Sunday, 31 July 2011

Morning Vinyasa Krama Tadasana sequence at the hotel.

A shortened Tadasana / On your feet sequence this morning at the hotel in S. Wales, where I've been all week reviewing Ramaswami's sequences. This is pretty much how I practice it most mornings, give or take a couple of hand/arm variations. I tend to include it in my morning practice no matter what I'm practicing whether it's a straight, VK sequence, a mixture of subroutines or even Ashtanga. In the case of Ashtanga I'll do this routine as soon as I get on the mat before staring the Sury's.

Apologies for the sound, the battery was running low and there's a point eleven minutes in where it just stops altogether, had to give it a couple of minutes charge before carrying on.

After this tadasana sequence I went on to a couple of triangle variations and then into the Meditative sequence where I caught my heels in kapotasana for the first time in three months or so. Not exactly sure what made the difference but in Bow sequence yesterday I just flew up into Viparita Salabhasana, quite surprised me. think that gave me the confidence to go for the deeper kapo this morning

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Back to the sequences

This week I've been reviewing Ramaswami's book. This morning was the turn of the Supine sequence, Now for some reason this has always been my least favourite, wasn't looking forward to doing it but I'd done the rest so eventually after much stalling I got on the mat. Loved it. Aint that always, or at least so often, the way.

Supine is a complete practice in itself, you have those leg movements at the beginning, a kind of reclining version of the usual standing sequence, then there's the inversions at the end. Add a couple of sury's, a little tadasana and a headstand and your good to go.

I've spent a lot of time this last year trying to turn Vinyasa Krama into an Ashtanga style practice, you can do it, it works and there are arguments for approaching it that way but the sequences are wonderful just as they are. Each has it's share of forward bends, twists and backbends, your covering all the bases.

So I think I'm going to stick with the sequences pretty much just as they are for a bit. Still Start off my practice with tadasana a couple of sury's and some subroutines from the On one leg and Triangle sequences and finish with Inversions but the middle section, the meat in the sandwich will be either, Seated, Asymmetric, Lotus, Supine or Bow/Meditative sequences, just as they are on the page. For a while at least

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Holiday practice update.

I mentioned in the last post that I was using this holiday as an opportunity to review the Vinyasa Krama sequences as laid out in Ramaswami's book The complete guide to Vinyasa Yoga.

I hadn't planned on blogging till I came back but I'm having such a ball I can't help myself. I love these sequences. I don't tend to practice them this way anymore but rather build a practice from the subroutines from the different sequences or use the subroutines to modify my Ashtanga practice. This is such a joy though, love how the postures build upon each other, how the poses are related. It's like looking at a piano and seeing all the scales and chords laid out before you when your used to playing sax and having to hold everything in your head.

So far this week I've practiced
Monday : the full On your feet sequence
Tuesday : traveled half the day but practiced the Seated sequence when I got to the hotel.
Wednesday : the long Asymmetric sequence in the morning and the full On one leg sequence in the late afternoon early evening.
Thursday : Lotus sequence and then in the evening a kind of advanced Asymmetric and seated practice.

Tomorrow being Friday I'll stick with my Ashatana Primary for now but continue on through 2nd series. In the evening I want to look at some of the orphan subroutines from the back of Ramaswami's book

Saturday will be The long Supine sequence with the Inversion series in the afternoon.
That leaves the Bow and Meditative sequences for Sunday before heading home.

All of these practices start off with the short Tadasana sequence and a standing sequence built on the ashtanga format, some Sury's, Triangle and On one leg subroutines, been mixing those around all week, some I haven't practiced for ages. I finish off with Inversion vinyasas.

After the asana which have been taking two and a half hours or so ( making the most of being on holiday), I've been indulging in long Pranayama and meditation sessions, forty minutes each.

Lots of post ideas have come up, there are some tricky postures in each of the different Sequences so want to do some 'Focus on tricky posture' posts, leg behind head in Asymmetric say, Natarajasana in On one leg, that kind of thing,figure I can adapt some of the older posts on th ashtanga blog and update them for Vinyasa Krama. Suggestions welcome.

