diet is one of the most important prescriptions for the yoga student. Here he quotes from the Gita Saram

For whom there is neither excess nor less
of sleep, food activity
For him alone it is possible
to attain the state of yoga

Well I still only eat two meals a day but since the back problem I've noticed I'm snacking a little during the day. People have been bringing in biscuits, cakes, sweets and I've had the odd bar of chocolate from the work snack machine. None of this I really need, comfort food I think. I've also been having a Martini most evenings ( although a weak one) rather than just on Saturday ( love the clean taste at the moment) and I've noticed that the two meals a day have become larger amounts of food than before, more than I need. All just reflects the lack of discipline in my practice while this back issue is messing with it.

So next week, a little more discipline of my life I think. Control freak, you think ?

Injury update : Rest day
Took the Saturday rest day for a change, as an experiment, no painkillers no practice. Back hurt like hell all day, well most of the day, seemed to loosed up around 4pm. that suggests the practice in the morning is helping as I tend to feel fine all day and I only take the painkillers once a day around 5am.

This morning was Intermediate including the dropbacks above and I feel fine, loose, mobile.

Probably give the painkillers another week then bin any that are left and practice without after that.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Injury watch Friday Primary

This relates to yesterday's post on practicing with painkillers, more of an update really.

I've added an anonymous poll over on the right about painkillers and practice. just curious how prevalent their use is. LH refers to ladies holiday.

Woke up around half four and took the Paramol, fell asleep again and got up 5:30 for sandwich making, practice at 6am.

Painkillers should have kicked in but you wouldn't have known it, painful practice. Friday Primary so I knew I had all those forward bends to come. All this week I'd been fine by the end of the Sury's but not this morning not sure why, felt OK when I went to bed, perhaps it's the old mattress.

Thing is I know that full expression (of the postures) isn't doing me any harm, quite the opposite I feel better all day for doing the practice, the painkillers just make it easier, so I cowboy'd up and girded my loins 9 do you think that old expression refers to bandhas?) and just got on with it. Really lifting out of the pelvis Ala Vinyasa krama seems to help with the forward bends, I mean REALLY lifting out. God so so many forward bends in Primary, felt every one, Kurmasana was the scariest, nerve almost failed me but it was OK chest to floor. UDand dropbacks were a godsend. So painful up until finishing but I felt better for it throughout the day, sitting here typing this and my back feels OK, little nagging twinge perhaps over the right hip.

Tomorrow is Saturday and I'm going to take a very rare ( for me ) Saturday rest day want to see how my back feels without any practice.

All this injury talk is a bit dreary so here's ZAZ to cheer us up, thanks to Jamie for drawing this video to my attention, i have her to blame for not being able to get this out of my head all week.



Thursday, 24 February 2011

UPDATED with Poll : Practicing on Painkillers, Hmmmmm

*Just added an anonymous poll on the right hand side on this topic

So Tuesday morning I came across an old pack of Nurofen and decided to take the last two. My back was stiff and painful, it usually is in the morning at the moment (due to this injury) but practice, even my reduced and modified one, tends to loosen it up a bit. Tuesday, being my day off, I'd decided to practice in the afternoon.

So mid-day comes around and I get on the mat, Sury's are feeling better than they have done in a long time and by the end of the B's I'm folding deep head to knees. Head reaches the floor in the Prasarita's in fact everything is going along swimmingly. It's only during Kapo that it strikes me why, the painkillers are still working. I carry on through practice, trying to take it easy but it feels so good that's it's hard not to get carried away.

After practice I fish the pack of Nurofen out of the bin and notice they are high strength SR (slow release). I'd bought them back when I had that root canal a couple of months ago, no wonder, practice was so easy, so pain free. The packet said they would last 8 hours, I had another couple of hours before they wore off. Given how I'd just practiced, how deep I'd gone into poses, I was kind of dreading it....to be continued (wrote this at lunchtime and broke off here)..

Continued

Now I should mention I don't tend to take painkillers, it's got to be pretty bad, headaches I'll just put up with and wait for them to pass. I don't like to go to the doctor's either, much to M's annoyance and, at times. exasperation. I'm English, we don't like to be a bother, the doctor's probably busy with people who are really sick. I was once doubled up in agony for a week before I called NHS direct and found out I had Kidney stones. Another time I walked around with frozen peas strapped to my knee swollen up to the size of a basketball for, again, a week before finding out I had tumors on my knee and needed an Operation, as I said, we don't like to be a bother.

So the painkillers wore off and surprise surprise, no back pain, the day passed and still no pain just a little tightness. It seems that practicing, going deep into the forward bends again, had somehow helped my back pain.

A note of caution here, all back pain is different, going back to full expression in practice as I mention in this post is helping me , but it might be the worst possible thing you could do for your back pain, modifying your practice or resting up completely might be the best thing for you, it's individual.

Yesterday I decided to try again, there was another pack of Nurofen in the first aid box, again half empty, sitting there god knows how long. Took those as soon as I woke up, (still a little stiff but not as bad as I have been this week) to make M's lunch and by half five they had started to kick in, First couple of Sury's a little stiff but by the B's no pain at all, sailed though 2nd series ( did miss out the Leg behind head poses though, not a complete idiot). Same thing again, the drugs wore off and I was fine all day, no back pain to speak of, a mere hint perhaps.

This morning I went for something lighter, Paramol. They didn't kick in as quickly as the Nurofen and I had to delay practice until gone six but it was OK. Could feel some pain in the back but not so bad. Actually I kind of preferred it, the drugs took the edge off and I could flatten myself in paschimottanasana etc. but there was enough pain there in the background as a reminder not to be stupid.

So there you have it, somehow I injured my back doing long deep forward bends a couple of weeks ago and have been walking around and practicing like an old man avoiding all forward bending. And yet now, with the help of some painkillers, I return to deep forward bends and it seems to be ironing out the problem...

Yoga giveth and the Yoga taketh away.

Tomorrow, being Friday, I'll take the Paramol again and do a full Primary with all it's forward bends and see how it goes, then I'll take a Saturday rest day for a change and reflect.

Thing is I'm a little uncomfortable with all this, the yoga seems to be doing it's job, sorting out back pain naturally but not without the help of some painkillers. For some reason I'm fine with salt baths and caster oil but an aspirin feels like... I don't know... cheating.

