Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Srivatsa Ramaswami's 1980's Yoga TV spot

Wonderful surprise this morning to come across this old Video of a TV slot Ramaswami presented back in the 1980's. The caption says it's the first of a series, so hoping for more of these.

UPDATE" Ramaswami has just added three more, all included below

So nice to hear my teachers calm gentle voice again, guiding you through the movements with a minimum of fuss.

If your style is Ashtanga you might like to look at these as an option for a short evening practice, perhaps pre pranayama or meditation. Something for Saturdays or moon days perhaps or if you have an injury.  Vinyasa Krama is also excellent for exploring the postures and variations around the asana we do daily in Ashtanga which could help as preparation, teaching aids etc. Richard Freeman on the recent workshop I attended employed several variations of our regular asana that reminded me of Vinyasa Krama.

Looks look Ramaswami is doing a voiceover here, no doubt because of the poor quality of the video recording, no doubt he will mention these videos in his October Newsletter and tell us more about them.

The video starts of with some standing tadasana variations followed by twisting and forward bending, paschassana is five minutes in. Next up are some triangle postures (looks like a different video). Another video change ten minutes in and the sweetest little jump through, knees bent but without the ankles crossed. They then move into some seated postures followed by another video change and a virasana/vajrasana sequence including backbends and a very nice kapo after fifteen minutes.

Of course in your own practice of this sequence you can take it even slowly, lengthening the breath further, stay for longer in the postures as Ramaswami indicates and perhaps do more repeats etc.

Looking forward to downloading these and practicing along this evening.

A series of TV programs of Srivatsa Ramaswami on Vinyasa Krama Yoga in 1980

"During the early 1980s I gave a(n)  8 part series of asanas following
the vinyasakrama with my students from Kalakshetra. Each program was
about 20 mts aired every week under the youth program. Part of it was
asanas and the other part an interview with me which I have deleted in
these videos as they were in Tamil.. My son Badri, 8 or 9 at that time
had recorded it. During my visit to Chennai in Feb, my friends
Srimathy and Ravi of Ashtanga Yoga Chennai and former teachers at KYM
helped to edit it and get portions of the audio replaced with my
Indglish descriptions. The video quality is poor and the audio blank
in the later parts. It was interesting even for me to see how I was
teaching 30 years back. Have a look (at all the 4 videos) if you have
the time and maybe you would like to forward it to a friend or two.
Here are the links
Vinyasa Krama asanas 1980 I      http://youtu.be/vEM_QbH2fdo
VinyasaKrama asanas 1980 II  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKbmT8Ssuho&feature=plcp
VinyasaKrama asanas 1980  III http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjMrVq6HuOw&feature=plcp
VinyasaKrama asanas 1980  IV http://youtu.be/olAhZEBWTr0
For a more complete treatment of Vinyasakrama asanas, maybe you would
like to look at my book “The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga”. Here is
the Amazon link
Find this book on amazon.com"
Srivatsa Ramaswami Oct 2012 Newsletter

I Standing, triangle and some of the meditative series built on virasana and vajrasana

II Supine postures inc. Shoulderstand and some lotus postures

III mostly Bow postures

IV Some Seated and Asymmetric postures


Monday, 16 April 2012

Teaching my first Vinyasa Krama class

Actually not my first class, I've been teaching M. for sometime now, was particularly proud the other day when I got home and found (it was her day off) that she had practised for 40-60 minutes on her own in my practice room (now our practice room). She'll always be my first 'student'.

But yesterday was the first non family...'official' class.

I don't want to say too much about it as I  feel it's a teacher/student, private thing but this is the first time and he found me through this blog so enough perhaps to say that he has been practising Yoga for fifteen years or so, mostly Ashtanga but also Sivananda and Inyengar and is a teacher himself and in the country for a few days. So experienced enough that I could mainly focus on Ramaswami's approach. M. was a complete beginner so it was interesting to have such a contrast.

The lesson seemed to go really well but ran over, we'd planned on three hours but it ended up four an half hours with only savasana breaks.

The main thing I wanted to do was give him the tools to practice Vinyasa Krama at home, to be able to take Ramaswamis book and turn it into a viable daily practice so it was a all about selection and combination of asana and subroutines and integrating the practice with pranayama, pratyahara and japa meditation.

I started the class off with the long Ganesha/Patanjali prayer,  Ramaswami would have liked me to but while I chant it to myself every morning it felt a bit strange chanting it out loud with someone I don't know,  glad I did though.

Then we just went through the sequences, a lot of time spent on the On your feet sequence as it's a good place to introduce the main principles of Ramaswami's approach.

With the other sequences I mainly wanted to bring in the postures/subroutines that were particularly different in approach to ashtanga and Iyengar and work at a subroutine level.

Nice long paschimottanasana, shoulder stand and headstand with vinyasas.

This was quite exciting for me, Kapalabhati first and then we looked the pranayama mantra together.  I was basically directing the inhalation, holds, exhalations and then chanting out loud the pranayama mantra while he retained the breath after the inhale. It's hard to do, bit like juggling, need more experience with doing it.