Strikes me that that's a very Ashtanga approach to blogging, how to get into postures and how the practice is going etc. Do other types of yoga blog differently, not sure I can go about it any other way though I fell less tied to the asana here.

The hotel has a pool so I've been jumping in for a swim and sauna three times a day.

Not a lot to eat around here, I went to a shop in the village, sorry THE shop in the village, for some fruit but there's nothing, not even an apple. No diet coke either, or even diet Pepsi ( not that I'd lower myself), twenty different types of red bullish drinks though but I don't touch the stuff. It's Like stepping back in time here, one village shop, a church and five pubs. Did I mention I grew up not that far from here.

So food has been a large breakfast, really large, after practice and that's pretty much it except for some Japanese rice crackers my much loved and appreciated Mother-in-law sent me from Japan for my birthday. Oh and tea, lots of tea.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Holiday practice

I have a weeks holiday. M is sending me off to Wales to a little hotel with a pool by the sea., just about to leave might get to Practice on the beach perhaps, always fancied that.

The plan is to take the week to review all the Vinyasa Krama sequences, haven't practiced them as they are in Ramaswami's book for a quite a while, looking forward to it. I get to have a long three hour practice on my day off but be nice to indulge in that daily for a bit. Long long stays in postures, excited.

On Ramaswami's course we built up to forty minute pranayama sessions, I do that on my day off but the rest of the week I split it between my morning and evening practice. Looking forward to doing the full eighty rounds both in the morning and evening while I'm away.

And meditation of course lots of meditation.

Yoga sutra's are coming with me, be nice to chant through them again (there's a lot of beach so can chant them as loud as I like), thinking about doing that everyday, don't chant as much as I'd like to, tends to be the first thing I cut back on, though I tend to be chanting away at my bench while doing repairs.

My Yogajavlkya for a start, the ipads coming so perhaps it's time to download The Waste Land app for the long train journey. I have the Yoga Upanishads on the Kindle app, looking forward to reading them again and some Heidegger obviously. His Discourse on Thinking is coming with me, a tiny book but you probably need to be on a deserted mudflat to really get stuck into it. I have an idea that his use of Gelassenheit (releasement) might bring an interesting perspective on surrender. Will need to take some Eckhart I guess as it's kind of his usage that Heidegger is borrowing. Oh dear, book bag getting full already.

Book bag was getting full but managed to turn everything into pdf's and put them in ibooks. what with that and the Kindle app the ipad is all I'm taking.

Hotel has a small pool and it's walking distance form the beach so looking forward to swimming, Greece a couple of months ago reminded me how much I love to swim and I crave it now.

So will be away for a bit, no blogging though I might tweet or update FB occasionally (will put twitter back at the top of the blog).

Let you know how it went.

Monday, 25 July 2011

How to practice Vinyasa Krama Yoga ( in bullet points) plus 10 sample practices

In this post I've tried to bring together Ramaswami's guide to practicing Vinyasa Krama as outlined in his September 2009 Newsletter ( this newsletter lives permanently as one of the sub pages at the top of this blog).

Claudia once expressed the wish for bullet points and so I've tried to break the newsletter up in such a way to as to make Ramaswami's practice guidelines as clear and approachable as possible, I hope this meets with his approval. I've not added anything but have cut out a couple of explanatory passages so  I recommend reading the newsletter in full, in it's original format.

The second part of this post contains 10 sample practices design by Chris, a fellow teacher trainee on Ramaswami's 200 hour VK TT course last year held at LMU in LA.

Chris stresses that they were designed for his own personal practice. Taken together they cover most of the postures, subroutines and sequences found in Ramaswami's book Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga

They can be taken as individual sample practice ideas that one might like to try or just as sketches, illustrations, of one the myriad ways Vinyasa Krama practice might be approached.

My own Sister Blog Vinyasa Krama sequences and subroutines has practice sheets of all the major sequences in Ramaswamis books as well as videos of the individual subroutines. It also has some pranayama instruction videos.

