Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Nine Practice

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

‘Religiousness in Yoga: Lectures on Theory and Practice’ by the University Press of America,
a transcript of recordings of a one month Yoga Programme in Colgate University in 1976, published in 1980.

Unlike the later redacted edition, re-published in 1995 as the ‘Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice’, it captures the evolution of the retreat with the days lectures and Q & A dialogues as they alternated between ‘lectures on the principles and purposes of Yoga and discussions related to the practice of Yoga with special reference to the postures and the breathing techniques’.

TKV Desikachar, in his forward to the original version wrote:

“These lectures and discussions, printed words put before persons I might never meet,
are but reflections of that deeper result that grew out of a living face-to-face encounter.
Coming to learn of Yoga only through reading leaves much to be desired.
Yet, something worthwhile about Yoga might be shared through the medium of the printed word.”

A chapter by chapter Study guide is offered below with added verse and word cross-references where possible to support a a deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

Chapter 9 Practice: The Practical Aspects of Prāṇāyāma – Pages 117-131

1. Introduction P117

  • Safety
  • Observation
  • Respect

2. Posture P117

  • Comfortable
  • Erect

3. Type P117-118

  • Free
  • Pūraka
  • Recaka
  • Kumbhaka

4. Ratio P118-119

  • Samavṛtti Ratio
  • Samavṛtti Ratio with Mantra
  • Viṣamavṛtti Ratio

5. Technique P119-123

  • Ujjāyī for Āsana
  • Anuloma Ujjāyī
  • Pratiloma Ujjāyī
  • Nāḍī Śodhana
  • Mṛgi Mudrā
  • Śītalī
  • Kapālabhāti
  • Bhastrikā

6. Building a ratio P123-125

  • First Establish Inhale and Exhale before using Holds
  • Using Vinyāsa Krama day to day to lengthen
  • Using Vinyāsa Krama within each days practice
  • Using Counterpose in the Ratio

7. Attitude P125-126

  • Mental attitude very important
  • Directional Breathing on Inhale and Exhale
  • Beginners just follow movement of the Breath in the Body
  • Or Beginners follow Breath at point of Entry/Exit in the Body
  • Following the Breath by its Sound
  • Ratio and Techniques are a Means to follow the Breath
  • Following the Breath prepares for Dhyāna

8. Question on Using Nostril and Throat Restriction P126

  • Don’t use both at same moment.

9. Question on Diaphragm and whilst using the Breath P126-127

  • Linking the Diaphragm to the Phases of the Breath

10. Question on Diaphragm during Bahya Kumbhaka P127

  • Contracting the Diaphragm

11. Question on Mixing Foci during Prāṇāyāma P127-128

  • Counting the Number of Breaths
  • Point of Attention Linked to Type of Ratio

12. Question on Following the Natural Movement of the Breath P128

  • Either Involvement in or Witnessing the Flow of the Breath

13. Question on Counting during the Antar Kumbhaka P128-129

  • Using Mantra during Antar Kumbhaka
  • Using a finger beat to Count

14. Question on Counting and Prāṇāyāma P129

  • Number, Type and Ratio a means not a Final Goal

15. Question on Bahya Kumbhaka P129-130

  • Usually more difficult than Antar Kumbhaka

16. Question on Relationship Between Components of the Breath P130

  • Using numbers in Ratios
  • Effect of Bahya Kumbhaka on Exhalation
  • Minimum of Six to Eight Breaths for Each Step

17. Question on Prāṇāyāma  and Āsana P130-131

  • Prāṇāyāma as a separate Practice to Āsana

18. Question on Preaparing for a Difficult Ration in Prāṇāyāma P131

  • Some Preparation always necessary
  • Don’t over prepare with Strenuous Āsana

19. Question on Prāṇāyāma after Āsana P131

  • Better to do Prāṇāyāma after Āsana
  • There are some Exceptions

Follow this link for a Downloadable PDF version of the Chapter Nine Study Guide

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