In awe of Ramaswami keeping that up so effortlessly for forty minutes on the course, I only did ten.

Then pratyahara and Japa meditation, when the meditation timer went off I closed with a peace mantra, didn't feel so awkward chanting out loud this time and again, glad I did.

He may be coming back in the week, kind of want to do an actual integrated practice of around 90 minutes, just as I would do it myself ( just heard, he's asked to come again this evening which will be nice as everything will be still fresh'ish).

Next time I guess I'd like to keep it a little tighter and down to three hours with a break perhaps after 90 minutes. Asana focus for the first half then come back after the break for the long paschi, shoulderstand prep and headstand before moving into the pranayama etc.

I enjoyed it but then he was an ideal first student and we had enough time to get stuck into the approach. Teaching a series of one hour or 90 minute classes would be another challenge altogether. Brought home to me that I've some experience of this approach now and of turning it into a home practice in particular and that I should be sharing that more directly. Also of some of the areas to work on to be a better at it, all those newsletters of Ramaswami's to study more closely.

The best thing of all was that I could almost hear Ramaswami over my shoulder, almost as if I was channelling him. I wasn't trying to do an impression of him but perhaps what he's teaching and how he's teaching it are so entwined in my mind that I can't help approaching it in a similar way.

Notice that I ache a little all over from demonstrating and practicing along for much of the time, forget how tough Vinyasa Krama is sometimes.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Ramaswami teaching Vinyasa Krama On your feet/Tadasana Standing sequence (inc. pasasana)

More video's from Ramaswami.

'During my recent visit to India I made a DVD of an abridged version of two Vinyasakrama Yogasana sequences, I have uploaded routines on those sequences. The audio quality is terrible, but you may prefer to watch in mute mode. I hope to clean up the audio and reload them in due course'.
Srivatsa Ramaswami.

INTRODUCTION TO VINYASA KRAMA( inc. my favourite of Ramaswami's chants)

Ramaswami teaching the ON YOUR FEET / TADASANA Sequence.




4. inc. MALASANA

5.  inc. PASASANA

I tend to do a ten minute mini version of the tadasana sequence below every morning as soon as i step on the mat, whether I'm practicing Vinyasa krama or Ashtanga, this is similar to how we would start every asana session on Ramaswami's Teacher training course and gives an idea of how you might approach adapting Vinyasa Krama to your own situation and time available.

See my earlier post for videos of Ramaswami teaching the Meditative sequence inc. vajrasana, virasana, ushtrasana, kapotasana.

If you would like to study with Ramaswami, and I can't recommend it enough,  then I've just checked his upcoming schedule and he is teaching...

13 April- 15 April Yoga in the tradition of Krishnamacharya The Yoga Shala Ridgefield Connecticut.

20 April - 22 April Mantra Yoga, Vinyasakrama Yoga,pranayam and Yoga for Internal Organs Heights School of YogaAddress: 1547 Rutland St, Hoston, TX 77008; USA

27 April 2012- 29 April2012 Vinyas Krama weekendThe Yoga of Sri T Krishnamacharya 

6 May 2012-11 May12 Practicum on Hatha (Vinyasa) and Raja Yoga (26 hours) Esalen Institute. Big Sur, CA

See Ramaswami's teaching schedule HERE

Ramaswami's 200 Teacher training course in Vinyasa Krama runs July to August at Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA

School of Yoga with Srivatsa Ramaswami
200 Hr Teacher Training Program on Vinyasakrama Yoga—Registered with Yoga Alliance.
1. Vinyasakrama Yogasanas (60 hours)
2. Visesha Vinyasas (20 hours)
3. Pranayama (20 hours)
4. Mantras and Meditation (20 hours)
5. Sri Krishnamacharya's Works (20 hours)
6. Yoga Sutras (20 hours).
7. Yoga for Internal Organs (10 hours)
8. Yoga Business and Teaching Methodology (10 hours)
9. Anatomy and Physiology (10 hours)
10. Subtle Anatomy and Chanting (10 hours)
Total: 200 hours

This was the course I took in 2010, feel free to ask me any questions you may have about the course either in comments or by direct email (address in my profile page).

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Ramaswami teachng vajrasana subroutine from Meditative sequence.

Wonderful to hear my teachers voice again this afternoon, giving instruction on the videos below, just as I remember it, big smile on my face.

'During my recent visit to India I made a DVD of an abridged version of two Vinyasakrama Yogasana sequences, I have uploaded two routines on those sequences 9now three). The audio quality is terrible, but you may prefer to watch in mute mode. I hope to clean up the audio and reload them in due course'.
Srivatsa Ramaswami

I can almost imagine it's Ramaswami there on the mat as a young man while Krishnamacharya gives the instruction pretty much as we hear it here.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

'... Sanskrit chants I learnt from Sri Krishnamacharya and more' Ramaswami's chanting available on Sangeetha

Ramaswami linked to this music site on FB last week

'Between 1980 and 1995 I recorded for a recording company “Sangeetha” many Sanskrit chants I learnt from Sri Krishnamacharya and more. During my recent visit to Chennai I talked to H M Krishna a partner of the firm and he said that they were about to make available online about 18 of my titles—hope it works out.

