Sunday, 20 September 2009

Developing a home practice part 26b. Vinyasa Krama Lessons in a Yurt

Lesson Two of Four

So the first lesson had gone well, pretty much what I'd hoped for, the second lesson was going to be on the Supine sequence, my favourite. The first half of the sequence your laying on your back, a lot of leg to chest variations and desk poses, the second half is all shoulder stand variations, it's a long sequence.

We started with some some of the On your feet sequence, the side poses we'd missed from the day before and then went into the lead into the Supine sequences. All the vinyasa krama sequences have a lead in of some sort, usually a variation of the Sury namaskara or the Jump through. The Sun salutation is a little different from that in Ashtanga, here each position is held for three breaths instead of an inhale or exhale in Ashtanga. For Supine instead of coming up to standing you jump through to sitting and then lay down. Interestingly in downward dog you have your feet together and the preferred jump through is straight legged, though as with most things in VK it doesn't seem to be dogmatic. I'd learned the straight leg jump through a few months ago but hadn't practiced it that much and had lost it again. I should probably get it back, it's easier (less effort) than the 'half Kino' crossed leg, half handstand that I do and thus less chance of disturbing the breath.

Two things my notes for this lesson stress again and again are bandhas and anchoring. I'm looking at the first page of the Supine sequence now, and notice for the Pond gesture (Tatkamudra), the first pose after the lead in, 'Exhale completely. Anchor your heels, tailbone, arms and back; press down through your palms and draw in the rectum; pull in the lower abdomen in and toward your back. hold the locks for five to ten seconds.' and in the next pose the Belly twist ( Jataraarivritti) 'Anchor your pelvis, especially your tail bone.......'. Anchoring, good thing to hold in mind throughout your practice especially when you think that yoga is all about achieving stability and steadiness, mentally and physically.

We stopped at the shoulder stands leaving that section for the next lesson and moved on to some Pranayama, Kapalabhati. I tend to practice this in my Ashtanga practice just before Utpluthih (did I get that from the John Scott DVD, can't remember) but here it seemed to be practiced much slower. This is the one where you breath sharply and suddenly through your nostrils, kind of like a snort. You automatically draw in the breath in preparation for the next 'snort'. Here we did 3 rounds of 36, the first round with the hands on the knees whether in Lotus or crossed legged, the second with your hands raised and linked palms up and the third with the hands dropped back on to the shoulders with the elbows up (this seems to work best for me for some reason).

One moment in the lesson that amused me, was while laying in Savasana, after Supine. S. started to chant and I had to bite my lip to stop myself from bursting out laughing. It wasn't that I was laughing at S. but rather at myself. Here I was, laying in corpse pose, naked but for a skimpy pair of shorts in a Yurt and someone was sitting cross legged a couple of feet away fully dressed chanting over me...... if my Father could see me now.

As it happens I'd started to become interested in the chanting already having listened to some of Ramaswami's chants on his site I'd downloaded them on to my Itouch and an had been humming along for a couple of weeks. I liked S's chanting and took home a copy of Pam Hoxsey's Yoga Sutras with it's chant sheets in the back that S had lent me as I didn't have lessons the following day . He also lent me one of Ramaswami's other books 'Yoga for the Three stages of life' which may well be one of the best book ever written on Yoga, more on that another time.

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