One of the things that's troubled me about Vinyasa Krama ( oh yes, it's not just Ashtanga I have problems with) is how to work on challenging postures/areas of practice.
In Ashtanga it's kind of straight forward, you do the same postures everyday so your constantly working on the same area of difficulty. If/when you get stuck at the Marichiyasana twists or at Supta Kurmasana, or Kapotasana or the Leg behind head postures, you just keep plugging away at them until you get they get a little easier, more comfortable
Ramaswami mentions difficult/challenging vinyasa in his September 2009 Newsletter .
- 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.
Lets take backbending and in particular kapotasana and dropping back, both five diamond postures in Ramaswami's book. The former comes up in the Meditative sequence (p182) the latter in the On your Feet sequence (p20). I learned my dropbacks in ashtanga and tend to do a handful of them every morning, they're good prep for the more extreme backbends like Kapotanasana, so even if I'm only doing Bow sequence once a week I still feel I'm not losing any facility. I wonder though, how I would have worked towards them in Vinyasa Krama. How I would have been able to put in the time required to nail them in the first place
The big thing in Dropping back is getting the hips forward and that's something you can work on with some of the supine exercises, variations of which come up after most forward bending subroutines as counterposes. Urdhava Danurasana is pretty much a must and makes an excellent counter after the shoulderstand your going to be doing every day anyway.
Armed with these postures we're going to be working towards dropping back, strengthening our hips and preparing ourselves for any of the more extreme backbends and generally keeping the backbending facility ticking over nicely.
Ashtanga vinyasa krama at home. Take a look at THIS post, for dropbacks, or THIS, for Kapotasana, take a note of the date that most resembles where you currently are in your backbends and look for posts on backbending around that time in the archive on the right of the blog.
Here's a video that looks at dropping back and preparing for it with Vinyasa Krama postures/subroutines, it isn't intended as a sequence but just relates to the above.
NB: Just noticed I'm doing a kind of Ashtanga approach to dropping back here. In Ramaswami;s book he has you stretch up and then continue over into the dropback.
another NB : just noticed too, that there are some other differences from Ashtanga re the dropback. you come up on the exhale and your feet are together throughout! See the next post HERE