A list of my programs is available, in the following site. Open the site and type Srivatsa Ramaswami in the search window for the complete list. You may click on individual titles for more info on each program. The total chant time of all the program may be about 30 hrs. I hope they will be able to organize the on line downloading soon'.
This is what you should see.

It's a wonderful site and there is the option of listening to a preview of most of the recordings but where to start.

Ramaswami just passed on some suggestions

'If you like vedic chanting then Suryanamaskara, Taittiriya Upanishad, Mahanarayana Upanishad and vedic chanting contained in adityahridayam and indrakshi cds will be nice to hear. I would also prefer listening to Rudram chamakam from the cd that came originally with "CBVK" book. Then one may want to study the meaning and commentaries, especially the upanishads apart from making an attempt to chant oneself. More religiously oriented people in India like to listen to Vishnu sahasranama, Lalita sahasranama. Others whose ishta devata (favorite deity) may choose the other sahsranamas like Ganesa, Siva, Durga, Gayatri, Anjaneya etc.,and if you have the patience the ten hour long Sundara Kanda from th Ramayana. Since many have their own meter and rhythm some like to chant or listen to these non vedic or laukika chants'.

Ramaswami's first recording concerned the Yoga sutras

I was rereading Ramaswami's Yoga for the Three Stages of Life this afternoon. In the first chapter, where he writes about his yoga studies and in particular his relationship with Krishnamacharya, there are a couple of paragraphs about the period in which he made many of these recordings.

' I was able to record almost all the Vedic chanting I had learned from my guru (Sri Krishnamacharya) including the surynamaskara (together) with Varunapuja, which ran for ninety minutes and was one of the earliest, and the Aditya hrdayam from the Ramayana and the Svadhyaya prakarana.' p17

This one from the Ramayana 
theres a nice webpage below which has the ADITYA HRUDAYAM ('Hymn to the Sun', which Sage Agsthya’s dictates to Lord Rama in the battle field) in full with translation so you can chant along. http://www.mypurohith.com/rituals/aditya_hrudayam1.asp

Here for example is the section on the audio sample.

1. Tato yuddha pari srantam Samare Cintaya Sthitami
    Ravanam Cagrato drustva yuddhaya Samupasthitam ||

          Tato yuddha parisrantam = At that battle ground; Samare cintaya sthitam = with great worry engulfing in the battle; Ravanam cagrato drustva = Gazing at Ravana with Single minded attention; yuddhaya Samupasthitam = Having prepared to fight.

          Seeing Sri Rama Standing absorbed in thought at the battle field, exhausted by the fight and facing Ravana who was duly prepared for the war.

2. Daivataisca Samagamya drastu = mabhyagatoranam |
    Upagamyabra Vidrama magastyo bhagavanrsih ||

          Daiva taisca Samagamya = Came along with the Devas to witness the war; Drastu mabhyagatoranam = Seen Rama depressed; upagamyabra-vidrama = Met him alone; Agasthyo Bhagavan = The Cosmic Rsi Agasthya.

          The all knowing cosmic Sage Agastya who had come with Gods to witness the battle, approaching Sri Rama Singly spoke to him thus.

3. Rama Rama Mahabaho srunu guhyam Sanatanam |
    Yena Sarva Nareehnvatsa Samare Vijayisyasi ||

          Rama Rama Mahabaho = Addressing the elegant armed Rama; Srunu guhyam Sanatanam = Hear the most secret and ancient; Samare Vijaisyasi = Will win in the war.

          ‘O’ Rama, ‘O’ Mighty elegant armed Rama, listen to the eternal secret by which, ‘O’ my child, you shall conquer all your enemier on the battle field.

4. Aditya Hrudayam punyam Sarva satru Vinasanam |
    Jayavaham Japet Nityam Akshyayyam paramam sivam ||

          Aditya hrudayam punyam = The meditation of Sun in the heart highly beneficial; Sarva Satruvinasanam = Destroyer of all enemies, Jayavaham = Ensures Victory at all times; Japetnnityam = To the one who to be meditated always; Akshayam paramam sivam = The indestructible and bestows permanent happiness.

          It is Aditya hrudayam which is holy, destroyer of all enemies, bestower of victory, eternal and supremely blessed, and must be recited always.

This one has better sound quality and reminds me more of listening to Ramaswami chant to us on his TT course while we rested in Savasana ( I have a ten minute recording of of one of those savasana sessions that I listen to in savasana every morning).

'The Mahanarayana Upanishad, the last chapter of Yajur veda, containing the mantras recited daily, like sandhya, pranayama and so on..' p17

'I have also completed the recordings of the Sundara kandam , the fifth chapter of the Valmiki ramayana. This work which contains about three thousand verses (including the coronation of Rama in Yuddha Kandam ).'

