Nice thing about having a blog is that you get the chance use the posts as a way of looking back over the year. Annoyingly blogger won't let me invert the full list and allow me to start with January so I thought I'd pick out a couple of posts to highlight month by month.
Two Mysore dreams.... or was that three UPDATED
It concerns a couple of dreams I had in January 2012 about visiting Mysore in January 2013, next month in fact. Funnily enough I ended up deciding, emphatically, that it wasn't for me ( bit embarrassed by the update now) but here I am this week musing again, this time about January 2014. No matter what, I seem to end up hanging my practice, at times quite loosely, on a pretty standard Ashtanga ...ish framework. I might explore lengthening the breath or developing the vinyasa krama's inherent in the sequences or build a more integrated practice around it perhaps but at the core there are still those same Yogasanagalu/Yoga mala Ashtanga postures, the focus on breath, fo linking the breath with the movement, bandhas, a focused drishti. It seems to make sense to quietly visit Mysore one year or other, if the opportunity arises, and see what it holds for me.
My Current practice keeps getting updated in the post below. I need to add something on my plans for the new year to explore lengthening the breath throughout 2nd series in a similar way to how I've been approaching Primary over the last few months.
Developing a home practice parts 28, 29 and 30 (.....
Current Practice Original Ashtanga / Ashtanga / Vi...
I remember I thought about giving up on the blog at the beginning of the year but decided against it.
Deleting a blog
It always seems to be the way but whenever I think about quitting blogging I end up posting more than ever, over three hundred posts again this year. In fact, the plan remained, for much of the year, to call it a day once Satya finished the Yogasanagalu translation, thankfully the last chapter has been a while in coming as I've been enjoying blogging again recently..
Besides so often we seem to stop blogging just when it gets ...interesting, when the focus shifts from the asana to exploring around the asana or even new ways of perceiving, tyhinking about, asana. I'm not sure I can do that justice but do want to stick with it for a while and see what comes up.
The blog seemed to have served it's purpose. I'd originally wanted to record my practice as I began to work at new postures etc, catch the moment, perhaps on video, when I first nailed a particularly tricky posture or transition. I always figured that was something relatively unique (at the time anyway), a completely different perspective from showing or teaching a posture that your comfortable with ( there were plenty of videos of perfect postures and jump backs etc). I've thought about doing some new jump back posts but I won't be able to capture again what it was exactly that seemed, at the time anyway, to make the difference. When I jump back now I think lift and up I go. I can try and break down what I think I'm doing and that can be useful too but then there are lots of excellent teachers out there doing that who do it better than I ever could. Same with kapo, dropping back etc, I can give you a list of things that work for me now but I find it hard to remember (without looking back through the blog) what seemed to make the most difference at the time.
So a lot less videos of my practice this year, not a bad thing perhaps. I mentioned a posture to a friend recently, she wasn't familiar with the name I was using so googled it and ended up with an old video of mine, thrusting my hips up into the air in nothing but a pair of Nike pros's. Now that always seemed fine in the context of the blog, the Vinyasa krama sequences I was showing but out of context, winced a little.
Here's a run through then of some of my favourite posts of the year or at least those I think are perhaps most, if not important, then relevant. Of course at the beginning of every month there's also Ramaswami's newsletters which are always rewarding to take another look at.
I'm glad I did continued with the blog because it was in January that Nancy Gilgoff generously shared the 1974 original Ashtanga Syllabus.
Dear Nancy... ' Yoga as it was" Nancy Gilgoff arti...
That led to a series of posts on The Rishi Sequence. David Williams supposedly asked Pattabhi Jois what came next after Advanced series and Guruji came back with the Rishi series, ten postures held for something like fifty breaths. Perhaps it was a joke but Manju Jois did say in a interview that his father would stay in postures for a long time. Iyengar of course has extended stays in postures and just recently I've been reading some Prashant Iyengar where he explores the spiritual possibilities of asana, suggesting perhaps long stays. Either way I explored the idea in a series of posts, testing which asana of Primary and Intermediate a long stay of 25-50 breaths seemed possible and/or beneficial. the link below is to the series of posts that i keep at the top of the blog.
I also uploaded my Vinyasa Krama practice book to Amazon for the Kindle app. This was basically a stand alone companion to Ramaswami Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga. The idea was to give a more user friendly, quick reference, layout of the Vinyasa Krama sequences, as well as hints, tips and cautions for most of the asana and subroutines that I'd picked up through writing the blog. It was 'published' in a bit of a rush when I was off work sick and in serious need of revision, if not a complete rewrite. Still, I kind of have a soft spot for it. The practice sheets don't work so well on the original kindle but are kind of OK on the Kindle app for iPad or you PC/Mac. Come to think of it they probably work OK on the new kindle.
My Vinyasa Yoga Practice Book now on Kindle
I also submitted this before and after post to Elephant Journal
Hey NYT, my body was pretty much wrecked....
In February Satya Murthy and I began to translate Krishnamacharya's 1941 text Yogasanagalu. Well, not really I, it's Satya who has done all the hard work, I just post it. I believe most of the book is translated now. The asana descriptions are supposedly the same as in Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda although less of them. Satya's currently working on the extra added chapter from the later editions.
Thank you again to Satya for all the hard works. I think seeing the Asana table and how closely it resembles the Ashtanga series we know today was quite a revelation as well as the focus on the breath and a more integrated practice, especially with regards to pranayama .
