The Blog title poster above forms part of a series of posters I made up for a book, 'Krishnamacharya's original Ashtanga Yoga', based on the public domain translation from the Tamil edition of Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda (Mysore 1934) . It's available for free on my Free Downloads page above. There is a print edition on Lulu.com ( Note: It's best to buy it in print from Lulu as I can reduce the price down almost to cost rather than on Amazon where I have less control of pricing.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Richard Freeman's Vicarious Yoga, being stopped at a posture and the hidden postures between postures.

Long title but we're off to see snow monkeys (more on that later) so need to cram the two or three posts I've had in my mind into one.

This from Richard on fb this morning, always a good reminder.

http://www.richardfreemanyoga.com/

In my review of Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor's new book The Art of Vinyasa last week I think I failed to mentioned the section on the yama and niyama's. I expected these to be discussed at length in the book but the discussion is actually quite succinct, treated beautifully actually and perhaps my favourite section in the book. I might add a couple of quotes here later.



My review  of the book here

In the book Richard and Mary stack the yamas one on top on the other, one leading to the next, all of them based perhaps on Ahimisa which is ultimately described as being nice.


"Ahiṁsā, the first of the yamas, means to not kill or harm. On a simpler level, ahiṁsā  just means to be nice.  This refers to being nice to ourselves as well as to other beings. Because of the nature of biological life, we are largely unaware of the efect of our actions on many species, so we do the best we can, seeing ourselves in all beings and acting accordingly."

It's not THAT succinct, there's a lot more.

We should always hesitate before saying 'X is all about Y 'and think perhaps of another approach but I'm going out on a limb here to suggest that Richard's teaching is all about...., ok, so much about, ahimisa, about kindness, being nice. Being kind to ourselves in our practice, be nice to ourselves and to others, compassionate, whether to those we practice beisde, those we may teach, influence, or just come in  to contact with.

My own response to Trump's win was to read Gandhi's autobiography and from Gandhi I moved to his great influence,Tolstoy and the roots of the non-violent protest movement. Tolstoy starts from the airbrushed out (he would argue) gospel precept '...do not resist evil (with evil)'. It's a tough precept to even imagine following but for Gandhi it began perhaps with not hating his the enemy but loving them, compassionate resistance 

See Tolstoy's book 'What I believe'. If you're not much a  Christian (which includes myself but it was the worldview I was born into so figure I should try and make as much sense of it as I can ) it can be a heavy read at times ( but not that heavy, it's Tolstoy after all) but there are some wonderful passages, my favourite is where Tolstoy suggests that Science is coming from the same place as church dogma. Thinking it is in rebellion against religion, science, Tolstoy argues, is based on the same view of the world, that it's pretty crap and there can be a better world. For christian dogma it's the next world, for Science perhaps a world created here by science and later by technology which takes me back to my old mate Heidegger (The Question Concerning Technology).

"However privileged science, with her philosophy, may boast of being the judge and the guide of intellect, she is, in reality, not its guide, but its slave. The view taken of the world is always prepared for her by religion; and science only works in the path assigned her by religion. Religion reveals the meaning of life, and science applies this meaning to the various phases of life. And, therefore, if religion gives a false meaning to life, science, reared in this religious creed, will apply this false meaning to the life of man.
The teaching of the church gave, as the basis of life, the right of man to perfect bliss – bliss that is to be attained, not by the individual efforts of man, but by something beyond his own control; and this view of human life became the basis of our European science and philosophy.
Religion, science, and public opinion all unanimously tell us that the life we lead is a bad one, but that the doctrine, which teaches us to endeavor to improve, and thus make our life itself better, is impracticable". Tolstoy: What i believe p41-42

That may be being unfair to science but it's a wonderful characterisation to chew over. Tolstoy argues that what we should be really doing is following who he refers to as the Greeks, the Hindus, Confucius, the Hebrews, Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus and rather than creating another world, work on learning how best to live the life we have, in the world that we have. For Tolstoy Christ gives us the key for that, do not resist evil (with evil)... ahimsa.

I was reminded of this because in the YogaGlo class of Richard's that I was following along with this morning he mentioned that in baddha konasana, for some who are flexible, folding over might be an option. For those who were blessed with being less flexible, they might follow vicarious yoga. and watch, with affection, those who can and take delight in their practice. 

Something along those lines.

Vicarious yoga 

: )

I thought this was a good lesson too for those who get tapped out of one of Sharath's led intermediate classes, vicarious yoga.

https://www.yogaglo.com
my YogaGlo review of Richard's classes here


The class was the one above, Vinyasa Wave: Pause and Reverse. I particularly enjoyed it because Richard is talking about, the un-named postures between postures. In a post a few years back (see below) I wrote about the hidden asana. How there are perhaps an infinite number of asana between one asana and the next. At any point we might stop, pause and notice that the position we are in is a posture with opposing forces and might be treated as an asana,.... that we might breathe there.

This is important I think because for many marichiyasan D, say, may not be available to us, the variations David Swenson gives us say in his book the Ashtanga manual may be considered asana themselves rather than variations. Krishnamacharya certainly saw it that way, we have only to look at all the variations of asana his long time student Ramaswami presents in his book The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga.

But also, the extra breaths we might take as we work our way towards an asana. Rather than force our way into a complex posture on the count like Marichiyasana D,  or in the class above, Baddha konasana, we can take as many breaths as we wish as we work a little close towards it (but make each breath formal, complete see my previous post). At each breath we might consider the point at which we are, an asana, a hidden asana, unnamed.... but as Richard mentions, all the best asana are unnamed.

Thinking of all these hidden postures is perhaps a way to beat ourselves up a little less, to be kinder, nicer to ourselves ( and our students), ahimisa.

*

Re the snow monkeys.

See David Attenborough's Life for the BBC. Episode 10, 8 minutes in,

Off to see the snow monkeys, long ten hour journey via local trains. 
I hope to be waving at this live-cam at 10am japan time on the 23rd Dec.

http://www.jigokudani-yaenkoen.co.jp/livecam/monkey/index.htm
I can imagine that some might be dismayed at all those tourists ( soon to be us included) giving the monkey's no privacy during there bath. 

As it happens the Monkey's used to come and stare at the locals in a hot spring further down the valley, one money eventually plucking up the nerve to try it him or herself, others followed. It was decided that the monkey's would get their own hot spring built, the one you see above.

And as David point's out in the BBC documentary, these monkeys are hierarchical, only those at the top of the pecking order get to enter the bath the others stand around shivering along with the tourists but with one might suppose somewhat less delight. Not much ahimisa among the Nihonzaru, the Japanese macaques
*

Perhaps this was the earlier post I was thinking of...


Hidden Asana: The Asana before the Asana

Notice the bhrumadhya-drishti above, one of the' vital' marma points, an internal drishti employed here during kumbhaka....another Rabbit hole

Asana having been perfected, suspension of either of the processes of drawing in external air and exhaling internal air constitutes a pranayama.(Yoga Sutra: 2.49)

Now this could mean that after perfecting ALL the asana, all 84,000 of them...

But it could also mean that after you have perfected, mastered or to use Krishnamacharya's term, become proficient in an asana you can begin to explore the suspension of the breath in the asana.

It can of course also mean both and more besides.

Is this what Krishnamacharya was up to in Yoga Makaranda (1934) with his stress on the kumbhaka's within the asana?