'Svadhyaya, or chanting, is an important aspect of kriyayoga and astanga yoga of patanjali. In the course of my training (over 30 years), my guru spent perhaps as much time on chanting and theoretical studies (svadhyaya) as on the physical aspect of yoga' p18.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Krishnamacharya's forgotten book, Yogasanagalu

Yogasanagalu pdf

The Introduction (translation may be on it's way).

Notice that this is the fourth (expanded) edition and that it's written in the Kanada language which suggests Mysore. We also see above that it was published by Mysore university. 

When was Yogasanagalu first published? 

I'd always assumed that this was a later text and that there had been a shift in Krishnamacharya's teaching style from something more in keeping with Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga to Ramaswami's Vinyasa Krama or Desikachar's Viniyoga. These scans of the Yogasanagalu had been sent to me while I was on Ramaswami's TT course and seemed to be exactly what I was learning from Ramaswami. How to square that with the Ashtanga style I had originally practiced, surely there had been a change of approach from when Krishnamcharya left the large group of kids at the Mysore palace to teach one-to-one in Chennai.

It appears that Yogasanagalu was actually first published in 1941, slap bang in the middle of Krishnamacharya's Mysore period, six years after his Yoga Makaranda and at the same time as he was teaching Indra Devi, Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois.

There was no early/ late Krishnamacharya, and his teaching now appears quite consistent throughout his life, no Kehre (turn), no softening of the practice with age. 

Ashtanga doesn't represent Krishnamacharya's early style of teaching, it seems more a representation of how Krishnamacharya taught in a particular environment and in a particular set of circumstances i.e. the kids of the Mysore palace (and perhaps Pattabhi Jois' development or codification of that period as it seems he was asked to teach some of Krishnamacharya's classes). This would explain the 1938 movie, we see Iyengar doing an Ashtanga style demonstration (very out of keeping with the Iyengar yoga we're familiar with that he was developing in the 40's and 50's) and yet Krishnamacharya practicing in a more 'Vinyasa Krama' style.

*If anyone has a translation of the yogasanagalu or at least a summery I would love to see it, my email can be found in the ABOUT ME section of this blog.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Mantra Pranayama -Newsletter from Srivatsa Ramaswami February 2012

Newsletter from Srivatsa Ramaswami---Mantra Pranayama

After a four month stay in Chennai, India I am planning to come to USA
by middle of February. Thanks to the good efforts of Roxana Letechipia
who attended my last Teacher Training Program at LMU, Los Angeles, I
will be teaching three programs in Mexico City during the last week of
February. There will be two weekend workshops and a week long
certificate program, “Core Vinyasa Krama Yoga”. My next newsletter may
have a few Spanish words.


Considerable amount of literature is now available on Pranayama (from
ancient and contemporary yogis), an important anga of Yoga, even
though a smaller and smaller number of Hatha yogis do a smaller and
smaller number of pranayamas. In fact according to Brahmananda who
wrote an important commentary of Hathayogapradeepika, Hatha yoga is
indeed Pranayama. Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras succinctly gives the
parameters of pranayama along with the benefits. Hathayoga pradeepika
and several other hatha yohga texts talk about a variety of pranayamas
with different ratios in considerable detail and as I said enough
literature is available on pranayama. However since it is also the
anga prior to the antaranga or meditation, parts of yoga pranayama has
been used to prepare oneself for meditation. If in pranayama you can
introduce some noble thoughts for meditation like an uplifting mantra,
bhava thought or an image such pranayamas are called sagarbha
pranayama or pranayama pregnant with lofty ideas. Sri Krishnamacharya
in his “Nathamini's Yoga Rahasya” says that sagarbha pranayama is
several times more beneficial; more than the mechanical pranayama done
generally by hatha yogis.

Sagarbha pranayama done with pranayama mantra from the vedas, which
also includes the potent gayatri as a part of it, has been in vogue
since the vedic times. Sri Krishnamacharya in his yoga work
“Nathamuni's Yoga Rahasya” gives a number of instructions for doing
pranayama towards the end of the first chapter. He commends the use of
Pranava and the pranayama mantra with gayatri while doing pranayama
practice. Usually pranava (OM), the most potent mantra and the mother
of all mantras, as a stand alone mantra is used by renunciates like
consummate yogis and advaitins. And the gayatri impregnated vedic
pranayama mantra is used by householders and others in all pranayama.
In fact Manu in his famous Manusmriti says that the pranayama mantra
which consists of prnava, the seven vyahritis, the gayatri and the
head or siras portion should be recited while holding the breath in
Kumbhaka three times to be called as pranayama. Sri Krishnamacharya
also emphasizes the need to meditate on the meaning of the mantras
like the suggestion of Patanjali in YS.

Most people who do ritualistic pranayama in India use the pranayama
mantra referred to earlier. Manusmiti says as follows

“sa vyahritim sa pranavaam
gayatriim sirasa saha
trifpateth ayataf pranah
pranayamassa uchyate

Here is the translation“Pranayama is that in which the seven vyahritis
(bhuh bhuvaha...) each preceded by pranava (OM) then the gayatri, then
the siris are (silently) recited.”

