Monday, 10 October 2011

Day 10 Vinyasa Krama subroutine practice notes : Uttita Trikonasana subroutine Triangle sequence

I've re shot the video for the first Triangle subroutine. The older video was cut from the full Triangle sequence and at the time I was looking at Vinyasa Krama from a Sequence perspective. Here I'm focusing on Vinyasa karma at a subroutine level and find I'm noticing details I'd missed. I've mentioned several times that this series of posts or my practice book are no substitute for Ramaswami's book. I can't stress that enough, every time you dip into his Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga you find little details, subtleties that you missed in first, second or even tenth reading. What I present here and in my book are just cheat sheets, the broad brushstrokes of a practice.

So what did I miss first time around?

For one thing the jump. Actually, I didn't miss it, I avoided it and stepped my legs apart. There's a jump into the triangle postures in Ashtanga too but nobody seems to do them anymore, truth be told I think we feel a little ridiculous, Vanity vanity and in yoga too, now that really is ridiculous.

Iyengar always seemed to jump into the posture and I seem to remember Krishnamacharya did in the old 1938 video, he did it with a twinkle in his eye too. Ramaswami had us jump into triangle on his TT course.

We have become yoga mat centric and this leads to confusion. Ramaswami used to wonder why we didn't all have carpets rather than fancy yoga mats. On a yoga mat we have turn to the side before jumping our legs apart or we have to jump and turn to the side in midair before landing with our legs apart.

Better, in VK anyway, is to turn sideways on the mat.

Ramaswami has us raise our arms out to the side on the inhalation, exhale and then, before inhaling with our exhale still held, jump our legs apart.

Notice the feet, facing forward, turned out just a little.

I remember on the TT Ramaswami was asked or rather informed by a couple of the students that they had always practiced triangle poses with the foot your were bending towards turned out 45 degrees.

I loved Ramaswami's response. He didn't say his way was right, the proper way, the only true way and back it up with an anatomical or physiological argument but rather that it was just the way his teacher, Krishnamacharya, had taught him, that he had tried the other ways himself but found he felt more comfortable with the way he had been taught.

Later I managed to see Krishnamacharya book, the Yogasanagalu and there he is in several pictures just as Ramaswami had taught the posture to us along with everything else..

In the video below I turn sideways and take a couple of breaths. I kind of have a trial run, working down into the posture.  You might do this on the first three in and outs of the posture on the breath before staying in the last visit for the three to six breaths.

With triangle pose I tend to take a few minutes in the beginning posture trikonasana sthiti. I'll treat it like tadasa, the on the feet sequence, take a few breaths to move the hips back and forth and to the side, find the best point of balance. Then I'll do some hand variations, again similar to the on your feet sequence, just getting a feel for that starting position from which several of the subroutines will develop. I don't know of Ramaswami teaching this but it seems in keeping with his approach. Take a moment perhaps in all the stithi postures to the different sequences, asymmetric, seated, lotus, like an old Zen monk getting comfortable on his zafu.

As with the sideways bends and twisting in the On your feet subroutines, paying attention to the feet is important in triangle. Press down the opposite foot to the side your bending but also the inside of the foot on the side your bending in to, from the heel all the way to the big toe.

The more stable the base the more protected the knees, pushing down into the mat takes some of the stress off the knees.

Again as with the side stretches in On your feet, really stretch out of your hips before beginning your bend and keep stretching up along both sides of your body. The tendency is to stretch the outside and collapse the inside, stretch through both.

Breathe, strong ujjayi.
Engage bandhas

Both will protect your knees.

When I first started asana practice I couldn't get much further than just below my knees, no rush, don't force it, it'll come. Besides the hand to the floor bit isn't the point of the pose, the stretch is.

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