My own personal practice is a hybrid of the Ashtanga practice ( early Krishnamacharya) with which I was first introduced to yoga and the Vinyasa Krama ( later Krishnamacharya ) taught to me by Ramaswami.

My morning practice tends to be a slightlyVinyasa Krama influenced Ashtanga Primary, 2nd and Advanced series followed by Pranyama, Pratyahara and Japa Mantra Meditation.

My evening practice is 20 minutes Vinyasa krama subroutines, 20 minutes pranayama and 20 minutes meditation (including pratyahara).

My morning practice tends to fluctuate between periods of Ashtanga and Vinyasa Krama, some posts on my morning Vinyasa Krama practice routines can be found HERE

How to practice Vinyasa Krama yoga (Ramaswami's September 2009 Newsletter in bullet points)

  • (Many who) have read the “Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga” book... ask the question, what next? How can I do a daily practice from these sequences? 
  • There are more than 700 asanas/vinyasas and I normally recommend doing each vinyasa three times. At the rate of about 4/5 movements per minute (it could be even 3 per minute for good breathers), it could take about 8 to 9 hours to do the complete vinyasakrama. 
  • Then my Guru would commend doing a short stint of Pranayama, say for about 15 to 30 mts and then chanting or meditation  for another 15 to 30 mts, daily. 
  • We also have to consider that in asana practice, there are a few heavy weight poses which require one to stay for a long time. 
  • So it is almost impossible to practice all of it everyday even by a full time ‘practice-live-and-sleep-in yoga mat’ yogi. 
  • The book was written to give as complete as possible, a presentation of all the vinyasas  in a series of sequences that is logical and easy to learn, as I learnt from my Guru. 
  • It is a book for learning the system. 
  • Any serious student of yoga who would spend years studying and teaching yoga should have in one’s repertoire as many  asanas, vinyasas and logical sequences (krama) as possible. So, one  should firstly study the entire range of asanas and vinyasas of the  vinyasakrama system from a teacher say in the 60 hr vinyasakrama program. Then note down all the vinyasas that are a bit difficult to do. 
  • One should practice daily for half hour to one hour as many vinyasas as possible following the recommended sequence, with special emphasis on the difficult ones. 
  • In about six months to one year of consistent practice one would be comfortable with the system, the  sequences and especially the required synchronous breathing. This would complete the learning process. 
  • Then one may prepare a green list of asanas and vinyasas one would be able to do and wants to practice regularly. 
  • There will be another list, amber list which would contain  those vinyasas which are difficult now but one would like to practice them even if they are somewhat imperfect. 
  • Then there would be another red list which will contain procedures that are not appropriate or possible for the practitioner—which could probably be taken up in the next janma. 
  • Then it would be time for concentrating on using vinyasakrama for daily practice and also teaching to individuals for their daily yoga practice
  • However, as a general rule, for the serious mid-life yogi, a daily practice of about 90 mts to 2 hrs will be necessary and sufficient.
  • Here is modifiable one. 
  • After a short prayer, one could do a brief stint of Tadasana doing the main vinyasas two or preferably three times each. It should take about ten minutes. 
  • Then one subsequence in the asymmetric could be taken up, say Marichyasana or Triyangmukha or the half lotus. The choice may be varied on a daily basis. 
  • Five minute stay in Paschimatanasana and the counter poses may be practiced. 
  • Then one may do preparation of Sarvangasana and a brief stay in it, followed by headstand stay for about 5 to 10 minutes or more and then  staying in Sarvangasana for 5 to 10 more minutes, if one can do  inversions. 