The Confluence event in LA happened in February or March I forget which, but in March I transcribed much of Richard Freeman's backbending workshop from the confluence video. That had a powerful influence on my practice so much so that I booked my first workshop ever, with Richard later in the year.
Richard Freeman AYC backbending workshop transcrib...
In April I ended up teaching my first Vinyasa Krama 'lessons' or rather sharing some of Ramaswami's teaching more directly
Taught my first Vinyasa Krama Class yesterday
By May Satya had reached Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu asana table in his ongoing translation but I also posted on the 1928 Suryanamaskara of Balasahib.
Balasahib's 'original' 1928 Suya Namaskar , sun sa...
In June I posted an article on Elephant journal, had completely forgotten about this one
Am I Missing Something Vital in My Lifelong Yoga Practice? The title coming from a line in one of Ramaswami's Newsletters.
My Article on Elephant
July I went alone to Santorinin to have a kind of solo workshop focusing on Krishnamacharya's presentation of asana in Yoga makaranda and Yogasanagalu. I'd also got my hands on his Salutations to the teacher and the Eternal one which AG Mohan later released as Yoga Makaranda (Part II). Plus I wanted to do a close reading of Aranya's commentary on the Yoga Sutras
Yoga on Santorini, 80 rounds Pranayama, Manduka's ...
Another post from that month that still seems significant for my practice is the one on effulgence below
Sun salutations for Osteoarthritis of the spine
September I took the Richard Freeman Intensive in London that I mentioned earlier. It continues to have a major influence on my practice and was yet another reminder that I didn't really want to, indeed had no reason to give up on Ashtanga altogether just because my practice, or at least the shifting focus of my practice, is less conventional.
Richard freeman five day intensive Day One
I also received Salutations from another source with no preconditions about not sharing it.
Salutations to the Teacher and the Eternal One - ...
As well as the 1930's article in the French medical journal with the Krishnamacharya heart stopping/slowing experiments and translated for us by Matthieu.
Krishnamacharya 'stopping' ( or at least slowing) ...
Has one of my favourite posts of the year on Yvonne Millerand practice with Krishnamacharya in the 60's, which included some wonderful pictures. The article was also translated for us by Matthieu.
Yvonne Millerand student of Krishnamacharya in the...
Also this on mantra meditation and bringing it into the asana practice. i started with the Jesus prayer, moved on to the Loving kindness mantra and am currently using a long slow soham. Soham is tricky to keep long so i have to keep slipping into one of the others to reset.
Dharana : Mantra Meditation is the new Black
Unfortunately October was also the month that news broke concerning Kausthub Desikachar abuse allegations that I still feel strongly I was correct to post on.
Kausthub Desikachar Allegations; Recognising the ...
In November AG Mohan released his original version of the Krishnamacharya Salutations document and called it Yoga Makaranda ( Part II)
I also have a soft spot for this post on One asana One perfect breath
One asana with one perfect breath.
And so to December
I quite like this post on the evolution and influences on my own practice
Evolution of, and influences on, a practice
This one on Short arm Jump backs too and for several reasons not least of which is that this blog started out in the first post with jump Backs, amusing to find me still posting on it five years later.
Jumping back in Ashtanga with short arms, Angela J...
and this one from Yesterday on a little book by Prashant Iyengar which I hope will have a strong influence on my practice next year.
A peek into Prashant Iyengar's Chittavijana of Yog...
Other plans for next year.
I want to continue working on the long slow breathing Krishnamacharya and Jois referred to, in the context of my Ashtanga practice.Where I've been focusing on the long breath in Primary over the last couple of months, I'm thinking I want to explore it in the context of Intermediate series. I'm looking to practice a relatively standard 2nd series five days a week for the year as well as explore some of Prashant Iyengar's ideas in the context of Ashtanga and Vinyasa Krama.
Continue developing my evening Vinyasa Krama, Pranayama and Meditation practice, looking forward too to Gregor Maehle upcoming Yoga Meditation book.
I've started following AG Mohan's online yoga Sutra's series, going sutra by sutra as it does it's a good opportunity to study together some of the important commentaries side by side.
Thinking too I should do some more Vinyasa Krama teaching, love the idea of a little church hall class, taking my evening Vinyasa Krama practice out of the home shala.
And who knows, perhaps Mysore next year. After a year of 2nd series it will be a joy perhaps to practice straight Primary again for a whole month.
So what about your year, any highlight's, important developments or shifting focus to your practice?
I also posted a couple of guest posts this year, thank you for all concerned for sharing your posts/content with us here.
Guest post: Three attendees of Richard Freeman's r...
Guest post: Comparison of Advanced series in 1974 ...
Guest post: Notes from 2012 Ashtanga Mela at Kripal...
Virtual Transmission, Visceral Practice: the Cybershala... - A section from Kiri Miller's book Playing along
Jumping back in Ashtanga with short arms, Angela J... - Not exactly a guest post but it was built around Angela Jamison's comment on an earlier post concerning jumping back with short arms.THE JAMES AND CLAUDIA KRIPALU WORKSHOP – THE DAILY... - Again, not exactly a guest post but I wanted to include it here.
So thank you for reading/visiting
Thank you too to everyone who commented this year
...or thought about it ( perhaps next time, please do even, indeed especially, if you disagree), please don't be put off by not having commented before or by thinking your perhaps too new to the practice.
....sorry about the 'I'm not a robot check',
NB. Posts older than two weeks get approved before appearing to reduce spam
...and to the spammers who make blog commenting more awkward, thanks but no thanks.
Here's the complete list of last years posts.
▼ 2012 (308)