Developing a home practice Parts 1-35
January (18 Posts)
I wrote a post on Plans for 2011 lets see...
Rolf in Goa? Nope
Heidegger's hut in the black forest? Almost but nope
Sicily? Again, not this year, difficult with the Chinchilla though did manage a mini break to Athens to see our old Philosophy professor.
Heidegger and Yoga blog? Started it but never saw the light of day.
Consolidate 2nd? Didn't I just write the same thing yesterday?
Advanced series with David Williams' poster? Guess so but for three postures and only really practiced Advanced B a couple of times as a series so don't think it counts.
Putting together a poster of the Vinyasa krama sequences? If I only knew ...turned out to be a book rather than a poster.
Get back into chanting? yes....but then no, dropped off again.
Clean my manduka? yes , of course.....couple of times.
Feburary (16 posts)
I'd forgotten this, I wrote a post Yoga injury in February about a back injury playing up, an old one from my pizza throwing days that I seemed to reawaken when I fell off my bike. So that was in Feburary, I've been in pain ever since, every practice (affects forward bending more than backbends), and for the last month I haven't been able to do much in the morning, just beginning to show some signs of improvement. So it's been a year...perhaps I should see somebody about it... but I'm English...don't like to be a bother. That post led to my painkiller poll post
End of the month, First time coming up without turning the feet out.
March (14 posts)
The whole month seemed to get taken over by the silly discussion of Kino's shorts, Yogi's! put some clothes on and the blogosphere turned a little sour as everyone took sides, not our finest hour, probably led to me deciding to take a break from blogging with the warmer weather was on it's way, Gone Fishing. Looking at the pictures in that post I'd been practicing a lot of the Advanced series.
Was away from blogging a week. Back so soon? Interestingly I've been thinking about taking a break from blogging over the last couple of weeks, might as well not bother.
April (19 posts)
April started with a Mea Culpa as I realised how tatty my primary had become with all the tweaking and mixing of styles. This was as a result of Practising along with Sharath, back when he did that live feed from Encinitas. I captured the stream and practiced along with it every morning for a month.
May (27 posts)
An Ashtanga focus by the look of it, the month dominated by the tictak challenge
The Namarupa : Richard Schechner's notebook on his studies with Krishanamacharya that came out at the end of the month was a highlight.
..as was, I'm ashamed to say, for me anyway, my Completely pointless yoga party trick # 7 : Lotus without hands
June (23 posts)
When a blog post comes back to bite you : 108 Dropback challenge, AC reminded me of the 108 drop back challenge. Managed it a week or two later, the speeded up video is here Summer Solstice : 108 dropbacks. UPDATE
Seems to be around here that I started to look again at yoga philosophy, What is practice and how does it become well established? a thread that started here with the yoga sutras and led to the Gita as it was. I think what I forgot, missed or failed to understand for a while, was that Ramaswami had a strong Yoga Sutra focus, Raja yoga and that the asana, the pranayama practice were very much in the service of that, an integrated practice.
Ashtanga strikes me more now as having a Hatha yoga focus in the sense of Hatha Yoga Pradipika , the Raja yoga is almost put to one side for a while, work on your hatha and then when your ready, when you've been through the threshing floor you can start to think about Raja yoga. That's not a criticism, there's a strong argument there.
July (17 posts)
First time practicing 4th as a series seems a long time ago now.
Our beloved Claudia's book came out Book review : 21 Things to know before starting an ashtanga practice ...plus Blogs 3rd Birthday
Would I be welcome at your Shala? was related to the Norman Blair article The Box
I launched my Vinyasa Krama Blog, Launching my NEW blog : Practicing Vinyasa Krama Yoga at Home figured Ashtangi's weren't always that interested in the VK posts and those coming to VK not really up on the Ashtanga intertextuality.
Oh and I got my heels back in kapo after three months, nice to know it'll come back, only managed my toes yesterday. This was at the hotel in Wales where I went for a week and Practiced all the Vinyasa Krama sequences Holiday practice update
August (25 posts)
Hit by the 2nd series truck
Stories : Saxophones to Yoga mats
My favourite blog post from the whole blog not just this year Yoga, it aint Rocket Science
Liked the Yoga Bookshelves post, feel free to keep sending them in.
