Tuesday, December 28, 2010

8)Best Introductory books for Practising Ashtanga Vinayasa Yoga

When I started on my Ashtanga Journey first in 2004 I had Pattabhi Joise book "Yoga Mala" but I found it difficult to use that book for my personal practice as the book had lots of instructions and only few pictures and moreover the instructions and pictures were in different places and I had to keep turning back and forth the pages to know which instruction is for which pose . Since I was fully immersed in the Sivananada System of Classical Hatha Yoga at that time I was not motivated much by Ashtanga Yoga and though "Yoga Mala "was rich in content but  the way in which the instructions and pictures were laid out put me off in seriously pursing Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga . When I restarted my Ashtanga Vinyasa Journey in Mid 2010 ( I consider 2010 to be the real starting point of my Ashtanga Vinyasa Journey ) I was on lookout for a good Introductory Ashtanga Instruction Manual to follow and found the following 2 books to be very excellent books for any student beginning their Ashtanga Vinyasa Journey and the books are :
                                  1)Total Ashtanga by Tara Fraser
                                  2) Ashtanga Yoga the Practice Manual by David Swenson .

While David Swenson's Ashtanga Yoga Practice Manual is quite popular and famous among the Ashtanga Community , Tara Fraser's book "Total Ashtanga" is not that much popular but it is equally an excellent book for beginners . This book by Tara Fraser was never in my list of Ashtanga Books as no one in the Ashtanga Community talked about it ( except for one serious Ashtanga blogger ) and every one were talking more about David Swenson's Ashtanga Practice Manual followed by John Scott's book on Ashtanga Yoga and Gregor Maehle's books on Ashtanga Primary and Secondary series . I came to know of Tara Fraser's book while I was on a Trip to Rishikesh in the end of Sept 2010 to learn formally Ashtanga Vinaysa Yoga under Louise Ellis . As I was going through a book shop in Rishikesh I was surprised to find this excellent introductory book on AsIhtanga Vinyasa Yoga by Tara Fraser and immediately bought it and since then have started using  it more often   as reference for my Ashtanga Vinyasa Practice . I  would say that John Scott and Gregor Maehle's books would suit more for a person who has had a quite an in depth practice  and for a beginner it is better they choose either Tara Fraser or David Swenson's book on Ashtanga Yoga .The reason why I am suggesting these 2 books are :
 1) They are like a ready reference manual with each page having a picture of the posture and its basic instructions .
2) Modifications are given for difficult postures .( While Hard Core Ashtangis refuse to use props , these books make use of basic props to attempt the difficult postures ) .
3) The layout of the book is that there is a perfect balance between pictures and instructions and makes it easy for a beginner to follow the instructions looking at the picture .
 4) The instructions are also quite simple and not too technical and easy to follow .
5) David Swenson's book covers both the primary as well as secondary sequence and if a person is keen on learning both these sequence it is better to get David Swenson's book . Tara Fraser's book covers only the primary sequence .
5) Both these books at the end give a complete Ashtanga Primary Sequence in Picture format .David Swenson's book also has the Secondary series sequence .So even if u do not have an Ashtanga Vinayas  Poster , this picture sequence can help guide you properly . In fact I keep Tara Fraser book by my side when I practice my Ashtanga sequence .
 6) Both these books give a short primary sequence and while  I have not tried them ,it would be very helpful for those who want to have a short primary practice .

So in  conclusion I would say that if you serious in learning both the primary and secondary ashtanga vinyasa sequence then it is better get David Swenson's book but if you are unsure about your own commitment to Ashtanga Vinaysa Practice then better get Tara Fraser's book as it is a simple one  and deals with just the  primary series .

Note : No book can substitute for the instructions received from a qualified real life  teacher but in the absence of a proper Ashtanga Teacher these 2 books are the best guides for you as a beginner to Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga .

Sunday, December 12, 2010

7) Yoga and my Journaling journey

Eventhough I started my yoga journey through the Sivananda System in Mid 1997 I never got in to serious journaling from 2008 onwards .I never had  maintained a dedicated personal  journal so far and during my college days I used to just make some short notes in my diary and in some cases some long notes but never have I seriously documented my life and its happenings in detail .Though Swami Sivananda had urged people on the path of Yoga to maintain a spiritual diary and had also provided a basic template of the same in his books I never felt motivated to develop it as a proper discipline .I used to maintain notes of my practice /  teaching for a few weeks and give it up . It was only in April 2008 when I read an article  titled "Words Heal the world " on the importance of  maintaining a personal journal by Anita Anand  from a magazine called "Life Positive" that I decided that enough is enough and it is high time I started maintaining a dedicated personal journal . Even though I was motivated to start maintaining a personal journal I had my own doubts about how far I will be successful in the same and hence did not to waste any money buying fresh and expensive  writing journals and decided to start writing using an old diary that was virtually empty barring few odd jottings here and there .I could not write properly as I had lost the habit of writing using a pen as most of the time I was using only the Computer to type my letters and I was using the pen only for signing cheques / credit card bills , filling forms and  making short notes and it was years since I wrote a letter to my family / friends as all communications were only through net / emails /phone /cell phones etc . There was heavy mental resistance to writing and I just wrote some short notes for the sake of writing . My  handwriting was horrible and there was no focus on what I wrote and I was just writing for the sake of writing . I wanted to find whether there was any course related to Journal writing for me to get some basic inputs about how to write and maintain a journal as I felt I was not progressing much in my journaling and it was during that time I came across the book "Journal to The Self :by Kathleen Adams " from amazon.com . After reading the initial pages of the book from amazon.com  called" The 79 Cent Therapist " I was totally blown over as to what a powerful tool this journaling was for my own self growth .I immediately got that book and started going over that to see whether there are any rules for maintaining a journal and I was surprised by Kathleen Adams advice is that even though she has suggested various formats and styles for journal writing in her book , in reality there are no rules for journal writing and one just need to write naturally and enjoy the same and that one need not bother about handwriting , grammer , spelling mistakes ,style etc etc . This was a huge relief to me as I all along believed that journal writing should be neat , organized and focused etc etc .So I continued to keep writing whatever came to me and sometimes I wrote short notes , sometimes long notes and sometimes there was a long gap between 2 notes and here again Kathleen Adams advised one need not worry about writing daily or keeping a quota for month or week as journal writing is purely to communicate with ourselves and not to meet any deadlines or win a prize or to fulfill some one's expectation .In that book regarding this  there was an excellent quote from Jim Rohn , the popular motivational speaker and he says " There are 2 things to avoid with your journal .One is never writing in it ; the other is always writing in it . In the first case ,you participate in life without observing it .In the second case , you observe life without participating in it ."
So again I was relaxed that having gaps between 2 journal entries is not a sin and it is perfectly natural . So as I was going through this process of journal writing I felt that I  was only writing randomly on issues that come to my mind but I have not yet developed the discipline of maintaining a proper personal diary of my  yoga practice / teaching and here again I started reading an article from a  magazine called Frozen Thoughts Magazine September 2008 by Lata Krishnaswamy titled "Practicing towards Perfection" pg.52 . She  describes how her Bharatanatyam  Dance teacher Vasanthalakshmi would ask her to maintain a practice notebook where she would be asked to record her practice schedules and what she did and she would always give excuse for not doing that but later felt quite ashamed of it and started practicing regularly . I too felt that it is high time I also maintain a dedicated practice journal to document what I did , what insights I learned , what was my mental state during my practice etc etc and I had the perfect opportunity for the same when I enrolled for the Sadhana Intensive Program in the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai in Jan 2009 . One beauty of this program was that it was purely a personal practice and except for the instructions and basic guidelines each participant had to do their practice independently and also maintain a record of the same and later share their experiences in the afternoon group discussions .I started maintaining a very meticulous record of my own personal practice along with my own mental states of how they were during each practice session . Since it was an intense practice of pranayama ,it gave an excellent opportunity to observe my own mood during the practice as prana and mind originate from the same source .I not only documented my practice sessions but also what happened during discussions and the satsangs , what sort of food was offered to us  each day (  as it was a strict diet conducive for advanced pranayama practice ) .So by the end of the 14 day course I had my entire journal book complete with all details about my practice and other details I observed in the course and was thrilled to have maintained a full comprehensive document of my intensive sadhana .So these 14 days were an excellent training period for me in not only focusing my mind but also in developing a discipline of maintaining a personal journal both for my practice as well as for my own self growth .Apart from my written journal I also started a private  online journal to record my thoughts and feelings and used to alternate between writing on note book  to writing on my online journal .The entire 2009 went like this though there were gaps in between .I got an opportunity to rekindle my Sadhana in 2010 as  I once again redid the Sadhana Intensive Course in  Jan 2010 at the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai and this time it was more easy both during my practice as well as in maintaining my own journal during the course and once again by the time the course was over I had m journal fully filled with all the details about my practice , the discussions , the diet etc .Now I knew that no longer I need to fight in maintaining my journal and that it has become a part of my life .It was at this juncture that on coming back home I bought my first new spiral journal on Feb 2010 exclusively for my journaling and till date I have been quite consistent in my journal writing and while I write more offline in my personal journal I do at times write in my online private journal apart from making entries in my 3 blogs .I am not yet a serious blogger but I am happy to have finally developed a good journaling practice and I can see my own improvement in my writing and like my own personal yoga practice I have started to give equal importance to my journaling activity and consider it to be a very excellent tool for helping me develop more clarity with regard to my life and as I do not have any personal real life Gurus /Mentors I find my journals themselves apart from my extensive reading of books to be good tools to help me evaluate myself and check my own progress and help me move ahead .Though I missed out in documenting my first decade of Yoga Journey i.e 1999-2009  ( tlhough I remember many of them ) I intend not to miss  documenting the next phase of my yoga journey i.e from 2010 (  my Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga journey also started seriously from 2010)  and happy that I have made journaling a very important aspect of my life from 2010 onwards and so far I have maintained up to date accounts of my Ashtanga Vinyasa Practice and hope to maintain the same .