Uttanasana
"Following the rules for tadasana (yogasana samasthiti krama) (Figure 4.1, 4.2), stand erect. Afterwards, while exhaling the breath out slowly, bend the upper part of the body (that is, the part above the hip) little by little and place the palms down by the legs. The knees must not be even slightly bent. Raise the head upwards and fix the gaze on the tip of the nose. While doing this, draw in clean air through the nostril, hold the breath firmly and maintain this position. This is called sahitha kumbhaka...." p51 Yoga Makaranda

One of the things Krishnamacharya does a lot in Yoga Makaranda is to explore the pose before the pose, the posture before the posture.

In uttanasana above, before folding all the way down into the full expression of the posture he will raise the head up, fix the gaze and at the end of the full inhalation , suspend the breath, kumbhaka.

The asana before the asana.

And this happens a lot, in purvottanasana too, before the fold, there's the full inhalation and kumbhaka.

Paschimottanasana, the janu sirsasana's in fact any forward bend there could be another asana before the asana, no wonder there were 84,000+.

We know this of course in Ashtanga, we transition into each asana through upward and downward dog, at each stage the breath is full. In the David Robson Primary with drums I explored recently there was no escaping it, each movement, each breath for the same regular cycle of the beating of the drum.

Ashtanga Vinyasa may have misplaced Krishnamacharya's kumbhakas but we shouldn't be in such a rush to get into the next posture. Savour that preceding inhalation, milk it for all it's worth, let it lead the body whether it's helping us to stretch up off the heads of our femurs and out of our pelvis in preparation for a forward bend or perhaps in a twist, lifting and twisting with the breath opening up ever further on the chariot of Vayu.

Hint: Those tricky postures that we struggle with, 9 times out of 10 the secret is in the preceding breath, the preparation.

In exploring Yoga Makaranda I've been paying more and more attention to those preceding inhalations and their kumbhakas, staying three five, ten breaths sometimes in that posture before the posture....

the asana before the asana.

And why not, the Sanskrit vinyasa count is intended to focus attention on the inhalations and exhalations, the matching stages of the vinyasa, The count is put on hold as we move into the full expression of the asana, that's why Pattabhi Jois, Sharath, your teacher etc. switch to English to count the number of breaths you stay in the posture before picking up the Sanskrit count as you exit the asana.

There is NO reason why you shouldn't put the count on hold at any stage of the vinyasa, because each of those stages is an asana in and of itself. That's perhaps why, in Yoga Makaranda Krishnamacharya breaks down each stage of the lead in and out of an asana and treats them as stand alone asana.

You might not feel happy about exploring kumbhaka in asana but there's no reason why you can't explore a couple of extra breaths at different stages of the vinyasa. Done absentmindedly, or while distracted or in hesitation it's just faffing about...but done mindfully it's the hidden asana.


Monday, 19 December 2016

Ashtanga for (relative) beginners: Joey Miles: learning the Sanskrit names for Ashtanga Primary Series. Plus my old post on learning the Sanskrit count.

A couple of videos from Stu Girling and Purple valley with Joey Miles

I thought the first one, a call and response of the Ashtanga vinyasa Sanskrit names, an excellent idea.

Learning the names of the asana along with the vinyasa count can help maintain focus, especially in the early years.


Pattabhi Jois' son Manju has a video out that is a call and response Led class of all the names as well as the vinyasa count in the Ashtanga Primary Series. 

See this post http://grimmly2007.blogspot.jp/2013/02/manju-jois-bundle-dvd-training-manual.html

This interview seems to have been recorded around the same time as the video above.


Joey teaches at Ashtanga Yoga Leeds

There is a free Primary series chart on the website

http://www.ashtangayogaleeds.com/downloads/ashtanga-primary-series-chart-a4

UPDATE: just noticed this fb post from Stu Girling

"Sneak Peak!! 
I have been working on a on-line video based Ashtanga Primary Series Intensive with the amazing Joey Miles since April and its now beginning to come together. Designed for students that really want to explore their practice in greater depth. There are over 130 videos and the idea is it will take about 4-6 months to complete. Aiming to have it all finished in the next few weeks, so more info coming soon. Couldn't think of a better xmas pressie!!!"



***

Below, an old post of mine from 2014 on learning the sanskrit count.
which can be useful, a nice point of attention when struggling to maintain focus.


Note on the count: Think of the count as perhaps akin to the formal definition/representation of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga...., usage is something else altogether. The practice can be modified, asana dropped or replaced with a more suitable variations for you personally ( see David Swenson's Ashtanga Manual), props might be employed ( see Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor's new book The Art of Vinyasa). You can practice full vinyasa, I.E. coming back to standing after every posture or half vinyasa I.E. jumping back between postures or between sides or even perhaps between groups of asana (although you might want to introduce some form of counter pose perhaps lifting the seat up off the floor in a posture as in Vinyasa krama). You can practice a full series, half series, half Primary plus half second etc. The list of practice options is seemingly endless, yet there is much to be said for the traditional method, of building the formal practice slowly, adding on postures when it feels appropriate, sensible, to do so, employing variations perhaps, while flexibility and fitness grows.

Most important of all is the breath. Whether we know the names of the postures, the vinyasa count or the drishti (gaze), inhale and exhale calmly, fully, and keep the attention there, let the breath be a guide for whether you are doing too much or perhaps need to employ a variation, modification or employ a prop. 

If you do choose to use a prop or take extra breaths ( at any point) outside of the count make those extra breaths formal, exhale and reach for your prop, inhale as you pick it up, exhale fully, formally as you place it, if you need to get a prop from a cupboard, keep the breath the same as if you were moving through the series. The same goes for walking across the room to use the wall for your headstand, should you prefer to, make it a short walking meditation, attention on the breath, on the movement of your body as you move across the room... or to the bathroom for a loo break ( which btw can be an excellent investigation of bandhas).

One approach to learning the Ashtanga Sanskrit Vinyasa Count..... Sanskrit Numbers and Vinyasa chart with states of asana indicated plus 'meaning of asana'




John Scott recommends that we learn the Ashtanga Vinyasa count, not just Teachers but all of us, for him the count is a mantra, it focuses the mind.

"The Vinyasa Count, how did the Vinyasa Count come to mainstream Ashtanga?"

"So what happened...  In the early days of practice at the Lakshmipuram Shala (the original Mysore Self-Practice), we didn't know what Guruji was saying or meaning when he directed to us "Catvari!". We thought "Catvari" meant 'jump back', because Guruji would say "catvari - jump back". So we took that translation as 'jump back'. We took 'Panca' as upward facing dog. We took 'Sat' as downward facing dog, 'sapta' as jump through - We thought 'Sapta' meant jump through! 

It took us to Wake UP! To begin listening! To realise Guruji was actually counting in Sanskrit -4,5,6,7.
So it took a little student research to start the enquiry into Vinyasa. What did vinyasa actually mean.

Guruji called vinyasa "Counted Method" .

When my good friend Lino Miele was in France and witnessed Guruji counting the whole class through as One, he saw it all come together, and he took this counting on as a research project to document the Vinyasa.  Lucy and I became involved with Lino's project and became very much part of Lino's book. From that point onwards I made it my focus to learn Guruji's Vinyasa Count.

In Guruji's own book 'Yoga Mala' referring to the practice as a mala, a garland of postures, he refers to every posture having a 'State' and every state or 'Asana' has a specific number of counted vinyasa to enter and exit all choreographed to the Breath.
"The Vinyasa are all like beads, Choreographed breath/body movements, all to be counted and meditated on and it is the students requirement to learn this Counted method as a mantra for their own personal practice"
John Scott, Winter, 2013 Stillpointyoga London

So it doesn't matter whether we ever intend to present a Led Ashtanga Vinyasa class in Sanskrit it can be rewarding in and of itself. If nothing else there is no surer way to stop our faffing about than trying to stay on count.

