Monday, 15 August 2011

20/20/20 Upavishta konasana (seated angle pose )

I've got this idea, offering an hour lesson, 20 minutes Asana, 20 minutes Pranayama and 20 minutes meditation. 20/20/20 nice and simple idea, actually it's not my idea, it's Krishnamacharya's.

An hour, that's a lunch break, you could take it to the offices, do group lessons for the office workers. You could subcontract it out, come up with a fancy name and take it to the Dragon's Den, one could become rich.

Unfortunately I'm not that motivated to become rich and you just know the office workers would take forever to get themselves settled, an hour would become forty minutes, there'd be questions, loo breaks, people having to leave early to grab would never work, shame.

I've been playing with this idea in my evening practice but now I'm practicing Ashtanga in the mornings again I want to pin this down, organise it a little better. It's the asana section that's the problem the rest is fine

5 minutes kapalabhati
15 minutes Viloma Ujaii nadi shodana

5 minutes Pratyahara
15 minutes meditation practice.

The meditation practice might be japa mantra meditation, going round the mala beads a couple of times chanting my mantra

...or some mahamudra vipassana meditation exercises

....chanting perhaps.

The meditation section coming at the end can of course be longer depending on what I have on but 20 minutes minimum.

But as I said the asana section is the problem. I'm used to doing a long asana practice, I struggle to keep it down to under half an hour. So I'm planning a series of posts, the blog will keep an eye on me and give me the discipline  I need.

Now I'm covering the bases in my morning practice, doing a long paschimottanasana and longer than the usual ashtanga inversions, I also tend to slip in maha mudra too so I'm covered on the key 'daily' recommendations. In the evening I can explore the different subroutines.......

I asked S. last week if she had any suggestions and she mentioned Upavishta Konasana the seated angle pose. It's her Birthday today so Happy Birthday S. sure you would have preferred flowers but this is the best I can do.

Upavishta konasan comes near the end of the Ashtanga primary series and at the end of the Vinyasa Krama seated sequence so I'm used to doing it with some warm up.

This evenings 20 min, Vinyasa Krama asana practice

A few tadasana arm stretches, forward bends in particular.
A couple of triangle postures (not all the vinyasas you see in the video, just a couple)...
Utthita trikonasana
Prasaritta padottanasana
A sun salutation

....then into the Upavishta konasana subroutine (p81-83 in Ramaswami's book) which is where the video below picks up.

I've gone through this subroutine quicker than normal because I was filming it for S. on another day I might do less vinyasas and stay in the ones I do do longer.

The whole asana section came out at about 25 minutes, not bad, close enough.

I have a couple of nice Upavishta  Konasana tips/hints

1. Apply that stretch from Ramaswami's tadasana sequence, really lifting out of the pelvis and trying to stay lifted as much as possible before folding into the forward bend.

2. Engage uddiyana bandha, if your not familiar with the bandhas has don't worry, just suck in your belly, this should create more space for the deep forward bend.

3 Once your seated and have your legs spread, lift up your backside tilt your coccyx up and sit further forward on your sit bones or shuffle your backside back until your right on the edge of your sit bones
( that from Dharma Mittra found it on a youTube clip for getting deeper into paschimottanasana but it works for UK too, will try to find it.).

4. Take it easy, start with your legs less wide or your knees slightly bent or just don't fold in as deep right away, go easy on the hamstrings.


  1. Always informative and helpful. Thanks!

  2. rosemarie19@mac.com16 August 2011 at 16:52

    hi Tony:

    hey who is "S"? its her birthday? your wife? curiosity killed the cat. LOL

  3. Tony, this isn't related directly to this post, but more to your experiences during the TT.

    Can the longer holds be applied anywhere the practitioner chooses, or are they strictly for the variations that the book states?

    I came up with a system of hi-lighting the illustration numbers in the book, but even that isn't that helpful when you are on a mat and trying to just glance at the next couple of postures in any sequence.


  4. StEvE, I'm experimenting with stick man figures to compile easily sequences and practice sheets together, so beginners, like me can see the upcoming postures at a glance, the transation (I mean inhale or exhale is necessary during the transition), and other easily recognisable info, like if it is a long posture, etc.

    I'm sure this will be only necessary during the first year or so.

    My plan was creating a prototype and asking Grimmly to check it and maybe post it on his blog, and if the idea works, I'll give the drawing files to the community. Maybe Ramaswami's acceptance is necessary before that, but actually I'm not planning to draw everything, just to create a simple template.

