Thursday, 17 December 2015

Re the young girl in Kurmasana in Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda and in my Krishnamacharya's 'Original' Ashtanga poster

This post started as a fb comment

"There seems to be a young girl in the poster"

from Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda (Mysore 1934)

In response to a comment/question. Re the girl in Kurmasana in my Krishnamacharya's Original Ashtanga poster

Downloadable pdf version - higher resolution

In Krishnamacharya's first book,Yoga Makaranda, along with his own demonstrations of Primary postures, he includes some pictures of mostly more advanced postures demonstrated by his students or family (the girl in Kurmasana is I believe one of his daughters, I'm assuming the eldest, Srimathi Pundarikavalli). 

Krishnamacharya seems to have taught groups of postures (Primary, Middle, Advanced) rather than fixed series but I wanted to bring together those Primary postures he gave instructions for to give an idea of how Krishnamacharya might have taught the postures that make up the first Ashtanga series. In truth my aim was to use this poster as a hook to encourage other practitioners to take a closer look at Pattabhi Jois' teacher's instruction/guidelines/options, the longer breathing, longer stays, the kumbhaka he indicates in most postures and how he takes a more flexible approach to asana practice In general. 

Yoga Makaranda was written in 1934 when Pattabhi Jois was still Krishnamacharya's student. Here's the link to my original post telling the story of the poster.

"The first thing to say about it is that this is NOT the order the asana are found in Krishnamacharya's 1934 book Yoga Makaranda.... but not far off".


"Sri T. Krishnamacharya had six children, three sons and three daughters. His wife, Srimathi Namagiriammal as well as his children were taught by him" Sri Shribashyam

"He (Krishnamacharya)  was married (in 1925 to BKS Iyengar’s sister Namagririammal) and had six children, sons TK Srinivasan, TKV Desikachar, TK Sribhashyam and daughters Srimathi Pundarikavalli, Srimathi T Alamelu Sheshadri and Srimathi Shubha Mohan Kumar. 

Krishnamacharya invited his wife and daughters to join him in demonstrating asana for the 1938 Mysore film footage.

NB: It 's been suggested that Krishnamacharya refused to teach woman until Indra Devi used her influence with the Maharaja of Mysore in 1938 to persuade him to teach her. Given that Krishnamacharya was quite happy to teach his wife and daughters asana to a proficient level, it seems more likely that Krsihnamacharya was unsure of Indra Devi's seriousness regarding Yoga. 

"The woman, who became known as Indra Devi (she was born Zhenia Labunskaia, in pre-Soviet Latvia), was a friend of the Mysore royal family. After seeing one of Krishnamacharya’s demonstrations, she asked for instruction. At first, Krishnamacharya refused to teach her. He told her that his school accepted neither foreigners nor women. But Devi persisted, persuading the Maharaja to prevail on his Brahmin. Reluctantly, Krishnamacharya started her lessons, subjecting her to strict dietary guidelines and a difficult schedule aimed at breaking her resolve. She met every challenge Krishnamacharya imposed, eventually becoming his good friend as well as an exemplary pupil.

After a year-long apprenticeship, Krishnamacharya instructed Devi to become a yoga teacher. He asked her to bring a notebook, then spent several days dictating lessons on yoga instruction, diet, and pranayama. Drawing from this teaching, Devi eventually wrote the first best-selling book on hatha yoga, Forever Young, Forever Healthy". FERNANDO PAGÉS RUIZ  Yoga Journal


(Krishnamacharya's instruction for Kurmasana from Yoga Makaranda)

This has 16 vinyasas. The 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th vinyasas demonstrate the sampurna sthiti of the asana. Only the 7th vinyasa is shown in the picture.
Benefit: The apana vayu is cleaned; nocturnal discharges are stopped. This is also a very good method for curing piles.

If women with irregular menstruation practise this asana with all the vinyasas for a few months, this affliction of the uterus and of menstrual disturbance will dissolve and they will have regular menstruation.

Important Rule: The practitioners of kurmasana must not practise it within 3 hours of eating. It must not be done on a full stomach.
poster from my book Krishnamacharya's original Ashtanga yoga

No comments:

Post a Comment