  • Paschimatanasana, Sarvangaana and Headstand are to be practiced preferably daily for their health benefits.  
  • If time permits one may do few vinyasas in these inversions. 
  • One may do a subsequence of Triangle pose like warrior pose and /or one sequence in one legged pose.  
  • Mahamudra for about 5 minutes each on both sides can then be practiced.  
  • Then sitting in Vajrasana or Padmasana after doing some movements one should do a suitable variant of Kapalabhati, say for about 108 times  and then an appropriate Pranayama, Ujjayi, Nadisodhana or Viloma with or without mantras for about 15 minutes to be followed by five minutes Shanmukhimudra and then chanting or meditation of about 15 minutes.
  • The efficacy of Pranayama on the whole system and mind cannot be overemphasized. Please read the article on “Yoga for the Heart”, in an  earlier newsletter... It refers to the benefits of Pranayama to the  heart and the circulatory system. 
  • If interested, one may allocate an additional 30 minutes (or practice at another time in the day, say, in the evening) during which time one may practice a few subroutines from the other scores of sequences that have not been included in this core yoga practice.
  • Everyday before the start of the practice the yogi should take a minute and decide on a definite agenda and as far as possible try to stick to the agenda. What asanas and vinyasas, which pranayama and how many rounds and other details should be determined before hand and one should adhere to it. It brings some discipline and coherence to one’s practice. 
  • It is customary to end the practice with peace chant. 
  • One reason why people nowadays look for a definite  routine is because a few of the more popular vinyasa systems have a very small number of regimented sequences which are taught over and  over again almost to all students. So there is a mindset that there  should be a rigid sequence that is applicable for everyone, but that is not the way we learnt yoga from my Guru. 
  • Firstly the teacher should learn the whole system and then apply it to individuals as per the  requirements -- pick and choose those vinyasa sequences, pranayama and meditation practices, dietary requirements, etc.
  • The question that is to be answered is what does the practitioner want/need and how should the yoga routine be designed to get the required benefit. 
  • Vinyasakrama is like a yoga supermarket, and each one should put into the cart what one needs. 
  • And the term Vinyasakrama includes not just asanas but also other aspects of yoga like pranayama, meditation, etc. It is a progression of different aspects of Yoga. 
  • The Vinyasakrama  has a huge collection of asana vinyasas, a well stocked section on Pranayama, then the meditation department and a spiritual study/contemplation section as well. So a lot of initiative should be taken by the individual consumer, like our practitioner who should take the responsibility of working out with the teacher how to design an intelligent purposeful yoga practice pertaining to oneself. 
  • To reduce Vinyasakrama to a standard routine as is done with several other contemporary Vinyasa systems and put it in a straight jacket is not desirable. I have explained these ideas to many participants of the longer versions of the programs and thought to touch upon them for the general reader who would be wondering how to force the VK elephant (or a camel) into the needle’s eye of daily practice. 
  • There are a few serious practitioners who have their daily routine cut out, but then do the complete vinyasakrama separately say in the evening for about an hour so that they could go through all the vinyasa sequences in a span of one week. 
  • You have myriad possibilities. 
  • There is no one rigid universal daily practice routine in Vinyasakrama as I have explained.