It should be chanted (silently) while holding the breath (kumbhaka).
When it is done three times it is called panayama. The pranayama
mantra is 64 syllables and takes about 20 seconds to chant, more or
less. The verse quoted above says three times and some interpret it as
chanting the mantra three times while holding the breath, but
generally it is chanted once and three such pranayamas will make one
bundle of pranayama. If you try to do the chant thrice in one go it
would taken a minute and holding the breath for one minute could be a
real challenge to most and so most people stick to the earlier

What about the duration for inhalation and exhalation? Sri
Krishnamacharya says in Yoga Rahasya that it should be vishamavritti
indicating that the time duration for inhalation exhalation and breath
holding would vary. So many go by the 1:4:2 ratio.

One may inhale for 5 seconds then chant the mantra during internal
holding for 20 seconds and then exhale for 10 seconds. The breath
holding after exhalation is considered a hathayoga practice and many
orthodox people who do pranayama as part of the Puja or Japa ritual
dispense with bahya kumbhaka and the bandhas. The quickie pranayama is
three times but it is recommended that on should do 10 times the
samantra pranayama.  (Contrast this with the hathayoga approach of
going up to 80 times mantraless pranayama).

Since children sometimes as young as 5 were initiated into vedic
studies, it becomes obligatory for them to do sandhya and hence mantra
pranayama and silent gayatri chant. But then because they are young
they may not be taught to do calibrated pranayama. Usually in course
of time they would learn to do long inhalation and exhalation say in
nadishodhana. Later they will be taught the whole vishamavritti
pranayama as explained earlier.

So the mantra is chanted silently in pranayama. But most people just
chant the mantra without the pranayama--they may merely touch the nose
but not do the pranayama. So we have one set of people who do
pranayama without mantras as most hatha yogis do and another group
especially in India who chant the mantra faithfully but do not do the
prnayama at all and thus both lose out. It even led the much revered
previous Sankaracharya of Kanchi to remark that if only Indians would
hold the breath (kumbhaka) rather than just touch/hold the nose they
would all become great yogis and spiritual persons.

My Guru also said that when doing any mantra in japa, in pranayama or
meditation, one should think of the meaning or import of the mantra.
That makes it lot more powerful and meaningful. What does this mantra
signify, many times we get initiated into a mantra routine without
knowing what it means. All yogis know that Patanjali insists on
contemplating on the meaning of pranava when doing pranava japa to get
the grace of Iswara.

Om Bhuh, om bhuvah, om suvah, om mahah, om janah, om tapah, om
satyam; then the gayatri and then the siras which runs like this, ”om
apah jyoti rasah amrtam brahma bhurbhuvassuvarom” is the pranayama
mantra. This mantra appears in Mahanarayana Upanishad, the last
chapter of Yajur veda. This upanishad also contains several beautiful
mantras used on a daily basis like the offering to the five pranas
(before taking food), meditating within the heart etc. I got the whole
chapter (about 45 minutes of continuous chanting) recorded some 25
years back by “Sangeetha” and I believe it is available in some stores
in Chennai, India. You may learn the pranayama mantra—visit my website
www.vinyasakrama.com/chants and click on the “Learn Pranayama Mantra
chant” tab.

So what is the meaning of this wonderful pranayama mantra? Again there
are different interpretations. The conventional meaning for the seven
vyahritis is seven different worlds starting with the world we live in
to six other higher worlds. But the word loka is interpreted in a more
esoteric sense by a few scholars. They say that the words loka and
look are derived from the same root . And the seven lokas are the
seven perceptions of the ultimate reality which is Brahman the pure
non changing consciousness.

So this approach which gels with the advaita philosophy would be as
follows: According to the Upanishads, Brahman in its pristine state is
alone and there was no time or space (aksha and avakasha) in
contention. The Brahman once thought that it should become many
(bahusyam praja yeyeti). Then in the next stage It deeply contemplated
as to how it should create the universe and make many microcosmic
individual consciousness. This state was known as the stage of tapas
of the Brahman (sa tapo tapyata). Then after deep contemplation and
planning It created the entire Universe (idam sarvam asrujata). After
this creation the Brahman entered and permeated the entire Universe
(tat eva anupravisat) and every being as the individual Self.

The seven vyahrutis are considered as representing the seven states of
the same consciousness four at the microcosmic level and three at the
cosmic level. So when doing pranayama during breath holding
internally, one would say 'om bhuh', contemplate on the consciousness,
represented by pranava or 'om during the waking state. Then as the
second vyahriti 'om bhuvah ' is recited, one would think of the same
consciousness being aware of the individual dream state.

'om suvah” would refer to the same consciousness witnessing the deep
sleep stage. Om mahah, the fourth vyahriti is the consciousness beyond
the three earlier mentioned known amongst the vedantins as the fourth
state of the mind (turiya) or the yogi's kaivalya state. The same
consciousness now is identified with the Brahmana that created the
Universe (Om Janah). Then the next mantra, the sixth “Om tapah” would
represent the Brahman as one deeply contemplating and finally the
pristine state of consciousness “Om satyam” the one and only Brahaman.
With this the abhyasi is able to identify and meditate upon the same
one Brahaman as seen in different states. The theory that there is
only one consciousness that exists both at the cosmic and at the
microcosmic level is the bedrock of the advaita (No two
conciousnesses) viewpoint. So an advaitin while doing pranayama is
able to reinforce the advaitic conviction.

