A fundamental facet in the principles of Āsana, Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma practice……

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A fundamental facet in the principles of Āsana, Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma practice, in the teachings of Krishnamacharya through Desikachar, is the ordering of Āsana according to the acronym SLIBSS.

It is the practice arrangement or Vinyāsa Krama in the following order:

  • Standing Āsana
  • Supine Lying Āsana
  • Inverted Āsana
  • Prone Backbend Āsana
  • Sitting Āsana
  • Seated Āsana

This is referred to in Religiousness in Yoga page 23-27.

It is the foundational structure on which all the other variants of Āsana, Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma practice arise from or are goals towards.

Vinyāsa Krama is pronounced according to its meaning as Vi-Nyāsa Krama or special placing in sequence. It is the arranging of the various postures or breathing patterns in an intelligent sequence, respecting the variables in the student and the purpose of the practice.

Thus the way I was taught by Desikachar was that if I move away from this schematic as the core of my Āsana practice or teaching, there needs to be a compelling rationale within which it remains a potential goal to move back to or towards, both short term and long term.

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An example of a Secondary Yoga Practice, primarily for early evening use.

An example of a Secondary Yoga Practice.

This 25′ practice is intended mainly for post-work early evening use. It was designed for a student as a secondary practice to complement their existing pre-work early morning practice.

The context within which it sits is that they have an early morning Āsana and Prāṇāyāma practice before leaving for work. Getting to work involves 10′ walking to catch a train, often standing during the train journey and then walking a further 10-15′ after getting off.

This framework also includes a demanding decision making and team management working environment, often involving many meetings during a typical day.

Hence this example of a secondary evening practice does not involve standing Āsana, nor emphasis on any demanding lying, inverted or back bend Āsana. Relevent aspects of these characteristics being accessed in the morning along with a Prāṇāyāma practice.

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Example of a Vinyāsa Krama around Jaṭhara Parivṛtti

An example of a Vinyāsa Krama around Jaṭhara Parivṛtti exploring:

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A sample Parivṛtti and Paścimatāna Themed Group Practice

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Attached as a PDF is a sample group class practice offered to a student as an example of theming two complementary Āsana groupings, that of Parivṛtti and Paścimatāna.

These complementary Lakṣaṇa, or characteristics, can be expanded from either:

  • An Annamaya or structural viewpoint, in terms of the work on such as the spine and the legs.
  • Or from a Prāṇamaya or energetic viewpoint in terms of the effect on Agni, Apāna and Vāta.
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Preparatory Āsana to make Adho Mukha Śvānāsana more effective….

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Practice Study Question around Āsana Planning Theory:
Identify a minimum of two modifications of preparatory Āsana
which can be used to make Adho Mukha Śvānāsana more effective.

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

We start our practice where we are and look toward a certain goal….

Desikachar_France_1999

“We start our practice where we are and look toward a certain goal.
Then we choose the steps that will lead us toward realising that goal
and will gradually bring us back into our everyday life,
but our daily practice does not return us to the exact place we started.
The practice has changed us.”
– TKV Desikachar

Variations of Āsana to make Navāsana more accessible……

navasana

Practice Study Question around Āsana Planning Theory:
Identify a minimum of two variations of preparatory Āsana
which can be used to make Navāsana more accessible.

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

We can learn how we can fine tune our practice according to our basic nature…

 Āsana_16a

One of the potentials in the Haṭha Yoga teachings of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar is the understanding around the viniyoga or application of Bṛṃhaṇa Kriyā and Laṅghana Kriyā in terms of their potential to enhance sensory stimulation or to diminish sensory stimulation.

Both approaches can be used where appropriate to impact on how we are stimulated by the world through the senses and thus be more drawn to interact with it in a more extravert way, or how our sensory stimulation is quietened and thus we are more easily able to withdraw from the activities of the senses.

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Identify and illustrate four key Āsana to help prepare for Ardha Śalabhāsana

ardha_salabhasana

Practice Study Question around Āsana Planning Theory:
Identify and illustrate four key Āsana to help prepare for Ardha Śalabhāsana.