Sunday, November 14, 2010

6) Book Review : World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony

Product Description
Food is our most intimate and telling connection both with the living natural order and with our living cultural heritage. By eating the plants and animals of our earth, we literally incorporate them. It is also through this act of eating that we partake of our culture’s values and paradigms at the most primal levels. It is becoming increasingly obvious, however, that the choices we make about our food are leading to environmental degradation, enormous human health problems, and unimaginable cruelty toward our fellow creatures.

Incorporating systems theory, teachings from mythology and religions, and the human sciences, The World Peace Diet presents the outlines of a more empowering understanding of our world, based on a comprehension of the far-reaching implications of our food choices and the worldview those choices reflect and mandate. The author offers a set of universal principles for all people of conscience, from any religious tradition, that they can follow to reconnect with what we are eating, what was required to get it on our plate, and what happens after it leaves our plates.
The World Peace Diet suggests how we as a species might move our consciousness forward so that we can be more free, more intelligent, more loving, and happier in the choices we make.
About the Author
Will Tuttle has a master’s degree in humanities from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. in the philosophy of education from the University of California. A professional pianist and teacher, he has for the last thirteen years toured progressive churches, vegetarian and macrobiotic conferences, and intentional communities throughout the country. He trained in Korea as a Zen Buddhist monk and has worked extensively in Tai Chi, yoga, massage, and dance and movement. He lives in Healdsburg, California.

Book review :
Various review exists for this book but I am presenting here one excellent review from amazon.com by a person named Delisa Renideo that expresses wonderfully what this book contains and why one must buy and read the same and imbibe the principles in our life .Here is the review below :

This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to grow spiritually, who wants to live a conscious and compassionate life, and who wants to contribute to world peace. I have read many books on the topic of vegetarianism, animal rights and animal welfare, spiritual growth, and peace and nonviolence. This book stands alone in its ability to make the connection between all of these subjects.

Will Tuttle, Ph.D. is a rare combination of extraordinary compassion, scholarly research and education, spiritual commitment and wisdom, intuitive insights, and the courage to challenge a worldview which goes back 10,000 years

In this book, Tuttle explores humanity's relationship with the foods we eat. He points out, very convincingly, that when humans began herding animals, it began to create a consciousness of exploitation which then spread to the control and domination of other humans, as well as animals. So the roots of human's violence to humans are found in the practice of seeing animals as objects to exploit for our own purposes: for food, furs, labor, entertainment, "sport" and experimentation. The use of humans as slaves and the subjugation of women followed the subjugation and enslavement of animals.

