This months newsletter from Ramaswami is mostly concerned with his upcoming 2017 programs, I'm taking the liberty to add, however, one of Ramaswmi's fb posts from a couple of years ago (Ramaswami's choice of photos) that I must have missed.
I started my yoga studies with my teacher Sri Krisnamachrya when I was about 15 and within a short time he started teaching pranayama and a followup procedure known as “shanmukhi mudra” or closing the the six 'ports', the 2 eyes, 2 ears, mouth and the nose. After vinyasa and asana practice, pranayama and this Rajayoga practice, pratyahara, will follow. Asanas reduce rajas, pranayama reduces tamas says the Yogasutra. Then the senses are brought under control symbolically and also effectively- and thus this integrated practice would prepare the yogabhyasi for 'dharana' the first step of the next stage, 'antaranga sadhana' or internal practice . Shanmukhimudra helps the mind to settle down undistracted by the ever outgoing senses. A 5 to 15 minute stay in it, watching the natural movement of the breath is mind-settling and soothing. When my Guru first introduced this I was reminded of the three wise monkeys, the favourites with children (and adults too). When I started doing the shanmukhimudra procedure I felt I was like all the monkeys rolled into one
Here are the pictures of the image of the three monkeys taken from google search. The other two are pictures of Kirti and Klaus Koenig showing the different variations of shanmukhimudra, which are from my book “The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga”.
April 2017 Newsletter from Srivatsa Ramaswami—Upcoming 2017 programs
On March 3rd, 2017 I completed teaching a 100 hr Vinyasaktrama TT program at Yoga Vahini in Chennai. I came back to NJ a little later
Upcoming 2017 programs
This newsletter has an unabashed sales message. I want to write about the three forthcoming training programs, covering considerable information I gathered while studying with my Guru Sri Krishnamacharya. The first one is a 50 hour Bhagavatgita program in July (Los Angeles). Then there is a 15 hr extended weekend program on Sakhya Karika in Sep 2017 (Chicago) Then there is a 15 day 100 hr (all contact hours) Vinyasakrama TT program in September (Montral). All the programs I gather, can be counted for continuing education credit with Yoga Alliance. Here are the links
Let me explain the programs briefly. First the Bhagavat Gita Program. Sri Krishnamacharya taught the Bhagavat Gita quite extensively especially to his later year students. He even conducted public lectures on Saturdays for a considerable time. He considered it to be an important text for yogabhyasi. Even though it is considered a vedanta text or Brahma Vidya it is also considered a yoga sastra or a yoga text. Usually the Gita is taught in bits and pieces one chapter here and a few slokas there. But in this program the entire text of 700 slokas will be studied in one stream. After all Lord Krishna gave this discourse to Arjuna in one stretch. The Gita is written for laymen like Arjuna a warrior and ordinary people like us who also fight dauly battles all through life. The Brahma sutra is terse, the upanishads are cryptic but the Gita is clear elaborate and much easier to understand and it is able to bring the great teachings of the sastras to the level of ordinary people like Arjuna and us. Even as great philosophers like Sankara and Ramanuja have explained these from the point of view different interpretations of vedanta, the gita text by itself does not require much elaboration. It is said that the best commentary for Lord Krishna's teaching is the Bhagavat Gita itself. My Guru used to bring out the considerable affinity between the Gita and the Yoga Sutra. In this program we will go through each and every sloka and faithfully follow the text in its entirety. This program is scheduled to take place at my favorite place Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in July 2017
The second program is Samkhya Karika. It will be a weekend program in September at Chicago Yoga Center . Samkhya is one of the six systems of orthodox Vedic philosophies. It is one of the three nivritti sastras, or philosophies of liberation—liberation from the repeated cycles of birth. The other two philosophies are Yoga and Vedanta. Samkhya Karika, written by Iswarakrishna, is perhaps the most authentic text on this subject. It is considered to be the theoretical basis for Yoga darsana, and hence, many yogis, including my Guru Krishnamacharya, would urge study of this text in addition to Patanjali's Yoga. It consists of 72 slokas, or verses, and is considered one of the great Sanskrit works. The author, some consider to be the avatara of the great Sanskrit poet and philosopher Kalidasa. All the slokas will be gone through verse by verse in this program.
The enumeration of the principle that constitute the Universe, the stages of its evolution and the immortality of the Self are clearly brought out and explained in this great work. We will go through each and every sloka and follow the thought process of the author in this 15 hr program
The third program is the 100 hr Vinyasakrama TT program. I started teaching this program in Dec 2015 and in the matter of 15 months more than 160 yagis mostly serious yoga practitioners and yoga teachers have completed the program. I have taught this program twice at Yoga Vahini in Chennai in Dec 2015 and then in Feb 2017. I taught this program at Om Yoga in New Delhi in Feb 2016 and then at One Yoga in Saskatoon in Canada. Then I taught the same program at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles in Aug 2016 and then at Yoga Dhara in Madrid Spain. Now in September 2017 I am scheduled to teach the program at One Yoga in Montreal Canada.
This program has a 60 hour vinyasakrama asana component. In this 10 major sequences will be taught, viz, Tadasana, asymmetric seated poses, paschimatanasana, one legged poses, Suptasana, prone poses, vajrasana, padmasana, Inversions and of course trikonasana. There are about 125 subroutine asanas in these major sequences and about 700 Vinyasas which we will go through in the program. Each vinyasa will be taught with the appropriate synchronized breathing as taught by Sri Krsihnamacharya. These are explained in detail in my book Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga
It will also be possible to develop criteria for individual daily practice for one's own practice and to teach other students. There is a 20 hour pranayama segment in which different pranayama methods will be gone through. Enough practice of pranayama will be given so that by the end of the program participants will be able to include pranayama and bandhas as an integral part of daily yoga practice. Further the benefits of hata yoga,-- asanas vinyasas, pranayama and mudras--will be studied in detail especially to the important internal organs as the heart lungs, uterus etc. The third segment will be a 20 hour study of the Yoga Sutras. Each and every sutra will be taught following the thought process of Patanjali so that one would get a comprehensive understanding of Raja Yoga.