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

Where are we starting from?……

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“We must consider the direction of one’s Āsana Practice.
Where are we starting from?
Where are we going to?
Is this journey of Pariṇāma working with immediate needs in mind?
Is this journey of Pariṇāma working with long term needs in mind?
Is this journey of Pariṇāma trying to integrate both immediate needs and long term needs?”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

The role of Śavāsana within an Āsana practice was as a transitional link pose…

savasana

Within the teachings of T Krishnamacharya, as transmitted to TKV Desikachar, the role of Śavāsana within an Āsana practice was as a transitional link pose between categories of Āsana.

For example between Standing and Lying Āsana, or Lying and Inverted Āsana, or Inverted and Prone Backbends, or Prone Backbends and Seated Āsana, or Seated Āsana and Sitting Practices.

The extent of its use and length of rest at each stage, when transiting from one category to another within our Āsana practice journey, was dependent on the facility of the practitioner and the intensity of the practice.

“Cale Vāte Calaṃ Cittam
As is the breath so is the mind.”

Within this individualised variance is the guiding principle that the role of Śavāsana is to facilitate a smooth transition for the flow of the breath and also the pulse through and beyond the Āsana practice as a marker for the practitioners state of mind.

However according to Desikachar the viniyoga of Śavāsana was seen in terms of recovery from the fatigue of the preceding aspect of the practice rather, than say recovery from the preceding aspects of ones life. Regarding the approach for the latter, amongst other things such as Vihāra, the purpose, content, duration and frequency of the Āsana practice must be carefully reconsidered.

Reflections on Pratikriyāsana or the role of Opposite Action Postures

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When considering the viniyoga or application of Pratikriyāsana or opposite action postures within a students personal practice, it may help to look at the integration of their intended role from three perspectives.

– Firstly their intended role as a counterposture, thus more from a physiological perspective.
– Secondly their intended role as a compensation, thus more from a psychological perspective.
– Thirdly their intended role as a transition, thus more from sequential perspective.

Appropriate integration of these three principles constitute an essential component in the Vinyāsa Krama or intelligent steps utilised within practice planning.

Sometimes the Vinyāsa Krama or special placing of steps from is more……

vinyasa

Sometimes the Vinyāsa Krama,
or special placing of steps from,
is more important than the steps to.
At other times the Vinyāsa Krama,
or special placing of steps to,
is more important than the steps from.
In our life as well as our practice.

There are many postures to suit a variety of different body types…..

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“There are many postures to suit a variety of different body types.
Āsana practice is to prepare the body, to sit for Prāṇāyāma.
Āsana also helps to get rid of impurities
so that it is possible to do something deeper, inside the mind.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Planning should precede practice….

Āsana_4

Planning should precede practice,
fix your goal, building step by step
and there should be check points along the way.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

What are the points to be considered while planning an Āsana practice?

Āsana_24b

Question asked from the recent post on moving into the posture after the exhale:
What are the points to be considered while planning an Āsana practice?

Response:
An important question within which there are many aspects that come into three primary areas.
Firstly the general considerations or directional overview around planning a Yoga practice.

For Example:

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Principles behind why Krishnamacharya only taught adults 121……

tkv_tk_3_1980

“There is another practical thing, it is like what we call Vinyāsa.

At different times, he (Krishnamacharya) has said that any teaching must have the following conditions:

First, from where is the student coming? What is called Deśa. Is he from America, or is he from North India? Teaching must consider whether the person is from one country or another.

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The position of a particular posture in an Āsana practice will change……

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“The position of a particular posture in an Āsana practice will change its effect
and will influence a particular part of the body.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Overview of the viniyoga of Āsana Practice Techniques and Theory Modules

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Follow this link for details of Small Group Learning Art of viniyoga of Āsana Study Workshop options
Follow this link for details of Online Personalised Learning Art of viniyoga of Āsana Study options

The Module One Workshops and Module Two to Seven Courses are in depth studies through:

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Yoga Postures in Practice – A series on Āsana by Paul Part 4 Utkaṭāsana

Part Four – Building our Support with Utkaṭāsana

This is the fourth in a series of articles presenting the core principles for Āsana practice as taught to me through many years of personal lessons in India with my teacher TKV Desikachar.