A note about staying on count. The vinyasa count does not mean we have to rush in and out of a posture, wrenching our leg quickly into half padmasana for Marichiyasana D, so as to to keep up with the rest of the class. The count doesn't actually count each and every breath, there are 'official' extra inhalations and/or exhalations built in, found/taken throughout the practice, this means that we can ourselves  choose take extra breaths to get in and out of a posture, paying attention to our breath as we do so, keeping it long and full as long as we pick up the vinyasa count at the right place, at the right vinyasa.

Example. In Marichiyasana B we jump through on SUPTA inhale and are then supposed to bind in the posture before exhaling ASTAU into the state of the asana, staying for five breaths. There is no reason that I can think of why we can't step through, take two or three extra breaths as we bind into the posture and then, when we are ready, exhale into the state of the asana mentally chanting Astau. It may mean we are behind everyone else in a led room, they may be on their third or fourth breath count, that's OK we take just the one breath in the posture and then come out with everyone else. At home we can take our time to bind and take the full five breaths, or perhaps just three if we like to keep them long.

UPDATE more clarification at the bottom of this post

So here's an approach to learning the count.

One Approach to learning the Ashtanga Vinyasa Count.

The count here is based on John Scott and Lino Mile's books, Lino lists the count nice and clearly but John Scott seems to go into more detail about each vinyasa as well as the extra inhalations and exhalations in a more detail while still  keeping it concise and clear. Full vinyasa is a wonderful practice, I don't find it any more exhausting than half Vinyasa and if time is a concern just do half primary one day the second half the next. Practicing full vinyasa helps make sense of half vinyasa. I have a post to come that goes into more details of how we go from one to the other. this should of course not be considered authoritative there is no final authority on this other than the systems own internal logic, the relationship between that and our own practice. There may well be some discrepancies between this and the version taught by other senior teachers, whether it be  Manju, Sharath or the certified,  authorised (whatever list) and unauthorised teachers. These discrepancies/differences  should be a source of interest rather than conflict. Feel free to point out any discrepancies between this and Sharath in comments, I am myself exploring variations in the count between Krishnamacharya, Pattabhi Jois, Manju Jois Lino Miele/John Scott and Sharath for my upcoming Easter retreat.

1. First learn to count up to thirty in Sanskrit ( see the table below), actually, up to twenty-two will do you for most of the vinyasa. In fact, start with 1-9, that will allow you to work through Surynamaskara A.

1   = ekam
2   = dve
3   = trīṇi
4   = catvāri
5   = pañca
6   = ṣaṭ
7   = sapta
8   = aṣṭau
9   = nava

2. Practice some Sury's, mentally chanting the count (skip the five breaths in down dog so you don't forget where you are).

Then, for a week of practice, mentally count yourself through all of your Sury's A and B.

Notice how we tend to go up on the inhale and down on the exhale, this is obvious perhaps but it will help locate us in our count, it's like GPS Also we generally tend to inhale on odd numbers and exhale on even, more GPS

ekam  - Inhaling, arms go UP
dve  - Exhaling we fold over DOWN
trīṇi -  Inhaling we flatten the back effectively coming UP
catvāri  - Exhaling we jump back to Chatauranga ( kind of DOWN )
pañca  - Inhaling we come through and UP
ṣaṭ   -  Exhaling, backside comes up and we effectively fold in to look at the navel (DOWN)
sapta  - We jump our feet to our hands and Inhaling flatten the back as in DVE so UP
aṣṭau  - Exhaling we fold over so DOWN
nava  - Inhaling the arms come back UP

This is the end of the vinyasa, we drop our arms back down to Samastith, it's not counted.

3. Learn the number of vinyasas for each posture as well as the state of the asana ( see the table below) often these are the same.

EG. Ardha Baddha Padmottānāsana to Marichiyasana C all have 22 * vinyasa, each with the actual state of the asana being 8 and 15 (representing both sides of the asana).

4. We know the Sanskrit count now, we just need to know on which count we have to be for the actually state of the asana.

We know how to count our way through our vinyasa ( from our Surynamaskara practice) and we know the state of the asana we want to be in, any discrepancy means there has to be an extra breath or part of a breath thrown in somewhere.

EG. In the Prasarita's we want to be in the state of the asana for TRINI, Jumping the legs apart is EKAM (inhale) but if we fold straight over then we would be in the state of the asana on DVE not TRINI, that means there has to be an extra vinyasa in there. DVE (exhale) would be folding over and putting our hands on the floor. We can't fold in on the exhalation so there must be another extra inhalation, there is and it's not counted, we look up, flatten the back and then TRINI (exhale) our head towards the mat and take our five long full breaths.

HALF VINYASA: Below is the full vinyasa count, half vinyasa is a short-cut version of the practice but the full count is still implied. If we choose to do a half vinyasa practice we might not come all the way back to standing samastithi after the some/all of the seated postures, only going back as far as Adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog). Despite this we would still begin the next count on SUPTA as we step or jump through for the next seated posture just as if we had gone all the way back to standing and back.... we're kind of pretending. Learning the number for the state of the asana helps us to understand where the short cuts of contemporary half vinyasa Ashtanga are.

5. Work in groups, so just learn the vinyasa and state for the standing sequence for a week, then the next week add on postures up to navasana, the following week work up to the end of primary and finally add on finishing.

6. Explore a couple of tricky vinyasa outside of your regular practice, just running through the count, perhaps in the evening,  so you don't disrupt your practice too much.

A book will help. John Scotts Ashtanga Yoga book is probably the best for outlining the vinyasas and explaining what happens as clearly concisely as possible, but Sharath's book works well too, it'll help you work it out at least. Both have a clear quick to check presentation for those practices when you still working it out and need to check. Pattabhi Jois' own Yoga Mala will make it even clearer away from the mat.

This is also an excellent Vinyasa Count resource ( among other things) by Dr. Ronald Steiner and team http://www.ashtangayoga.info/practice/

7. Practice along to some led CD's and DVD's. these help but really you have to work it out yourself. John Scott's New app is good for this. Sharath's CD is excellent, just the postures and the count, no explanation, Maju's DVD is of a led where every body repeats manju's count, excellent.


Counting In Sanskrit

1   = ekam
2   = dve
3   = trīṇi
4   = catvāri
5   = pañca
6   = ṣaṭ
7   = sapta
8   = aṣṭau
9   = nava
10  = daśa 
11  = ekādaśa 
12  = dvādaśa 
13  = trayodaśa
14  = caturdaśa 
15  = pañcadaśa 
16  = ṣoḍaśa 
17  = saptadaśa 
18  = aṣṭadaśa 
19  = ekonavimśatiḥ 
20  = vimśatiḥ 
21  = ekāvimśatiḥ
22  = dvāvimśatiḥ 
23  = trayovimśatiḥ 
24  = caturvimśatiḥ 
25  = pañcavimśatiḥ 
26  = ṣoḍavimśatiḥ; 
27  = saptavimśatiḥ 
28  = aṣṭovimśatiḥ

Sanskrit Numbers from here ashtangayoga.info 

Ashtanga Vinyasa Count Primary Series

CODE
First  number followed by * is the number of vinyasas
The numbers after the star are the states of the asana

So  Jānuśīrṣāsana A - C   22 *  8 , 15  signifies that all three versions of 
Jānuśīrṣāsanahave have 22 vinyasa each and that the states of the asana for each versions are 8 and 15 ( IE. Both sides)

I've grouped asana that have the same vinyasa/state code to aid in memorising.