One thing that sets this book apart from any of the others that describe the problems associated with a meat-based diet is the focus on the spiritual aspects of our diet. When we take food into our bodies, we are also ingesting the energy contained in this food. Animals that are tortured and filled with terror and agony as they are killed are filled with this very negative energy. When humans eat their flesh, we are also ingesting this fear and anger. This affects us deeply. We cannot live with peace in our hearts as long as we are filling our bodies with the pain and suffering of other beings.

Tuttle helps us to see that none of us have actually chosen a diet based upon meat. Our mothers fed us meat from our infancy. As we got old enough to understand that we were eating animals, we were told that animals were put here for us to eat, so it was okay. We didn't question this, any more than we questioned wearing clothes or taking baths. Thus, we absorbed the acceptance of exploitation of animals so naturally that we didn't know it was happening. And being unconscious, it is hard to recognize the violence that is part of our everyday lives through the eating of animals. Therefore, it is also hard to recognize how insensitive we have become to violence, because we have to protect ourselves from an awareness of the violence we are part of 3 times a day.

This is a very important book for everyone who wants their lives to contribute to more peace in the world, rather than more suffering and violence.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

5) My first Yoga Inspiration : Sri Krishnamacharya

Even though I have been involved as a teacher /student with the Sivananda System of Classical Hatha Yoga ( founder Swami Vishnu devananda )  right from 1997 , my first Yoga inspiration was not Swami Vishnu devananda but Sri Krishnamacharya . I have never met Sri Krishnamacharya but used to see his pictures in many local magazines doing amazing asanas even at his old age . During those time I was not motivated in to yoga much .But there was once a special edition of a local magazine in Tamil language which was in the form of a question and answer session by Sri Krishnamacharya's son Sri Desikachar ( who founded KYM ) and there in he described the origins of yoga , various health and spiritual benefits of yoga , what makes Sri Krishnamacharya so special and why is yoga so popular these days and other related questions .Since that book had a vast variety of questions from many common people ,I felt as though those were the questions I wanted to ask for which Sri Desikarchar's answers were really excellent and motivating . 
Some of the things I found motivating in that book are :
1) How Sri Krishnamacharya  cured the 20 year insomnia problem of an English women in just one session of yoga .
2) How J Krishnamurti came to learn yoga from Desikachar and how much respect  J Krishnamurti gave him inspite of the fact that J Krishnamurti was already a world famous spiritual teacher .
3) How Yoga therapy under Sri Desikachar's guidance  helped one famous sports person in Chennai who was affected by a wrong medical treatment to develop self confidence and start facing life positively inspite of the fact that wrong treatment crippled him from playing competitive sports again .
4) Most motivating for me was Sri Krishnamacharya's daily yoga sadhana in spite of his old age  and Sri Desikachar had mentioned that Krishnamacharya used to get up early morning before 3 a.m and do his own yoga sadahana first and also his morning worship to the Gods and finish them before people got up .This was very motivating for me as Krishnamacharya's house was hardly 2-3 km from my house and yet he was doing this daily Yoga sadhana inspite of his old age and inspite of being a family man with wife ,kids and grand kids  . So I thought that to be a Yogi one need not run to Himalaya's but that one can very well practice yoga sadahana being in the city and this was what got me hooked on me to start trying Yoga . So I would say that Sri Krishnamacharya was my first Yoga inspiration but I could never meet him personally as by the time I got really interested in yoga i.e in 1997 he was no longer alive and fate pushed me to learn yoga from the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in Chennai and that was one of the biggest blessings in my life as it turned me from a Yoga practitioner to a yoga teacher to a person who did a Yoga TV show .Though Sri Krishnamacharya was my first Yoga inspiration , it was Swami Vishnu devananda ( founder Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre ) who was my main guiding force for all the Yoga sadahana and Yoga teaching I did so far .More about that later in another post .