Isn't the pain telling me to back off and yet with the help of the drugs I'm ignoring that and pushing on but that, in turn, seems to be helping....

What's that all about.

POLL UPDATE
I've closed the poll after a hundred votes. I asked ...

Have you ever taken painkillers to get you through a practice ( excluding LH )


RESULTS


No : 71%
Once or twice : 22%
Regularly : 7%


Surprised?

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Srivatsa Ramaswami on podcasts

I came across these two podcasts of interviews with Ramaswami a short while ago, thanks to Madhu. I've been meaning to do a post on them for a while. For those of you who don't know my teacher, I took Ramaswami's Vinyasa Krama teacher training course last summer, and are perhaps new to this blog, Ramaswami studied with Krishnamacharya for over thirty years. Here's a link to an article he wrote for Namarupa magazine entitled My studies with Sri Krishnamacharya


Picture by Barry Wadsworth



These two interviews are with Yoga four peace in Houston where Ramaswami was presenting workshops.

Interview 1

In this interview Ramaswami discusses, in order of how they com up in the interview...

Yoga as one of the 64 arts
Pranayama
Why all the Savasana's in Vinyasa Krama?
The meditation element of Vinyasa Krama
Chanting
Yoga for the 3 stages of life
Thoughts on gym yoga

Interview 2
APRIL 08

This is my favourite of the two, he starts by chanting the ganesha and patanjali prayers then discusses....

Hatha yoga's relation to Raja yoga
Why it's important to study the yoga Sutras
Vinyasa krama, an integral practice
The yoga Sutras
What is a sutra
Mantra
Yoga for the internal organs
Constand practice and constant learning.

If you'd like to attend a workshop similar to those Ramaswami discusses in these interviews Although those were from a few years ago) then this coming workshop might be for you

Week of May 8-13, 2011

Hatha and Raja Yoga Practicum

Asana practice has caught the imagination of a number of enthusiasts—especially vinyasakrama, the sequencing art form of yoga practice. However, yoga has other important ingredients, all of which promote a positive transformation of the individual. A holistic approach would require the yogi to practice not only asana and pranayama (the Hatha yoga aspects), but also chanting, meditation, and contemplation of the philosophical and spiritual aspects (the Raja yoga aspects).

In this program, half of each session will be devoted to different asanas, following the Vinyasakrama method. It will involve doing more than about 300 vinyasas, or variations in classical yoga poses, in the course of the program. The other half of the time will be utilized for detailed and varied yogic breathing exercises and the other Raja yoga practices, like chanting, meditation, and philosophical and spiritual contemplation of the yoga sutras. The objective is that by the end of the program participants have a well-rounded understanding and practice of yoga, as opposed to doing only asanas or meditation. Hatha yoga and Raja yoga are aspects of the integrated system of yogic progression.

LINKS

Monday, 21 February 2011

Loving kindness

These was a moment during practice yesterday, just after my 10 minute tadasana, warm up, sequence and half way through the Sury's of Intermediate when I noticed I was becoming irritated with the back injury, symptoms of frustration, a tightness in my chest. I finished the A's started on the B's and still the tightness, a growing despondency, the irritation turning into annoyance.

Perhaps it's just become automatic now but something clicked, 'May you be happy....' the Buddhist Loving kindness mantra popped into my head, 'May you be happy, may you be safe, may you be well, ,may you be peaceful'. I chanted it in my head a couple of times along with the Sury's and then thought, why not. Stopped my practice, stood in tadasana for a moment getting centered and then repeated the mantra five times before carrying on with the practice where I left off.

Turned out to be a nice Vinyasa Krama modified Intermediate practice.

This morning after my opening chant I did the same, repeating the loving kindness mantra five times before practice, once again a nice gentle practice.

Such a simple thing yet somehow makes a world of difference. I recommend it to everyone trying to practice through an injury at the moment.

'May you be happy,
may you be safe,
may you be well,
may you be peaceful'.

Loving kindness or metta meditation.
The idea here seems to be to break old habits and cultivate new. The Buddhists know we're unlikely to start loving or enemies overnight so you begin by directing Loving kindness at your loved ones and move on from there. In your regular meditation you might begin by chanting the loving kindness mantra to yourself a few times slipping in a loved ones name in place of 'you' while holding their image in your mind. Next might be a friend, a teacher and after a while you might move onto someone who annoys you at work and try and direct loving kindness towards them while chanting the mantra.

It becomes automatic, someone does something that would normally annoy you ( thus causing you mild suffering) and you find yourself automatically chanting, 'May this piece of work who just cut in frount of me at the supermarket till be happy, may this piece of work who just cut in frount of me at the supermarket till be safe......

Here's a link to the Insight neditation audiodharma website where you can find podcasts on Loving kindness meditation by Gil Fronsdal along with pdf transcripts, which is where I learned about it. You can also find podcasts on Insight/Vipassana meditation, Dharma talks and even some natty meditation timers.




Appendix
An extended Loving kindness meditation

May I be free from enmity, may I be free from ill-will, may I be free from affliction, may I be happy, may I be free from suffering, may I not be parted from the good fortune I have attained, as owner of my kamma.

May the community in this monastery... May the guardian deities of this monastery be free from enmity, may they be free from ill-will, may they be free from affliction, may they be happy, may they be free from suffering, may they not be parted from the good fortune they have attained, as owners of their kamma.

May our supporters who provide the four requisites... May our parents, teacher, relatives and friends be free from enmity, may they be free from ill-will, may they be free from affliction, may they be happy, may they be free from suffering, may they not be parted from the good fortune they have attained, as owners of their kamma.

May all living things, all breathing thing, all beings, all persons, all individuals, all women, all men, all noble ones, all worldlings, all deities, all human beings, and all those destined for hell be free from enmity, may they be free from ill-will, may they be free from affliction, may they be happy, may they be free from suffering, may they not be parted from the good fortune they have attained, as owners of their kamma.

In the east, in the south, in the west, in the north, in the northeast, in the southeast, in the southwest, in the north west, below and above; may all living things, all breathing thing, all beings, all persons, all individuals, all women, all men, all noble ones, all worldlings, all

UPDATED Drishti, Drishti, Drishti

I know, I know I keep gnawing away at this, worrying it like a dog with a bone, I was asked why, so here it is.

WHEN did Drishti come about?