STANDING SEQUENCE

Sūryanamaskāra A = 9 vinyasa  B = 17 vinyasa 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pādāngusthāsana 3 * 2

Pāda Hastāsana    3 * 2
--------------------------------------------------------
Uthitta Trikoṇāsana A and B         5 * 2 , 4

Uthitta Pārśvakonāsana A and B   5 * 2 , 4                
--------------------------------------------------------

Prasārita Pādottānāsana A to D      5 * 3           
--------------------------------------------------------

Pārśvottānāsana     5 * 2 , 4 


Utthita Hasta Pādāṅguṣṭhāsana    14 * 2 , 4 , 7 & 9, 11 , 14 

Ardha Baddha Padmottānāsana     9 * 2 + 7       

Utkatāsana 13 * 7

Vīrabhdrāsana  16 * 7 , 8 , 9 , 10



PRIMARY SERIES

Paścimattānāsana  16 * 9  

Purvottānāsana 15 * 8   
-----------------------------------------------
Ardha Baddha Padma Paścimattānāsana  22 *  8 , 15

Tiryañgmukha Ekapāda Paścimattānāsana  22 * 8 , 15 

Jānuśīrṣāsana A - C   22 *  8 , 15 

Marīcāsana A and B        22 *  8 , 15
---------------------------------------------------

Marīcāsana C and D  18 * 7 , 12  

Nāvāsana  13 * 7 

Bhujapīḍāsana 15 * 7 ,  8 

Kūrmāsana 16 * 7 

Supta Kūrmāsana  16 * 8 

Garbha Piṇḍāsana  15 * 8 

Kukkutasana   15 * 9 

Baddha Konāsana     15 * 8 

Upaviṣṭha Konāsana      15 * 8 , 9 

Supta Konāsana        16 * 8   

Supta Pādāñguṣṭhāsana     28 * 9 , 11 , 17 , 19 

Ubhyaya Pādāñguṣṭhāsana    15 * 9  

ūrdhva Mukha Paścimattānāsana         16  * 10  

Setu Bandhāsana     15 * 9    


FINISHING SEQUENCE

ūrdhva Dhanurāsana      15 * 9  
-------------------------------------------
Salaṁbā Sarvāṅgāsana      13 * 8 

Halāsana         13 * 8   

Karṇapīḍāsana          13 * 8 
-------------------------------------------
ūrdhva Padmāsana              13 * 9 

Piṇḍāsana                 13 * 9
--------------------------------------------
Matsyāsana          14 * 8  
----------------------------------------
Uttāna Pādāsana       13 * 8 

śīrṣāsana          13 * 8 

Baddha Padmāsana        13 * 8   
----------------------------------------
Yoga mudra          14 * 9  

Padmasana             13 * 8    

Uth Pluthi            14 * 8 


A note on Drishti

Pattabhi Jois doesn't talk about drishti much in yoga mala, nor does Krishnamacharya, mostly nasagra drishti [the gaze on the tip of the nose] or  broomadhya drishti [the gaze between the eyebrows] is implied. however Pattabhi jois does have this to say in relation to the 7th vinyasa of Surynamaskara B that holds for his whole system. Manju Jois says nasagra drishti is a kind of default drishti but that we are also free to close out eyes.

"SECOND SURYA NAMASKARA, 7TH VINYASA
This is the method for the first Surya Namaskara, which is often practiced while chanting mantras. For this, meditation is very important, as are the drishti, or gazing places, which include: nasagra drishti [the gaze on the tip of the nose] for samasthiti; broomadhya drishti [the gaze between the eyebrows] for the 1st vinyasa; nasagra dristri for the 2nd vinyasa; the gaze between the eyebrows for the 3rd vinyasa— in other words, for the odd-numbered vinyasas, the gaze should be focused between the eyebrows and, for the even- numbered ones, the gaze should be on the tip of the nose. In addition, for the even-numbered vinyasas, rechaka should be performed and, for the odd, one should do puraka. On the whole, the method for doing rechaka and puraka is the same for all the vinyasas and asanas ahead. A sadhaka [spiritual aspirant] should learn it with patience". 
Pattabhi Jois Yoga Mala 1999 p46

A note on breathing.

The breath is long and full and slow, "...like the pouring of oil".  We seek to feel the breath at the back of the throat, the slightest of constrictions to make the soft hissing sound or the sound of waves. Some refer to it as ujjayi breathing others argue ( Sharath in particular) that it's not ujjayi because ujjayi implies kumbhaka (retaining the breath in or out) and thus is a pranayama. It's argued that there is no kumbhaka in Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga vinyasa therefore it should only be referred to as 'breathing with sound'. Krishnamacharya however, Pattabhi Jois' teacher/guru, employed the appropriate kumbhaka in most asana and it could be argued that there is always the hint of a kumbhaka between the inhalation and exhalation and the exhalation, the slight pause between the stages of the breath, like throwing a tennis ball in the air there's a moment where it seems to hover before dropping back into your hand. Either way the breathing is long and slow and full.

During the count in the state of the asana there is free breathing, Krishnamacharya wrote about inhaling and exhaling ( long full and slow) as much as possible. In most seated postures the teacher leading the count will tend to count to five ( it used to be ten supposedly and then eight, now it's five). You can take five short breaths in this time depending on the speed of the count or, as I like to do, three long, slow, full breaths.

Remembering the names of the asana

Writing a blog helps

So does knowing what the different parts of the name means

Sanskrit Asana

Sūryanamaskāra 
sūrya = sun
namaskāra = salutation

Pādāngusthāsana 
pādāngusth = big toe
āsana = posture

Pāda Hastāsana 
pāda = foot
hasta = hand

Uthitta Trikoṇāsana
uthitta = extended
tri = three
koṇa = angle

Uthitta Pārśvakonāsana 
uthitta = extended
pārśva = to the side
kona = angle

Prasārita Pādottānāsana
prasārita = spread out
pāda = foot
uttānā = intense stretch

Pārśvottānāsana
pārśva = to the side

Utthita Hasta Pādāṅguṣṭhāsana
utthita = extended
hasta = hand
pādāṅguṣṭha = big toe

Ardha Baddha Padmottānāsana
ardha = half
baddha = bound
padma = lotus

Utkatāsana - Vīrabhdrāsana
utkata = fierce / powerful
vīra = hero

Paścimattānāsana
paścima = west

Purvottānāsana
purva = east / front

Ardha Baddha Padma Paścimattānāsana
ardha = half
baddha = bound
padma = lotus
paścima = west
uttāna = intense

Tiryañgmukha Ekapāda Paścimattānāsana 
tiriañg = transverse
mukha = face
ekapāda = one foot/leg
paścima = west
uttāna = intense

Jānuśīrṣāsana
jānu = knee
śīrṣa = head

Marīcāsana 
marīchy = sage Marichy
son of Brahma

Nāvāsana
nāva = boat

Bhujapīḍāsana
bhuja = arm / shoulder
pīḍa = pressure

Kūrmāsana, 
kūrma = tortoise
Supta = sleeping 

Garbha Piṇḍāsana
garbha = womb
piṇḍa = fetus

Kukkutasana
kukka + cock

Baddha Konāsana
baddha = bound
kona = angle

Upaviṣṭha Konāsana
upaviṣṭha = seated
kona = angle

Supta Konāsana
supta = sleeping
kona = angle

Supta Pādāñguṣṭhāsana
supta = sleeping
pādāñguṣṭha = big toe


Ubhyaya Pādāñguṣṭhāsana
ubhyaya = sleeping
pādāñguṣṭha = big toe

ūrdhva Mukha Paścimattānāsana
ūrdhva = upward
mukha = face
paścima = west
uttāna = intense