    I'm experimenting with open source, multiplatform tools, in order to be able to modify the templates on OSX and WIN as well for free.

  5. GRIMMLY :
    Thanks Unkonwn, getting behind need to post on the rest of this weeks evening VK practice.

    Hi Rosemarie. No S. is somebody who commented on FB, I asked if they had any suggestions and they said Konasana. it just happened to be their birthday. I only use the first initial for someone on FB or if they contact me via email rather than on the blog. I refer to my wife Misa as M. most of the time. Nice to hear from you hope all is well.
    For somereason blogger isn't letting me reply on my own blog grrrr.

  6. That sounds an interesting experiment k. The 'stickman' idea would be super for glancing at, as you don't have to 'find' the shape of the posture, which can easily get lost in amongst the detail of a photo. It does seem to be a noticeable absence from the material that is around to support a VK practice. (I find it's too slow a method to put across on video).

    My particular area of confusion, are the points where the posture is held for 6 or more breaths. This seems to be about 20% of any sequence but neither the book, or Tony's photo sheets make it obvious where this occurs (you have to read the text again to find out), & that's a real bind if, like me, you are not blessed with a photographic memory.

    It occurred to me when I was playing with some of the simple twists, that there are some points where I would like to just hold & breathe, hence my question to Tony; ('Can you do this on an ad-hoc basis?, or is it only to be done as per the book's recommended points'). I should perhaps point out that I'm not an avid VK practitioner; I just like the sub-sequences for restorative work alongside my Ashtanga practice, or to help me towards accessing my personal problem areas of the ashtanga series (ie my twists are, and always have been, a slow process).

    Hi Steve. I dont think 'strict' is in the Vinyasa krama lexicon except perhaps for moving on the breath. There are a couple of core daily postures but even they are recommnedations rather than demands.

    There's a good bit in one of Ramaswami's other books 'Yoga beneath the the surface'. David asks him about the long stay in maha mudra. Ramaswami recognises that you might not want to disturb your practice by taking a particularly long stay in the middle of Asymmetric series so he says you can come back to the mudra before pranyama, say, and do a nice long stay then.Think that would go for everything. If you stayed a long time in all the postures mentioned you'd have a seven hour practice, Ramaswami joked about this. OSo one day you might stay longer in X and less time in Y another day you might spend longer in Y and less time in X. ramaswami would suggest though that you had a pretty good idea before you began what you planned on practicing that day.

    Vinyasa krama is very much an individual practice, so I would say yes within reason you caould stay in any posture as long as you want as long as your not likely to encounter any strain, bit of a common sense call I guess.

    There are some postures that clearly suit long stays, the mudras, paschi, Vajrasana...the classic meditation postures and their vinyasas.

    Can't wait to see the stick figure project K.

  9. I would attend your 20/20/20 class! I struggle to meditate at home, so I always enjoy longer session of meditation in a class. I am especially fond of my local studio's Candlelight session (mixture of lunar fluid flow, yin/yang yoga, pranayama, meditation, chanting, yoga nidra etc).

    One slight comment though. I practice yoga regularly and even that I find it hard to meditate for longer than 20 minutes. So assuming most of the office workers are not regular practitioners, perhaps 20 mins meditation is a bit long for lunchtime session?

  10. Thanks HD. Lunar fluid flow ? Must google that.
    You have a point but then the first five minutes are pratyahara so only fifteen minutes guided meditation, still too long? guided is probably OK.

  11. Lunar fluid flow? I believe it's also called liquid flow yoga.. slow, meditative, flowing sequence.

  12. Hey, I just managed to download the posts of this new blog of yours to my iPhone (bad internet out here in the Pak boondocks) and read some last night - I'm loving it! Especially liked this post, the idea of doing 20/20/20 asana, pranayama, meditation since I've been wondering how to incorporate pranayama and meditation in my practice but can't seem to find the time after a full Ashtanga practice. When you put it this way though it seems so possible, maybe to do it as a second practice later in the day, maybe a few times a week as a beginning. Looking forward to more of these (you were mentioning thinking of doing a series), very inspiring.

    PS, also love the quote by Ramaswami on the side of the blog, so sweet.

  13. Thanks HD, will google it.

    And thank you bibi, glad you like the 20/20/20 idea. yes lots more of these to come. Was a bank holiday here so have been having extra long late morning VK practice so have skipped the evenings. Will start back on the evening 20/20/20 practice from tomorrow and will begin to post on them again.