In Krishnamacharya's book Yoga Makaranda 1936, drishti isn't really an issue, it wouldn't be, the chin is down, a light jalandhara bandha perhaps, in almost every posture. Interestingly this is also how Ramaswami teachers, chin down, also reflecting Krishnamacharya's later teaching.

Jois's Yoga mala ( late 50's) still has the chin down pretty much throughout so again he hardly mentions drishti ( chins mostly down in his pictures, up in Sharath's).

David Williams, taught by Jois in the 70's, again chin down.

Sometime since then drishti has become one of the 'essential elements' of the Ashtanga system, 'Tristana- breath, movement, gaze'. Of course it has, once you lift the chin and no longer have that light jalandhara banddha engaged you need to dictate where to look or your eyes and head are wandering all over the shala.

So chin down, drishti not an issue as the gaze is naturally down, chin up, drishti required.

I've no problem with this. I happen to follow Ramaswami's teaching and have my chin down most of the time but would switch to the required drishti points ( assuming I could remember them) if I was in a shala, no big deal.

I'm just curious when it actually changed and why.

It's been bugging me this week because in conference last Sunday Sharath seems to have again been stressing Moola bandha to be held throughout the practice (and even your day) as well as Uddiyana.

Here's the thing, isn't one of the points of Moola and Uddiyana bandha supposed to be that they are locks, stopping the energy escaping one way and then with jalandhara engaged, escaping the other, trapping the energy or prana within.

But if there's no jalandhara........bye bye prana

I'll be honest, I don't really buy the whole energy thing and that aspect of the bandhas, I just don't... as yet. I engage them because practice feels tighter, more focused, more....meditative when I use them, especially jalandhara as in yesterdays primary ( see the pictures on yesterday post).

UPDATE:

I should mention here that there seems to be a distinction between lightly and fully engaged bandhas. Taking jalendhara bandha as an example, the chin firmly lodged in the jugular notch, between the clavicles, during pranayama, is clearly different than the...door ajar chin down we find in the asana of Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda. Does it still count as a lock? A semi lock perhaps?

I personally tend to lightly engage moola and uddiyana bandha throughout my practice, the bandhas kind of ticking over, on the back burner if you will, but in certain postures I'll crank them up a bit to medium or fully engaged depending on the posture or my inclination that practice. Here's Krishnamacharya writing about janusirsasan in his Yoga Makaranada,

'While practicing this asana, however much the stomach is pulled in, there will be that much increase in the benefits received. While practicing this, after exhaling the breath, hold the breath firmly. Without worrying about why this is difficult, pull in the stomach beginning with the navel, keep the attention focused on the nadis in and near the rectal and genital areas and pull these upwards...' p80

I take him to be talking about engaging the bandhas here and that it's an option how fully we choose to engage them during asana.

but anyway

In Vinyasa krama the chin happens to be down
In Ashtanga, currently, it's up and we have the drishti points,
Not saying one is right the other wrong.

For me It's just one of those unsolved riddles, the missing word of a crossword puzzle, that come back and bug you every now and again.

See what happens when I take a rest day

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Injury watch : Vinyasa krama modified Friday Primary

So I practiced of course, if only to get some mobility in my back. Bit of a challenge to avoid forward bends in Primary but I came up with something that seemed to work.

Sury's and Standing was the same as for this weeks intermediate.

The Vinyasa Krama Sun salutation has a squat after the forward bend before kicking the legs back onto chaturanga so in my Ashtanga Sury's I went for a very shallow forward bend, all hips, 'till my fingertips touched the mat then squatted and carried on through and then doing the same in reverse for the exit.

Side bends are not problem and the prasaritas are all hips anyway. In UHP I just took my leg higher so less of a bend forward. Ardha baddha Padmottanasana is my secret weapon, the arm wrapped around my back allows me to bend all the way forward and comeback up again without putting any strain on my back.

For seated I was reminded of the Vinyasa Krama maha mudra key posture. This is like Janusirsasana A except you don't bend forward. You grab your toe with both hands lift up out of your pelvis, engage full Jalandhara bandha and then breathe fully, long exhales, Full Moola and Uddiyana bandhas. I figured if I could do that for Janu A then I could do it for all the other seated Asymmetric postures in Primary in place of the forward bend, jump backs in between as usual ( I tend to add Viranchyasana B into my Primary after Janu C as an extension of the Janu's - the pics are all out of order btw standard Primary order applies).

Mari's were the same as usual just skipping the forward bends and doing the vinyasa Krama twist variation of Mari A and B.

I missed out Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana but did extra work on baddha konasana including Kandapindasana. In Upavistha I went for the side bend variation in place of the forward bend.

Carried on as usual through to finishing which was the same as for this weeks Modified Intermediate.

So again, slightly modified but had the same shape and feel as a regular Friday Primary.






















































Friday, 18 February 2011

To practice or not to practice

Up early for practice but reminded it's a full moon, never used to take them but tempted this morning.

Back feels so stiff in the morning at the moment that alt least practice gets some degree of flexibility, at least I can walk afterwards like I'm not a 90.

But Primary Friday. How to modify THAT series to avoid bending forward.

Or I could just do that tadasana stretching sequence and settle down to long Pranayama and a morning of sit.

No, Primary it is, sorry moon but have to make the most of it before that solar flare hits and turns us into those little crispy bits in a bag of chips.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Injury Watch: Modified Ashtanga 2nd series

Got away with a Vinyasa Krama modified Intermediate this morning. (Reminder: Back injury/strain above right hip that's hindering forward bends).

The Vinyasa Krama Sun salutation has a squat after the forward bend before kicking the legs back onto chaturanga so in my Ashtanga Sury's I went for a very shallow forward bend, all hips, 'till my fingertips touched the mat then squatted and carried on through and then doing the same in reverse for the exit.

Side bends are not problem and the prasaritas are all hips anyway. In UHP I just took my leg higher so less of a bend forward. Ardha baddha Padmottanasana is my secret weapon, the arm wrapped around my back allows me to bend all the way forward and comeback up again without putting any strain on my back.

Pasasana was OK just but I still a little stiff and approached it with a lot of caution seems OK, same with Krounchasana.

Took a detour through the Vinyasa krama Bow sequence as it's a nice gentle build up to Ustrasana, Laghu and Kapo, 'though it includes Viparita Salabhasana and Gandha B but for some reason backbends feel fine, Kapo was nice and deep.