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viniyoga Vignette 4 – Combining Prāṇāyāma within Āsana

Mid Range Movement in Āsana

A short end of study day 25′ evening practice from the second day of three day Practitioner Training Programme Module. Here the primary Bhāvana or theme was to offer a practice to conclude what would have been in itself a long day of study as well as internalising the student away from the accumulative stresses from two long days of training input.

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viniyoga Vignette 3 – Śītalī and Anuloma Ujjāyī Prāṇāyāma within Āsana

Mid Range Movement in Āsana

A short end of study day 25′ evening practice from the first day of three day Practitioner Training Programme Module. Here the primary Bhāvana or theme was to offer a practice to conclude what would have been a long day with both study and travelling to the venue that morning from various parts of the country.

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Nāma, Rūpa, Lakṣana – The Name, Form and Characteristics of Āsana

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The Aṣṭāṅgāsana or the eight limbs of Āsana Planning and Practice are the formula for constructing a skilful and place, time and lifestyle appropriate Āsana practice. These eight limbs fall into eight categories, that of:

  • The definition, meaning and context of Āsana
    – Core concept – Nāma Rūpa Lakṣana – name, form and characteristics
  • How Āsana are arranged into groups and categories
    – Core concept – Vinyāsa Krama – collecting postures together
  • How counterpostures or Pratikriyāsana are integrated
    – Core concept – Pratikriyāsana– maintaining the balance
  • The value and purpose of the breath in Āsana
    – Core concept – Prāṇāpāna Dhāraṇā – where the focus is
  • How movement or stay are used in Āsana 
    Core concept – Circulation and Purification – dynamic and static
  • The adaptation of Āsana practice
    – Core concept – Variation and Modification – change and necessity
  • Intelligently planning and Āsana practice
    – Core concept – Bṛṃhaṇa and Laṅghana Kriyā – connecting postures together
  • Observation within Āsana practice
    – Core concept – Spine, Breath and Attention – learning to look

In my last post on Aṣṭāṅgāsana I talked about introducing each of these eight topics to help the reader to appreciate more about what is inherent in the depth and breadth of this approach in terms of Āsana planning having a precise and comprehensive formula.

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Aṣṭāṅgāsana – The eight limbs of Āsana Planning and Practice

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With nearly 2000 Posts and Resources on the site I have been reflecting on how to expand the access points and yet simplify the reader experience for visitors. So I started by looking at the Blog Page by reviewing the broad topic categories and considering the need to re-organise the groupings as well as increasing the  range of related topics within the sub-groupings.

The first general topic in the Journal is that of Posts on Yoga Practice and its five main areas for study are:

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viniyoga Vignette 1 – Antar and Bāhya Kumbhaka in Āsana

Mid Range Movement in Āsana

A short pre-lunch 25′ practice from the first day of the two day Module One Haṭha Energetics Workshop.

As well as emphasising the use of Jihvā and Jālandhara Bandha, the primary Bhāvana or theme was to explore the application of and response to the introduction and accumulative intensification of Antar Kumbhaka (AK) and Bāhya Kumbhaka (BK) throughout the practice.

I would emphasise that this is an example of a unique situation that existed at that moment and thus reflects an expression of a study point or the students group dynamic as a need at that moment.

Yet within this caveat, this example of a short but intensive practice, whilst not to be taken as a fixed template, also reflects the richness and multifarious possibilities in how the principles in the viniyoga of Yoga can be expressed as learning and experiential tools within a myriad of situations and personalities.

If there is a sketch quality in the PDF copy it is because these practices were not preplanned and were being notated as they unfolded whilst teaching the group. This also meant I could photocopy them as the practice concluded so copies were immediately available for reflection, reference and discussion.

Link to view or download this Practice as a PDF

It seems that with Modern Postural Yoga the perception of ‘advanced’ is……

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It seems that with Modern Postural Yoga the perception of ‘advanced’
practice is based around physical appearance and artistic performance,
as exemplified by Āsana;
over psychological efforts and cultivation of inner skills,
as exemplified by Prāṇāyāma and Dhyānam.

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