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

4) Inspiration from Senior Ashtanga Yoga Teachers

Most people get attracted to Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga due to the intensity of its practice and the wonderful benefits it gives to its practitioners . While that may be true , I got motivated to try Ashtanga after reading about the lives of many senior Ashtanga teachers  .One thing that I noticed in the lives of these senior Ashtanga Teachers was that they had a very deep commitment to their own daily practice before they started teaching and some even spent nearly 10 years of dedicated practice before they started to teach professionally outside .More that that they still continue to maintain a high degree of their own personal practice in spite of their hectic teaching schedule .Many of them have made 7-8 trips to Mysore and stayed in Mysore for 2-3 months during each trip  to practice under the  guidance of Sri.K.Pattabhi Jois and his grandson Sharath and they did this inspite of the fact that they were well established as Yoga teachers in their respective countries . It is not that these people were super rich or were earning a lot .They saved money to visit Mysore and went back again to earn to come back again next year . This definitely involved investing lot of time ,money and energy and sacrificing lot of personal comforts . Also one of the other important trait that I found in these senior Ashtanga teachers was that they get up early  in morning  around 3 a.m and finish their intensive Ashtanga practice for 2 hrs or so before they start giving their first Yoga class at 5.30 or 6 a.m . This really demonstrates a high degree of commitment to the Ashtanga Vinayasa Yoga system and this is what made me admire these Ashtanga teachers as well as the Ashtanga Vinayasa  Yoga system .Some of the senior Ashtanga Teachers who impressed me most were Sharath , David Williams , Nancy Gilgoff , Louise Ellis ,Danny Paradise , Hamish Hendry ,Govinda Kai and many more can be found in the book Guruji : A Portrait of Sri K.Pattabhi Jois through the eyes of his students by Guy Donahaye , Eddie Stern. I read this book only later but even before that I came to know of some of the senior Ashtanga Teachers through internet and was amazed by their personal commitment to the Ashtanga Vinayasa Yoga system and the book Guruji only amplified the same through many more examples of senior students who are currently keeping the flame of Ashtanga Vinayasa Yoga tradition alive . Except for Louise Ellis ( who was my first Ashtanga Yoga Teacher ) I have never met any of these other Ashtanga Teachers in real life and I do not know how they are in real life and  do not know how  far they carry on the principles of Yoga beyond the Yoga Mat /Yoga Class . Whatever  that may be I admire them for their dedication to their personal practice and for living the message of Sri K Pattabhi Joise that Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory .  This is what impressed me most in them and this is what inspired me to take up Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga seriously and I hope that I too will live by  the same standards as set by these senior Ashtanga teachers .

Friday, October 29, 2010

3) Transition from Classical Hatha Style ( Sivananda ) to Flow Vinyasa Style (Ashtanga )Yoga

I have been fully involved in practicing and teaching the Sivananda System of Classical Hatha Yoga for more than 10 years and making a transition to the Ashtanga Flow Vinayasa Yoga style was a bit challenging one as they were much differed in the way the asanas were being done .
Sivananda System of Yoga represents the Classical Hatha Yoga style of doing the postures and Ashtanga Yoga represents the Vinyasa or flow yoga type of doing the postures and there are various differences in their approach and given below are some of the main differences .
1) Hatha Yoga is slow and gentle movement while Vinyasa /Flow Yoga is fast and vigorous movements based that also includes jumping .
2) Hatha Yoga involves holding the postures for a longer duration in a meditative way while in Vinyasa /Flow Yoga the postures are not being held for long and held for just 5 breaths ( except for inversions where they are held for long ) before moving on to the next posture .
3) In Hatha Yoga there is rest between the postures while in Vinyasa /Flow Yoga there is no rest at all between the postures and one needs to keep on moving till the end of the class as that is what  is required  to produce heat and detoxify the body .
4) In a Hatha Yoga class there is emphasis on gentle conscious breathing while holding the postures or while moving through one posture to another and in Vinyasa /Flow yoga the emphasis is on Ujjayai breathing .
5) In Hatha Yoga class there is no emphasis on holding the Bandhas while in Vinaysa /Flow Yoga there is continuous emphasis on holding the Bandhas and Drishtis ( Gazes ) and in fact Bandhas are key to jumps in Vinayasa Yoga .
6) You do not sweat much in a Hatha Yoga class while you sweat a lot in Vinyasa /Flow Yoga class .
7) The only sweating part of Hatha Yoga Class is the Surya Namaskar where the movements are vigorous and only in that respect  it resembles a Vinayasa /Flow Yoga type and it other respects it differs a lot .