Carried on through 2nd to Ardha matsyendrasana then cut out all the 'Leg behind head' and tittibhasana poses. Instead I took another Vinyasa Krama detour through some Asymmetric poses, maha mudra and ardha badha padma paschimottanasana vinyasa then added a long baddha konasana and some Kandasana work to make up for the missed LBH hip openers.

Karanda was fine, mayurasana fine and one of my best ever Vatyasana's very straight stable and tall in the pose, go figure.

Again side bends are fine so no problem with Parighasana

Missed out on Supta urdhava pada vajrasana, probably would have been OK with the arm bind for support but decided to be cautious, was a bit sweaty and didn't want to risk losing my grip on my toe and lose the supportive bind at the wrong moment.

Seven deadlies (headstands) were no problem, nor were the dropbacks, in fact finishing is OK, inverted forward bends seem fine although halasana and karna pindasana aren't as deep as usual.

Then of course Pranayama and Meditation which I appreciate even more because they're unaffected by injuries although I suppose a simple cold will play havoc with your pranayama.

So a nice practice, no real problems, easy to modify where necessary and just felt like a pretty regular Intermediate think I'll stick with it for now with just a modified Primary on Friday.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Injury watch and Why yoga?

I added a twee line to the previous post yesterday,

' Injury doesn't prevent you practicing yoga, just a few asana (though some of those might be your favourites)'.

There's pithy for ya.

So Injury doesn't prevent us practicing yoga but our response to injury often does. Either we decide to give up on practice altogether until the injury goes away or we go through a modified practice frustrated, resentful, depressed, either way that ain't yoga.

Not that I'm going to get into what yoga is or isn't here, though Govinda Kai did tweet this week that we should Question what yoga is everyday. Still with the ontic, rather than the ontological, sigh!

To give him the benefit of the doubt it's probably just pragmatics and favouring a pithy way to frame the tweet. By questioning what yoga is everyday I'm sure he means us to question it's ontic status as well, is yoga a what or a more ontological how, talking the being of yoga here rather than how as in methodology. Perhaps we should be questioning how it is that there is yoga at all, that such a disposition was sought, encountered. Did the first yogi remember for a moment that he, along with the rest of us had forgotten that he/we had forgotten something and for a moment felt a little less homeless. Of course, alternatively, we could just DO and hope for the best what we're doing is.

Some philosophers argue that the only philosophical question worth bothering with is what is philosophy? and that newbie Philosophe should ask that very question everyday. They would wouldn't they, ontic questions keep linguistic philosophers in work, books and thesis. I prefer Why is philosophy and by extension why is yoga, ask that one everyday and see where it gets you. Why yoga? ( and I dont mean why are you doing yoga, just why yoga).

But I digress, back to injury watch...

Quite interesting actually, an opportunity. Hey, anyone who practices yoga for a week and a half wants to be a yoga teacher right, and as such you'll have students with injuries, your own injury is good training.

I'm lucky though in that I have my Vinyasa Krama practice as well as Ashtanga, Vinyasa Krama loves injuries, heck it's almost it's raison d'être. Lots of vinyasa (variations) to postures to address injuries or work around them. Good to remember here too that both Krishnamacharya and Jois would supposedly us alternative postures or variations to help students with injuries, Vinyasa Krama was their knowledge bank.

Also I practice at home so I have a lot of freedom to take my time and explore my way through and around the injury. I'm sure experienced teachers are wonderful at helping their students with their injuries in the shalas but I can imagine said students often feel a bit of a bother and an imposition, injury guilt, however much they're told that's why the teacher is there and welcomes the break from the monotony.

Good Vipassana, practice too, lots of noticing.

I've rambled, this is getting long and I want to get the Sunday paper, Egypt you know. So a series of posts for a while perhaps, titled Injury watch, on dealing with whatever this is that's preventing me, not from practicing yoga but from just bending forward.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Yoga injury?

Epiphany for the day: Injury doesn't prevent you practicing yoga, just a few asana (though some of those might be your favourites).

I think I have a yoga injury, I feel so proud, one of the IN crowd at last.

At least I think it's a yoga injury, kind of. It seems to be the return of something I did a couple of months ago in the snow. I was pushing my bike, it slipped, I tried to grab it and twisted my back while half bent, twisting, stumbling.

Practice the following morning I found I couldn't easily bend forward, luckily it was Vinyasa Krama that morning and I managed to adapt the practice, work around it rather than just cut out half of Primary or 2nd. Bending forward seems to have been the problem, bound I was OK as my arm around my back seemed to give my back some support. Lowering down into an inverted forward bend was OK too as were backbends.

Anyway it got better, it passed.

Last week I had that amazing Vinyasa Krama Asymmetric/seated sequence practice thatI mentioned, effortlessly folding into the deepest paschimottanasana like a tortilla. It felt so good I stayed for ten minutes and did the same in spread angle vinyasas. Felt fine but was a little stiff next morning and I've noticed I've been a little stiff ever since and this week that the stiffness was pain, a lot of pain.

I worked around it for a while but it never seemed to go away, this week I decided to cowboy up and try and work through it, Ashtanga primary all week. Stiff, painful forward bends at first but I was managing to get some heat going and I kind of loosened up... until the following morning when I would have to go through it all again.

This morning in the first Sury I was reminded of that first video I posted once of when I first started Ashtanga, hardly able to touch my shins. I got to the marichi's this morning and though Sod it, enough is enough and switched to Intermediate series minus the leg behind head postures. Backbends it seems are fine.

So if I assume it's the same as I had before I just need to take it easy for a couple of weeks, bound or inverted forward bends only and backbend sequences. Oh well, had though I'd do primary for a month guess it will have to be a VK modified 2nd instead.

Less asana more Pranayama and perhaps Claudia's two 60 minute Vipassana sessions a day.

and where DID I find those Epsom salts on ebay....

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Combinations

My New year, as far as practice goes, tends to start around February/March. We were Burgled in February 2007 and I took up meditation as a response, Vipassana after hearing a podcast, rather than the Zen I had explored years before. A month later I took up yoga, the book from the library just happened to be Ashtanga.

So Vipassana and Ashtanga by accident, on a whim, a jerk reaction...

