Utthita Trikonasana masiva in the Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh – ¡Qué bonito!
Utthita Trikonasana masiva in the Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh – ¡Qué bonito!
ASHTANGA YOGA AS IT WAS
(THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT)
BY NANCY GILGOFF, WRITTEN BY AHARONA SHACKMAN
The following is the way in which Guruji taught me, Nancy Gilgoff, the Primary and Intermediate series of Ashtanga Yoga during my first trip to Mysore, in 1973. David Williams and I stayed for four months that trip and had two classes per day (excluding Saturdays and Moon days).
In the first class, I was taught to do five Surya Namaskara A, plus the three finishing postures – Yoga Mudrasana, Padmasana, and Tolasana. The second class, later that day, was five Surya Namaskara A and five Surya Namaskara B, plus the three finishing. In the next class, Guruji told me to only do three each of Surya Namaskara A and B, and to keep it that way in my practice, and he then began adding on at least two postures per class, always with the three finishing at the end.
Guruji taught me the standing postures through Parsvottanasana, but with no Parivritta Trikonasana or Parivritta Parsvakonasana. After Parsvottanasana he had me jump through to Dandasana.
In the seated postures, there were a minimal amount of vinyasas. There were no vinyasas between sides. Moreover, there were no vinyasas between variations – so all of Janu Sirsasana A, B, and C were done together (right side, left side of A, right, left of B, right, left of C), then a vinyasa before Marichyasana. Then all of the Marichyasana variations, A, B, C, and D, were done together, without vinyasas between sides or variations; then there was a vinyasa before doing three repetitions of Navasana. Baddha Konasana, Upavishta Konasana, and Supta Konasana were also grouped together without vinyasas between them. Ubhaya Padangusthasana and Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana were also done together, with no vinyasa between – I was taught to simply change the hand position after Ubhaya Padangusthasana and go right into Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana.
In Kurmasana, Guruji had us bring our arms straight out from the shoulders (so the arms were in a straight line), with the knees close to the shoulders. There was no vinyasa to move into Supta Kurmasana; we would pull the feet back first, rounding the back, then clasp the hands together behind the back, and then cross the feet at the ankles in front of the head, with the head tucked in.
After Setu Bandhasana, Guruji added in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana and Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana – but to be put in the series back in the standing sequence, after Parsvottanasana. (Utkatasana and Virabhadrasana were not in the series at this point, nor were Parivritta Trikonasana or Parivritta Parsvakonasana, all of which were added in later.)
Once Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana and Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana were taught and added into their place in the standing sequence, Intermediate was taught immediately – added on at the end of Primary, with Pashasana following Setu Bandhasana. In fact, I had no idea that there were two separate series until the end of that first four-month trip, when we were leaving, at which point Guruji gave us a sheet of paper with a list of the postures, which were listed as Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, and Advanced B. At this point he told us to practice one series a day, and only once a day. While we had been with him in Mysore, we had learned both Primary and Intermediate series in the first two months, and after that, he had had us practice both series, together, in entirety, twice a day.
Intermediate Series also contained fewer vinyasas back then. There were no vinyasas between sides (in Pashasana, Krounchasana, Bharadvajasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Eka Pada Sirsasana, Parighasana, and Gomukhasana). From Shalabhasana through Parsva Dhanurasana, the asanas were done in a group, with a vinyasa only at the end. Ushtrasana through Kapotasana also were done all together, with a vinyasa only after Kapotasana. The same went for Eka Pada Sirsasana through Yoganidrasana – there were no vinyasas until the Chakrasana after Yoganidrasana.
The Intermediate series, as Guruji taught it to us during that first trip, included Vrishchikasana after Karandavasana. We were taught to hold Pincha Mayurasana for five breaths, bring the legs into lotus and lower down into Karandavasana, hold five breaths, inhale up, and then exhale right into Vrishchikasana for five breaths. The series ended with Gomukhasana. David asked for more, and so, per his request, Guruji added Supta Urdhva Pada Vajrasana as well as the seven headstands – Baddha Hasta Sirsasana A, B, C, and D were taught first, with Mukta Hasta Sirsasana A, B, and C following. Guruji said these were from Fourth Series.
