Tag Archives: André Van Lysebeth

History of Yoga Korunta (Ashtanga Yoga)

Travelling in the North of India to spread the science of Yoga for the treatment of various ailments, Sri T. Krishnamacharya – thanks to the patronage of the Maharajah of Mysore (well known for his philanthropy and spiritual faith) – discovered by chance, in the 1930s, in the university Library of Calcutta, an ancient manuscript written on palm leaves and entitled “Yoga Korunta”. The author, a sage of ancient times, called himself “Vanama”. Composed between 500 and 1500 BC, the document was excellently preserved. Also a specialist in ancient Sanskrit, Sri T. Krishnamacharya understood from the turn of certain phrases that it was part of a much older oral tradition (between 3000 and 4000 years BC).

Sri T. Krishnamacharya

Sri T. Krishnamacharya

Following this discovery, Sri T. Krishnamacharya, who taught a different method of yoga, altered his teaching for the third time. He asked Sri K. Pattabhi Jois to devote himself exclusively to this method of original Yoga, called Yoga Korunta, and to pass it on.

From 1937 onwards, Pattabhi taught Yoga Korunta in Mysore, India.

Only in the late 1960s, André Van Lysebeth, the first teacher of European yoga, spends three months to study Yoga in India with Pattabhi.

André speaks of him and the quality of his training and popularizes him by publishing laudatory articles in the paper « YOGA » which he edits.

La "REVUE YOGA"

La “REVUE YOGA”

Around 1973, Americans participate in the demonstration of yoga by Manju (Pattabhi’s son) in the ashram of Gitānanda (near Pondicherry). Thus Norman Allen became a pupil of Pattabhi or Guruji, as his disciples call him, later Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams came.

Pattabhi chose to use the term “Ashtanga” for his school in reference to one of the six points of view of orthodox Indian philosophy, i.e. Yoga. The other points of view are: Nyāya, Vaisheshika, Sāṃkhya, Mîmâmsâ, Vedānta.

The bible of Yoga, written by Patañjali, is “The Yoga Sūtra” (a kind of synthesis of all the preceding knowledge).

In the second chapter of this book, at verse (YS II-29) the foundations of the practice of yoga are being explained, the definition of which is “aṣṭāṅga yoga”. Thus, all the spiritual techniques referring to this book can be called aṣṭāṅga yoga.

This way the name of “Yoga Korunta” was changed to “Ashtanga Yoga”. Actually, the institute of Pattabhi was called “Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute of Mysore”, which made the American students think that he taught a kind of Yoga called “Ashtanga Yoga”.

In 1975, Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams invited Guruji and his son Manju, who thus set off on their first voyage to America in order to teach yoga. Manju stayed in the United States. This practice of Yoga spread rapidly throughout America from California, extending up to Hawaii, under the name of Ashtanga Yoga.

Les livrets de JB Rishi sur l'Ashtanga Yoga

In Europe, the first teachers to spread this method were called Jean-Pierre Radhu (Belgium), Gabriel Plessis (Paris, Rouen – 1972). With the permission of Guruji, Jean Bernard Rishi in Paris (France 1975) published leaflets on the sun salutations of Mysore and the standing postures (photos of Pattabhi in black and white). Having taught Ashtanga Yoga for several years, they all changed their methods of different reasons. Later, Jean Claude Garnier (France, Belgium – 1978) and Serge Fonteneau (France, Château Renauld) embraced the teachings of Pattabhi and have made it their business to disseminate them.

Today, this traditional form of Yoga, mainly known under the name of Ashtanga Yoga, is one of the most practiced worldwide.

Sharath Rangaswamy, the grandson of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, teaches the Ashtanga Yoga he has learnt from his grandfather.

 

For further reading :

  • Yoga Mala – Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (paperback)
  • Ashtanga Yoga – John Scott (Le courrier du livre).
  • Ashtanga Yoga – Le Guide Pratique: Un Guide Illustré Destiné à une Pratique Personnelle, Première et Deuxième… de David Swenson

The sequence of rhythmic postures: the sun salutation

The Sun Salutation or Sūryanamaskāra is a dynamic sequence of postures; it is a ritual in honor of the rising sun. This prepares the postural work that gives warmth to the body, the heart and soul.

Sunrise at Mahabalipuram

Sunrise at Mahabalipuram

Originally, the Sun Salutation is a ritual, a morning prayer, in honor of the rising sun.

“Surya” (sun) and “Namaskara” (salutation), and “prostration” are Sanskrit terms. This dynamic sequence of postures is native to Iran; it arrived in India with the Parsi, who consider the Sun Salutation as a religious duty.

The sun salutation is used in the Ashtanga Yoga

The notorious Mysore salutations, called “A” & “B” have been transmitted by Sri Krishnamacharya & Sri Pattabhi Jois. These greetings serve as a transition between postures and as a postural preparation.

  • Warm-up (muscles)
  • Release of large articulations
  • Limbering up of the spine
  • Exercises done with the synchronization of the breath (Viniyasa)

“ if the government itself understood its usefulness, and made the practice of yogāsana, the Sūryanamaskāra, and their traditions compulsory for all students in all educational institutions, boys and girls, it would help to render their lives pure, it would be render a great service to the world ”.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

 Sūrya Namaskāra A :

Tadāsana, Uttanāsana A, Uttanāsana B, Chaturanga Dandāsana, Ûrdhva Mukha Svanāsana, Chaturanga Dandāsana, Adhomukha Svanāsana, Uttanāsana B, Uttanāsana A, Tadāsana, Samasthitiḥ.

Salutation au soleil A

Sūrya Namaskāra B :

Tadāsana, Utkatâsana, Uttanāsana A, Uttanāsana B, Chaturanga Dandāsana, Ûrdhva Mukha Svanâsana, Chaturanga Dandāsana, Adhomukha Svanâsana, Vīrabhadrāsana A, Chaturanga Dandāsana, Ûrdhva Mukha Svanāsana, Chaturanga Dandāsana, Adhomukha Svanâsana, Vīrabhadrāsana A, Chaturanga Dandāsana, Ûrdhva Mukha Svanāsana, Chaturanga Dandāsana, Adhomukha Svanâsana, Uttanāsana B, Uttanāsana A, Utkatâsana, Samasthitiḥ.

There is therefore always a movement during which we inhale followed by one during which we exhale.

Salutation au soleil B

Benefits of practicing Sūryanamaskāra (The Sun Salutation)

Regular rhythmic practice (every day) will gradually provide you with perfect health:

  • It softens and strengthens the muscles of the body
  • It activates intestinal regulation by increasing digestive fire
  • It purifies and develops the lungs and heart

Sūryanamaskāra will help you develop willpower, stamina, mental strength; all of them are qualities that are essential to achieve the goal of Yoga. It is a meditation in action.

All yoga practitioners know the Sun Salutation

Power Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Vinyasa Flow and other Yoga methods use the Salutation.

This is “the” Yoga technique that uses the cardiovascular system. It provides heat and considerable energy. André Van Lysebeth quickly taught the sun salutation to increase heartbeat and heat.

Sūryanamaskā, André Van Lysebeth

Sūryanamaskā, André Van Lysebeth

 

Other forms of salutations according to traditions

There are Buddhist or Muslim salutations, the Tibetan prostrations (“The Five Tibetans”). In India there is the Raja Aundh salutation, originating from Sivananda, which is well known in Europe thanks to André Van Lysebeth.

Finally, less known, is the Moon Salutation used in the Tantric tradition (Chandra Namaskara)