Seemed to be practising mostly vinyasa krama, working at exploring the rhythm of the practice with Mingus Mingus Mingus
Kapo ankles back thanks to Vinyasa Krama Bow sequence
September (23 posts)
Cured the back pain for a couple of weeks with pasasana
Spent a lot of time this month reading the original 84 verse version of the Gita without all the god stuff The Original Gita. No Surrender! ( Updated with the original Gita? ) as it was and the Original yoga sutras
I also started work on my Vinyasa Krama Practice book, started off as just the sequences, then all the subroutines for the 2nd edition and now I'm just finishing off the last of the practice notes for each subroutine to be published for free download in a week or two. So many resources for Ashtangi's that I wanted to put something out there that might be helpful for anyone struggling with Ramaswami's book and turning it into a viable home practice.
October (51 posts)
The practice notes for the book take up most of the year, amusing to see that while my page hits dropped off there was a huge hike when I posted an old Sharath video. other hikes tend to be when I post on backbends or jump backs : ) Should have added google advertising back when I started this blog and didn't post about much else, could have made a fortune.
Did find time to posit the question Is Ashtanga compatible with Vinyasa Krama?
and look at how I've jumped back and forth between the two like ...a ridiculous Mexican Soap Opera
November (52 posts)
I was asked What books influenced your yogic and/or spiritual Life ? I should come back to this, there are books that I would recommend must have a think about that and post something in the new year.
Some improvement in backbends, Raja kapotasana, first toes to head followed quickly by Ganda Bherundasana : first toes to head... and a tentative new project. and I have penguin feet : first drop back without lifting heels PLUS Heather Morton's back bending DVD
Started a Samakonasana Challenge and managed to touchdown but it seemed to play havoc with my badha konasana so have put it on hold, perhaps I rushed it.
A rare talkie, on How to do headstands
December (55 posts)
Started to thin about my Ashtanga practice this month Working out the lift into Upavishta Konasana B which led to YOGA MALA: '...we keep tearing pages out there'll be nothing left' and Full Vinyasa
A Wake up call - The hidden arm balance series made me notice how weak I've become recently with my fancy-trick free Primary and focus on pranayama in my VK practice as well as a general lack of discipline in my practice and no doubt as a result, life in generalNearly the end of the year.... I'm still practicing, still twice a day but it all feels a little ...slack, let things slip a little. And so 2nd series, nice to see you again. Nothing focusses the mind like 2nd series.
So the year seems to end where it began, with the desire to tidy up and consolidate my 2nd series practice,
Ashtanga only seems possible with full commitment.Vinyasa Krama allows for more flexibility, a shorter asana practice in favour of a stronger pranayama and meditation focus, you can get away with that. If I'm still going to practice Ashtanga, and it seems it's still my practice, then I just have to get on and practice it as it is. 2nd series, five days a week with a Primary on Friday does seem to be the only way to go about it.
Despite the odd hike in visits when I post on backbends, jump backs, Kino or Sharath or the drop off when I post on Vinyasa Krama there does seem to be a number of regular readers who seem to put up with or make allowances for whatever nonsense I go off on. Never sure how to read the stats, by google analytics it seems there ranges from 300 to 400 visitors a day, Blogger has it at 700 to 800 page views, no idea what all that means but thank you to everyone who visits and comments even when it's to give me a hard time.
I especially love that I get so many visitors from all over the world, I don't tend to look at the stats that much but I love the feedjit widget down on the bottom right of the blog and seeing all the different flags. I know language can be a problem if English isn't your first language, I was an English teacher for a number of years. My apologies if my posts are confusing sometimes. Perhaps if you don't want to write or ask a question in the public comment box, please feel free to send me an email or get in touch through FB.
Let me know if there's anything you'd like to see more of here, a posture you struggle with or some aspect of the practice, can only say how I've approached it, what's worked for me but often somebody else will chip in with a comment on something perhaps more useful.
Two Mysore dreams.... or was that three UPDATED
It concerns a couple of dreams I had in January 2012 about visiting Mysore in January 2013, next month in fact. Funnily enough I ended up deciding, emphatically, that it wasn't for me ( bit embarrassed by the update now) but here I am this week musing again, this time about January 2014. No matter what, I seem to end up hanging my practice, at times quite loosely, on a pretty standard Ashtanga ...ish framework. I might explore lengthening the breath or developing the vinyasa krama's inherent in the sequences or build a more integrated practice around it perhaps but at the core there are still those same Yogasanagalu/Yoga mala Ashtanga postures, the focus on breath, fo linking the breath with the movement, bandhas, a focused drishti. It seems to make sense to quietly visit Mysore one year or other, if the opportunity arises, and see what it holds for me.
My Current practice keeps getting updated in the post below. I need to add something on my plans for the new year to explore lengthening the breath throughout 2nd series in a similar way to how I've been approaching Primary over the last few months.
Developing a home practice parts 28, 29 and 30 (.....
Current Practice Original Ashtanga / Ashtanga / Vi...