Ramaswami stressed the importance of covering a wide range of asanas to reach all areas of the body  and recommended of his trainees that, if possible, they should try to work through all the Vinyasa Krama sequences over a couple of weeks perhaps in addition to their regular daily practice.

Chris, who was on the Vinyasa Krama teacher training course with me last year has come up with a ten day approach to the series and I'd like to thank him for allowing me to present it below. Because of my Ashtanga practice in the morning I have a shorter Vinyasa Krama asana practice in the evening so am working through the sequences over a longer period, more like our my fellow blogger Arturo, but of course I cover quite a wide range of asana in the different series of my morning ashtanga practice.

 My own approach to Vinyasa Krama is strongly influenced by my Ashtanga background so I thought it would be interesting to show how somebody else approaches their Vinyasa Krama practice.

I'm hoping blogger will blow these up when you click on them so you can actually see what's going on.

You can approach this, as Chris is, as a ten day cycle covering most of the postures in Ramaswami's Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga or as ten independent ideas for structuring your practice. Ramaswami's Vinyasa Krama is highly flexible you, adapt the practice to yourself, practice what your able, work towards what's currently beyond you through practicing the easier postures. Ramaswami does recommend, however that you have a clear idea of what you intend to practice before you begin.











Chris discusses this approach to practice in his current post HERE

I asked Chris ( he has a blog of his own here ) for a few lines concerning his yoga background.

I almost never talk about my yoga biography but I will try: I started yoga at a gym and it was more or less a basic "gym" yoga. I stayed with this teacher for about a year and then he moved off and I was somewhat forced (I was guilt-ed into it) to teach yoga. This made me realize I knew nothing about yoga: how to structure the practice, the full Ujjiya breath etc. So, basically I taught in this confused state for about a year during which time I ran into Ricky Tran and he talked about his experience with Ramaswami which left an impression on me. After this year teaching, I ended up taking a TT course in Gaia Flow Yoga which was heated vinyasa. This class did teach me but I felt like it oversimplified things. After another year, I finally ended up taking Ramaswami's course. Basically, I wanted a more systematic approach to doing the asanas and working up towards pranayama. In general, my background is a bastardization of gym yoga and hot vinyasa yoga but I enjoy VK so much more then these though I also have a weak spot for ashtanga. That is the best overview I can give; I am also unsure on how these things affect my VK practice.

Here is yet another approach to Vinyasa Krama practice, this time from Wyatt, another alumni of Ramaswami's School of yoga. These include several video's of Wyatt's home practice

Wyatt part one
Wyatt part two

Friday, 15 July 2011


Today is Guru Purnima where, traditionally, you pay respects to your guru or teacher and re intensify your efforts as a student.

I consider Srivatsa Ramaswami my teacher and will be dedicating this evening Vinyasa Krama practice to him out of respect and appreciation.

Today is also, I believe, the last day of Ramaswami's six week Vinyasa Krama Teacher Training course at LMU in LA. It's a long course and I know how much Ramaswami gives of himself. I'm sure the current batch of trainees are as appreciative of his efforts and all he has shared as we were last year. I can't thank him enough for all he passed on to me in those few short weeks as well as the dignified manner in which he did so, which was an example in itself of how to conduct oneself as a teacher.

Though I still tend to practice the Mysore Ashtanga system in the morning, I do practice Ramaswami's Vinyasa Krama, as taught to him by his own teacher Krishnamacharya, in the evening and have managed to keep up the integrated asana, pranayama and meditation practice he taught to us on the VK TT course. However I could, of course, be more conscientious. I could spend more time on pranayama and meditation as well as on chanting and study of the sutras and other texts, this is where the re intensifying of my practice comes in

My morning Ashtanga too is strongly influenced by Ramaswami's Vinyasa Krama. This week I've returned to the Ashtanga 2nd series yet I include a large section of the Vinyasa Krama Bow sequence leading up to the 2nd series backbends. I also have some Vinyasa Krama Asymmetric poses as extra preparation for the leg behind head postures, I include maha mudra before badha konasana, have an extra long paschimottanasana after dropbacks and longer shoulderstands and headstands than the usual 25 breaths found in Ashtanga. I also tend to start my morning practice with a ten minute Vinyasa Krama tadasana sequence and may add a couple of extra postures to the Ashtanga standing section. The idea is to retain some degree of flexibility while retaining the integrity of the Ashtanga series. Too many adaptations in one practice and the serious doesn't feel right, it's a balancing act.

Friday, 1 July 2011

July 2011 Newsletter from Srivatsa Ramaswami—Trivikrama

July 2011 Newsletter from Srivatsa Ramaswami—Trivikrama

Greetings from Los Angeles. I will be teaching a two day workshop on
Vinyasakrama  Asanas and Pranayama at Anada Ashram in New York State
on 26th and 27th of July 2011