Setu Bandhāsana
setu = bridge
bandha = lock / seal / completion

ūrdhva Dhanurāsana
ūrdhva = upward
dhanurasana = bow

Salaṁbā Sarvāṅgāsana 
salaṁbā = supported
sarvāṅga = all limbs

Halāsana
hala = plough

Karṇapīḍāsana
karṇa = ear
pīḍa = pressure

ūrdhva Padmāsana
ūrdhva = upward
padma = lotus

Piṇḍāsana
piṇḍa = womb

Matsyāsana
matsy = fish

Uttāna Pādāsana
uttāna = intense
pādā = feet

śīrṣāsana
śīrṣa = head

Baddha Padmāsana
baddha = bound
padma = lotus

Uth Pluthi 14 vinyasa
pluthi = jump / lift



I've added a pdf of this post to google docs, pages 6-10 are the count
http://tinyurl.com/l9cjxye


NOTE: As far as we can tell Krishnamacharya developed the vinyasa count, it may have been a way to manage a large class of young boys or it may be something he inherited from his own teacher or perhaps a lost text, we'll probably never know. He did appear to drop the count in his later years however Ramaswami told me that although Krishnamacharya would link together postures if he was teaching one posture on it's own then it would begin and end from standing or perhaps a seated samastithi, perhaps the count was always implied in his teaching.

Does focusing on the count distract from the breath, not necessarily, after a while the count disappears into the background, it is perhaps the horizon of the breath.

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UPDATE
This from comments

Can you explain further: "So Jānuśīrṣāsana A - C 22 * 8 , 15 signifies that all three versions of Jānuśīrṣāsana have have 22 vinyasa each and that the states of the asana for each versions are 8 and 15 ( IE. Both sides)?"
Does this mean Jānuśīrṣāsana A has 11 vinyasa for right and 11 for left side, Jānuśīrṣāsana B has 11 vinayas for right and 11 for left and Jānuśīrṣāsana C has 11 for right and 11 for left side, with the sides done alternately? Does "8" mean right side and "15" mean left side?

Anthony Grim Hall28 February 2014 19:00
Hi Anon, I'm actually writing a post on How Full Vinyasa becomes half Vinyasa, looking at every posture in detail, showing were all the extra inhalations and exhalations come in to make the system 'fit' the count. I'm doing it because I'm not there in Japan with my wife to answer her questions about the count when they come up. This is should be stressed is my own explanation as I seek to make sense of the development of the vinyasa count historically, trying to expelling how it's been made to work, with it's extra uncounted inhalations and exhalations snuck in here and there.
No it doesn't mean each side has 11 vinyasa, doesn't work that way. If you were to separate the sides up and come back to standing after each side then they would both have 13 vinyasas. Confusing. Here's what I've written for janu Sirsasana, all three are the same even though C is more difficult to set up, it's all done on one inhalation whether A, B or C.

Anthony Grim Hall
Jānuśīrṣāsana A - C   22 *  8 , 15

CODE 22* = 22 vinyasa
8 = state of the asana on the first side
15= the state of the asana on the second side.

The count and the process is the same for all three Janu sirsasanas.

As with Ardha baddha pachimottanasana and Triyangmukha ekapada paschimottanasana the first six postures of the surynamaskara are implied ( as if we really had worked our way down from standing samastithi). We are in Downward facing dog exhaling (from the previous posture) which now becomes SAT we then jump through inhaling on SUPTA and immediately, still on the inhalation, bring the right foot into our groin, heel to perineum, and take hold of the toe of the other foot and look up, that’s all done on SUPTA. We exhale ASTAU (8) down into the state of the asana, traditionally head to knee (it’s in the name) but these days chin to knee or head to knee and then slide on to the chin. After our five breaths we sit up inhaling NAVA then take an extra uncounted exhalation allowing us to lift up on the next inhalation DASA while crossing our legs. We Jump back EKADASA and exhale into Chatuaranga. Up dog inhaling DVADASA, down dog exhaling TRAYODASA and then we are ready to Jump through again for the other side inhaling CATURDASA setting up to lower into the state of the asana, again all on on PANCHADASA (15). Now we repeat the exit, sitting up inhaling  SODASA, the extra uncounted exhalation again so we can lift up inhaling and crossing our legs SAPTADASA and jump back exhaling into caturanga on ASTAUDASA. UP DOG inhaling EKONAVIMSATAHI (19) Down dog exhaling VIMSATAHI
BUT VIMSATAHI now switches back to become SAT ready for the next posture.

If we were doing full vinyasa after VIMSATAHI we would jump the feet to the hands inhaling while looking up and flattening the back EKAVIMSATAHI then fold over exhaling DVAVIMSATAHI (22) which completes the 22 vinyasa, we just stand back up into samastithi (uncounted).

As with all these postures we notice extra uncounted inhalations and exhalations as we make the vinyasa ‘fit’ into the sequence of breath and movement, remember we want to inhale up, exhale down.

Janu Sirsasana is quite straight forward but Janu C can be tricky, I have a dodgy knee and like to take a couple of breaths while setting in preparation for the state of the asana. That’s OK, jump through on SUPTA and take a couple of calm, steady, unrushed inhalations and exhalations while setting up all but  the while saying to yourself SUPTA SUPTA SUPTA. When you ready to lower, take a final inhalation saying SUPTA to yourself one more time and then lower ASTAU into the state of the postures.

Coming out is the same come up inhaling NAVA and then take as many inhalations and exhalations as you need to allow your knee to come comfortably out of the posture, all the while saying NAVA NAVA NAVA mentally to yourself. When your ready take your exhalation, then back on count, lift up inhaling DASA crossing the legs and jumping back.



Your Jump back might not be fully developed, that’s OK go through the motions preparing to step back while inhaling on DASA then step back while exhaling EKADASA.


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I had another,follow up post here

The Ashtanga Vinyasa Count: How it actually works - A Love Letter



Friday, 9 December 2016

YogaGlo 15 day Free trial - Exploring Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor's Internal form of the practice'

Richard Freeman on YogaGlo

Following on from my previous post and  my review of Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor's new book 'The Art of Vinyasa Awakening the Body and Mind through the practice of Ashtanga Yoga', I felt the need to revisit some of Richard's Led classes, to work through some of the '...visceral visualizations that describe internal form of the practice' , outlined in the book, in the context of actual practice.

My Book Review
http://grimmly2007.blogspot.jp/2016/12/book-review-richard-freeman-and-mary.html

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Here's an example of one of the visualisations, the shortest.

"Cave of Sacrum
Awareness of the cave of the sacrum is another way of beginning to feel the pelvic  floor, Mūlabandha, and the lower under-belly version of Uḍḍīyāna Bandha.  The sacrum, to which the coccyx is attached, is set in the sacroiliac (SI) joints in the back of the pelvic basin. Together, the sacrum and coccyx form a contour that resembles a deep cave—almost a separate chamber—below the overall abdominal cavity.  The bladder, rectum, and uterus or prostate are housed in this area of the pelvis.
To feel and articulate the pelvic  floor, we need to develop a sense of emptiness or spaciousness, a suction sensation in this cave, as if we had spooned its contents back and up toward the lower lumbar vertebrae.  is feeling depends on having some feeling of tone in the pelvic  floor muscles attached to the coccyx—as if we were holding the coccyx in place to provide stability so we could scoop the spoon of the mind back and up along the front surface of the coccyx and sacrum to “clean out the cave.” Cultivating this cavelike feeling under the belly helps to fully integrate the internal form of nearly all poses and the movements between them.