Somehow that doesn't seem quite right, doesn't seem to explain it. I've practiced pretty much everyday since (was never really one for rest days), getting up in the early mornings, in the dark and sweating buckets over a couple of hours. Mostly I've practiced twice a day, yoga in the morning, meditation in the evening and probably a little extra asana practice in the evening as well. And of course this isn't just me, I'm sure for most of us it's the same, one day a friend drags you along to a class or you pick up a book and then began to practice everyday, every morning.

On a whim, an accident, a jerk reaction....

So perhaps it's not a whim perhaps the guru within has been whispering for a while, kind of like the nutritionist within that gives you a craving for fruit, a better diet one morning.

And perhaps it wasn't an accident. For me it had to be Ashtanga, I've looked at other styles of yoga since and though I love Vinyasa Krama now it wouldn't have been right for me at the time, I needed something extreme, full on, to build the discipline.

And I keep coming back to Ashtanga despite everything that irritates and frustrates me, the contradictions and occasional absurdities, some of which I've no doubt contributed to ( sorry), for all the nonsense and pretensions it's still a beautiful practice that just seems to suit me. Perhaps because I used to run through Kata every morning in my martial art days or used to like gladiator movies and am drawn to the basic, shorts and mat simplicity, perhaps I just like to fly, either way it doesn't seem such an accident that it's ashtanga, that it's still ashtanga.

I'd titled this post 'Combinations', it was supposed to be about how I struggle to find the right combination between Ashtanga, Vinyasa Krama, Vipassana, Pranayama, how best to structure an ever growing practice, which to do in the morning and which the evening. How to work 90 minutes of Ashtanga, an hour of Vinyasa Krama, forty minutes of Pranayama and and fifty minutes Vipassana into my day let alone chanting and reading. Which gets cut back or sacrificed... typical housholder problem. However, the post seems to take a different direction,

...an accident?

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Daylight Primary and loving my lotus,

Wrapped up with chores this morning so a late practice. Felt the day getting away from me so went for a straight, no nonsense, Primary, first in a couple of weeks ( See previous post) as I've been practicing Vinyasa Krama sequences every morning.

Strange practicing in the afternoon, in daylight, it's still dark here in the mornings so felt a bit weird. Warmer though, heating on, a space heater and the sun coming through the blinds, ujaii cranked up to the max enabling me to get a sweat on, nice practice actually.

I've had a bit of an ache in my back the last few days, seems to be the same place as a couple of months back from when I fell off my bike, perhaps there's a weakness there, not sure why it's come back as practice has been pretty tame, though some deep forward bends. Anyway, been babysitting it a bit in my VK practice, working around it a lot, adding binds in the forward bends to take some of the strain off, curiously backbends are fine.

This morning or rather afternoon I just said to hell with it and cranked up the practice, five of each Sury's, half handstand jump through's, faster pace than I've practiced for a while, just kind of powered through the aches and it seems to have worked, feel much better for it now.

Difficult to know when to babysit the aches and when to cowboy up and practice through them rather than work around.

Somehow Ashtanga seems to marry better with my Vipassana practice, why is that I wonder, perhaps because I associate Japa mantra meditation with Vinyasa Krama or just something about how I practice Ashtanga. In Vinyasa Krama my focus on the breath and bandhas is very strong, it dominates the practice somewhat. In Ashtanga the breath, bandhas, drishti.... all seem to merge into each other, in to that pendulum movement, I think it's the movement that dominates my practice as opposed to the stillness, the inhabiting of asana in Vinyasa Krama.

Just my own personal experience, yours is different perhaps.

Have the urge to practice Primary for a month, pretend I'm in Mysore, or up to and including Karandavasana and pretend it's Rolf's.

Talking of vipassana, loving my lotus at the moment. Perhaps it's all the hip opener work I've been doing but for the last few months my lotus has been becoming more and more comfortable. They say it doesn't matter how you sit, on a cushion, bench, half, full lotus, tailor position or even lying down but there's a reason those old monks favour full lotus, it feels ruddy marvelous, just love to sit at the moment.

All that asana, supposedly just to help you sit for an hour or two at a time, well it seems to have done it's job. That said, though I can sit comfortably for an hour, I still feel it when I unfold, that left knee ( the one operated on ) will probably never be perfect.

Friday, 4 February 2011

One Primary in a fortnight

Just noticed that I seem to have stopped practicing Ashtanga. It's Friday, should have done my Primary, Django Reinhardt could have counted on his left hand how many Friday primary practices I've missed since I started Ashtanga. I just seem to have drifted away from it.

Working on those Vinyasa Krama practice sheets made me want to try them out so I did the Supine sequence Sunday the 23rd then it was a core asana VK practice on Monday, Lotus sequence Tuesday, Seated on Wednesday and Thursday then the Primary with the Sharath CD last Friday. That was followed by Bow sequence Saturday, the long Supine routine on Sunday and since then a long Asymmetric and seated sequence all this week. All of these sequences have been sandwiched between Tadasana/standing and Inversions followed by generous helpings of Pranayama and meditation.

At some point last week I remember thinking that I would do Primary on Friday and Intermediate on Saturday for detox purposes and stick with Vinyasa krama sequences the rest of the week as if it was my 3rd but that seems to have gone by the wayside, tomorrow I'll most likely practice Bow and Meditative sequences for the backbend focus.

Oh well, no doubt I'll drift back to it sometime, in the summer perhaps. Enjoying my practice so much at the the moment though, practicing from 5:30 to 8:00, long slow meditative practice almost hard to see where the Asana ends and pranayama begins.

Monday I had the most amazing Paschimottanasana, I'd practiced Tadasana some Sury's and standing postures as usual then the full Asymmetric sequence before going into my paschi. I just seem to fold into it like a tortilla, usually you work yourself into it right, but I was as deep as I ever go, and effortlessly, stayed for the full ten minutes. the rest of the week I've been pretty much doing the same practice to try and recapture that paschi.


Update on the beautiful new Godin guitar I mentioned buying at the weekend, seems the chinchilla likes the sound, Nietzsche' has been sitting on my knee while I practice in the evenings ( picture above).

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

from Thus spake Krishnamacharya inc. Jumping back as a Kriya?

Yesterday I posted Ramaswami's February 2011 newsletter in full. In one section he mentions how Krishnamacharya would, at times, dictate some of his articles. The passage below is from one of these these ( 1967) that Ramaswami translates, it concerns Vinyasa Krama practice. I thought it might be useful to present the different points made about the practice in a more easily referable format. I've tried to separate it up into different points, the italics (mine) seem to expand on the numbered point.