We are almost four weeks through the 6 week 200 Hr Teacher training
Program at Loyola Marymount University in  Los Angeles. We have
completed the 60 hour Vinyasakrama Asana Program a 20 hr Pranayama
Program, a further 20 hr Yoga Sutra course and a 20 hour program on
study of Sri Krishnamacharya's works—The Yoga Makaranda and Yoga
Rahasya and also a 20 hour program on Mantras and Meditation based on
my studies with Sri Krishnamachaarya. It is a very nice group of
dedicated participants, some are experienced teachers themselves..
Like last year and the years before it is a wonderful group blossoming
into a nice cohesive one.  Whether it is doing 80 pranayamas at a
stretch or staying and doing vinyasas for 10 minutes in Sarvangasana
or meditating for 15 minutes and chanting the Atma Suddhi and
Pranayama /Gayatri mantras they show equal facility and interest. I am
enjoying being part of the group. I hope the remaining two weeks will
be equally satisfying and peaceful.  We have three from Brazil, three
from Mexico and a couple from Singapore/Thailand. There is one each
from Portland, New Jersey and Texas. And of course a few are from Los
Angeles/California as well. There are 18 participants for the whole
program and a few have signed for individual courses making it a
compact group of 20+ participants for all the courses.

Trivikrama—the  Lord who stooped to  conquer

Last year around this time I wrote narrating some stories from the
Puranas. With the program at LMU going on I thought of the easier
option of story time for this Newsletter. In one of the earlier
articles I wrote about the story of Prahlada as an outstanding
instance of selfless bhakti. Even though he was a danava (demon) he
developed a great devotion for the Lord even as a child and the
beautiful story of him is narrated as a source of great inspiration
for Bhakti yogis. When I was young there used to be popular plays
enacted on Prahlada as “Bhakta Prahlada” sometimes the plays running
all through the night on special occasions for worshiping Vishna. As
his name would indicate he was absolutely blissful (pra+hlada). And he
proved to be an absolutely adorable king.

His grandson was also an exceptionally great King called Mahabali. He
would be referred to as Bali chakravarti (emperor). Bali as a demon
king (danava) performed an elaborate  vedic ritual called 'Viswajit',
meaning conquering (jit) the Universe (viswa). Out of the sacrificial
fire, it would appear there emerged a golden chariot, armor and a coat
of arms. With the guidance and goading  of his preceptor Sukracharya
he went on a Digvijaya or conquest of all directions. Soon the
Universe came under his control. He banished even Indra the chief of
the devas (angels) to the netherworld. He became a benevolent king
though his usurping the territories of devas was considered adharmic
or unlawful. He took over Mayapuri the heavenly capital city of Indra.

He became well known for his charity all over the universe. But his
adharmic karma of usurping someone else's possession was waiting in
the wings to fructify. In the meantime Indra complained to his
preceptor Brahaspati about his pitiable condition. Brahaspati
counseled him to wait and said any misdeed like willful disobedience
of his preceptor would cause the downfall of the mighty emperor.

Aditi was considered to be the mother of Devas. In fact one name for
the sun is Aaditya, meaning the offspring of Aditi. When the mass
banishment of the devas to the netherworld took place due to the
actions of Bali, sage Kashyapa,  Aditi's husband had gone out for deep
meditation and was unaware of the happenings in the outside universe.
So when he returned home, Aditi narrated to Kashyapa all that happened
during his absence. Kashyapa contemplated deeply and decided to
approach Lord Vishnu to rectify the situation. He and Aditi decided
then to take a great vrata (penance) called Payovrata ot subsisting on
milk alone for the entire duration of twelve day period of the penance
to propitiate Lord Vishnu, the Lord who is credited with 10 avataras
or incarnations to restore dharma in the universe periodically. At the
end of the vrata, Vishnu appeared before the couple and inquired about
their wish and Aditi and Kashyapa narrated the unfortunate happenings
in the Universe. The Lord who is omniscient listened to them carefully
and indicated that He earlier took the avatar of Narasimha (man-lion)
to protect Prahlada the child born to a demon but yet a great pious
soul, would have to take another avatara to punish Prahlada's own
grandson due to his misdeeds. The Lord promised that he would be born
to them as their last child and would do the needful.

