Sunday, 25 April 2010

Vinyasa Krama Seated-angle pose subroutine addition to primary

In the previous post I mentioned how I'm using Vinyasa Krama to adapt my Primary and Intermediate series. The Sequences in Ramaswami's Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga are made up of subroutines built around a key pose, often it's variations. The video below is of the Seated-angle pose ( Upavishta Konasana ) Subroutine that I've been slipping into my Primary between Kukkatasana and Badha Konasana. It would probably go well before Kumasana too if you want the extra bit of hip opening before the Leg behind head entry to Supta Kumasana.


Does it disrupt the flow of Primary? It's a little different, five minutes without a jump back but then primary goes a little weird after badha konasana anyway. If I slipped it into Primary earlier in the sequence it might be disruptive but by the time I get to Kukkutasana I'm pretty settled into the rhythm of the practice, it becomes a welcome change of pace, refreshing to work yourself deeper and deeper into a pose.

The other Vinyasa Krama additions I've made have tended to be the odd pose or Mudra here and there. I'm being careful not to overbalance the series. If I wanted to do an inverted Subroutine in headstands, say, then I would probably drop this one and do the inverted instead. So far it's been working out well, practice has been excellent this week.

Taking a rest day today as I think I might be going down with something. Woke up dizzy yesterday, kept veering to the right and banging into things. Standing was quite comical, it was as if I was practicing on a boat in rough seas. Managed to get through the practice but was feeling nauseous through all the forward bends. I checked and I haven't taken a rest day since 31st march, must force myself to take one a week, perhaps just some extended Pranayama and meditation later today and leave it at that.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Vinyasa Krama Lotus sequence Speeded up x 4

This is the last of the big six sequences from Srivatsa Ramaswami's Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga, that I've videoed and speeded up. I practice them on alternate days, Lotus on Friday. The full sequence takes me around around forty-five minutes but that includes, what Ramaswami refers to as the 'Lotus special balancing postures' at the end. You could leave these out if they're too challenging and go into a regular headstand, Savasana and Pranayama. They include a Lotus Mayurasana, Urdhwa Kukkutasana's, Lotus headstands, Padma Pincha Mayurasana and I throw in a Karandavasana for luck. Apart from those tricky ones at the end if you can manage lotus then it's not too difficult a sequence, to get through.... to do well is another matter, I need a lot more practice with some of these, but hey, show me an asana that couldn't do with another ten years work.

Ramaswami preface's the Sequence with this.
'The lotus posture (padmasana) is considered by conventional yogis to be the most important seated posture. Mention of this posture can be found not merely in old yoga texts but also in epics and other very ancient Indian religious and cultural books'. p189

In other words, it's old school.

The first time I did this sequence I had to take a lot of breaks to stretch out my legs, now I can do it in one go. The half lotus variations make excellent prep for the main pose and the variations after that keep it interesting. There are forward bends, twists, backbends, shoulder stands and headstands. Forty minutes in lotus, that's a respectable seated meditation practice.

As usual, I need to mention that this is my version of the sequence. I'm still getting used to it and miss things out and get the order wrong. While editing I realized I'd missed out Padma Mayurasana, one of the coolest asana in this sequence and had to go upstairs, record it and edit it in. Trouble was I'd just eaten breakfast, you really don't want to practice this posture on a full stomach. So, no substitute for Ramaswami's book.

As with all these sequences I tend to practice them after some Sury's and standing poses. I used to use a pretty standard Ashtanga Standing sequence but recently I've been using the 'On one leg' sequence from Ramaswami's book. Depending on whether there are any Shoulder stands and headstands I'll do a standard Ashtanga finishing. The Lotus sequence includes both but I tend to like to finish off with a five minute savasana and a ten minute headstand to stretch out my legs before going back into lotus for Pranayama.


One thing I do miss out here is going up to headstand from lotus. Can't for the life of me seem to manage that, very tricky. Padma Pinch Mayurasana is in the sequence, Karandavasana isn't. I added it anyway but probably shouldn't have bothered, I'm all squished up and the exit is horrible, need to start practicing it again.

The straight leg jump through pretty much came off alright again. It's really hit and miss. In my evening Primary I need a couple with my hands on books and then I'm pretty much OK with them throughout the practice. Every now and then though I completely lose it and just can't jump through, very strange, have to do another couple with the books to reset.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Vinyasa Krama Bow sequence Speeded up x 4 plus Kapo/dropbacks

Bow sequence is one of the shorter Sequences in Ramaswami's Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga, Here it is speeded up. No doubt I've moved away from the book a couple of times, I'll go through it later and list any variations.
Sometimes I'll add the Vajrasana sequence at the back of the book to Bow as it includes Ustrasana, Lagu Vajrasana and Kapotasana but here I've just gone straight in to them. I've finished it off with drop backs.
In my practice yesterday evening I then moved on to the Seated sequence with it's forward bends. It's a short sequence too and they seem to complement each other.