Of particular interest to the Ashtangis might be where Krishnamacharya mentions Plavana as a Kriya ( see points 9, 10 and 16 below). Plavana might be translated as flying or floating. Here he mentions lifting up out of an asana and stretching the legs back and forth before bringing the legs back in and lowering but it seems likely that this would also cover the jump back and jump through that is so familiar to Mysore Ashtanga practice.

Jump back as a a kriya, interesting, no?

The full newsletter can be found under yesterdays post or HERE on Ramaswami's Vinyasa Krama site.

'Now let me give a comprehensive treatment of practice krama of yoga...

There are several essential factors that should be kept in view by both the yogabhyasi and the teacher.

1. The student, as instructed by the teacher should check the quality of recaka and puraka (exhalation and inhalation).

Are there any obstructions in the airways? It is mainly because asanas unaided or synchronized with breathing are of no use. For instance, the teacher and the student should check the number of matras (measure of time) the breath takes while inhaling, exhaling. If there is considerable difference in these durations, the teacher should first ask the abhyasi to practice controlled rechaka-puraka even prior to the practice of asanas.

2. Then one should start practicing asanas as per instructions.

There are many asanas--sitting, standing, supine, prone, lying on the sides— there are thus many starting positions. Further there are upside down positions, like Sarvangasana.

3. If the students has a good well proportioned body the teacher can teach the inversions, Sarvangasana and Sirsasana even in the beginning of study.

And such a person should also possess very long and smooth inhalations and exhalations. Further he should learn to maintain the inhalations and exhalations of even duration. If one does 8 to 10 recaka-purakas in sirsasana, then one should practice sarvangasana for the same number of recaka-puraka and of the same duration.

4. Sarvangasana and sirsasana are like the two eyes of yogabhyasa.

These help to maintain “bodily freedom” (sariraswatantriyam) The various vinyasas of these poses also have similar effects. Only by these two poses the acuity of the senses and capacity of the lungs increase. Even as Sarvangasana is an essential pose for persons with heart ailment, it should be done with the help and involvement of the teacher/trainer. While teaching Sarvangasana to such persons, the teacher should stand behind the trainee and at the end of each exhalation should gently nudge the trainee's back a little forward and hold for a second. After about a month's such practice, the trainer should check the strength of recaka, the general health or growth of the body the duration of recaka-puraka and then if they are good should help the trainee stay for about a minute or so. Thereafter the abhyasi should be given rest. If one has some ailment the posture should be repeated two or three times. For instance to an asthmatic doing even half a dozen breaths in Sarvangasana will be difficult. So the trainee should make the abhyasi practice at least 12 breaths over a number of tries. Trying to do many breaths in one go could create some chest pain and discomfort. So, with a relaxed approach in four or six tries one should do the required number of breaths. One should return to the lying down position slowly. The same will apply to obese people while learning sarvangasana, they should be taught the asanas with a lot of care. In this manner the teacher and taught should learn to remain in an asana for several minutes without any doubts about the pose. With sarvangasana and sirsasana other asanas like paschimatanasana, purvatanasana, chatushpada peetam; Parvatasana, vajrasana, Bhujangasana etc can also be practiced.

5. When one starts to learn Yoga, in the beginning the duration of practice can be as little as 15 to 20 minutes.

One can gradually increase the duration. The teacher should check the breath every day and then increase the duration of practice.

6. Whatever be the posture, if one could stay for a long time without the limbs going to sleep (or numb) or any pain or discomfort then such a practitioner is known as jitasana (the conqueror/master of an asana).

While staying in an asana one should not unnecessarily shake the body, bend or contort or move and if one can stay for hours then such a yogi is a jitasana. We learn from the works and sayings of yogis that in the olden days the rishis, every day would remain in any one asana for three hours and do pranayama and meditation. Then if the yogi is able to remain doing long inhalation, exhalation and kumbhaka without feeling any kind of fatigue and for a long period of time such a person would be called “Jitaprana” or Jitaswasa, or one who has conquered the breath.

7. Remaining in a posture and gazing at one's favorite (ishta) icon and experiencing a feeling of bliss is called “trataka”.

It is of two types, anta and bahi. To gaze at an outside object like an icon is external trataka. Closing one's eyes and 'imaging' the object internally and continually focusing attention in between the eyebrows is the antah(r)trataka or internal gazing. One can practice this between one to ten minutes.

8. In the yogasana practice it is good to include a Mudra as well everyday.

Mahamudra and Shanmukhi mudra may be done.

9. Further one should do a kriya called plavana (jumping/stretching).

For instance, remaining in the same place after a particular asana practice, one may place the palms on the floor, lift the body and then stretch the legs one by one. Then in recaka one should bend the leg and in puraka return to the floor If one stays in an asana for a long time, the muscles could slightly cramp and the plavana would help restore the muscles attain normal tone.

10. The yogabhyasi should practice asana, pranayama, mudra and kriya together even from the beginning.

Only then all the benefits mentioned for the varied asanas will accrue. Likewise if one by Pranayama becomes known as Jitaswasa, and then by meditation is able to conquer the mind such a yogi is known as jitamanaska. All the three are necessary.

11. One should practice the same duration for both asana and pranayama and then twice the duration for dhyana or meditation.

12. In the olden days the sages did yoga on three occasions everyday, at dawn, noon and dusk.

13. The time and regulation in Kumbhaka are essential.

14. With regulated time,one should practice all aspects of yoga, like asana, kriyas, pranayama and mudra.

One should do a few asanas that one enjoys doing for about 15 mts and then do the pratikriyas or counter poses. For instancee one may do 15 mts of sirsasana followed by 15 mts of sarvangasana,. Or perhaps 15 mts of viparita dandasana followed by 15 mts of uttana mayurasana.

15. Asanas like sirasasana done while the body trembles or unsteady will not be beneficial.

Done correctly, it helps to maintain prana in sushuna. Without proper practice one will not get faith in Yoga, nor will one get the benefits mentioned in the sastras.

16. One should know the kriyas (like plavana) and there is a relationship bertween asanas and plavana (jumping/stretching) kriya.

17. As mentioned earlier, one should bring under control the body by asana, with recaka kumbhaka the prana and by meditation or dhyana the mind.

