Friday, 15 July 2011

GURU PURNIMA

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.

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