Backbends from both the floor (Urdhva Dhanurasana) and standing (“drop-backs”) were taught after Intermediate Series, as was the rest of the finishing sequence (Paschimottanasana, Salamba Sarvangasana, Halasana, Karnapidasana, Urdhva Padmasana, Pindasana, Matsyasana, Uttana Padasana, and Sirsasana). Up until this point, we had just been doing Yoga Mudrasana, Padmasana, and Tolasana at the end of our practice.
Guruji taught us Pranayama after we had learned the entire Intermediate Series (at the end of our third month in Mysore, about a month after learning all of Intermediate).
I think it was when Guruji came to teach on Maui in 1980 (in Paia) that he added in so many vinyasas, while teaching led classes. When I asked him whether or not to do them in my own practice, as I had been practicing without – as he had taught me, he told me to add in the vinyasas to build my strength. By that trip in 1980 there was still no Parivritta Trikonasana, Parivritta Parsvakonasana, Utkatasana, or Virabhadrasana in the practice. (During another, later trip to the States, Guruji added in Parivritta Trikonasana and Parivritta Parsvakonasana. The next time he came back to Maui to teach, he saw us doing Parivritta Parsvakonasana, asked why we were doing it, and said that this was “crazy posture” and that we should take it out. But the whole Maui crew loved it so much that he said we could leave it in.) (Utkatasana and Virabhadrasana were perhaps added in at some point in the late 1980’s.)
Originally there were four series on the Ashtanga syllabus: Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, and Advanced B. A fifth series of sorts was the “Rishi series,” which Guruji said could be done once a practitioner had “mastered” these four.
December 2012 Newsletter from Srivatsa Ramaswami—RISHIS
During my long studentship with Sri Krishnamacharya, he taught several
asanas and vinyasas normally not well known at that time. Some bore
the names of renowned sages or rishis. I had known about rishis being
associated with a few asanas even earlier but these were mostly seated
poses, basically meditative postures like Vajrasana also known as
Dadhichi asana about which I had written earlier. But Sri
Krishnamacharya taught several new asanas I had not known, not even
heard of before. These were also featured in his book Yoga Makaranda.
Some like Bhardwajasana, Marichyasana are simple seated poses but many
others are more difficult ones and one may wonder if the rishi would
be able to stay for a long time in those postures and also meditate.
Of course some of the asanas were one legged poses like Bhagiratasana
and Durvasasana but I had heard and also read in some puranas that
such one legged standing poses were resorted to by several tapasvins
to get the blessings of the Lord. The asanas named after rishis and
taught by my Guru can be classifies into simple seated meditative
poses like Dadhichi asana (vajrasana), more involved seated poses like
Bharadvajasana, Matsyendrasana, Marichyasana and others. Then we have
a few poses which can form a group like the ‘side plank’ poses such as
Vashishtasana, Viswamitrasana, Kasyapasana and others. Then we have a
series of poses centered around ‘ekapada sirsasana’ like Kapilasana.
Krishnamacharya thus taught many asanas bearing the names of well
known rishis—many of which I had not heard of, before I came to study
These Rishis were well known though, not necessarily for their
yogasana capabilities. There is a view that the entire vedas was
called Arsha or the creation of rishis, even though Sri
Krishnamacharya would say, quoting the vedas, that the vedas are
apourusheya or not created by human beings. The view is that the vedas
were created by creator Brahma when creation took place but were
dormant. The rishis with their deep contemplation were able to tune in
with the hidden vedic mantras and then gave it to human beings for
proper use and understanding. So the rishis were known as “seers of
mantras”, as Yaska the vedic etymologist would say “Rishayah
Mantradrashtarah”. But then vedas were considered revelation of the
absolute truth so another definition of a Rishi as quoted by Sri
Krishnamacharya from a well known Sanskrit thesaurus “Amarakosa” is
that Rishis are revealers of Truth (Rishayah Satyavachasah). Of course
both the definitions could amount to the same. So we can say Rishis
are those who reveal the absolute truth after they experience the
truth through the discovery of vedic mantras. Some scholars indicate
that the words Rishi, Rtam (truth), Rju (proof), Rk( vedic mantra),
Arjava (straightforwardness) can be traced to one sanskrit root “rj’
meaning ‘to be straight’ .
