viniyoga Vignette 5 – Introducing Uḍḍīyana Bandha within an Āsana practice

A short end of morning study 25′ pre-lunch practice from the second day of three day Practitioner Training Programme Module first year group some years ago. Here the primary Bhāvana or theme was to offer a concise practice to experientially explore previous theoretical teachings around Bandha and the form of Taḍāka Mudrā, with added examples for the introductory application of Uḍḍīyana Bandha within Āsana.

Here the practice began with work in Supta Samasthiti in order to lengthen the breath using Ujjāyī as a base to using Supta Tāḍāsana to introduce the Bāhya Kumbhaka as a preliminary for Uḍḍīyana Bandha. Then Taḍāka Mudrā is introduced, firstly in a dynamic form with a return to base Vinyāsa and then intensified with the static form incorporating successive Uḍḍīyana Bandha. Here it might be helpful to emphasise that according to Krishnamacharya, Uḍḍīyana Bandha is applied within the Bāhya Kumbhaka.

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Vinyāsa Krama for the Catur Bandha in Mahā Mudrā for an advanced Āsana student……

This is an example of a Vinyāsa Krama for the Catur or four Bandha when staying in Mahāmudrā as a Haṭha Yoga technique for working with the important Haṭha trilogy of Prāṇa, Apāṇa and Agni.

Here I am choosing not to focus on the Pūrva Aṅga, the ascending or preparatory phase, nor on the Uttara Aṅga, the descending or compensatory phase of the Āsana used in the Vinyāsa Krama for the whole practice.

It also does not include the building in of additional techniques such as Prāṇāyāma, nor exploring the different roles Prāṇāyāma may have in relation to the whole practice, especially one that has incorporated additional techniques such as the Catur Bandha.

Instead this extract is an example of the Pradhāna Aṅga or crown of this particular practice. It is centered around a stay in Mahāmudrā of around 10 minutes each side progressively incorporating and building in intensity, within the Vinyāsa Krama for Mahāmudrā, with the additional techniques of the Catur Bandha.

Each step of the Vinyāsa will intensify with the building in of an additional Bandha and also in one of the steps, the intensifying of the breath length and ratio. This example is as taught to me by Desikachar within my 121 lessons, at this particular juncture around the application or Viniyoga of the Catur Bandha, all from the teachings of Krishnamacharya.

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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.

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A sample Parivṛtti and Paścimatāna Themed Group Practice


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.

This particular Vinyāsa Krama starts with lying, progressing to kneeling en route to a more usual construct of standing, lying and seated. After appropriate Pratikriyā Āsana the practice is concluded with a simple Laṅghana Cikitsā seated breathing practice with a Bhāvana of first gradually extending and then gradually reducing the exhalation.

In terms of the layers that can be added to the basic framework, given the nature of the context it has been limited to Āsana sequencing in terms of lying, kneeling, standing, lying and seated. Built into this is the combining of dynamic and static possibilities through the employment of long range movement within the preparatory stages and mid range movement and stay at key points.

Other layers such as the application of specific breathing patterns or other specific Bhāvana will be illustrated through other sample group practices in future posts.

To View or Download the Practice as a PDF

An example personal practice from 2002 from TKV Desikachar……

Practice_2002

Following on from the post two days ago and yesterdays post I wanted to offer a further sample practice given to me by my teacher, TKV Desikachar. It evolved from within our one to one lessons in Chennai, from 12 years ago, in 2002 and is based around:

Kapālabhāti Kriyā 48 breaths
Sūrya Bhedana Prāṇāyāma 12 breaths 1.1.1.1. with 10″ Antar Kumbhaka and 10″ Bahya Kumbhaka
Kapālabhāti Kriyā 48 breaths
Sūrya Bhedana Prāṇāyāma 12 breaths 1.2.1.0. with 20″ Antar Kumbhaka
Bhāradvājāsana – Stay 12 breaths each side with 10″ Bahya Kumbhaka
Apānāsana and Ūrdhva Prasṛta Pādāsana
– Aṅga Laghava Dynamic combination 12 times with 10″ Antar Kumbhaka and 10″ Bahya Kumbhaka
Candra Bhedana Prāṇāyāma 24 breaths 1.0.2.0

Though obviously relevant to my personal situation as a mid fifties bloke, at that time and place, it is a further illustration of how Antar Kumbhaka (AK) and Bahya Kumbhaka (BK) can be employed whatever the Āsana or techniques chosen.