Then the second part of the pranayama mantra is the gayatri mantra. It
again refers to the ultimate reality as the inner light. Just as the
sun with its lustrous orb lights the entire world, the Brahman/Self
lights the entire chitta or the internal world of the meditator, so
that the chitta vrittis are experienced or 'seen' in the mind's eye .

The last portion known as the siras or the head, is an encomium to the
ultimate Brahman. It refers to It as OM., pure consciousness, the
universal light, the essence of the entire Universe, immortal
(unchanging), the source of the universe, and is known to the
individual as the inner Self during the three states of waking, dream
and deep sleep.

This meaning of the pranayama mantra is vividly brought to the mind as
the pranayama mantra is recited silently during antah kumbhaka. Then
it is known as samantraka or sagarbha pranayama. According to Manu
this samantra pranayama is the greatest Tapas/meditation.

It is said that those who are well versed in the chakras are able to
identify the seven vyahritis with the seven chakras in the body using
the respective bijakshara or seed mantras. Some make an effort   to
visualize the cosmic Brahman  in the seven chakras in the microcosm

There are other types of mantras used. For instance saivaites tend to
chant the siva mantras as they hold the breath as mentioned in the
Tamil Saiva classic “Tirumandiram”. The mantra “sivasiva” of four
syllables is chanted 16 times during one breath hold corresponding to
64 syllables as in the pranayama mantra referred to earlier.

Here is a pranayama for renunciates:

While doing puraka or inhalation the thought would be that the entire
universe is ultimately drawn into the Brahman. Then while in
antahkumbhaka the contemplation would be that the outside Universe and
I are no different from the Brahman. Then while exhaling the ego “I'
with the entire Universe is discarded as nothing but an illusion, not
real, not significant. And in bahya kumbhaka one would contemplate
that pure Brahman alone is real, It alone exists.

Those who believe in the reality of world and the trinity (Brahma,
Vishnu and Siva), would use pranayama to reinforce their faith.

Inhaling through the left nostril one should think of the four faced
Brahma the creator aspect of the trinity and of blood red hue (rajas
guna) while chanting Om 16 times. Then closing both the nostrils  and
holding the breath in  kumbhaka one should think of the white colored
(satva guna) Hari, the protector/sustainer chanting pranava 64 times.
Then while exhaling through the right nostril one should meditate on
Siva of dark color (tamo guna) chanting pranava 32 times. Then one
should start inhaling through the right nostril for 16 matras chanting
pranava 16 times and continue the pranayama for a predetermined number
of times with both mantra and bhava.

Different smritis and very old yoga texts refer to a variety of
pranayamas with and without mantras. Almost all the puranas have a
section on yoga which describe different asanas and pranayamas. (I
think with all this evidence one may say with some conviction that
Yoga is more than 100 years old). For more information on pranayama
you may consider referring to my book “Yoga for the Three Stages of
Life” pages 189 to 211.

Sri Krsishnamacharya's Yoga teachings were unique and very rich. In
Vinyasakrama asana practice, breath synchronization with slow
movements is an essential element. One would start the movement with
the beginning of inhalation or exhalation and complete the movement
with the completion of that breathing phase. The time taken in actual
practice may be between 5 to 10 or 12 seconds depending on one's
capacity and control. If it goes below 5 seconds one would stop the
practice and rest to regain the vinyasa krama acceptable breath. My
Guru, Sri T Krishnamacharya would say 'breathe with hissing sound' (a
la cobra, refer to ananta samapatti in YS) or 'with a mild rubbing
sensation in the throat'.

In this way, with long deep inhalation and exhalation, the intercostal
muscles are stretched and toned up and by the time pranayama is
started the accessory muscles of breathing are well exercised so that
one has a well oiled breathing apparatus for a very productive
pranayama practice. And while doing pranayam introduction of mantras
and bhavas helps to bring the mind to a focus which will be of
considerable help when one starts the meditation process. Thus Sri
Krishnamacharya following the tradition of yoga described in old yoga
texts like the yoga sutras, the puranas, smritis and other ancient
texts helped to understand and achieve the best of an outstanding
ancient system called Yoga.

You may access the earlier Newsletter by visiting my website
www,vinyasakrama.com and clicking on the Newsletter tab. Any comments
or suggestions please e mail to

Best wishes

Srivatsa Ramaswami

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Ramaswami's Newsletter collections NOW available for free on your Kindle

K. has made his compilation of Ramaswami's Newsletters available on Kindle via my Google docs site.

If you don't have a Kindle that's OK as you can download the free ibook kindle app.

If you don't have a ibook then there's still the free kindle reader for you PC, Mac or laptop.

The links take you to my Google docs hosting, just click 'Download' and you'll have the option to open them in your Kindle device or app.