So for me getting adjusted to this new style is quite a challenging one but that is exactly what I have kept as my sadhana for the next decade . The body &  mind  always finds comfort in doing what it likes but body & mind repels when it is pushed outside its comfort zone and my Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice is basically to push my body and mind away from its comfort zone and to explore how far I am successful in that .This is not a mad exercise in blindly pushing the body and mind to something unpleasant but a scientific approach to enhance the potential of body and mind in moving outside its comfort zones and master something new that is not familiar to me and by this process I enrich myself a lot and the benefits of the same will not only be felt by me but also by my students .

I consider both the styles i.e Classical Hatha Yoga ( Sivananda Style ) as well as the Dynamic Vinyasa Flow Yoga ( Ashtanga Style )  to be equally valid and it is futile to compare which is better .Both are better for people following the respective styles faithfully .My aim is not to take sides as to which is better  but to master both these styles so that I become a more complete Yoga practitioner / teacher .I consider Sivananda Style to represent the Yin style of doing Yoga and Ashtanga to represent the Yang style of doing Yoga and that an ideal Yogi is one who is comfortable practicing and teaching both the Yin and Yang style of Yogas .So I will continue to keep my sivananda style of practice / teaching alive along with my new exploration of Ashtanga Vinayasa Yoga and I see no conflict in the same .
When I say that I will keep both these styles of practice alive in my Yogic life I mean that I will keep them independently alive and would not mix them .The benefits of both these styles are experienced only when you practice them as they are intended to be  in isolation and not by mixing the styles .So in essence my goals is  when practicing  Sivananada ,practice Sivananda as it is supposed to be and when practicing Ashtanga ,practice Ashtanga as it is supposed to be and do not mix one into another .