I remember I thought about giving up on the blog at the beginning of the year but decided against it.
Deleting a blog
It always seems to be the way but whenever I think about quitting blogging I end up posting more than ever, over three hundred posts again this year. In fact, the plan remained, for much of the year, to call it a day once Satya finished the Yogasanagalu translation, thankfully the last chapter has been a while in coming as I've been enjoying blogging again recently..
Besides so often we seem to stop blogging just when it gets ...interesting, when the focus shifts from the asana to exploring around the asana or even new ways of perceiving, tyhinking about, asana. I'm not sure I can do that justice but do want to stick with it for a while and see what comes up.
The blog seemed to have served it's purpose. I'd originally wanted to record my practice as I began to work at new postures etc, catch the moment, perhaps on video, when I first nailed a particularly tricky posture or transition. I always figured that was something relatively unique (at the time anyway), a completely different perspective from showing or teaching a posture that your comfortable with ( there were plenty of videos of perfect postures and jump backs etc). I've thought about doing some new jump back posts but I won't be able to capture again what it was exactly that seemed, at the time anyway, to make the difference. When I jump back now I think lift and up I go. I can try and break down what I think I'm doing and that can be useful too but then there are lots of excellent teachers out there doing that who do it better than I ever could. Same with kapo, dropping back etc, I can give you a list of things that work for me now but I find it hard to remember (without looking back through the blog) what seemed to make the most difference at the time.
So a lot less videos of my practice this year, not a bad thing perhaps. I mentioned a posture to a friend recently, she wasn't familiar with the name I was using so googled it and ended up with an old video of mine, thrusting my hips up into the air in nothing but a pair of Nike pros's. Now that always seemed fine in the context of the blog, the Vinyasa krama sequences I was showing but out of context, winced a little.
Here's a run through then of some of my favourite posts of the year or at least those I think are perhaps most, if not important, then relevant. Of course at the beginning of every month there's also Ramaswami's newsletters which are always rewarding to take another look at.
I'm glad I did continued with the blog because it was in January that Nancy Gilgoff generously shared the 1974 original Ashtanga Syllabus.
Dear Nancy... ' Yoga as it was" Nancy Gilgoff arti...
That led to a series of posts on The Rishi Sequence. David Williams supposedly asked Pattabhi Jois what came next after Advanced series and Guruji came back with the Rishi series, ten postures held for something like fifty breaths. Perhaps it was a joke but Manju Jois did say in a interview that his father would stay in postures for a long time. Iyengar of course has extended stays in postures and just recently I've been reading some Prashant Iyengar where he explores the spiritual possibilities of asana, suggesting perhaps long stays. Either way I explored the idea in a series of posts, testing which asana of Primary and Intermediate a long stay of 25-50 breaths seemed possible and/or beneficial. the link below is to the series of posts that i keep at the top of the blog.
I also uploaded my Vinyasa Krama practice book to Amazon for the Kindle app. This was basically a stand alone companion to Ramaswami Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga. The idea was to give a more user friendly, quick reference, layout of the Vinyasa Krama sequences, as well as hints, tips and cautions for most of the asana and subroutines that I'd picked up through writing the blog. It was 'published' in a bit of a rush when I was off work sick and in serious need of revision, if not a complete rewrite. Still, I kind of have a soft spot for it. The practice sheets don't work so well on the original kindle but are kind of OK on the Kindle app for iPad or you PC/Mac. Come to think of it they probably work OK on the new kindle.
My Vinyasa Yoga Practice Book now on Kindle
I also submitted this before and after post to Elephant Journal
Hey NYT, my body was pretty much wrecked....
In February Satya Murthy and I began to translate Krishnamacharya's 1941 text Yogasanagalu. Well, not really I, it's Satya who has done all the hard work, I just post it. I believe most of the book is translated now. The asana descriptions are supposedly the same as in Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda although less of them. Satya's currently working on the extra added chapter from the later editions.
Thank you again to Satya for all the hard works. I think seeing the Asana table and how closely it resembles the Ashtanga series we know today was quite a revelation as well as the focus on the breath and a more integrated practice, especially with regards to pranayama .
The Confluence event in LA happened in February or March I forget which, but in March I transcribed much of Richard Freeman's backbending workshop from the confluence video. That had a powerful influence on my practice so much so that I booked my first workshop ever, with Richard later in the year.
Richard Freeman AYC backbending workshop transcrib...
In April I ended up teaching my first Vinyasa Krama 'lessons' or rather sharing some of Ramaswami's teaching more directly
Taught my first Vinyasa Krama Class yesterday
By May Satya had reached Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu asana table in his ongoing translation but I also posted on the 1928 Suryanamaskara of Balasahib.