Energetically the cave of the sacrum is the origin, the womb, and meditating there allows you to relax into the great irreducible mystery beyond thought. Be aware that clean and healthy bowels, as well as some of the less popular and strange kriya (practices) in hatha yoga, facilitate this ability to sense the cave of the sacrum. Most of these esoteric practices, like the ability to suck water up the anus, are actually rooted in train- ing the same muscles of the pelvic  oor that establish a sense of the cave of the sacrum. Overzealous practitioners are sometimes tempted to take the kriyas—like anything extreme or strange—too far, practicing the exercises to excess or believing they are the answer to everything when in fact they are simply another type of perspective or tool among many for connecting to the subtle layers of awareness in the body." The Art of Vinyasa Awakening the Body and Mind through the practice of Ashtanga Yoga'


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I have Richard's early DVDs of course and some transcripts but was reminded that Richard and Mary have been presenting classes over the last few years on YogaGlo.

YogaGlo also have a fifteen day free trial, I've subscribed and am currently working my way through Richard and Mary's videos.

Richard currently has 59 class videos, while Mary has 63 ( bit of a  slacker Richard, clearly).

The classes range from 10 to 90 minutes, some focus on one element of practice others a full led practice with a particular focus ( although of course there is crossover, many elements/visualisations coming of in the same video).

So far I'm enjoying the classes, surprised how much I'd actually internalised on Richard's five-day intensive in London a few years ago. It's good to be reminded of why I practice in a particular way and to brush up on some elements that I've allowed to slip or that went over my head altogether.

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Unfortunately I can't apply to Richard and Mary's teaching intensive in Boulder this year or probably next for that matter so these videos and the book are some consolation at least.

Details of the intensive here, open for application now I believe
http://www.richardfreemanyoga.com/teacher-intensives

http://www.richardfreemanyoga.com/

Below are fifteen video suggestions for a 15-day free trial, one for each of the 13 visceral visualisations that Richard and Mary outline in the book as well as two extras, one from Richard on Pranayama, the other from Mary on meditation. In the appendix below there are some other options that seem to focus on these areas should you wish to continue with your subscription past the free trial.

Note: Many Ashtanga practitioners might get frustrated by the idea of a led class that isn't the full series. Treat these perhaps as a workshop, a rest day practice or extra class or two at the weekend, perhaps one of the shorter classes as a second practice focussing on a particular area of practice.

For me I find I'm enjoying a day on, a day off, practicing along with one of the 90 minute videos one day then on the following day try to remember and reenforce the teaching from the previous days class in my regular practice.

UPDATE I forgot to mention, the subscription costs $18 a month, you can supposedly cancel whenever you wish.

I put these together for my own use but thought why not share it on the blog with anyone else who's interested. I'll probably change things around a little as I work through the list as well as add some others that illustrate these ideas more effectively.

First impression of YogaGlow? It seems to work, very easy to subscribe and I hear to cancel your subscription should you wish to. As with any online subscription trial, Netflix, Amazon prime etc. It's a good idea to set up an alert on your diary to let you know a day before the trial runs out so you can have a think whether you actually wish to stick with it and have payments start coming out of your credit card.

My only complaint so far is with the optional Ipad app. This is supposed to allow you to download up to 10 videos at a time for offline viewing (although I believe they magically stop working should you cancel your subscription). For some reason the download is dreadfully slow and often cancels itself half way through. I thought it might be just me but a google search suggests I'm not alone.

Update: It is possible to reduce the quality of the download to a 'compact' setting, this helps and because it's on the ipad the video still looks pretty good. As I write this update I'm downloading Richard's 90mins. Headstand and Shoulderstand class....., it's just completed it's download, taking around eight minutes. Time for practice

Streaming however seems fine thus far.

The videos below are mostly of Richard, at some point I'll no doubt focus on Mary's videos as they relate to ideas that come up in the book.

Mary Taylor's 90 minute YogaGlo classes

I'm off now to practice with Backbending on the Wave of Internal Breath - 90mins which seems to be along the lines of the class Richard presented to the Ashtanga yoga Confluence a few years ago that I tried to follow along with and transcribe. The YogaGlo version has much better sound quality and viewing angle.


 

My  fifteen suggestions



Richard includes thirteen '...visceral visualizations that describe internal form of the practice'.  Some I remember from the five day intensive I took with Richard in London a few years back and have stayed a part of my practice ever since, others are new to me. As well as reading them here some pop up in Richard's led videos and apps in the context of practice. See also this post, my part transcription of Richard's backbending workshop at the Ashtanga yoga confluence a few years back to see how these concepts apply to practice http://grimmly2007.blogspot.jp/2012/03/richard-freeman-ayc-backbending.html

Mūlabandha

1. Backbending on the Wave of Internal Breath - 90mins
Use this practice to gain clarity as you learn to support the extension of your spine. These movements are required for full, deep and safe backbends. Begin by heating your body with sun salutations before systematically working through various stages of backbending, exploring the function of mula bandha, the optimal rotations of your femurs and the movements of your shoulder blades. Give yourself the delightful experience of a full, properly aligned backbend.

Releasing the Palate

2. Up and Down the Middle Spine - 60mins

Deepen your practice by first connecting to the subtle layers of alignment and form that unify and illuminate the postures. Focus on awakening and tuning your pelvic floor as you gradually move up through your body to finally awaken your throat and palate. Find detailed instruction moving from baddha konasana and upavistha konasana all the way up to your head and neck with ubhaya padangusthasana and setu bandhasana.



Psoas Line

3. Radiant Extension - 90mins
This Mary Taylor and Richard Freeman tutorial practice will help you learn to articulate the hands and the feet while connecting the legs and the arms into the lower Psoas muscle. When the structural patterns of the arms and legs come to life, they radiate out from and simultaneously root strongly back into the central axis of the body. Includes detailed breath instruction, surya namaskars, standing poses, seated poses, back-bends and cool-down. Prop Suggested: a blanket or block.

Cave of Sacrum

4. The Four Angels - 30mins
The four angels represent the four corners of the pelvic floor; the coccyx in back, the pubic bone in front and the two sitting bones on the sides. Waking up these angels and getting them to work together is the key to structural alignment and to moving the internal breath back and up into the central channel.

Kidney Wings

5. Secret of Kidney Love - 90mins
A step by step exploration of the coccyx, kidney wing, cobra hood pattern which grounds and releases mental and physical patterns. This pattern is the key to mulabandha and one of the great secrets of Hatha and Tantric yogas. Slowly move through a modified Ashtanga sequence with deconstructed sun salutations, padangustasana, trikonasana, parivrita trikonasana, janu sirsasana, marichasana A & C, half lotus, navasana, fish and more.


Psoas Buttons

6. Breathing Through Your Psoas Line - 60mins
With simple yet powerful asanas we explore the art of mulabandha by learning to keep the psoas muscle relaxed and long through out the entire inhale. This involves some amazing full body movements that involve the arms, legs and beyond.