They're also still available in pdf format over on the right sidebar as usual but they do look a little more beautiful on the kindle format, smaller file size too.

Ramaswami's 2009 Newsletters Kindle version

pdf version

Ramaswami's 2010 Newsletters Kindle version

pdf version

Ramaswami's 2011 Newsletters Kindle version

pdf version


If your having trouble downloading the free version, my book is also available on Kindle via Amazon for the price of a cup of coffee

Vinyasa Krama at Home Practice book Kindle version

Many thanks to K for all the hard work.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

NEW 3rd Edition of my Vinyasa Krama practice book finally available for FREE download

Dedicated to my Teacher Srivatsa Ramaswami

The NEW, 3rd edition, of my Vinyasa Krama Practice Book is now available for FREE download from my Google docs page. 

This edition includes practice notes for all of Ramaswami's Vinyasa Krama subroutines Ramaswami was a student of Krishnamacharya for over 30 years).

It's still very rough and in need of a complete rewrite to get rid of some of it's 'bloggyness'. It's also inconsistent as the style of the notes have changed over the three months I've been writing them up and posting them here.

Plus there's  the havoc my mac's automatic spell checker has made of all the yoga terms and names, I'll iron them out, I promise.

It is what it is just a series of practice notes, things that came up as I practiced the subroutines each morning. Some of the notes reflect ideas I've picked up in my reading, online, from comments posted here (thank you) and from just working through the subroutines and at the postures. 

Everything I mention I've tried and have found useful in my own practice, there are of course all kinds of other techniques and approaches that could be included, I'm either not aware of them, haven't tried them out or haven't found them useful for me personally.

I've tried to avoid getting too  anatomical.

There are video's for all the subroutines, for some reason the links don't seem to work in ibooks but if you download it and open in the pdf reader they should work fine (My mistake, seems the links DO work in ibooks although it takes you out of ibooks to watch them).

The pranayama and meditation section are the next areas I want to work on, for now they are just a couple of practice sheets. Also, I hope to add practice notes for the Jump back library in the near future.

It is of course NO substitute for Ramaswami's own books, The Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga and Yoga for the Three Stages of Life  both of which I've gained renewed respect for in the process of preparing these notes. The Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga lays out the breath for every single movement in and out of every posture, in every subroutine, in every sequence, quite remarkable. The Three Stages of Life goes into such depth that I consider it the best book on yoga I've come across thus far.

The whole thing has been brought together using Apple Pages. 

Here's the new table of contents to give an idea of what's in it.