Kapila was a vedic rishi, and still some Indian families carry his
name. According to Bhgavata purana he was the avatar of Lord Narayana
Himself. His discussions and advice to his mother on spiritual matters
known as “Kapila-devaahuti samvada” is very well known. He is credited
with the formalization of the Samkhya philosophy. It was also known as
Seswar Samkhya. He is also credited with the Samkhya Sutras one of the
earliest works on Samkhya even as Iswarakrishna’s Samkhyakarika became
the standard text for Samkhya philosophy. Kapila also is associated
with the story of how the Ganga was brought to earth from the lofty
heights of the Himalayas by Bhagirata. Please read the story of
Bhagirata in an earlier Newsletter.
Maharshi Kashypa is another well known vedic rishi. Reference of
Kashyapa is found in some Buddhist literature also. Rishi Kashypa is
mentioned along with the understanding of the solar system in the well
known Surynamaskara portion of the vedas. ”Kashyapaf pashyako
bhavati”. He is said to be the son of Marichi (does it ring a bell?)
who was believed to be one of the ten ‘mind children’ (manasputras) of
Brahma. Here is an interesting story about how different species were
created. Kashyapaa married 13 women and through them were born so many
offspring/progeny that the whole universe was filled different beings.
Divine beings like the 12 suns (adityas), several creeds of demons,
tigers and lions, birds like garuda (eagle), then snakes and other
reptiles all were born to these women, each set of species to
different wives. Kashyapa thus became the father of all beings and all
beings of the universe were considered to be related to one another
(not just the human beings) through a common forefather Kashyapa. Thus
not only other human beings but all the beings belonging to all the
species were considered kith and kin. Many families in India still
carry his name.
Sage Bharadwaja is another renowned vedic rishi. He is considered to
be a great vedic scholar and teacher. An episode found in the Kaataka
portion of the Taittiriya sakha of Yajur Veda would be of interest.
Bharadwaja was so much concentrating in studying the vedas that even
as the life was coming to an end he was still continuing with his
studies. Indra, the Lord appeared before him and reminded him that it
was almost the end of his life. He told Bharadwaj, “Bharadwaja!! If I
give you another human life what would you like to do?” Back came the
reply, “I will study the Vedas further”. Upon that, the Lord asked him
to look at the three huge mountains the Lord created and took out from
each one of them a handful of earth and placed them before Bharadwaja
and said, “These mountains represent the three vedas and the three
handfuls of dirt in front of you represent the vedas you have studied
so far. You see the vedas are innumerable and infinite (ananta vai
vedaH) and any number of births would not be sufficient to exhaust all
the vedas. You try to understand the essence of the vedas, the source
of all the Universe, the Brahman.” And Bharadwaja became a great
spiritual teacher of the vedas. Again many families carry the
Vasishta and Viswamitra are two renowned vedic rishis. I have already
written about these two in an earlier article “Yogagate”. Viswamitra
is credited with revealing one of the most important mantras of the
vedas, the Gayatri which is used by thousands everyday and is the
mantra used lifelong by many. Viswamitra also is credited with
teaching a pair of important mantras to Lord Rama (and Lakshmana),
known as balaa and atibalaa mantras in the Ramayana. If one masters
the bala mantra one would not tire during a war and the atibala would
protect the disciple from thirst and hunger while on the battlefield.
Again many families still carry the name of Vasishta and Viswamitra’s
earlier name Kausika.
These are some of the stories of rishis well known to yogis through
the asanas that bear their names. There are many more rishis whose
lives, discoveries and service to mankind in the spiritual path are
very significant and can be found in vedas, puranas, itihasas, smritis
and various other ancient works.