Balasahib's 'original' 1928 Suya Namaskar , sun sa...
In June I posted an article on Elephant journal, had completely forgotten about this one
Am I Missing Something Vital in My Lifelong Yoga Practice? The title coming from a line in one of Ramaswami's Newsletters.
My Article on Elephant
July I went alone to Santorinin to have a kind of solo workshop focusing on Krishnamacharya's presentation of asana in Yoga makaranda and Yogasanagalu. I'd also got my hands on his Salutations to the teacher and the Eternal one which AG Mohan later released as Yoga Makaranda (Part II). Plus I wanted to do a close reading of Aranya's commentary on the Yoga Sutras
Yoga on Santorini, 80 rounds Pranayama, Manduka's ...
Another post from that month that still seems significant for my practice is the one on effulgence below
Sun salutations for Osteoarthritis of the spine
September I took the Richard Freeman Intensive in London that I mentioned earlier. It continues to have a major influence on my practice and was yet another reminder that I didn't really want to, indeed had no reason to give up on Ashtanga altogether just because my practice, or at least the shifting focus of my practice, is less conventional.
Richard freeman five day intensive Day One
I also received Salutations from another source with no preconditions about not sharing it.
Salutations to the Teacher and the Eternal One - ...
As well as the 1930's article in the French medical journal with the Krishnamacharya heart stopping/slowing experiments and translated for us by Matthieu.
Krishnamacharya 'stopping' ( or at least slowing) ...
Has one of my favourite posts of the year on Yvonne Millerand practice with Krishnamacharya in the 60's, which included some wonderful pictures. The article was also translated for us by Matthieu.
Yvonne Millerand student of Krishnamacharya in the...
Also this on mantra meditation and bringing it into the asana practice. i started with the Jesus prayer, moved on to the Loving kindness mantra and am currently using a long slowsoham. Soham is tricky to keep long so i have to keep slipping into one of the others to reset.
Dharana : Mantra Meditation is the new Black
Unfortunately October was also the month that news broke concerning Kausthub Desikachar abuse allegations that I still feel strongly I was correct to post on.
Kausthub Desikachar Allegations; Recognising the ...
In November AG Mohan released his original version of the Krishnamacharya Salutationsdocument and called it Yoga Makaranda ( Part II)
I also have a soft spot for this post on One asana One perfect breath
One asana with one perfect breath.
And so to December
I quite like this post on the evolution and influences on my own practice
Evolution of, and influences on, a practice
This one on Short arm Jump backs too and for several reasons not least of which is that this blog started out in the first post with jump Backs, amusing to find me still posting on it five years later.
Jumping back in Ashtanga with short arms, Angela J...
and this one from Yesterday on a little book by Prashant Iyengar which I hope will have a strong influence on my practice next year.
A peek into Prashant Iyengar's Chittavijana of Yog...
Other plans for next year.
I want to continue working on the long slow breathing Krishnamacharya and Jois referred to, in the context of my Ashtanga practice.Where I've been focusing on the long breath in Primary over the last couple of months, I'm thinking I want to explore it in the context of Intermediate series. I'm looking to practice a relatively standard 2nd series five days a week for the year as well as explore some of Prashant Iyengar's ideas in the context of Ashtanga and Vinyasa Krama.
Continue developing my evening Vinyasa Krama, Pranayama and Meditation practice, looking forward too to Gregor Maehle upcoming Yoga Meditation book.
I've started following AG Mohan's online yoga Sutra's series, going sutra by sutra as it does it's a good opportunity to study together some of the important commentaries side by side.
Thinking too I should do some more Vinyasa Krama teaching, love the idea of a little church hall class, taking my evening Vinyasa Krama practice out of the home shala.
And who knows, perhaps Mysore next year. After a year of 2nd series it will be a joy perhaps to practice straight Primary again for a whole month.
So what about your year, any highlight's, important developments or shifting focus to your practice?
I also posted a couple of guest posts this year, thank you for all concerned for sharing your posts/content with us here.
Guest post: Three attendees of Richard Freeman's r...
Guest post: Comparison of Advanced series in 1974 ...
Guest post: Notes from 2012 Ashtanga Mela at Kripal...
Virtual Transmission, Visceral Practice: the Cybershala... - A section from Kiri Miller's book Playing along
So thank you for reading/visiting
Thank you too to everyone who commented this year
...or thought about it ( perhaps next time, please do even, indeed especially, if you disagree), please don't be put off by not having commented before or by thinking your perhaps too new to the practice.
