I expected to practice straight Primary beside M. Sunday I work early so plan on taking Sundays as a rest day. Which makes this my first week, one day short of a full weeks practice. Not a bad idea, having a shorter week for the first week back.
Feeling so exhausted for much of the day on the fourth day reminded me that it's still an intense practice and too be taken seriously, cautiously. This was going to be my rest day as I have to work early. Woke up at 5am and couldn't get back to sleep. I felt stiff all over, aching back, hamstrings, shoulders. I tried some spinal movements but they didn't seem to help, I tried a couple of sun salutations and felt a little better, after the first creaking ones anyway. In the end I settled for a half primary easy on the hamstrings, bent knees etc.
So it goes. More importantly though, to mix my metaphors. I feel more anchored, grounded Is it timely? It's not about you, step aside, yield the floor and actually listen to, and hear, the victims whose voices are finally beginning to be heard. I posted this in response. Discernment is knowing when and when not to exercise our freedom of speech. It does help me to understand how senior and authorised teachers, looked the other way, excused and ultimately enabled Jois abuse.
Thursday I suspect this will be my last practice this week as I'm hiking up a mountain tomorrow. It's probably a full moon anyway I never used to take moon days but this one comes at a good time. I'm still ache free, feeling strong, more flexible, enjoying practice and looking forward to getting on the mat each morning. Still taking it easy, jump backs between sides, not going into forward bends or twists too deeply, taking my time.
I did add in Karandavasana yesterday before Sirsasana Landed my lotus but only just.
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I use the supports I even bought a second support for the other wrist and steer clear of handstands but a forearm stand to bring back a little strength doesn't feel a bad idea and i was never completely happy with my karandavasana, always felt a little squished. Third week In the lake five minutes after my half Primary yesterday. Saturday, M. Took a train south a couple of stations, hiked up one mountain, walked along the ridge, up and down another couple of peaks then came down our mountain, around seven hours hiking.
Needless to say we were wreaked, bodies ached everywhere, serious pain in places, lower back, frount of shins, hamstrings, calves and my right shoulder too from the walking stick I picked up and used throughout I imagine. If I wrote that about an Ashtanga practice the critics would be out in force screaming to outlaw the practice, to regulate it, ban it! I was reminded how, several years back there was the whole, 'Don't do any other form of exercise. Don't cycle, don't run, don't swim, don't go to the gym, "It will only interfere with your practice".
Of course years, later Certified Ashtanga teachers were turning to Circus skills trainers to up their game, improve their handstands and keep ahead of the young blood coming through the ranks of Ashtanga social media. But I want to focus on before, when the Ashtanga police were out in force judging any transgression, don't you dare get on a bike or hit the pool. It was ridiculous of course, most recognise that now I suspect but for a time seemingly everyone was very serious.
I think now it's very revealing.
Being serious about Ashtanga meant being serious about progression through the series, when all we really needed to be serious about was our commitment to a sincere practice, that groundwork of our yoga, polishing the tool. For others it might be sitting on a cushion or chair, for us it's making that commitment to a series of shapes, for an hour or more, on a rubber mat all while observing the breath.
Not meditating, not pretending to meditate, just sitting exhausted at the top of a mountain looking out over the Kyoto mountains as far as the eye can see. Thursday I mentioned before that I'd had some wrist problems, a ganglion cyst on my left wrist that turned painful leading me to drop all my jump backs and even sun salutations. Thanks to my friend Jess' wrist strap recommendation Wristwidget or copy - see earlier post I'm able to bring back my salutations and jump back although I tend to jump back between Asana rather than sides.
But what about arm balances? I leave them well alone. I don't miss them although I do miss the nice floaty Bakasana from the Ashtanga second series and Astavakrasana perhaps from Advanced A 3rd. Fourth week I was asked about something I mentioned earlier on my 'Return to Ashtanga' rolling post and page on my blog. So how is Krishnamacharya's order of Asana different from Jois'? Firstly we should remember that Krishnamacharya's table of Asana is just that, a table rather than a fixed practice sequence or series as was the case with Jois.
That said I suspect it may well have been a loose, constantly modifiable and adaptable, framework for practice.. The main difference is the asymmetric section. In Jois the sequence seems to lead towards arguably the most challenging posture in Primary, Marichiyasana D. In Krishnamacharya's table Mari D. My own approach to half Primary is pretty standard except that I substitute Krishnamacharya's Asymmetric subroutine for Jois' and include Maha Mudra with kumbhaka. Reaching back before Jois and gives me some much needed distance from Jois' influence.