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An example personal practice from 1980 from TKV Desikachar……

TKV_Practice_1980

Following on from yesterdays post on Kumbhaka quoted below:

“According to Krishnamacharya,
one who has not mastered the Bāhya Kumbhaka,
has not mastered the breath.”
– TKV Desikachar 1988

I thought it might be helpful to republish a post from early 2014. Here I wanted to offer a example of a personal practice given to me by TKV Desikachar. It evolved from within our one to one lessons in Chennai, from over 35 years ago, in 1980 and is based around:

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viniyoga Vignette 4 – Combining Prāṇāyāma within 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.

Thus the practice out began with spacious work in lying as a grounding transition from the intense work of the day before moving towards sitting. From here moving from lying via kneeling Cakravakāsana, the use of Śītalī, with its head movement and mild Antar Kumbhaka, was introduced to energetically and mentally refresh, before integrating a more physical focus albeit with a sense of seated containment, via mid-range movement in Jānu Śīrṣāsana.

This then flowed into sitting integrated with several types of Prāṇāyāma, firstly exploring Bhramarī, then a subtle seated Ujjāyī and finally Nāḍī Śodhana to complete the transition from the days activities to the evenings endings.

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viniyoga Vignette 3 – Śītalī and Anuloma Ujjāyī Prāṇāyāma within 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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Commentary on viniyoga Vignette 2 – Combining techniques in Prāṇāyāma

seated_pranayama_2

For those who read the viniyoga Vignette post 2 on combining techniques in Prāṇāyāma from two days ago, I would add some observations around rationales on the choice and order of the techniques involved.

Step 1.
Śītalī Inhale with Ujjāyī Exhale
1.½.1.0 for 8 breaths
Step 2.
Anuloma Ujjāyī
1.½.1½.0 for 8 breaths
Step 3.
Pratiloma Ujjāyī
1½.0.1½.0 for 8 breaths
Step 4.
Ujjāyī
½.0.½.0 for 8 breaths

For example, starting with Śītalī could be useful for several reasons such as mid-afternoon being a time when there can be an energetic slump and the use of a open mouth inhale with the head raising to encourage volume, coupled with the Antar Kumbhaka, can offer a tonic for the system.

Step 1.
Śītalī Inhale with Ujjāyī Exhale
1.½.1.0 for 8 breaths

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viniyoga Vignette 2 – Combining techniques in Prāṇāyāma

seated_pranayama_2

A short mid-afternoon Prāṇāyāma practice from a year one Practitioner Training Programme, to offer an example of how to combine three different Prāṇāyāma techniques within a single Vinyāsa Krama.

Step 1.
Śītalī inhale with Ujjāyī exhale
1.½.1.0 for 8 breaths
Step 2.
Anuloma Ujjāyī
1.½.1½.0 for 8 breaths
Step 3.
Pratiloma Ujjāyī
1½.0.1½.0 for 8 breaths
Step 4.
Ujjāyī
½.0.½.0 for 8 breaths

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viniyoga Vignette 1 – Antar and Bāhya Kumbhaka 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

Link to Series: Viniyoga Vignettes

This way I have collected hundreds of handwritten Yoga practice examples


Some years ago now I changed the process around how students notated various practices I taught for groups within Student Training Courses or Practitioner Training Programmes.

My methodology previously had prioritised students learning the skills of being able to remember and context what they had just practiced by also being able to recall and then record it accurately. This was part of cultivating personal practice skills, as well as helping in establishing the art of keeping a practice journal over a several year period.

Thus I would teach a small group of students, studying within the contexts of either personal study courses or professional training programmes, a practice and then wait, before perhaps writing it on the board, for it to be notated down from the student’s memory and then we would at some point discuss it and its context to the current situation.

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Examples of Vinyāsa Krama for Sitting Āsana within a Single Practice.


As Desikachar actually had very few long term students, many peoples views around such as his Āsana teaching, or views on Yoga in general are formed from experiencing him teaching within a group situation, either at a seminar, lecture or retreat.

Actually he really was not very comfortable teaching mixed public groups in these situations, and in relation to teaching practices, what practices he could present had to be very generalised and therefore contrary to the principles he taught according to what he learnt from his father.

