Friday, 9 January 2015

DRISHTI : Krishnamacharya didn't seem to turn his head in certain asana that we might expect E.G Suptaparsva paddanguthasana, Trikonasana, utthita parsvakonasana

On my previous post I noticed that Krishnamacharya does't turn his head in Suptaparsva paddangusthasana. I knew this was the case in Trikonasana and Utthita parsvakonasana but hadn't noticed it here in this posture. Krihnamacharya being Krishnamacharya we do find postures and variations of these very postures ( for example where both legs are taken up and over to the side) where he does turn his head but in the presentation of these basic, key asana the head remains fixed. 

As my fiend Chiara points out this may because this asana is a parsva rather than a parivrtti so no torsion there - and no continuation of the torsion with the neck.  In those later vinyasa where the whole body is twisted Krishnamacharya does tend to turn the head somewhat, in twisted marichiyasana variations also but not as far as we might expect, he doesn't seem to try and look as far over the shoulder as possible.

Krishnamacharya tended to employ bhrumadhya as his main 'drishti

However in postures where the head was down he needed to employ a different drishti and would look to the tip of his nose. These are the two drishti he employed in Yoga Makaranda (1934).

Also Krishnamacharya is employing kumbhaka (breath retention) and introducing a degree of jalandhara banddha to control the breath, keeping it long and slow and smooth like the pouring of oil, he seems to avoid twisting the neck.

Pattabhi Jois also stress bhrumadhya and nasagri (tip of the nose)

"This is the method for the first Surya Namaskara, which is often practiced while chanting mantras. For this, meditation is very important, as are the drishti, or gazing places, which include: nasagra drishti [the gaze on the tip of the nose] for samasthiti; broomadhya drishti [the gaze between the eyebrows] for the 1st vinyasa; nasagra dristri for the 2nd vinyasa; the gaze between the eyebrows for the 3rd vinyasa—in other words, for the odd-numbered vinyasas, the gaze should be focused between the eyebrows and, for the even-numbered ones, the gaze should be on the tip of the nose. In addition, for the even- numbered vinyasas, rechaka should be performed and, for the odd, one should do puraka. On the whole, the method for doing rechaka and puraka is the same for all the vinyasas and asanas ahead". Sury namaskar A Yoga Mala

But will also introduce other gazing points, here in Sury namaskar B, fingertips

"Then, taking the breath in slowly through the nose, raise the arms straight up over the head, bring the hands together, lean the head back a little, and look at the fingertips; this is the 1st vinyasa."

Originally I understand Jois employed five drishti, later this increased to nine

Manu jois mentions that it is also possible to practice with the eyes closed in which case bhrumadhya and nasagri are sufficient  unless one wishes to employ other focal points for the purpose of Dhyana/Dharana.

My impression is that the gaze for Krishnamacharya is very much a dhyana/dharana (concentration/meditation)practice and always has been, in Pattabhi Jois' later Ashtanga Drishti seems to be more about avoiding distractions and thus allowing the meditative aspect of the practice as a whole rather than the individual asana to emerge, a subtle difference perhaps.

Supta parsva padadangusthasana
"In this sthiti the head is facing upward and the other extended leg is kept straight and remains pressed against the floor". Krishnamacharya Yoga Makaranda (1934)

He seems to have been quite consistent in this. here he is in the 1938 film footage from Mysore

And again in the 1970s for the 3rd edition of Yogasanagalu

I just checked Pattabhi Jois' Yoga mala and there's no mention of turning the head either

"Perform the first ten vinyasas of Part 1. Then, doing rechaka, bring the right leg out to the right and lower it to the floor and do rechaka and puraka as much as possible; this is the 11th vinyasa. Then, doing puraka , raise the right leg, and return to the 8th vinyasa of Part 1;" Pattabhi Jois Yoga Mala

"Then, keeping the legs spread no less than 3 mozhams apart, take either arm and lift it straight up, lower the other arm while keeping it straight and bring the hand down and place it on top of the foot. Study this carefully in the picture".

"This asana can be done lying down. But the back of the head, back, buttocks, the heels — all of these areas must be firmly pressed against the floor". Krishnamacharya Yoga Makaranda (1934)

Here though Pattabhi Jois has I gaze at the fingertips in Yoga Mala

"Then, turn the right foot to the right and exhaling, reach down and take hold of the big toe of the right foot with the right hand, lift up the other arm, fix the gaze on its fingertips, " Pattabhi Jois Yoga Mala

By the 1970s photoshoot for the 3rd edition of Yogasanagalu Krishnamacharya seems to be clearly looking up at his fingertips

Utthita Parsvakonasana

"Keep the shoulders such that the ear is pressed on the upper part of the bent body and the head. Stay in this position for some time". Krishnamacharya Yoga Makaranda (1934)

And again, Jois has us shift the direct to the fingertips

" the right hand by the side of the right foot, stretch the left arm straight out over the ear, and gaze at the fingertips;" Pattabhi Jois Yoga Mala

And in the 1970's Yogasangalu photo shoot Krishnamacharya is turning his head somewhat but not lifting the chin to look towards the fingertips


Curiously, in Ramaswami's presentation of his studies with Krishnamacharya, Vinyasa Krama,  little reference is made of the gaze, the eyes tending to be closed or looking down at the feet,

Krishnamacharya's 3rd Son TK Sribashyam however gives a great deal of emphasis to drishti as concentration points

Concentration: the sixteen vital points
see my earlier post 

Which contains examples of General Practice employing concentration on vital points as well as pranayama in asana.

And example from the Book of Krishnamacharya's own practice to show how concentration of vital points might be employed.

Some earlier posts on Drishti

Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Updateed: DRISHTI: Overview of Drishtis indicated for the Surynamaskaras by the different authors resp. Instructors ALSO Krishnamacharya's Gaze.

Saturday, 9 August 2014
Asana, Drishti and Dhyana - Dharana

Monday, 27 October 2014
DRISHTI: Ashtanga and Meditation. How should one meditate in 33 bullet points.

No comments:

Post a Comment