For dhyana it may beuseful to choose a charming icon'

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

February 2011 Newsletter from Srivatsa Ramaswami—Thus Spake Sri T Krishnamacharya


For most people January is a very busy month. They work hard to put in
place a schedule to implement their New Year Resolutions. Admissions
to Yogic schools, Music schools, gymns show increased activity before
stabilizing at more realistic levels in later months. For me this
January was very sedate. I was forced to cool my heels, awaiting an
elusive appearance in a local court in Chennai, India. But I used this
enforced idleness to rummage through my old small book almirah here in
Chennai, which contains a few notebooks of the notes I had taken
during my studies with Sri Krishnamacharya. Some of them were as old
as the 1960 and as late as 1980s. I also was able to lay my hands on
old copies of the Tamizh version of Yoga Makaranda, the Kannada book
titled Yogasanagalu and two tiny albums of my Guru doing asanas, I
think in his 80s which he had given to me. It was refreshing visiting
those notes again. Some of them were in the form of dictated articles
by him. Some are not very linear but still informative. I thought I
could translate one of them—it deals with tow topics. It is as
follows, which was dictated to me during December 1967.

Thus spake Sri T Krishnamacharya

Several acharyas from the South of India have written about Ashtanga
Yoga under difficult circumstances. However, many of the highly
practical works of these acharyas were destroyed by people not
belonging to the orthodox vedic disposition.

Adi Sankara wrote three texts on Yoga. He wrote a text called “Yoga
Bashya Vivarana” as a commentary to the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. When
he was busy writing these outstanding works and teaching/preaching, he
faced many obstacles, like being set fire to his hands, by his
detractors. But just 30 years old, he created a divine work called,
“karavalamba stotra”, a prayer to Lord Lakshmi Narasimha and got his
hands restored and thereafter wrote some works on sushumna nadi. Then
when he was barely 32, he decided that he need not live in this world
any longer and became a complete recluse (vairagya). He also taught
the right path (sanmarga) to 500 of his students.Then due to his
enormous yogic powers, he effortlessly left his mortal body and
attained his true swarupa or form/status. Before that he called five
of his important students and taught his work, called “dasa avatara
stotra (work on ten avataras of the Lord) , on Paravasudeva. Then he
told them that only the worship of the Lord will help them get
released from samsara bandha (bondage of repeated births).

It is found that many successive great heads of Sankara Mutts
established by Sankara have not shown much earnestness in the matter
of Ashtanga yoga. But, due to the grace of God, the Advaita Ashram
that was dear to Adisankara and also quite wellknown viz., the
Sringeri Mutt had Sri Narasimha Bharati as the head. His leadership at
the Mutt was helpful in the propagation of Yoga. His disciple and
successor, the well known Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati was my dear
friend. We practiced Yoga together in Bangalore Sankara Mutt for some
time.

Now let me explain the works and observances of (Vaishnava) Yogis
like Parankucha Muni, Nathamuni and Vyamana Muni.

Parankusamuni, Satakopa, Nammalwar are the different names of the same
Yogi. The work that he did on Yoga was “Yoga Tatwa”. His propagation
of Yoga under the patronage of the Chola king was important. “By this
Yoga, the cool grace of Lord Sriman Narayana will become a protective
shield to your dynasty” said the sage. “ However if you violate the
dharma (apachara), the same power of yoga will prove to be a killer
sword for your dynasty” warned the sage. It is known that subsequently
the Chola dynasty lost a lot of its luster due to certain adharmic
activities of the ruling class.

There are twelve topics covered in “YogaTatwa”. Why did the
compassionate Lord create the world that tends towards sin
(papa).Having created it, why did the Lord create groups that force
people to follow the path of adharma? He is the Lord of everyone, but
why does He create opportunities for some to follow the path of
adhrma? Is it proper? As the text discusses these immensely weighty
issues and also solutions to them, it is called “Yoga Tatwa”. It is
our duty to explain and propagate these great secrets for the benefit
of the world. Sri Satakopa Muni for the benefit of the great souls
along the Tamraparani river wrote the first chapter himself.

The famous three munis wrote nine works. Once, Sri Nathamuni while
resting in a state of Samadhi had the vision of Parankusa Muni in his
dream. In that state he learnt many secrets of Yoga from Parankusa.
The essence of that teaching was the famous Nathamuni'sYoga Rahasya.
In this text, not only the routine Yoga principles are discussed but
also methods treatment of diseases or Yoga chikitsakramas.

The third of the trio was Yamunacharya. He wrote several works, but
four were famous. viz.,
Agamapramanam, Iswarasiddhi, Sampathsiddhi and Yoga chulakam. They
give instructions for easy practice of Yoga. The source books for the
works of these great sages were the Bhagavat Gita, the eleventh skanda
(section) of the Srimad Bhagavata. Uddava-Sri Krishna Dialogues,
several Upanishads, Yoga Yagnyavalkya Samhita, Sri Rahasya, Yogasana
Mahodadhi and many others. For Sri Nathamuni his parents and
grandparents the most important and dear Yoga text appears to be Yoga
Yagnyavalkya Samhita and also the Gita and the 11th section of the
Bhagavata. Discussing about the wonders of God's will, he talks about
issues like should lay people be taught to practice yoga and similar
issues in considerable detail. Many yogis of the present time, with
high ahanta(ego), I should say without any fear, have not had the good
fortune of reading Sri Nathamuni's yoga works and other supporting
texts.

Now let me give a comprehensive treatment of practice krama of yoga

There are several essential factors that should be kept in view by
both the yogabhyasi and the teacher. The student, as instructed by the
teacher should check the quality of recaka and puraka (exhalation and
inhalation). Are there any obstructions in the airways? It is mainly
because asanas unaided or synchronized with breathing is of no use.
For instance, the teacher and the student should check the number of
matras (measure of time) the breath takes while inhaling, exhaling. If
there is considerable difference in these durations, the teacher
should first ask the abhyasi to practice controlled rechaka-puraka
even prior to the practice of asanas.