Gaṇeśa Belly

7. Ganesha's Belly - 30 mins
An exploration of the lower abdomen and the pelvic floor in the gradual discovery of good breathing and alignment.

Cobra Hood

8. Elegant Neck - 45mins
In so many postures there is either subtle or extreme backbending through your neck. In this methodically paced class, breakdown upward facing dog before moving into camel and ubhaya padangusthasana. Extending your lower neck, even in backbends, is a skill that takes many years to learn correctly. Once you learn that skill, discover that there are so many delightful moments in a vinyasa sequence where you dissolve into the present moment and wake up!

Skin Flow

9. Continuous Alignment - 90mins
Here there is an emphasis on continuous alignment, on the thread of intelligent, aligned, integrated movement - that links postures together. Often form is taught for a 'static' classical pose rather than in the linking together of complimentary breath and structural patterns that compose the movement between those 'beautiful' poses.


Holding the Tail of a Serpent


10. Tail First Head Last - 60 mins
Feed your practice, find mula bandha, and practice proper breathing and good alignment. Spend time in various down dog variations, padangusthasana, trikonasana and fish pose. Work with practiced principles of form and movement so that these fluid transitions are second nature. In many vinyasa movements, alignment is maintained by continuous sequential rolling of your spine in and out of the postures. Experience this in transitions between poses and within poses themselves.


Feet Reflecting Pelvic Floor

11. 108 Triangles - 60mins
After defining the four corners of the pelvic floor, work them in their various connections to reveal the "esoteric triangles." When the deeply asymmetrical Trikonasana is done this way, it solves structural problems and awakens the reflexes from palate to perineum upon which the Vinyasa practice is based


Palate-Perineum Reflex

12. Shoulderstand and Headstand Family - 90mins
Using special training postures and alternatives, you will construct a delightful way of making these difficult and subtle postures feel wonderful and contemplative. The emphasis will be on internal channels revealed through palate and perineum. Go upside down without sacrificing safety or comfort. Props Suggested: A blanket for shoulderstand and wall space for headstand.


Plumb Line 

13. Up and Down the Middle Spine - 60mins
Deepen your practice by first connecting to the subtle layers of alignment and form that unify and illuminate the postures. Focus on awakening and tuning your pelvic floor as you gradually move up through your body to finally awaken your throat and palate. Find detailed instruction moving from baddha konasana and upavistha konasana all the way up to your head and neck with ubhaya padangusthasana and setu bandhasana.


+




14. Principles & Patterns of Pranayama - 15mins

After finding a correct sitting posture, we will explore core principles and patterns of this basic pranayama. Prop Needed: A blanket to sit on. Prop Suggested: A chair to sit on.



15. Establish Your Internal Landscape - 10mins (Mary Taylor)

Take part in a short meditation practice that includes guided cues that help establish a sense of the internal landscape of the body. This will support the unfolding of a silent sitting practice for the last few minutes of your practice. Props Suggested: A blanket or two.



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APPENDIX




including some alternatives to the above.


Mūlabandha


Holding the Pot of Nectar - 15 mins 
The "pot of the belly" is a great internal source of energy, strength and intelligence. It is one source of nectar that spreads through your body in a deliberate and contemplative practice that leads to mula bandha. Gradually develop subtle awareness in your pelvic floor, lower back, psoas muscle, palate and along the central channel of your body, so that one day mula bandha appears.



Tail First Head Last - 60 mins
Feed your practice, find mula bandha, and practice proper breathing and good alignment. Spend time in various down dog variations, padangusthasana, trikonasana and fish pose. Work with practiced principles of form and movement so that these fluid transitions are second nature. In many vinyasa movements, alignment is maintained by continuous sequential rolling of your spine in and out of the postures. Experience this in transitions between poses and within poses themselves.


Backbending on the Wave of Internal Breath - 90mins
Use this practice to gain clarity as you learn to support the extension of your spine. These movements are required for full, deep and safe backbends. Begin by heating your body with sun salutations before systematically working through various stages of backbending, exploring the function of mula bandha, the optimal rotations of your femurs and the movements of your shoulder blades. Give yourself the delightful experience of a full, properly aligned backbend.



Releasing the Palate

Root of Palate - 15mins
Releasing the root of the palate is the key to alignment, Mula Bandha and many other contemplative techniques. Here are the basics and how to feel this gateway to the Central Channel.


Up and Down the Middle Spine - 60mins
Deepen your practice by first connecting to the subtle layers of alignment and form that unify and illuminate the postures. Focus on awakening and tuning your pelvic floor as you gradually move up through your body to finally awaken your throat and palate. Find detailed instruction moving from baddha konasana and upavistha konasana all the way up to your head and neck with ubhaya padangusthasana and setu bandhasana.




Psoas Line

Breathing Through Your Psoas Line - 60mins
With simple yet powerful asanas we explore the art of mulabandha by learning to keep the psoas muscle relaxed and long through out the entire inhale. This involves some amazing full body movements that involve the arms, legs and beyond.


Touching Infinity - 90mins
Extend through your Psoas line. Through modifications of sun salutations and standing postures like trikonasana and revolved trikonasana, discover long lines through your whole body. This subtle movement creates a feeling of stretch to infinity and beyond.



Radiant Extension - 90mins

This Mary Taylor and Richard Freeman tutorial practice will help you learn to articulate the hands and the feet while connecting the legs and the arms into the lower Psoas muscle. When the structural patterns of the arms and legs come to life, they radiate out from and simultaneously root strongly back into the central axis of the body. Includes detailed breath instruction, surya namaskars, standing poses, seated poses, back-bends and cool-down. Prop Suggested: a blanket or block.







Cave of Sacrum





The Four Angels - 30mins

The four angels represent the four corners of the pelvic floor; the coccyx in back, the pubic bone in front and the two sitting bones on the sides. Waking up these angels and getting them to work together is the key to structural alignment and to moving the internal breath back and up into the central channel.







Kidney Wings

Secret of Kidney Love - 90mins
A step by step exploration of the coccyx, kidney wing, cobra hood pattern which grounds and releases mental and physical patterns. This pattern is the key to mulabandha and one of the great secrets of Hatha and Tantric yogas. Slowly move through a modified Ashtanga sequence with deconstructed sun salutations, padangustasana, trikonasana, parivrita trikonasana, janu sirsasana, marichasana A & C, half lotus, navasana, fish and more.

Crossing the Midline for Kidney Power - 90mins
In this class you will uncover a remarkable way of grounding which protects your joints and builds strength and stability. Fine and precise alignment details will be explored through standing postures into advanced, seated hip-opening and twisting postures that incorporate this oblique pattern across the body. Complete your practice with a few side body openers before resting in savasana.


Psoas Buttons


Breathing Through Your Psoas Line - 60mins
With simple yet powerful asanas we explore the art of mulabandha by learning to keep the psoas muscle relaxed and long through out the entire inhale. This involves some amazing full body movements that involve the arms, legs and beyond.


Radiant Extension - 90mins

This Mary Taylor and Richard Freeman tutorial practice will help you learn to articulate the hands and the feet while connecting the legs and the arms into the lower Psoas muscle. When the structural patterns of the arms and legs come to life, they radiate out from and simultaneously root strongly back into the central axis of the body. Includes detailed breath instruction, surya namaskars, standing poses, seated poses, back-bends and cool-down. Prop Suggested: a blanket or block.



Gaeśa Belly


Discover the Pelvic Floor 30mins
Discover the pelvic floor and dialectical conversations there. Props Needed: Two blocks and a blanket.


