ASHTANGA YOGA PRIMARY SERIES DOWNLOAD
Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series Download – The Blueprint of Ashtanga; A Safe, Effective Foundation
Download The Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series by Adam Keen
The Ashtanga yoga primary series will be the bulk of our practice for most of us if we stick with this system as taught in Mysore, which is as it should be. The postures are foundational, giving us a great range and scope of movement in our bodies. They are also (relatively) reasonable for the average individual to practice regularly. They sequentially open up the body in a progressive and methodical nature. This has been tested for over 50 years, at the very least.
This series is not just the gateway to ashtanga yoga; it is the bedrock. It works by leading individuals from having done no yoga to an excellent overall level of ability and fitness. Indeed, all other series is built upon the foundational knowledge developed in this one.
On the other hand, it must also be acknowledged that this may take some adaptation of the postures. The primary series also demands some pre-requisite of ability. This must also be made clear. It’s a blueprint, rough sketch, or, sometimes, an ideal. This is no magic spell; it is a practical and functional sequence that should be treated similarly.
THE Ashtanga yoga PRIMARY SERIES AIMS AT BANDHA INSTEAD OF ‘FUNCTIONAL MOBILITY
To move on to the more profound significance and benefits, some will say that the primary series is not enough; there is not enough variation as to the postures. Namely, there are too many forward folds. However, the principles behind yoga are not the same as Western callisthenics. Indeed, if we use it this way, we might better find a better exercise routine.
Instead, the continuous forward-folds of the primary series are not to be taken so literally. Here, somewhat different and deeper conditioning is being aimed at. Not just of the body but the whole nervous system. Therefore, the subtler aim makes sense that the method also is. Indeed, the clue is in the name of the first forward-fold that it might not be such a simple task; paschimottanasana – westward-facing stretch.
In the understanding that the yogis of old traditionally practised yoga facing the East. The yogis of old were instructed to do not to keep pulling themselves forward but rather to pull back. To flatten our chest on our thighs, constantly stretch and then over-stretch our hamstrings is ineffective. It is ridiculous to accomplish nothing but the obvious.
THE INTENTION OF THE ASHTANGA YOGA PRIMARY SERIES
This is not the intention of the primary series; to achieve straight lines and long hamstrings. We discover something infinitely more valuable in pulling ourselves back out of the forward folds in the primary series. This is to talk of this ubiquitous term bandha in ashtanga yoga – an engagement of the core muscles in the postures.
The series facilitates a reasonable basis and balance of strength and flexibility. It is formulated along other lines than we may be familiar with in its underlying methodology. It needs to be approached with a fresh mind regarding how we aim to move our bodies. Not least, the endeavour is much more internally oriented.
BANDHA IS PRACTICAL AND ENERGETIC, FOCUSING ON DIGESTION AND SPINAL-STIMULATION
Indeed, it is the lower-abdominal tonification facilitated by the application and work in banda that does two things in our bodies, one more practical, the other less so;
It resolves our digestive issues. An increasingly common problem in modern health, in all traditional systems of medicine, our gut has been said to be our second brain and the seat of our health.
Bandhaencourages a compression of the body's energy to be brought into the central nervous channel. It gathers energy towards the body, wherein the most important nerves of the body residing in the spine are stimulated.
So, although there might be more variation in the postures themselves, this is, in fact, not the point. The continuous pulling-back in the apparent ‘forward-folds’ of the primary series serves a different purpose.
THE ANATOMICAL REASONING
As well as stimulating the spine's nerves through bandha, the purpose of the simple forward folds where the torso is attempted to be kept straight is to straighten our spines. Scoliosis affects us all and causes structural imbalances in the body that have more profound implications also.
So, as we attend to the limbs on either side, constantly moving to the left and right while keeping the spine straight, we are trying to re-balance the physical body. Yoga is a holistic system that does not separate mind and body as in our current medicine; physical imbalances represent deeper energetic blockages, providing an opportunity or way to address deeper, hidden issues.
TAKE IT EASY ON YOUR KNEES
We are beginning to realise by now in The modern West that the lotus demands of the primary series come a little early for us nowadays. We are different bodies living under conditions other than the system initially designed for us. Therefore, as we said in the beginning, it is worth noting that we may need to make amendments to this series to make adequate and happy progress with it. To repeat, it’s just a blueprint, a tool for our use.
The most fundamental amendment we might make is to do with the lotus position. Supposing the hips are already pretty open, if they’re not, the series will almost inevitably take its toll on our knees. Because where the hip doesn’t move, the knee will be asked to accommodate. It may be mobilised as a more minor joint than the hip, so it is easier to force where the hip is not. On the other hand, the knee is not a ball and socket joint as the hip is, so it will be damaged if we perform the position using knee rotation instead of the hip.
All this means we may make the following accommodation, remembering a stitch in time saves nine and that the quickest way to develop the whole posture is often to amend it, in the beginning, to find where the real work lies.
TIPS FOR MODIFYING THE ASHTANGA YOGA PRIMARY SERIES TO SAFEGUARD THE KNEES
Cross the leg as opposed to putting it in the lotus.
Use a block to support the knee.
Take time getting in and out of the position (it’s in moving the knee is most vulnerable)
Take your time generally. As they say: Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Find some more basic hip-openers as a warm-up to developing the