Usually mantra meditation(japa) is well organized. When one wants to
use a mantra she/he should associate the mantra with the author rishi
of the mantra, the meter in which it is constructed and the devata or
the divinity it addresses. If you take the gayatri mantra, you first
say the rishi of gayatri mantra is Viswamitra and touch your head
(nyasa) with the finger tips as head(brain) is the thinking instrument
the rishi used to discover the mantra. One touches the nose(instead of
the mouth) and mentions the name of the meter in which the mantra
occurs and then one touches the heart and mentions the deity that the
mantra represents. In the case of the Gayatri mantra the meter is
(nichru)gayatri and the devata is savita the bright sun and of course
the rishi is Viswamitra. There is another interesting procedure for
the Gayatri meditataion. Prior to Gayatri meditation one has to
welcome or imbibe/invoke into oneself Goddess Gayatri and there is a
mantra called ‘gayatri avaahana mantra ‘. the rishi of this vedic
mantra is Vamadeva and the meter is anushtub and the devata is of
course Gayatri. Likewise when one uses the pranava, the rishi in this
case is Brahma the creator Himself– it is said in the vedas that
Brahma created the Universe chanting “OM”. “Om iti brahma prasauti”
say the vedas. Then in the daily Sandhya routine the seven vyahritis
mantras are used while doing pranayama. The seven vyahritis are bhuH,
bhuvaH, suvaH etc. These are important mantras next only to pranava
and gayatri. Which are the rishis associated with these seven mantras?
They are the seven rishis (sapta rishis) who are Atri, Bhrugu, Kutsa,
Vasishta, Gautama, Kashyapa and Agirasa. What are the seven main
meters found in the vedas? They are gayatri (6 syllables per line),
ushnik (7 syllables), anushtup, the most common meter (8 syllables),
brihati (9 syllables), Pankti (10 syllables) tushtup (11 syllables)
and jagati (12 syllables). And the devatas or divine beings
represented by the mantras and meditated on in the heart would be
agni, vayu, arka, vageesa, varuna, indra and visvedevaH.
When I was young I used to do the rishi asanas with reverence. One day
I started wondering how the sages could stay in these postures like
viswamitrasana, durvasasna for a long time and still meditate. Maybe
some yogis gave the names of rishis for some of the postures. Maybe
asanas with rishi names can be found in older texts like puranas and
smritis, I do not know. It is one of the million questions I did not
ask my Guru. Many postures are named after objects like
catushpadapeetam or table pose, Some were given the names representing
the effects the posture has like paschimatanasana (posterior stretch
pose) or sarvangasana (whole body benefiting asana) and some were
named after rishis I guess. The rishi poses are majestic, great fun,
but the mantras and philosophies of the rishis are very profound
indeed. Rishis are known and remembered more for the mantras and
philosophies and not so much for their yoga poses.
Un precioso documental que ha salido hace 15 años, sobre el viaje de Guruji y su familia – su hija Saraswati, sus nietos Sharath y Sharmila, a Nueva York, para impartir el workshop de un mes de duración. Muy bonito e emocionante!!
Lunes y Miércoles:
19.00 – 20.00 Hatha YOGA (nivel principiante, embarazadas, etc) ¡Formamos nuevo grupo!
20.00-21.00 Hatha YOGA y Meditación, todos los niveles
21.00-22.00 YOGA Dinámico, Vinyasa (nivel principiante-intermedio y avanzado)
Martes y Jueves:
08.00-09.30 – Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga*
19.00-20.00 Yoga suave con enfoque terapéutico (principiantes, embarazadas, etc)
20.00-21.00 Yoga Dinámico (nivel principiante-intermedio-avanzado, elementos de Ashtanga Vinyasa)
21.00-22.00 Hatha Yoga (nivel principiante/intermedio)
08.30 – 09.30 Hatha Yoga (todos los niveles, apto para los principiantes y practicantes más experimentados)
10.00-11.00 Hatha Yoga super suave
11.00-12.00 PEQUE YOGA* – yoga para los más pequeños (a partir de 3 años)
Os esperamos con mucha alegría!!
El Yoga Makaranda fue el primer libro de Sri T. Krishnamacharya (Guru de Sri K. Pattabhi Jois) escrito en 1932. Se cree que Krishnamacharya escribió este libro en menos de una semana (algunos dicen que lo escribió en 4 días) y fue publicado por primera vez en lenguaje Kanada en 1934, siendo posteriormente traducido al tamil.