Ganesha's Belly - 30 mins
An exploration of the lower abdomen and the pelvic floor in the gradual discovery of good breathing and alignment.





Cobra Hood





Drinking the Moonlight - 20mins
Take a tutorial style class introducing proper alignment in two contrasting forms of cow pose (gomukhasana), revealing intelligence from your pelvic floor through the root of your palate. Tap into the limitless supply of nectar or compassion that rests at the root of your palate. Learn to extend through your neck while keeping your heart buoyant and sunny. Walk away feeling more open in your hips and shoulders. Props Suggested: A strap.



Elegant Neck - 45mins

In so many postures there is either subtle or extreme backbending through your neck. In this methodically paced class, breakdown upward facing dog before moving into camel and ubhaya padangusthasana. Extending your lower neck, even in backbends, is a skill that takes many years to learn correctly. Once you learn that skill, discover that there are so many delightful moments in a vinyasa sequence where you dissolve into the present moment and wake up!



Tail First Head Last - 60mins
Deepen your practice by first connecting to the subtle layers of alignment and form that unify and illuminate the postures. Focus on awakening and tuning your pelvic floor as you gradually move up through your body to finally awaken your throat and palate. Find detailed instruction moving from baddha konasana and upavistha konasana all the way up to your head and neck with ubhaya padangusthasana and setu bandhasana.


Secret of Kidney Love - 90mins

A step by step exploration of the coccyx, kidney wing, cobra hood pattern which grounds and releases mental and physical patterns. This pattern is the key to mulabandha and one of the great secrets of Hatha and Tantric yogas. Slowly move through a modified Ashtanga sequence with deconstructed sun salutations, padangustasana, trikonasana, parivrita trikonasana, janu sirsasana, marichasana A & C, half lotus, navasana, fish and more.





Skin Flow


Continuous Alignment - 90mins
Here there is an emphasis on continuous alignment, on the thread of intelligent, aligned, integrated movement - that links postures together. Often form is taught for a 'static' classical pose rather than in the linking together of complimentary breath and structural patterns that compose the movement between those 'beautiful' poses.








Holding the Tail of a Serpent



Coiling Around the Sun - 10mins
A specially modified sun salutation to help discover the apana pattern and then to strengthen it. Within your sun salutations, hold bakasana for five breaths, down dog for five breaths and repeat the pattern. The idea is to keep the prana (heart) open, when there is full expression of the apana (serpent tail). This allows full grounding and compression free flexion.


Tail First Head Last - 60 mins
Feed your practice, find mula bandha, and practice proper breathing and good alignment. Spend time in various down dog variations, padangusthasana, trikonasana and fish pose. Work with practiced principles of form and movement so that these fluid transitions are second nature. In many vinyasa movements, alignment is maintained by continuous sequential rolling of your spine in and out of the postures. Experience this in transitions between poses and within poses themselves.






Feet Reflecting Pelvic Floor



108 Triangles - 60mins
After defining the four corners of the pelvic floor, work them in their various connections to reveal the "esoteric triangles." When the deeply asymmetrical Trikonasana is done this way, it solves structural problems and awakens the reflexes from palate to perineum upon which the Vinyasa practice is based.

Deconstructing Sun Salutations - 90mins
A step by step deconstruction of the forms used in Sun Salutations. This allows one to adapt the postures and movements to avoid discomfort and to reap the full benefit of this rhythmic practice. Prop Suggested: A blanket.



Palate-Perineum Reflex


108 Triangles - 60mins
After defining the four corners of the pelvic floor, work them in their various connections to reveal the "esoteric triangles." When the deeply asymmetrical Trikonasana is done this way, it solves structural problems and awakens the reflexes from palate to perineum upon which the Vinyasa practice is based.

Shoulderstand and Headstand Family - 90mins
Using special training postures and alternatives, you will construct a delightful way of making these difficult and subtle postures feel wonderful and contemplative. The emphasis will be on internal channels revealed through palate and perineum. Go upside down without sacrificing safety or comfort. Props Suggested: A blanket for shoulderstand and wall space for headstand.




Plumb Line 





Churning The Fire 10mins

Variations on jathara parivartana, a twist which can work your oblique abdominal muscles to deepen and balance twisting. It often frees lumbar movement, diaphragm movement and sacroilliac movement while building strength in your core muscles. A great class to add as part of a larger full body sequence.

Up and Down the Middle Spine - 60mins
Deepen your practice by first connecting to the subtle layers of alignment and form that unify and illuminate the postures. Focus on awakening and tuning your pelvic floor as you gradually move up through your body to finally awaken your throat and palate. Find detailed instruction moving from baddha konasana and upavistha konasana all the way up to your head and neck with ubhaya padangusthasana and setu bandhasana.



*

Come back in 15 days perhaps for a follow up on the trial.

 I'll also see about putting some of Richard's videos in a different order reflecting the Ashtanga series.

Something like this (work in progress ).


Deconstructing Sun Salutations - 90mins
A step by step deconstruction of the forms used in Sun Salutations. This allows one to adapt the postures and movements to avoid discomfort and to reap the full benefit of this rhythmic practice. Prop Suggested: A blanket.


108 Triangles - 60mins

After defining the four corners of the pelvic floor, work them in their various connections to reveal the "esoteric triangles." When the deeply asymmetrical Trikonasana is done this way, it solves structural problems and awakens the reflexes from palate to perineum upon which the Vinyasa practice is based.

Squaring Your Hips - 15mins
Many twists and forward bends involve a subtle turning of your pelvis back and forth to find the optimal angle of rotation. This skill can make a huge difference in the quality of some of your yoga postures. Activate mula bandha in the process. Learn to square your hips in twisting triangle, upavista konasana, janu sirsasana and marichayasana C.

Splitting the Mountain - 30mins
A tutorial class that explores methods for deepening baddha and upavistha konasanas. You will experiment with the spiraling patterns around the hip joints to awaken the pelvic floor. As a practitioner or student of yoga, learn to safely support your knees and hips as you forward fold and circulate your hips open. Props Needed: Three blankets and two blocks. Prop Suggested: A strap.

Up and Down the Middle Spine - 60min
Deepen your practice by first connecting to the subtle layers of alignment and form that unify and illuminate the postures. Focus on awakening and tuning your pelvic floor as you gradually move up through your body to finally awaken your throat and palate. Find detailed instruction moving from baddha konasana and upavistha konasana all the way up to your head and neck with ubhaya padangusthasana and setu bandhasana.

Flow and Counter Flow - 90
Learn the internal patterns which open the central core of your body, and go deep. Use breath queues and a steady pace to move through surya A and B, standing forward folds and supine and seated poses (Find detailed instruction moving from baddha konasana and upavistha konasana all the way up to your head and neck with ubhaya padangusthasana and setu bandhasana). As your breath flows, rolls and curls like waves, yoga postures relate to each other. Feel how this brings a remarkable sense of relief and clarity in your mind and body. 


Shoulderstand and Headstand Family - 90mins

Using special training postures and alternatives, you will construct a delightful way of making these difficult and subtle postures feel wonderful and contemplative. The emphasis will be on internal channels revealed through palate and perineum. Go upside down without sacrificing safety or comfort. Props Suggested: A blanket for shoulderstand and wall space for headstand.

Sitting Around Preparing for Padmasana - 15mins
A group of movements that can be done most anytime in order to prepare for full lotus. Various ways of folding your knees, rocking your legs and tilting your pelvis to create the opening for an extremely pleasant full lotus.

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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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