As with any of my video's, if you think you might find something useful, feel free to download it from Youtube using Realplayer etc. These speeded up sequences can usually be slowed back down again if your trying to learn a sequences. I'm still working them out myself though and sometimes part company with Ramaswami's book so it's worth getting.

PRANAYAMA IN MY SLEEP

So after all those backbends, and that Ganda B felt pretty deep, I knew I was going to have a restless night, must have woken up every hour. Sometime in the night I ended up having a nightmare.
Now when I was about six, I was in Boots the chemist with my Mother, and a wasp flew into my ear. I panicked tried to get it out and it stung me a bunch of times. I've had a bit of a phobia about wasps ever since. Anyway I tend to sleep with earplugs, it's noisy here, you can hear the traffic on the video. Last night I dreamt a wasp flew into my ear. It was very realistic, perhaps because I could feel the earplugs. I was just about to panic, and try and get it out but remembered that it would just sting the hell out of me. Without thinking I started to do Pranayama, getting really into it, retention and everything. All the time the Wasp was moving about in my ear. One moment it seemed it was about to come about but then it would go in deeper again, I could even feel the tiny hairs on it's back and it's hot legs. Eventually the thing crawled out and flew away and I woke. up.

Of course if this happened while I was awake I'm sure I would run shouting and screaming up and down the street sticking sticks in my ear to try and get the bugger out. No doubt some may think this is some deep memory stuck down in my spine somewhere released by the deep Ganda B. but I tend to remember that time as kid every time I see a wasp so I'm not sure I buy it.

On another note. I did primary this morning. Straight leg jump through all the way through. Still clumsy with heavy landing but getting through every time.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Adapted Bow and Seated sequence.

I'm so taken with the seated sequence at the moment that I wanted to try adding it to all the other sequences this week. This morning I thought it would work as a nice counterpose sequence to Bow/Backbends.
This is how it turned out, bit more than I intended but I was having such a good time and things seemed to flow into each other and make sense that I got a bit carried away. There tend to be jump backs and though only between the subroutines. It took a little over 90 minutes. Some sections like seated and Asymmetric were slow with extra, long steady breathes, other sections were more ashtanga like, quite enjoyed altering the pace.

Loved this so much that I wanted to print it out and do it again.....and again. Seeing as I'm typing it out anyway I might as well put it here and post it.

I'm thinking the bow/seated combination might make a nice framework for a daily practice. One day add more Lotus poses another day less Lotus and more Asymmetric or a stronger Inverted posture focus. That way I wont end up trying to add everything all in one go. I want to be ending up with a shorter practice, an hour maximum, and thus more time for Pranayama and meditation rather than allowing it to creep up to two hours of asana.

STANDING
Tadasana
Surya Namaskara A
Surya Namaskara B

Padangushtasana
Padahastasana
Utthita Trikonasana
Parivritta Trikonasana
Utthita Parshvakonasana
Parivritta Parshvakonasana
Prasarita Padottanasana A
Prasarita Padottanasana B
Prasarita Padottanasana C
Parshvottanasana
Utthita Hasta Padangushtasana (inc. lower to squat then head to knee)
Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana
Vatayanasana
Utkatanasana
Virabhadrasana (A & B)
Natajarasana

BOW/BACKBENDS
Bhujangasana
Shalabhasana
Bhekasana

Viparita Shalabhasana
Ganda Bherundasana

Dhanurasana
Parshva Dhanurasana
Dhanurasana

Ustrasana
Laghu Vajrasana
Kapotasana A
Kapotasana B
Eka Pada Raja kapotasana
Hanumanasana
Urdhva Danurasana/Dropbacks

SEATED
Paschimattanasana (3 types)
Purvatanasana

ASYMMETRIC
Tiriangmukhaikapada Paschimattanasana
Mahamudra
Janu Shirshasana A
Janu Shirshasana C
Ardha Matsyendrasana

Akarna Dhanurasana A
Akarna Dhanurasana B
Eka Pada Shirshasana
Kashyapasana (or Kashyabasana)
Chakorasana

SEATED
Upavishta Konasana Subroutine (from Vinyasa Krama)
Kurmasana
Dwi Pada Shirshasana
Supta kurmasana
Garbha Pindasana
Baddha Konasana A B C
Mula Bandhasana
Padmasana
Bhadrasana

ARM BALANCES
Urdhva Kukkutasana B and C
Padma Sirsasana
Karandavasana
Urdhva Kukkutasana
Padma mayurasana

FINISHING
Sarvangasana
Halasana
Karnapidasana
Urdhva Padmasana
Pindasana
Matsyasana
Uttana Padasana
Shirshasana

Baddha Padmasana
Padmasana
Uth Pluthi

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Vinyasa Krama Seated Sequence Speeded up x4

Another run through of a sequence from Ramaswami's Complete book of Vinyasa krama. Just a guide as it can be difficult to get an overview of the VK sequences from the book. There are a couple of places I get it wrong, (can you get something wrong in Vinyasa krama?) or at least drift away from the sequence as it's laid out, mainly by forgetting what comes next.