On the other hand as a private student the Āsana practices I was exposed to had a precision and intensity offering a breadth and depth impossible to emulate within a group class environment.

As an example I am offering an extract from the seated section of a practice he taught me. The Āsana in this section are Daṇḍāsana, Ardha Matsyendrāsana, Mahā Mudrā, Baddha Koṇāsana, Paścimatānāsana and as a Pratikriyāsana, Dvipāda Pīṭham.

There were two options for practice, a lighter application or a more intense one. In the lighter version the balance of repeat or stay was as follows:

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20 Minute Prāṇāyāma Practice

seated_pranayama_2

20 Minute Prāṇāyāma Practice focused on Pūraka without Kumbhaka

 

Ascent:
Anuloma Ujjāyī Technique with 8.0.16.0. Ratio/Length for 8 Breaths

Crown:
Pratiloma Ujjāyī Technique with 16.0.16.0. Ratio/Length for 16 Breaths

Descent:
Anuloma Ujjāyī Technique with 8.0.12.0. Ratio/Length for 8 Breaths

Closing:
Ujjāyī Technique with 4.0.4.0. Ratio/Length for 4 Breaths

Completion:
Drop the breath and remain with the experience for 5 minutes

Another personal practice from 1980 from TKV Desikachar……

practice_2_1_1980_1practice_2_1_1980_2

Following on from previous posts on practices from my teacher I wanted to offer a another example, this time purely around the Āsana element of my practice, given to me by my teacher, TKV Desikachar.

It evolved from within our one to one lessons in Chennai, from over 35 years ago, in 1980 and is based around working on a stiff, but strong lower back.

View or Download as a PDF

Children’s Āsana Practice Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram Jan 1981

Whilst living in Madras between 1979 and 1981 studying with Desikachar my daughter Sīta went to the Krishnamurti school and attended kids Āsana classes at the KYM.

Here is one practice from a class at the KYM from January 1981, like other classes in those days they were small groups (in both senses here) and each student got a hand written copy of the days practice, to which they added their name. More examples will be posted.

Sita_Class_Jan-1981_KYM

Children’s Āsana Practice Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram Sept 1980

Whilst living in Madras between 1979 and 1981 studying with Desikachar my daughter Sīta went to the Krishnamurti school and attended kids Āsana classes at the KYM.

Here is one practice from a class at the KYM from September 1980, like other classes in those days they were small groups (in both senses here) and each student got a hand written copy of the days practice, to which they added their name. More examples will be posted.

Sita_KYM_Practice_1980

Simple Yoga Practice from Yoga For Every Body by Paul Harvey

pk_RD_sequence
Came across this simple beginners practice plan from the book ‘Yoga For Every Body’, published in 2002.
Although well out of print used copies can be had from Amazon in the US or UK at budget prices.
2014 will also see chapters from the book published as support articles for Practitioners.
Download Practice as a PDF.

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A Prāṇāyāma Practice that was passed onto me many decades ago as……

A Prāṇāyāma Practice passed onto me many decades ago as a Pakkā (Pukka) teaching from Pattabhi Jois:
1. Inhale-Exhale Deeply – 5 Breaths
2. Inhale-Exhale Stop 20″ – 3 Breaths
3. Inhale Hold 30″ Exhale – 3 Breaths
4. Inhale-Exhale Deeply – 5 Breaths
5. Inhale Hold 20″ Exhale Stop 20″ – 2 Rounds N.S.
6. Inhale R Hold 20″ Exhale R Stop 20″ – 3 Breaths
7. Inhale L Hold 20″ Exhale L Stop 20″ – 3 Breaths
8. Inhale-Exhale Deeply – 5 Breaths
9. Bhastrika 50 breaths + 15″ Hold
10. Inhale-Exhale Deeply – 5 Breaths
11. Inhale R Hold 60″ Exhale L – 3 Breaths
12. Inhale L Hold 60″ Exhale R – 3 Breaths
13. Inhale Hold 60″ Exhale – 1 Round N.S.
14. Inhale-Exhale Deeply – 5 Breaths
15. Śītalī + 15″ Hold
16.  Inhale-Exhale Deeply 5 Breaths
Certainly a practice that fulfils the meaning of Pakkā (cooked, ripe, fully formed) in terms of intensity and length.