Sobre los orígenes de este texto, se sabe que Krishnamacharya después de su vuelta de los Himalayas, luego de pasar un periodo de siete años de instrucción con su Guru Rama Mohan Brahmachari, pasó algún tiempo en Varanasi. Curiosamente en esa fecha, cumplía sesenta años la madre del Maharaja de Mysore: Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV, residenciada en Varanasi, lo que llevó al Maharaja a esa ciudad donde se encontraría con Krishnamacharya. Entre los dos hombres surgió una gran amistad. Krishna Raja Wadiyar se convirtió en un importante alumno y benefactor de Krishnamacharya. De esta manera, Krishnamacharya empezó pronto a enseñar en el templo Vishnu en Mysore junto al palacio Jaganmohan en el centro de la ciudad. Por pedido del Maharaja escribió algunos libros, siendo el primero de ellos el Yoga Makaranda, también escribió en ese período el Yoganjali y Yogasanalu. Krishnamacharya no era solamente el maestro de yoga del Maharaja sino también su amigo y consejero en asuntos políticos.
Según se sabe, este texto no se volvió a editar posteriormente. Hasta hace quizá un año, era prácticamente imposible conseguir una copia, muchos buscadores decían que la única copia disponible se encontraba en Biblioteca del Palacio del Maharaja en Mysore. Hubo muchas polémicas sobre como conseguir un ejemplar de este texto.
Felizmente, el Yoga Makaranda fue liberado de forma gratuita al mundo por Lakshmi & Nandini Ranganathan y montado por primera vez en el blog de Grimmly07 en abril del 2011. Este Texto es considerado para muchos el Santo Grial, el “origen” del sistema vinyasa, por ser el primer texto escrito disponible (y accesible) sobre vinyasa krama (Siendo el paradero del Yoga Korunta desconocido, ya que el texto supuestamente fue destruido). No sólo es de gran importancia para los practicantes del Sistema Ashtanga Vinyasa, sino también es fundamental para los practicantes de la mayoría de los estilos de yoga actual sucesores del Sistema Vinyasa Krama original. Al leerlo se puede observar la clara influencia que dejo este libro sobre nuestro amado Guruji, reflejándose posteriormente en su obra: Yoga Mala, el cual es sin duda el texto más importante para los practicantes de Ashtanga vinyasa Yoga.
A continuación les anexo una copia PDF de este maravilloso texto:
Inspiration stories from world-renowned Yogis on how the practice of Yoga transformed their lives.
Featuring Aline Fernandes, Deepika Mehta, Hayley Cutler, Jessica Olie, Kino MacGregor, Laruga Glaser, Lisa Lottie, Liz Huntly, Roland Jensch, Meghan Currie and Radha Rajani.
Me encanta seguir la práctica de un yogi y Maestro de Australia Mark Robberds. Para su joven edad tiene la sabiduría de los siglos, y cada su artículo está tan pensado y tan completo, tan profundo, su práctica personal inspira y sus explicaciones de las posturas y su camino en yoga abren muchas claves para mi práctica personal. Os dejo enlace a su página del FB https://www.facebook.com/MarkRobberdsAshtangaYoga/ , para que podáis disfrutar leyendo sus artículos directamente allí, y aprovecho para compartir su última entrada, que me inspiró mucho!!
Pūrna Matsyendrāsana 🐠
Possibly the most beautiful and meaningful word in the Yoga tradition is ‘Pūrna’ which means whole or complete. Simply contemplating this right now could be enough to shift your consciousness from wanting, striving and a sense of unfulfilled longing, to contentment and completeness. You are complete and whole in this moment. I am complete and whole – there is nothing else we can add or subtract to that wholeness. There is a beautiful Sanskrit prayer which reminds us of this.
ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदम् पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते |
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ||
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ||
Om poornamadah poornamidam poornaat poornamudachyate
Poornasya poornamaadaaya poornamevaavashishṣyate
Om shaantih shaantih shaantih
That is complete, This is complete, From the completeness comes the completeness
If completeness is taken away from completeness, Only completeness remains. ॐ
Artículo: Mark Robberds – https://www.facebook.com/MarkRobberdsAshtangaYoga/
Foto: Mark Robberds