Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Day 11 Vinyasa Krama subroutine practice notes : Parivritta trikonasana (twisting )subroutine Triangle sequence

This is another subroutine I needed to re shoot.

For the last couple of years, since discovering Vinyasa krama, I've been writing about spending more time in a poses, taking longer and slower breathes, retaining the exhale, taking up residence in a posture.

And yet still there's this....

This is the twist in triangle pose on my Vinyasa Krama Sequences and Subroutines webpage. It's OK, I enter the posture a couple of times before coming into it for a longer stay and and then take a number of long slow breaths.

I rush into it though, turn lower and twist all on one exhalation.

Ramaswami is very clear in his book, as practiced in Vinyasa Krama, this posture has three distinct steps.

'You can see that the movement from the trikonasana position and the final posture is made in three distinct steps'  The Complete Bool of Vinyasa yoga p150

Whats the rush? We get fixated on the final posture, even in styles of yoga where the movement in and out of the postures play such an important role, it's hard to slow it down. In Ashtanga I have to remind myself to slow the upward and downward dogs after the the jump back, remember to keep the breath at the same rate as when in the posture.

Here it's even slower. We raise our arms on the exhalation take our inhalation and then turn on the long exhale, inhale and then on the next exhalation lower half way, staying there for another inhalation before turning, again on the exhalation and finally settling into the posture. The exit is the same but in reverse unwinding on the inhalation, pausing for the exhalation before straightening on the inhalation, pause again for another exhalation then turn to the front on the final inhalation.

That's four breaths in and four breaths out of the pose, then there's the 2-6 breaths while in the final posture, that's fourteen but then we have the reverse twist, another fourteen. I clock the video below at a little over eight minutes and to be honest my breathing could have been, perhaps should have been, a lot slower.

What's the rush

The same tips for keeping the knees safe apply here as from yesterdays uttita trikonasana

  • 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.
  • 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

and one more comes to mind...
  • push your backside out as you take that breath in forward bend just as in the half forward bend in the On the feet sequence so as to protect your back.

Here's a reminder of the breathing

Going into the posture
turn on the exhale
lower on the exhale
twist on the exhale

Stay for 3-6 breathes

Exiting the posture
Raise and unwind to horizontal on the inhale
lift up straight on the inhale
turn back to the front on the inhale.

Watching the video back I notice I'm bunching up a little, bringing my shoulders chest up shortening my neck, probably a result of raising the arms, i need to watch out for that, raise my arms but relax my shoulders, bad habit.

and is one arm/shoulder a little higher than the other......?


  1. Hi Grimmly,
    I read your last post about Triangle pose.
    Your main concern is about stressing the importance of not skipping any of the different steps making the vinyasa and not rushing through them.
    But is also sound as if you complain about not keeping a long enough breathing in general.
    In this regard (holding the breath long enough or equal to itself throughout the practice), have you ever tried to use an electronic metronome to keep the pace steady? You can set such a device at 60 bips/minute and it really helps keep the breath as long as you have planned (say 5 sec. per in- or out- breath), even in difficult poses where one normally shortens the breath, out of strain.



  2. It's a really good idea (like metronome for iPhone/iPad),
    but in order to go really slow, you have to set one to 10bpm or so, or not?

  3. Sorry Giulio thought I'd responded to your comment, k's just reminded me. Never tried a metronome but I have one, should give it a try. DAve Robbson uses drums in his video I hear. I kind of like practicing without anything though , trying to stay focused without aids and just keep bringing the attention back.. That's basically the meditation practice Ramaswami taught us. After pranayama and pratyahara repeat a mantra over and over, when the mind wanders bring it back to the mantra. Concentration practice.

  4. Hi Grimmly,
    I understand what you mean: being able to stay focused without any external aid is always better. Even so, we all need for a shorter or longer period of time supports, props, tapes, videos, practice sheets and all that . . .
    I find using a metronome very interesting, at the stage where I am. I would like to explain the way I use it - maybe that could be helpful for "k".
    When I set my metronome at 60 bips/minute, I know that each bip is 1 second. Then, as I move or as I stay in a pose, I just count mentally after the metronome.
    If I want my inhalation last 10 seconds, I count mentally after the metronome from 1 to 10 and, as inhale. Then I will exhale, counting again from 1 to 10. In this way I know my breath lasted 20 seconds in total, for instance.
    But this is just an example: I can make my inhale 5 seconds, or 15 or 30 seconds long.
    Especially when we come out of a posture, for some reason we shorten the time and rush. The metronome really helps to understand that.
    It gives you the pace and after a while the mind gets tuned to it, kind of absorbed into it . . .



  5. In the very beginning I used to play some meditative music, especially during Savasana, to help relaxing my mind. It was very good for a couple of weeks as an aid to deep dive, but it started to disturb me (as I reached some level of consciousness or what).
    So I understand Giulio your point, but also Grimmly is absolutely right, I'm happy he reminded me on the focus.