I tend to start my practice with some Tadasana (mountain) poses followed by a few Sury's A and B and usually at least one chanted (with the itouch ). A standing sequence, lately that's pretty much been the 'On one leg' sequence' before the lead in to seated. The video takes it up at the lead in Straight leg jump through. The video ends with a jump back legs uncrossed. From there I go into a pretty much standard Ashtanga finishing sequence of Shoulder stand variations, headstand and Padmasana before settling into some Pranayama.


And here's a list of how the video differs from the Sequence laid out in the book.

0.06 Where I lay down at the beginning, after the lead in, my arms should be stretched out over my head. To get the shot I had to move back too close to the wall. Had to just lower after Supta kurmasana rather than jump back for the same reason.

0.50 I do a full wrist bind here, in the book the fingers are linked behind the feet. In the Paschi's the head position changes throughout the variations from forehead to knee to face, chin and then eyes to toes.

2.03 I do a leg behind head, dwi pada sirsasana entry to Supta Kurmasana (turtle in shell) that I picked up in Ashtanga 2nd. In VK the hands appear to be clasped lower, around the backside rather than the back.

4.38 There should be a couple of reverse twists through the arms after the forward twists.

4.43 I should go into a side splits subroutine here, Samakonasana. Not gonna to happen.

5.12 I slip in a lame mulabhandasa here just because it seems an appropriate place and it's something I want to work on.

5.40 There are no lotus variations in the book just padmasana for twelve breaths but it's a short sequence so I tend to do a couple.

6.30 Yoganarasimbasana pose (lion-man) I should have my arm outstretched in frount of me, palms down, arms resting on my knees just behind the elbows.

Slowed down X4 if you speed it back up it's about 27 minutes.

I tend to slip in a couple of extra jump backs in between the different sub routines.

I'm taking three breaths in each pose because I'm making the video. Usually I take between five and ten. The forward bends tend to have a shorter inhale but a long slow exhale that I tend to retain while I engage the bandhas.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Vinyasa Krama Jump through and jump back

Feel like I'm stepping back in time, back to when this blog was called Ashtanga Jump Back, anyone still reading from then I wonder, and if so did you get your Jump back? What do you think it was that made the biggest difference and allowed you to nail it? Just curious.

I've always tended to do a crossed leg jump back. In fact, up until recently I wasn't aware there was an uncrossed version. I don't mean lifting up with the legs straight and then bringing them in, crossing them and taking them back through, but this.

'From dandasana, exhale, hold your breath, and lift your body to dandasana-utpluthi. bend your knees, keeping your feet together. Do not cross your legs. Take a short inhalation, balance yourself nicely by leaning forward a little and keeping your head down, and hurtle backward smoothly, close to the ground. Land on your big toes.' S. Ramaswami, The Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga p69-70

'Keep your feet together'
'Do not cross them'

I'd never noticed this before, saw the pictures and did my Jump back. But then I noticed something strange about the picture, the ankles aren't crossed!!! I tried it this morning, no way not even close, impossible, can't be done. Checked Youtube, nothing there. Does anyone do it this way or has seen it done in the Shala or on video? If so please let me know and send me links.

UPDATE
Thanks to niall for this link to a video of Olaf doing this style of jump back. I love it and will be working on this over the next couple of weeks. I have, what, two and a half months left to nail it.

Luckily the Jump back/through doesn't play a huge role in VK (and it's hardly a dogmatic system, adaption is it's middle word). You tend to have a jump through to Dandasana at the start of most (but not all sequences), Seated Sequence, Asymmetric, Lotus etc. Then you tend to have a return series which is basically the jump back to downward facing dog (depending on the series).

Still it would be nice if I could work it out.

And how about the Jump through? Well it's the straight leg version. I've always done the crossed leg Kino style jump through. I learned the Straight leg version a while back (blindfolded) but never really practiced it that much so have forgotten it again. Will have to go back to Blocks and socks on the bathroom floor.

Flicking through the book I came across a Jump through sequence I hadn't really noticed before. This is in Chapter 11 Visesha Vinyasa Kramas. This chapter contains some miscellaneous subroutines. The Chanted Sun salutation is in it, as is the Anjaneyasana/Hanumanasana subroutine along with some others. Buried in there is this little Jump through subroutine that includes all kinds of Jumps. Jump through (and then back) to Dandasana, to lolasana, to Vajrasana. Jumping through one leg bent, jumping though in half-lotus, Durvasana Bhuju, Baksana, handstand, Mayurasana, Astavakasana, Ekapada sirsasana, just about every kind of jump through variation. Curious routine and I can't wait to try it, that's my Easter egg.







Interestingly in Mark Singleton's Yoga Body, a fascinating but quite devastating book by the way, there is a group of pictures from Kuvalayananda's Yougik Sangh Vyayam 1936, that appears to show the same feet together, uncrossed jump back. What's that all about.

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