Sunday, 3 January 2016

Krishnamacharya's Mahavedha (lotus lifted, spun, dropped). plus Notes to Self: In defence of asana practice - Also

Krishnamacharya at 50, even in his later years Krishnamacharya was supposedly practicing up to three hours of asana a day, he never lost faith in asana it seems even practicing it in his hospital be in his 90s after a fall and broken hip.
Here he is in a rare scent from the 1938 Mysore footage practicing what seems to be Maha Vedha, padmasana taken further  and lifted utpluthi but then further still and practiced as a mudra, mahabandha, and finally as kriya -see video at end of post.

Krishnamacharya practicing Mahavedha ( padmasana/lotus lifted, spun, dropped).
See this earlier post 

from the 1938 Mysore footage.

When I first saw this clip it reminded me of some of the Tibetan yoga practices, where for example a monk drops from standing and lands in padmasana (full lotus), the idea seeming to be to shock the kundalini into the sushumna.

However, on looking again at Hatha yoga pradipka, this dropping of the lotus seems to be Krishnamacharya's take perhaps on mahavedha... see below and blog post

Either way it's curious, a very deliberate practice, something.... old about it. The lifting and dropping might be something you might try on a reading of HYP but the spinning? It suggests to me a learned practice especially the emphasised looking up at the end of each drop.Facinating.

from Hatha Yoga Pradipka

"The mahâ Vedha अथ भहावधे ् 
भहाफन्धश्चस्थतोमोगीकॄत्वाऩयूकभके धी्। वामनू ाॊ गश्चतभावॄत्य श्चनबतॄ ॊ कण्िभद्रु मा ॥२६॥ 
Atha mahāvedhah 
Mahābandhasthito yogī krtvā pūrakamekadhīh Vāyūnām ghatimāvrtya nibhrtam kanthamudrayā 

Sitting with mahâ Bandha, the Yogî should fill in the air and keep his mind collected. The movements of the Vâyus (Prâna and Apâna) should be stopped by closing the throat.) 

सभहस्तमगुोबभूौश्चस्फचौसतॊािमच्छे न्ै।
ऩ टु द्व म भ श्च त ि म्य व ा म ् ु स्फ ु य श्च त भ ध्य ग ् ॥ २ ७ ॥ 
Samahastayugho bhūmau sphichau sanādayechchanaih Putadvayamatikramya vāyuh sphurati madhyaghah 

Resting both the hands equally on the ground, he should raise himself a little and strike his buttocks against the ground gently. The air, leaving both the passages namely Idâ and Pingalâ, starts into the middle one".


More Notes to Self
In defence of asana

Often we begin with asana,

If we practice regularly, at the same time, in the same place, it becomes routine.

Routine is the mother of discipline.

When a discipline brings us joy it can lead to devotion.

We become devoted to the practice.

When something so simple as stepping on the mat to breathe each morning gains importance in our lives we might find other more worldly objects of desire lose some of their import, our attachment to the world may be loosened.

Yoga philosophy suggests that the self is a construction of the mind, reenforced, maintained even by our attachment to the world of the senses.

Through our devotion to our asana practice then, our attachment to worldly things can be loosened, the construction of the self weakened.

In this sense asana can be considered preparation, tapas, an austerity.

Devotion along with surrender are considered two of the highest concepts in Yoga philosophy, Bhakti yoga.

The practice of asana may be considered a suitable preparation for yoga practice but is it a suitable object of devotion.

Asana practice, when an object of devotion can loosen our attachment to the objects of the senses, to our attachment to the world and thus can weaken the maintenance of the the mind constructed self.

As an object of devotion it is not merely preparation for yoga but the first steps along the path.

The path of yoga is intended to be one of self-realisation, that the world may not be as it appears, that my sense of self may not be what I assumed to be, what I believed.

The yoga path is to be one of knowledge, of greater understanding, of truth perhaps, all surely suitable objects of devotion.

As we deepen our practice through the other limbs, the weakened self may crumble, dissolve, what we believed to be our self melts away. Is there anything that remains?

Commitment to this practice is choosing to offer up our current understanding of self, an act of surrender as enquiry.

Yoga philosophy traditionally argues that Purusha  remains, 'awareness', (an instance of universal awareness), Atman, Brahman, some use the expression the Lord, still others God.

Love is often described as seeking to know, rather than to project, to experience, to become joined to..., one with...., to be indivisible from... that which we love.

*'Love can be bhakti for us', love of knowledge, for the path of knowledge where ever it leads... to purusha or perhaps the absence of purusha, to god or to the absence of god.

Yoga is knowledge as radical enquiry and as such is not predetermined, there are signs along the way offered by those who have gone ahead but destination(s) only hinted at.

Devotion to the practice of asana may be the first step along the path of yoga, a path that may lead to self- realisation, knowledge, experience of......


Krishnamacharya was supposedly once asked, 

What is bhakti for those who do not believe in God, 

he answered, 

'Love is bhakti for them'. 


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