Breath is indispensable for life and its absence is death……

Breath is indispensable for life
and its absence is death.
Hence the necessity to make it longer
and accumulate the Prāṇa Śakti.
Just as a rich man accumulates money slowly to get wealthy,
so also one should practice every day,
through the proper use of the breath in Āsana,
to maintain good health.”
T Krishnamacharya‘s response to a question on breathing.

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 62 – Dhāraṇā is the process of ‘holding onto’ the object……

Dhāraṇā is the process of ‘holding onto’ the object.
Dhyānā is the process of ‘linking with’ the object.
Samādhi is the process of ‘integration into’ the object.
Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter 3 verses 1-3

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

Religiousness in Yoga: Study Guide Compilation Chapters One to Eighteen

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Religiousness in Yoga

TKV Desikachar

Lectures on Theory and Practice

Chapter by Chapter Study Guide Compilation

‘Religiousness in Yoga: Lectures on Theory and Practice’, by the University Press of America, is 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.”

Over the past five years a study guide to Religiousness in Yoga has been posted in a chapter by chapter progression. Each chapter was supported with added textual verse and word cross-references. The chapter posts were preceded with illustrative quotes reflecting the content of that particular lecture or discussion. All were offered to support a deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

All in all it has been a longish project, nevertheless one within which it has been for me, as if listening to him speaking. He had such a knack of saying something that could go ‘straight to press’. Though here my thanks also goes to the editors, especially the late Mary Louise Skelton and their efforts and priorities in preserving the essence of Desikachar’s style. This direct transmission, nurtured from within the ancient succession of oral teachers, is seemingly a dying flame within the embers of India’s old school traditions.

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Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Eighteen Theory

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 deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

Chapter 18 Theory: The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha Pages 251-254

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Without mastering Āsana and regulating the inhale and exhale in Āsana……

“Without mastering Āsana and
regulating the inhale and exhale in Āsana,
the Āsana will not produce the desired fruits.”
– T Krishnamacharya

If engaging therapeutically, firstly examine the gait of the breath……

“If engaging therapeutically, firstly
examine the gait of the breath
and the power of the body.
Otherwise it will not bestow fruits.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
the Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 85

Prāṇāyāma done along with Mantra yields fruits…..

According to one’s capability and reference,
Prāṇāyāma done along with Mantra yields fruits
in the treatment of all kinds of diseases.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
the Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 84

Navaratri or the Nine Nights of Durgā as a time for Mantra Sādhana……

tri_devi_470

The nine-night long Navaratri, an important occasion in India, is celebrated as a time to honour the Divine Feminine, especially the Goddess Durgā within the Indian tradition. It will commence today Sunday 29th September 2019, the first day of the month of Aśvin, according to the Hindu calendar. During this time the primary focus is Durgā manifesting through three primary aspects of the Divine Feminine.

Thus for the first three nights the focus is around the Divine Feminine in her power-bestowing aspect known as Durgā. For the second three nights the focus is around the Divine Feminine in her prosperity-bestowing aspect known as Lakṣmī. For the third three nights the focus is around the Divine Feminine in her wisdom-bestowing aspect known as Sarasvatī.

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You have to practice in such a way that day to day the breath gets longer and subtler.

TK_Baddha_Konasana

“You have to practice in such a way that
day to day the breath gets longer and subtler.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
the Yoga Rahasya Chapter Two verse 30

Owing to differences in the body structure, all Āsana are not meant for everybody.

“There are different body structures,
therefore not all Āsana are enjoined.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
the Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 31

Who does not seek a situation where he is able to understand things clearly……

“Who does not seek a situation where he is able to
understand things clearly, discover new things,
and remove or clear away wrong perceptions?
If there is one thing that can be said about
what happens in the state of Nirodha it is this:
one sees and one knows.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 254

In meditation, one must make the transition from the gross……

“In meditation,
one must make the transition
from the gross, that which has form
and which can be seen by the mind,
to the subtle, the formless.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 19th 1988

What we try to do in Yoga is simply to create conditions so that the mind……

“What we try to do in Yoga is simply to create conditions so
that the mind becomes a most useful instrument for action.
And this can only be done gradually.
Any “short-cut method” is an illusion.
This gradual procedure may involve a number of intelligent means,
all of which come within the realm of Yoga Sādhana.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 253

Prāṇāyāma practice of at least 24 breaths should be done….

nadi_shodana

“For curing an illness,
Prāṇāyāma practice of at least 24 breaths
should be done several times each day
– ideally eight times.
All other unnecessary physical activities should be curtailed.
Food should be limited to liquids – primarily milk;
and hot, dry foods avoided.
Breathing practice should be done without the aid of any tools or instruments.”
–  T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 34

It should not be inferred that all of  these faculties of the mind……

“It should not be inferred that all of
these faculties of the mind, such as
observations, inference, memory, imagination,
inactivity, hyperactivity, are detrimental.
They are necessary to life, but left to itself
the mind develops its own way of movement and we
end up unable to take full advantage of these faculties.
That is why the Yoga Sūtra says that all activities
of the mind could be favourable or unfavourable.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 253

108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers – 10 – Bhāvana for Locational Breathing in Prāṇāyāma

seated_pranayama_2

Prāṇāyāma Pointer 10 – Bhāvana for Locational Breathing

When beginning and throughout the Pūraka,
draw the spine upwards from the top down.
When beginning and throughout the Recaka,
draw the lower abdomen back towards the spine.

Link to Series: 108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers

The word Nirodha also means “restraint”……

“The word Nirodha also means “restraint”.
It is not by restraining the mind that it will move and
become involved in a particular direction of choice.
It is the other way round; that is,
so strongly and intensely the mind has moved toward
one area and has become absorbed in one area
that there is no “infiltration”.
Therefore Nirodha meaning “restraint”,
is just an effect of Nirodha meaning “complete absorption”.
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 252

108 Postural Practice Pointers – 26 – Bhāvana when moving or staying in Dvipāda Pīṭham

108 Postural Practice Pointers – 26 – Bhāvana when moving or staying in Dvipāda Pīṭham

When lifting or staying within the Pūraka focus on
drawing upwards, as if raising from the chest,
rather than just raising as if from the hips.
When lowering or staying within the Recaka focus on
not collapsing down, but drawing in from the abdomen,
rather than the body just dropping as if from the hips.

Link to Series: 108 Postural Practice Pointers

The fourth way the mind functions is called Ekāgratā……

“The fourth way the mind functions is called Ekāgratā.
Here clarity has come about
and we have direction and are able to proceed.
What we want to do is much clearer
and distractions hardly matter.
This is also called Dhāraṇā which was explained earlier.
Yoga is actually the beginning of Ekāgratā.
Yoga suggest means to create conditions that gradually
move the Kṣipta level of mind towards Ekāgratā.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 251

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 61 – What we observe is changing……

What we observe is changing,
What we observe with is changing,
Where we observe from is unchanging.
– Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 20

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers