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Let's ask Krishnamacharya

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Today’s modern yoga doesn’t have many rules. Who could say what “should” and what “shouldn’t”, and most importantly - “why”?

There are so many types, kinds, styles of yoga that it’s easy to get confused and downright frustrated with what actually works and what doesn’t.

So let’s ask Sri T. Krishnamacharya - the father of contemporary yoga about the shoulds and shouldn't.

“Since ancient times, the Veda adhyana was practiced following the rules of swara (the science of sound) in the syllables of the Vedas. Music also follows the same rules dividing a piece into beats, octaves, metrics etc.

Similar rules exist for poetry, mantra and certainly yoga asana. Why would we think asana is different?

In asana we have vinyasa (moving with the breath), its rules have been given to us by ancient texts. Today, many practitioners ignore vinyasa and the vinyasa krama (the order of learning) and simply move around, bend, shake their arms and legs calling this yoga abhyasa.

But everyone knows that practicing whatever without following rules has no use and will have little benefit. Some people are really interested only in the materialistic benefits of what they are practicing and then say they don’t see any reason to follow any rules.. As a result, many practicing yoga leave the path of yoga seeing no results, convinced they have no benefits from practice or becoming victims to certain disease. They do not exercise their body correctly and instead of following the system, they lose direction and waste time chasing useless and meaningless things.

But just like music without metrics, octaves and beats wouldn’t give us any pleasure, so does yoga asana practice without vinyasa krama wouldn’t give you good health.

The practice of asana and pranayama should follow vinyasa krama if you want to see real results. You can’t just do what you like, prefer or seems easy to you. If you practice without rules, you have the responsibility of degrading the name of yoga and misleading all other people. Many people who have not learned yoga from a teacher or who have not followed the rules have brought bad reputation to yoga.

Yoga sadhana isn’t only about muscles. Besides nourishing the musculature, it nourishes the mind and improves the active energy, prolonges life and eliminates disease.But most importantly, it makes the mind stable, gives you understanding of reality and self-knowledge.

How many vinyasas (movements synchronized with the reath) does this asana have? On which of them is asana sthiti (holding)? When do we inhale, when do we exhale? When should we hold the breath after the inhale and where should we hold it after the exhale? What’s the benefits of this? 

Inspired by  “Yoga makaranda” by Sri Tirumalai Krinshnamacharya

And what is your practice? What are your rules?

Tell us and stay with us for more insights from our yoga teachers and old-time gurus.

About the author

Irina Bachvarova

Yoga Guru

Master in Sports Pedagogic and director at Bulgarian Ashtanga Yoga Academy.

Irina is the author of the first Bulgarian book for Ashtanga Yoga and trusted Yoga Guru for TV series, produced by Bulgarian National Television.

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