Sunday, 6 December 2009

Krama a pose in here and Krama a pose in there

Loved this comment on the last post, it makes a valid point. You start adding an extra asana here, an extra one there and you could end up with a series bursting at the seams.

It's had me thinking the last couple of days of why I want the flexibility to add poses in the first place.

3rd series was part of it. It's a nice series but I'm not sure I want to practice it. Now you know I love arm balances, but for all the wrong reasons. However, for a guy they're perhaps the least challenging kind of asanas; we're designed for them. Besides, after only a month of 3rd I could feel myself starting to bulk up. I tend to put muscle on quite easily and feel it just gets in the way of other postures, the twists for example. Twice a week was bad enough, four days a week and my Mari D would be right out the window and wouldn't have a hope of Purna M.

There are a lot of asanas in Third series I like, some I practiced in Vinyasa Krama earlier in the year and some I just find beautiful as well as challenging. In Vinyasa Krama these poses would just show up towards the end of a Sub routine and it seemed to make sense to have the option of slotting them in at the appropriate place in the Primary or Intermediate.

This morning, being my day off, I had an extended practice, Primary to Baddha Konasana then all of Intermediate. After the 2nd series LBH I just slotted in the LBH asanas from 3rd then carried on to Titthibhasana. This seemed to work OK, only added an extra ten minutes on to the practice and just took the LBH a little further. Perhaps next week i'll do a similar thing with back bends after kapo.

One of the things I missed about Vinyasa Krama was the wide range of asanas and variations. As it happens most asanas are represented in Primary to Advanced A, but obviously with less variation. Sometimes I feel like I want more twisting postures say, and this flexible approach allows me to add some. In Vinyasa Krama there are some twisted versions of Paschimottasana, for example, and occasionally it might be nice to slot them in.

Ramaswami writes about having a clear plan for your practice and this seems to be the key to making this approach work. I know too many extra asana will over burden the Series and it will no longer be what I love about Ashtanga.

The idea then is to have days where I add a small group of asanas I want to work on, Standing poses from 3rd say (perhaps my days off), and days where I add the odd variations because I feel like working on a particular area of my body or indeed of the practice.

And of course there's nothing new about Ashtanga VInyasa Krama, I'm sure people have been practicing this way at home ever since the Ashtanga came west. It's useful to give this approach to practice a name though and look at it as a separate style, kinda fun too. Over the next few months I want to locate each of the Primary and Intermediate asanas in their Vinyasa Krama Sub-routines to improve my familiarity with the variations available.

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