In due course Aditi gave birth to a beautiful child but in due course
he grew up to be a dwarf, a dwarf Brahmin. He also chose to remain  a
Brahmachari, a celibate. He was revered for his scholarship and the
knowledge of Dharma-- of what is right and what is wrong.

By then Mahabali at the prompting of his clever preceptor Sukracharya
decided to do the ultimate vedic ritual called Aswamedha or the horse
sacrifice, so that he could establish legitimacy over his usurpation
of the kingdom of gods the devaloka apart from the rest of the
Universe. The pygmy Lord, called Vamana then decided that it was time
to make the move. He slowly wended his way to the palace of Mahabali.
It was the time for the asura king to take his food and the small
statured, harmless looking Brahmin boy stood there begging for a boon
from the mighty King. One of the greatest virtues of Mahabali was the
charities he gave which endeared him to many of his subjects in the
Universe. Seeing the hungry looking but illustrious boy the Emperor
Mahabali was highly impressed and told him to ask for a boon. The boy
hesitated but the King made an irrevocable offer and said “Ask
anything you want and it shall be given—cows, ornaments, horses
anything at all”

“None of it whatever” said Vamana. I just want land measuring three
paces of my feet. Some say he wanted land equal to the three  measures
of his feet . Though Bali was disappointed by this inconsequential
request, nevertheless agreed and asked his wife to bring the pitcher
containing water. In those days the donor pours a small quantity of
water into the cupped right palm of the  donee as an affirmation of
giving an irrevocable gift. Sukracharya, Bali's preceptor immediately
smelt a rat. He at once turned to Bali and advised him not to give
into the request of the innocuous looking boy. He said that the
brahmin boy was none other than the Lord Vishnu Himself and that
acceding to his request will spell disaster to the King. The King in
an expansive mood brushed aside the warning. He was overpowered by the
arrogance of the power, the power of giving charity even to the Lord.
He contemptuously ignored the warning  of his preceptor and proceeded
to consecrate the gift. He forgot the vedic exhortation of developing
humility even while giving. As a last ditch effort Sukracharya
quickly took the form of a roach, got into the pitcher and blocked the
beak of the pitcher so that the formal completion of the gift would be
prevented. Vamana sensing trouble from Sukracharya, took a strand of a
twig and inserted it into the beak of the pitcher. Promptly the strand
pierced one eye of the roach Sukracharya and blinding one eye. Stung
by both the physical injury and the arrogance of his own ward,
Mahabali, Sukracharya cursed Mahabali that he would fall from the high
pedestal he was at that time. As the physically and emotionally
injured Sukracharya instinctively withdraw inside the pitcher beak,
water flowed from Bali's pitcher into the begging hand of the Lord
thus completing deed of the gift.

Lord Vishnu decided it was time to strike. The pygmy Vamana suddenly
grew in size to become a colossal giant. With one foot he covered the
entire earth. The second leg he raised and the entire heaven was under
his other foot. Still the gift was not complete. Bali had no further
place to offer for the third leg of the gift. Now Bali who arrogantly
looked down upon Vamana earlier stood before the Lord a completely
vanquished soul. Then he begged the Lord to place the third step on
his head, a complete reversal of fortune in no time.  The Lord placed
His foot on Bali's head and banished him to a netherworld called
sutala. The Lord due to this feat came to be known as Trivikrama or
the one who conquered three worlds, the earth, heaven and the ego.

Yogis who were impressed by this form of the Lord with one foot on the
ground and the other on heaven have created a most exquisite asana
called Trivikramasana.  The Lord took the avatara of Vamana, the dwarf
and stooped before the asura King and then turned the tables on him
and conquered him squarely. You can view the majestic pose in the Yoga
Makaranda of Sri Krishnamacharya—page 139.

Pandits debate whether it was dharma on the part of the Lord to be
manipulative  to conquer Bali. Some aver that for the overall good, in
a situation of dharmasankata (conflict of dharmas) one has to choose
the lesser of the two evils. In this situation who knew what was
right? God knows, God only knows I guess!

With best Wishes

Srivatsa Ramaswami