It also makes for a nice practice. NOTE: Interesting article from Gregor Maehle which brings together nicely a lot of the ideas discussed on this blog over the years regarding Krishnamacharya's early texts, in particular the table of asana in Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu and much more besides.
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I don't consider it's so much a question of whether Jois or Krishnamacharya 'invented' the Ashtanga Vinyasa method we think of today. It strikes me as absurd to consider Jois invented something we can see so clearly laid out in Krishnamacharya's early work, I think we have to settle for modified, adapted, simplified at most. If we characterise Ashtanga vinyasa as the connecting of asana then Jois mentioned he saw Krishnamacharya 'jumping from asana to asana back in the early 20' in a demonstration. Thursday My wrist has been playing up again all week, noticed it on Monday morning which was surprising as Sunday was my rest day suggesting it wasn't a result of sun salutations or jump backs.
I suspect it's from holding onto the straps of my backpack as I run to the station after work. The pain seems to be further over from before, more above my thumb and first finger, the wrist strap I've been using and mentioned before in this post doesn't seem to be effective here.
So I've been employing Simon Borg-Olivier's sun salutation variations where we don't actually touch the ground but just move the spine back and forth to the same count see the third variations in the video below from 2. Ramaswami's vinyasa to and from seated positions second video below thus avoiding any 'weight' on the wrist and skipping jump backs and jump throughs altogether and instead laying back between groups of table postures to include Dwipada pitham or table posture as a pratkriya counter posture to the forward bends. Practicing this way highlights the Vinyasa Krama nature of Ashtanga.
Ashtanga is merely a collection of asana and subroutines. The only difference between it and how Vinyasa Krama is practiced is that Ashtanga tends to be a fixed sequence of these, Vinyasa Krama embraces more modification and variation. Personally I've found there to be are enough asana in Ashtanga that extra variations and modifications are not necessarily required.
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You can practice Vinyasa Krama with just as many jump backs and through as Ashtanga, or you can practice less or a different kind of transition, either way, Ramaswami mentioned that the count to and from an asana is always implied if not actualised. Ramaswami, I guess paraphrasing his teacher Krishnamacharya, puts asana practice in perspective nicely.
Asana to reduce Rajas agitation , Pranayama to reduce tamas lethargy leaving us in a more satvic serenity state. There are of course many translations of the three gunas - Studying Sanskrit is of course an option, Indian Philosophy too Yoga, as one pointed contemplation of the self or it's absence , is humanities birthright, it doesn't belong to India, we find it everywhere. Personally, I look to my own tradition, the Greeks.
However long I were to study Indian philosophy I would never understand it as well as my own horizon. I asked Ramaswami once why we should practice early in the morning when we are perhaps at our least 'Rajistic' and most 'Satvic'. The idea then is to choose a practice that reduces our agitation, restlessness, that grounds us and basically just balances out these three mode of existence so we can start working towards equanimity, one pointedness and generally preparing ourselves for the application of that one pointedness which is where the yoga then comes in, an appropriate application of the one pointedness we have developed.
This is a householder practice. We are not expected to practice actual Yoga now, but rather after our householder duties are complete, when we are then free to retire to the metaphorical forest for contemplation.
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For some it does, for others another approach may do just as well or be more effective and appropriate. I've often thought I would have liked to run for an hour or so a day but I don't have the knees for it, or perhaps swim for an hour, back and forth. Thursday, 21 February Krishnamacharya and Burmese Insight meditation practice, breath and focal points.
Update Spoiler Alert: This is all highly speculative. I'm reminded, updating this post, that Insight meditation practice was were I started, I actually went to the library to pick up some books on yoga they just happened to be Ashtanga to help me in my sitting. Perhaps it is no surprise then that I took so naturally to Krishnamacharya's 'breathing practice.
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This post may be a little confusing as I've added a lot of sections to the original post rather than rewrite the whole thing. Shribhashyam - Life Sketch of my father in 'Moksa-Marga.
gronix.com.ua/components/305/moj-znakomstva-v-pitere.php An Itinerary in Indian philosophy' Burma was part of India at the time until , so this was entirely possible. It was excellent if they could and Ledi Sayadaw claimed that he himself had done so , but really all one required was a minimal level of concentration that would enable the meditator to continually return, moment after moment, to the object of contemplation.
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