Then one should start practicing asanas as per instructions. There are
many asanas--sitting, standing, supine, prone, lying on the sides—
there are thus many starting positions. Further there are upside down
positions, like Sarvangasana. If the students has good well
proportioned body the teacher can teach the inversions, Sarvangasana
and Sirsasana even in the beginning of study. And such a person
should also possess very long and smooth inhalations and exhalations.
Further he should learn to maintain the inhalations and exhalations of
even duration. If one does 8 to 10 recaka-purakas in sirsasana, then
one should practice sarvangasana for the same number of recaka-puraka
and of the same duration. Sarvangasana and sirsasana are like the two
eyes of yogabhyasa. These help to maintain “bodily
freedom” (sariraswatantriyam)The various vinyasas of these poses also
have similar effects. Only by these two poses the acuity of the senses
and capacity of the lungs increase. Even as Sarvangasana is an
essential pose for persons with heart ailment, it should be done with
the help and involvement of the teacher/trainer. While teaching
Sarvangasana to such persons, the teacher should stand behind the
trainee and at the end of each exhalation should gently nudge the
trainee's back a little forward and hold for a second. After about a
month's such practice, the trainer should check the strength of
recaka, the general health or growth of the body the duration of
recaka-puraka and then if they are good should help the trainee stay
for about a minute or so. Thereafter the abhyasi should be given rest.
If one has some ailment the posture should be repeated two or three
times. For instance to an asthmatic doing even half a dozen breaths in
Sarvangasana will be difficult. So the trainee should make the abhyasi
practice atleast 12 breaths over a number of tries. Trying to do many
breaths in one go could create some chest pain and discomfort. So,
with a relaxed approach in four or six tries one should do the
required number of breaths. One should return to the lying down
position slowly. The same will apply to obese people while learning
sarvangasana, they should be taught the asanas with a lot of care. In
this manner the teacher and taught should learn to remain in an asana
for several minutes without any doubts about the pose. With
sarvangasana and sirsasana other asanas like paschimatanasana,
purvatanasana, chatushpada peetam; Parvatasana, vajrasana,
Bhujangasana etc can also br practiced.

When one starts to learn Yoga, in the beginning the duration of
practice can be as little as 15 to 20 minutes. One can gradually
increase the duration. The teacher should check the breath every day
and then increase the duration of practice. Whatever be the posture,
if one could stay for a long time without the limbs going to sleep (or
numb) or any pain or discomfort then such a practitioner is known as
jitasana (the conqueror/master of an asana.) While staying in an asana
one should not unnecessarily shake the body, bend or contort or move
and if one can stay for hours then such a yogi is a jitasana. We learn
from the works and sayings of yogis that in the olden days the rishis,
every day would remain in any one asana for three hours and do
pranayama and meditation. Then if the yogi is able to remain doing
long inhalation, exhalation and kumbhaka without feeling any kind of
fatigue and for a long period of time such a person would be called
“Jitaprana” or Jitaswasa, or one who has conquered the breath.

Remaining in a posture and gazing at one's favorite (ishta) icon and
experiencing a feeling of bliss is called “trataka”. It is of two
types, anta and bahi. To gaze at an outside object like an icon is
external trataka. Closing one's eyes and 'imaging' the object
internally and continually focusing attention in between the eyebrows
is the antah(r)trataka or internal gazing. One can practice this
between one to ten minutes.

In the yogasana practice it is good to include a Mudra as well
everyday. Mahamudra and Shanmukhi mudra may be done. Further one
should do a kriya called plavana (jumping/stretching). For instance,
remaining in the same place after a particular asana practice, one may
place the palms on the floor, lift the body and then stretch the legs
one by one . Then in recaka one should bend the leg and in puraka
return to the floor If one stays in an asana for a long time, the
muscles could slightly cramp and the plavana would help restore the
muscles attain normal tone. The yogabhyasi should practice asana,
pranayama, mudra and kriya together even from the beginning. Only then
all the benefits mentioned for the varied asanas will accrue. Likewise
if one by Pranayama becomes known as Jitaswasa, and then by meditation
is able to conquer the mind such a yogi is known as jitamanaska. All
the three are necessary. One should practice the same duration for
both asana and pranayama and then twice the duration for dhyana or
meditation. In the olden days the sages did yoga on three occasions
everyday, at dawn, noon and dusk. The time and regulation in Kumbhaka
are essential. With regulated time,one should practice all aspects of
yoga, like asana, kriyas, pranayama and mudra. One should do a few
asanas that one enjoys doing for about 15 mts and then do the
pratikriyas or counter poses. For instancee one may do 15 mts of
sirsasana followed by 15 mts of sarvangasana,. Or perhaps 15 mts of
viparita dandasana followed by 15 mts of uttana mayurasana.

Asanas like sirasasana done while the body trembles or unsteady will
not be beneficial. Done correctly, it helps to maintain prana in
sushuna. Without proper practice one will not get faith in Yoga, nor
will one get the benefits mentioned in the sastras. One should know
the kriyas (like plavana) and there is a relationship bertween asanas
and plavana(jumping/stretching) kriya. As mentioned earlier, one
should bring under control the body by asana, with recaka kumbhaka the
prana and by meditation or dhyana the mind. For dhyana it may be
useful to choose a charming icon

*******

Anthony Hall has been writing periodically about Vinyasa Krama in
depth in his popular blogs
He has several video clips of asana practice including picture
posters of all the Vinyasa Krama sequences. Thank you very much Tony
for your kind efforts and contribution—labour of love or love of
labour (karma Yoga). I am also thankful to Wyatt Denny, Barry
Wadsworth and Christopher Rahlwes, among others for their
contributions in writing/pictures/videos about Vinyasakrama.

Salil Ganeriwal from Hyderabad sent me a video of the talk on Yoga
for Health I gave at his nice studio. I also have a couple of videos
taken at Esalen—a talk on yoga and a lecture on Yogasutras. I do not
know if it is possible to load an hour long video (for free of course)
in any accessible site.

There are now about 1000 members in this group and most have attended
some program or the other conducted by me—a lecture, a weekend
workshop, a weeklong training program, a 200 hour five week long
teacher training program or private lessons.. I would like to renew my
request to all to do a short video of some subroutine they like, say,
Marichyasana, Vrukshasana dingnamaskara,virabhadrasana, (done slowly
and with the correct smooth long breathing) or any other, load it on a
friendly website and let me know and I can share the information in
the next newsletter. Think about it please, or better still do it

******
I hope you may find this teaching of Sri Krishnamacharya useful.
Please send your comments and suggestions to info@vinyasakrama.com.
You may refer to the earlier newsletters and articles by visiting my
website
and opening the newsletter tab.

With best wishes
Sincerely
Srivatsa Ramaswami

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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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