I recently needed to renew all my ageing and failing lever arch files, giving me an opportunity to peruse and reflect on the contents accumulated from my decades of personal study with Desikachar. As well as sifting out any stuff that was superfluous, it was a reminder of how wide and deep my studies in Madras were. As per the shelves in the picture, my notes fell into two main groups, that of Personal Textual Study and that of Personal Yoga Practice.
The Yoga and Associated Textual Study section is based around:
- Sāṃkhya Kārikā
- Bhagavad Gītā
- Yoga Sūtra
- Haṭha Yoga Texts
- Krishnamacharya Texts and Teachings
- Desikachar Seminar and Course Teachings
The Yoga Practice section is based around:
- Āsana Practice, Principles and Application
- Mudrā Practice, Principles and Application
- Prāṇāyāma Practice, Principles and Application
- Dhyāna Practice, Principles and Application
- Veda and Sūtra Chanting Practice, Principles and Application
- 121 Practice Theory and Application within all situations
- 121 Practice Observation and Kinesiology
- Teaching Children, Special Needs and Pregnancy
- My 121 Personal Practice Notes and Studies
Added to this perusing and reflecting on the extent of my studies with Desikachar, is also my commitment to the worldwide Yoga community in wanting to offer teachings from him and what he shared with me from Krishnamacharya’s teachings as Open Source resources. This I feel I have been doing via the Journal, Dharma Downloads Resources and Yoga Texts and Freenotes sections of my website.
Within the Yoga Texts and Freenotes section is the Saṃskṛta Database which so far, has every word in the Yoga Sūtra embedded, with all the words linked in the online verse by verse breakdown of the text. To this commentaries of Desikachar and Krishnamacharya on the Yoga Sūtra are gradually being added. Further online textual resources with commentaries are works in progress around the Sāṃkhya Kārikā and the Bhagavad Gītā.
What has also remained a linchpin through my four decades of teaching since first meeting Desikachar in 1976 and then working from 1979 within the 121 process so important to him and his father for skilful and personalised transmission, is to remain available and accessible in terms of waiting time or fees as a teacher for personal 121 lessons as a priority over say running workshops, training courses or travelling the seminar circuit.
Thus even though using modern mediums, via such as online learning options as part of my teaching offerings, being able to meet, see and talk directly and have a personal dialogue with students within a live, rather than pre-recorded context remains my preferred choice.
Of course such preferences limit what you can offer in terms of time, say over remote downloadable or pre-recorded subscription packages becoming increasingly abundant in todays online Yoga world. The outcome of preferring people over numbers, whether live or online, does mean that my 121 personal teaching or professional supervision practice is busier than ever.
Coupled with this are my small study group mono-topic options increasingly appealing to those just wishing to study all that Yoga can offer, as I also feel all the possibilities for studying the depth and breadth of Yoga should be available for all students rather than being ‘hidden’ within teacher training courses.
Something appreciated by those who just want to study Yoga without the encumbrance and simultaneous pressure of ‘establishing’ a teaching base and perhaps increasingly relevant in this Yoga world which now finds Yoga teachers on almost every street corner and very much a career based focus for many these days.
Added to these priorities are my own contributions in terms of articles and series through my current Yoga and Practice musings, plus various series on Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Yoga Sūtra, Āyurveda, or viniyoga Practice Pointers and Planning Vignettes and future planned additions around series on the Pañca Maya, Sound Health Practice and a Yoga Sūtra Mālā, all mean I need to re-assess how I share my time twixt teaching and writing.
Here I am fortunate with the beauty of my Vanaprastha surroundings as I write looking out across at the rain currently sweeping down the valley (ere to a forecast of snow!), or sit with the badgers at night, or now have to open and close my front door a little more carefully so as not to disturb the Wrens who, having ignored the nest boxes offered nearby, preferred to build a nest directly over my front door.
This of course doesn’t include the time that we need for correspondence and here I must apologise to those awaiting replies to emails, of which I receive many these days. The outcome of all of which is that I have decided to reduce 121 teaching by one full week each month as from May, usually the first week for those affected, in order to be able to devote intensive time to study, writing and preparing posts and articles as well as catching up on outstanding emails and communications.
Plus I feel its increasingly important for me to have the depth that successive days of mulling, musing and mantra amidst walking the hills as a precursor to the actual writing and composing layouts for articles and posts, can offer over taking just odd days here and there amidst ones usual personal and family recreational time, and practice and study schedules.
This I will continue to do as long as I can remember what is in each of the files without needing to look first or stick labels on the outside!
śrī gurubhyo namaḥ