Thursday, October 28, 2010

2) How my Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice began

The period 2004-2009
Practically my serious Ashtanga Yoga practice began on Mid July 2010 but my interest in Ashtanga Yoga goes back to 2004 when I completed my Advanced Yoga Teachers Training Course ( ATTC ) at the Sivananda Ashram in India and was motivated to practice Intense Yoga Asana practice and felt that Ashtanga Yoga would be suitable and hence bought the book "Yoga Mala" by Sri .K.Pattabhi Jois .This is the classical book for Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and I bought the book on 30 Aug 2004 . Apart from that book I also got the DVD on Introduction to Ashtanga Yoga by Richard Freeman and I got it through a friend of mine from America .These were the initial tools that I had for my practice but I did not get to serious practice as I felt the Ashtanga System too complicated with its long asana list and  various vinyasas for each posture and I felt that it was not my cup of tea and hence left it and continued to practice the Sivananda System of Classical Hatha Yoga as taught by Swami Vishnu devananda .
The Period 2009 - July 2010
After I completed my Sadhana Intensive Course ( SI ) in Jan 2009 at the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai I felt motivated to expand beyond the Sivananda System as I have now completed all the 3 levels at the Sivananda System i.e my Teachers Training Program ( TTC ) in 1998 , ATTC in 2004 and SI in 2009 and again in 2010 .A sense of saturation came to me and I felt that I need to move ahead and learn more .I started to look in to Yoga Teachings of senior Yoga Teachers like BKS Iyengar , Judith Lasater , Donna Farhi ,John Schumacher ,Sarah Powers ( Yin Yoga ) , Esther Myers , Vanda Scravelli ,Jill Miller ,Sadie Nardini , Seane Corn and Shiva Rea .I bought books of the above teachers and also some of their DVDs and also went through their articles /posts on Internet and watched their videos on You Tube .I also tried following some of their routines and practices but was not motivated enough to continue further with anyone .During this period I suddenly developed an intense pain in my lower left back and I did not know the cause of the same but it was creating lot of discomfort . I did not know the cause of the discomfort as I did not lift anything heavy or did any intense Asana practice to hurt my lower back .So I Searched the internet for the likely causes and came across the reason for my pain as SI ( Sacro Illiac ) Joint pain that comes to regular yoga practitioners .I felt that one reason for this pain could be due to my weak lower back or weak core and since Sivananda System did not address the core region I felt I need to focus on some other exercise system that addressed the Core region and came across Pilates as the right tool to strengthen my core first and heal my lower back pain .So I bought books and DVDs  related to Pilates Practice and did try some of them .They were good no doubt but since the breathing system in Pilates is different from that in Yoga I did not have the feeling of doing a real workout as I was not getting the same  feeling that I get by doing yoga so I gave it up .Around this time I found out that my  lower back pain started slowly healing and I did not find much discomfort and so started to continue with my basic Sivananda Practice .
In Jan 2010 I redid my SI course at the Sivananda Ashtram in Madurai and that was an excellent opportunity for me to deepen my Yoga Sadhana . After the course I again felt the need to go beyond the Sivananda System and learn something new that not only enriches me but will also add value to my students .So I restarted with my exploration of alternative systems and this time moved beyond Yoga to explore other Movement Therapies like Tai Chi , Undulation , Fieldenkrais method etc and did buy books /CDs and DVDs of the same and did try them but before I could explore deeper in to any one of them I met with a very severe ankle injury during my trip to Kumbakonam, a temple town in Tamil Nadu  . There was no fracture in the ankle but the ligament was severely damaged and I could not walk  properly and was on medicines and physio therapy .I thought it would heal within a week or so but it was actually taking months and I could not do even the Soorya Namaskar .I felt very frustrated by the same because in year 2009 a major part of my time was spent fighting the lower back pain but in 2010 I was confronted by a new ankle injury .I was using this opportunity to do very gentle yoga practice and lot of pranayama and meditation but deep down I was very upset that I could not do yoga asanas intensively and while the ankle was getting healed a little bit It was nearly 3 months since I did any serious yoga practice and that resulted me in putting on more weight and the ankle was yet to be fully healed .This created more frustration in me and I decided that enough is enough and that I needed to get back to my serious practice of  Yoga and I wanted to do some intense workout to make up for the loss of practice for more than 3 months .
Mid July 2010 onwards 
That was the time in Mid July 2010  I came across Shiva Rea's Audio CD that I bought few months back and started to try out the same . When I went through the booklet supplied along with the CD I found out that it had the Surya Namaskar sequence similar to the Ashtanga Surya Namaskar A& B and some of the other postures were also copied from the Ashtanga Sequence . This was the time I found out that many yoga teachers who were promoting a dynamic form of Yoga like Shiva Rea , Seane Corn , etc were actually copying the Ashtanga Vinyasa  System and modifying them to their own respective styles . So I decided that instead of getting caught up in various confusing styles of dynamic yoga /flow vinyasa yoga why not go to the Original source i.e Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and start from there and that was the time I went through the internet again downloaded the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Surya Namaskar A & B Charts , went through their videos on You Tube and started practicing the same on my own .It was quite a challenge for me as i) I was not used to this new Soorya Namaskar Vinyasa ii) my ankle injury was yet to be healed and iii) I was restarting my yoga after a gap of nearly 3 months,but in spite of that I found the practice to be very excellent in that it gave me lot of energy , a new energy that I was experiencing for the first time after a long gap . I decided then and there that Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga   is what I have been seeking right from 2009 and I had to find it out in a round about way after 2 injuries .So from Mid July 2010 onwards I have started to practice Ashtanga Vinayasa Yoga as taught by Sri K.Pattabhi Jois and have got hooked to it and have decided to keep this Ashtanga Vinayasa Yoga as my main yoga sadhana for the next decade i.e from 2010-2020 .How far I will be successful in this is yet to be seen but I am really happy to have found Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga .
In mid July 1997 I was very thrilled to have found the Sivananda System of Yoga and practiced it with full dedication for more than 10 years and also successfully completed all its 3 levels of training ( TTC ,ATTC ,SI ) and also visited its Head Quarters in Val Morin ,Quebec ,Canada for the purpose of Yoga Vacation and was immensely benefited by the teachings of its founder and my first Yoga Guru Swami Vishnu devananda and will be every grateful to him for bringing me on the path of Yoga and I will still continue to teach the Sivananda System of Classical Hatha Yoga to my students as I believe that it is an excellent system for beginners and for people( like housewives , busy professionals  etc )  who have less time to dedicate to yoga . Even when I become proficient to teach the Ashtanga Vinayasa Yoga I would still keep teaching the Sivananda System of Classical Hatha Yoga to beginners and people interested in a more gentle approach to yoga . So by practicing the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga I am not abandoning the Sivananda System of Classical Hatha Yoga but only complementing my own knowledge and skill in Yoga and I am currently using it to only raise my level and deepen my practice and explore through my own self practice  the benefits of Ashtanga Vinaysa Yoga  as claimed by its founder Sri  K.Pattabhi Jois . More in my next post .