Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Yogasanagalu's (1941) 'Original' Ashtanga Primary Group/Series in Yoga Makaranda (1934)

It was more difficult than expected for me to see the origins of modern Ashtanga in Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda (1934), many of the postures were there but in no familiar order and then of course there was the breath retention, the occasional longer stay in a posture, the deep engagement of bandhas.

The table in Yogasanagalu however may well be the key to opening it up.

Turning the table in Yogasanagalu into a picture sequence for practice allowed us to see how close the Primary group was to the Ashtanga Primary series we have now. Perhaps though it was the little differences that made the Yoga Makaranda startle me this morning, there it was the primary sequence, like one of those holographic pictures where you have to make your eyes go half cross eyed to see the image.

Here are the pictures of Krishnamacharya demonstrating asana in Yoga Makaranda ( the second half of the pictures, mostly of a young lad performing Advanced postures from the proficient group we'll put to one side for now).

Krishnamacharya in Yoga Makaranda (1934)
As Rolf Harris ( who I bump into all the time in my local supermarket )used to say, "can you see what it is yet?"

How about if I trim out some of vinyasa krama variations,  shift the paschimattanasana to the curious position in the middle of standing, move the Marichiyasana's up a bit as well as the standing konasana postures ( didn't Nancy say recently that they used to be taught at the end of Primary to beginners and then shifted back to their rightful place as the beginner became more proficient?).

What we end up with is....

Primary group/series in yoga makaranda (1934)

Which is pretty much....

Bit of a stretch, am I forcing it a little? perhaps, but either way it's good to know that almost all of the postures in the Yogasangalu Primary group and the approach to practicing them are described in the Yoga Makranda, as well as many of the several of the middle and proficient group. 

Something to be going on with while we look forward to more from the Yogasanagalu.

And a question. 

If the Primary group (series?) and more importantly the approach to the asana's and practice in general that we find in Yogasanagalu in 1941 can be seen in a core group of postures and approach in Yoga Makaranda (1934) (although we hear that in practice Krishnamacharya would adapt and improvise, creating new options to assist his students) perhaps this core practice hadn't changed that much in the seven years previous either which is when Krishnamacharya arrived in Mysore. Is this what he brought with him from that cave in the Himalayas, an approach to practice and a framework to hang it on?

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