NB: If the video links don’t work in your edition they can be found here http://tinyurl.com/7dvzm8y
Day 1 : Hasta Vinyasas  Subroutine 22
Day 2 : Parsva-bhangis ( side movements) Subroutine 24
Day 3 : Uttanasana (forward bend ) Subroutine 26
Day 4 : Ardha utkatasana (half squat) Subroutine 30
Day 5 : Utkatasana (full squat) Subroutine 34
Day 6 : Malasana / Kanchyasana ( garland pose ) Subroutine 36
Day 7 : Pasasana ( noose pose ) Subroutine 38
Binding in Pasasana 40
Day 8 : Surya namaskara ( sun salutations with mantra) 42
DAY 9 : Practising 'On your feet / tadasana' sequences and subroutines. 49
Day 10 : Uttita Trikonasana subroutine 53
Day 11 : Parivritta trikonasana (twisting )subroutine 56
Day 12 : Uttita parsva konasana ( side stretch ) subroutine 58
Day 13 : Parsva konasana ( side stretch ) subroutine 60
Day 14 : Viabhadrasana ( Warrior ) subroutine 63
Day 15 :Parasarita padottanasana subroutine 66
Day 16 : Triangle subroutine breakdown 68
Day 17 : Vrikrmasana ( tree pose )subroutine 71
Day 18 : Standing Marchi subroutine 74
Day 19 : Utthita Padangushtasana (stretched leg-arm) subroutine 76
Day 20 : Virabhadrasana (warrior) subroutine 79
Day 21 : Durvasana ( named after a sage ) subroutine 81
Day 22 : Natarjasana (dancing Shiva) subroutine 83
Day 23 :  On one leg Subroutine breakdown Sheet 85
Day 24 : Dandasana (Staff pose) lead in subroutine 88
Day 25 : Marchi (after the sage) subroutine 91
Day 26 : Ardha padmasana (half lotus) subroutine 94
Day 27 : Maha mudra (great seal) subroutine 96
Day 28 : akrarnadhanurasana (archer) & Kraunchasana (heron) subroutine 98
Day 29 : Eka pada sirsasana ( leg to head ) subroutine 100
Day 30 : Triyangmukha ( bent back leg) subroutine 104
Day 31 : Tiryang mukha Marichiyasana (Backward foot) subroutine 107
Day 32 : Ardha padma marichiyasana (half lotus sage) subroutine 109
Day 33 : Bharadwajasana (sage ) & Mahabandha (great lock ) subroutine 112
Day 34 : Matsyendrasana ( half and full Kingfisher) subroutine 114
Day 35 Asymmetric subroutine breakdown 116
Day 36 : Paschimottanasana (posterior stretch) subroutine 121
Day 37 : Kurmasana (turtle pose) subroutine 124
Day 38 : Purva tanasana (anterior stretch) and Vashitasana (after the sage) subroutine 126
Day 39 : SEATED : Chatushpadapeetam ( table pose) subroutine 129
Day 40 : Navasana ( boat ) and Urdhwa paschimotasana subroutine 131
Day 41 : SEATED : Upavishta konasana ( seated angle stretch) subroutine 133
Day 42 : SEATED : Badha konasana subroutine 135
Day 43 : Seated Subroutine breakdown 137
Day 44 : Bow : Makrasana (crocodile) & Manduka (frog) subroutine 140
Day 45 : Bow : Bhujangasana (cobra) subroutine 142
Day 46 : Bow : Asymmetric Salabhasana (locust) subroutine 144
Day 47 : Bow : Salabhasana (locust) subroutine 146
Day 48 : Bow : Dhanurasana ( bow ) subroutine 149
Day 49 : Bow Subroutine breakdown 151
Day 50 : Meditative : Vajrasana (thunderbolt) subroutine 155
Day 51 : Meditative : Ushtrasana ( camel ) subroutine 157
Day 52 : Meditative : Ushtrasana ( camel ) to Kapotasana (pigeon) subroutine 159
Day 53 : Meditative : Standard Camel walk subroutine 163
Day 54 : Meditative : Advanced Camel walk subroutine 165
Day 55 : Meditative : Virasana ( hero pose) subroutine 168
Day 56 : Meditative : Simhasana (lion pose) subroutine 171
DAY 57 : Meditative Subroutine's Breakdown 173
Day 58 : Supine : Tatakamudra (pond gesture) & Jayaraparivritti (belly twist) Subroutine 176
Day 59 : Supine : Apanaasana (pelvic floor poses) subroutine 179
Day 60 : Dwipadapitam ( Desk pose) subroutine 181
Day 61 : Madhya sethu ( mid region bridge pose) & Urdhvadhaurasana ( bridge) subroutine 183
Day 62 : Leg and arm lifts subroutine 186
Day 63 : Supta trivikramasana & yoganidra (reclining yogi pose) subroutine 188
Day 64 : Jataraparivritti (stomach twist variation ) subroutine 191
Day 65 : Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) preparation subroutine 193
Day 66 : Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) lead in subroutine 196
Day 67 : Akunchasana ( contraction pose) in Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) subroutine 199
Day 68 : Supta ardha badha halasana  subroutine 201
Day 69 : Urdhva Konasana in Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) subroutine 204
Day 70 : Urdhva Padmasana (lotus) in Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) subroutine 206
Day 71 : Niralumba Salambhasana ( unsupported shoulderstand) subroutine 210
Day 72 : Halasana (plough) & Uttana mayurasana Stretched peacock) subroutine 213
Day 73 : Sarvangasana mandala (circular ambulation in plough) subroutine 216
Day 74 : Karnapindasana ( closed ear pose) subroutine 219
DAY 75 : Supine: Subroutine Breakdown Page 1 221
Day 76 : INVERTED : Sirsasana (headstand) Lead in 225
Day 77 : INVERTED : Akunchasana (knee bends) subroutine 228
Day 78 : INVERTED : Leg raises subroutine 231
Day 79 : INVERTED : Upavishta konasana ( inverted triangle) subroutine 233
Day 80 : INVERTED : Urdhava Padmasana (inverted lotus) subroutine 235
Day 81 : INVERTED : Viparita Dandasana (crooked staff ) subroutine 239
Day 82 : INVERTED : Inverted Mandala Subroutine 242
Day 83 : INVERTED : Niralumba sirsasana (unsupported headstand) subroutine 244
Day 84 : INVERTED : Arm variations in Niralumba sirsasana ( unsupported headstand) subroutine 247
Day 85 : INVERTED : Handstand subroutine 251
DAY 86 : Inverted: Subroutine Breakdown Page 1 255
Day 87 : LOTUS : Ardha badha-padmasana (half lotus) subroutine 259
Day 88 : LOTUS : Padmasana (lotus) subroutine 261
Day 89 : LOTUS : Badha Padmasana (bound lotus) subroutine 265
Day 90 : LOTUS : Urdhva padmasana (lifted up lotus pose) Subroutine 268
Day 91 : LOTUS : Kukkutasana & garbha pindasana Subroutine 271
Day 92 : LOTUS : Special lotus balancing postures Subroutine 273
DAY 93 Lotus Subroutine Breakdown 276
Pranayama, Pratyahara, Meditation 280
Meditation and Pranayama postures 282
Kapalabhati hand and arm positions 283
Pranayama Hand mala ( for counting the breath ) Version One 284
Pranayama Hand mala ( for counting the breath ) Version Two 285
Pranayama 286
Pratyahara in Padmasana and Vajrasana 287
The Subroutines in the Ashtanga Yoga Primary series 288
The Subroutines in the Ashtanga Yoga Primary series 289