....sorry about the 'I'm not a robot check',
NB. Posts older than two weeks get approved before appearing to reduce spam
...and to the spammers who make blog commenting more awkward, thanks but no thanks.
Here's the complete list of last years posts.
|Our Christmas Day Vegetarian Timpani, all kinds of things in it, my 4 hour ragu, two kinds of Tortellini , Mozzarella balls, Vegetarian sausage with fennel seeds, peas, cavatappi curly pasta, spinach, peas, Parmesan, eggs....and yet it worked.|
I'd forgotten for instance how I'd started the year deciding to let go of Ashtanga to focus on teaching, and thus practicing, Vinyasa Krama - we teach only what we practice, right. As it happens, as the year progressed and I continued to research Krishnamacharya, the Ashtanga I found in Krishnamacharya's early book Yoga Makaranda allowed me to bring the two approaches together more comfortably. And taking Manju's workshop in Crete late in the year allowed me to see the current Ashtanga in Krishnamacharya's Ashtanga.
I'm much more comfortable in my own practice and thus more confident to share that, teaching a little here at home and now it seems offering workshops. I gave my first workshop last month, and I'll be teaching three classes along similar lines at the Yoga Rainbow festival in Turkey mid May and should be teaching a similar workshop to the one I gave in Leon this time in Valencia towards the end of January (dates to be confirmed on that one).
Oh and this is new, a print version of my Vinyasa Yoga Practice Book, available on Lulu now and soon on Amazon, it's expensive though because it's A4 over 400 pages,costs a fortune to print unfortunately, it's still available for free though as a pdf on my Free Downloads pageand a couple of quid on Amazon, as a Kindle/Ibook. I Should get my preview copy this week so don't buy it before I get to take a look and make sure they haven't screwed up the formatting. I'd always wanted to do a full edit on this but realised I'll probably never get around to it, it is what it is.
A. printed me out a copy a short while back and it looked OK, the pictures work better in an A4 book than on a kindle and I like that there are hints/tips/cautions for every posture or at least each subroutines.
Early next year I'll be moving back to Japan with M., she'll be going on ahead early February I hope to follow towards the end of May. I think I started Blogging in June 2008 so that will make, pretty much six years, might be time to call it a day...... but then again, what is it going to be like practicing in Japan, those long, hot, humid summer's and what's the Ashtanga scene like in Japan, will I have the opportunity to teach, to promote Vinyasa Krama, perhaps get to explore more deeply the meeting of Ashtanga and Zen. Japan may well be an interesting, inspiring place to blog from.....
Thank you too for those of you who contributed Guest posts, really enjoyed these, thank you
Started the year writing about giving up Ashtanga to focus on , and teach, Vinyasa Krama, a feeling of obligation. As the year went on and I focused on Krishnamachrya's Ashtang in Yoga Makaranda the distinction between the two styles dropped away.
3 posts looking at Yogacarya Krishnamacharya - The Purnacarya. Edited by Mala Srivatsan
Looking at Krishnamacharya through the work of his son, T. K. Shribashyam as well as his involvement with the Krishnamacharya documentary Breath of God
David Robeson's drum CD was fun to explore
and sadly my chinchilla, Nietsche passed after 19 years with us
Looking more closely at Yoga Makaranda again and finding an Ashtanga primary series hidden away, this would evolve into the workshop I taught earlier this month
Mid May I got sick and it went on for months, right up until the week before Manju's workshop
My defence of Ashtanga
and I began to consider teaching...
Looking through these old posts I liked this one on Ashtanga and Zen
More early Krishnamacharya workshop
and this 'tutorial' for Jessica because it goes back to where this blog started, with the jump back
I liked this post on the old man of Hasan, which followed on from Michelle's guest post on More to Mysore
Yet more Krishnamacharya research
And some fun exploring Chakra baandhasana this is the final post on the month long challenge
My favourite post of the year...
and we finally decided to set things in motion for moving back to Japan early 2014.
A great find...
I gave my first workshop in Leon, Spain
have another coming up next May
Did Sri K. Pattabhi Jois leave out the 'heart' of the practice?
Looking ahead to 2014 the plan is to continue exploring Krishnamacharya 'original' Ashtanga, looking at his middle group of asana from his 1941 book Yogasanagalu 'tweaked' into Ashtanga Intermediate series order but with the approach to asana Krishnamacharya lays out in Yoga Makaranda (1941), the slower breathing, longer stays and yes, kumbhaka.
My Vinyasa Yoga practice book should be in print by the end of next week and I have a book on Krishnamacharya planned for before leaving for Japan around the end of May.