The Viniyoga of Inversion as an Āsana or as a Mudrā……
There are some forms within the postural resources developed by Krishnamacharya that can function as either an Āsana or as a Mudrā, depending on how they are approached and utilised. This choice of direction and outcome can be realised according to the specific Bhāvana associated with the intention of the practitioner and the style of performance.
This distinction in characteristics can be generalised around whether the practitioner focuses on a dynamic form with the developmental priority around the variations of and in the posture, or on a static form with the focus on the developmental priority on the lengthening and refinement of the breath.
In other words, as to whether the focus is on the development of the various Vinyāsa Krama within the dynamic form through a specific competence within a number of physical variations. Or, the focus is on the development within the static form, of a specific competence within a number of respiratory ratios.
Śrī TKV Desikachar 1938-2016
In Memorium August 8th 2020
Learning Support for Chanting the Nārāyaṇa Sūktam
– From the Taittirīya Upaniṣad Chapter 4 verses 25-27 in the Mahānārāyaṇaya Upaniṣad
An offering for this day from my personal library of recordings from my studies with TKV Desikachar.
To Listen or Download the Nārāyaṇa Sūktam as an MP3 Sound File
To Download the Chant Sheet with Romanised Saṃskṛta and Chant Notations
The first Śloka sets the saga on the field of Dharma.
Dharma is how we respond, whatever the situation,
presuming we can sustain our view within the present.
Karma is how we respond, having lost sight of our view,
because it’s become obscured by the force of our memories.
Then Karma is the force now driving us through our memories.
So, Arjuna’s Dharma becomes obscured because of his Karma.
– Reflection on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter One verse 1
Mudrā Pointer 8 – The Viniyoga of Jihvā Bandha taught that it was to be used……
Jihvā Bandha, as taught by Krishnamacharya is described as,
‘the big tongue has to turn back and touch the little tongue‘.
The tongue is seen as one of the Ādhāra points in the body.
In that stilling the tongue is a support for fixing the attention.
It is also known in the Gheraṇḍa Saṃhitā as Nabho Mudrā.
Here it is defined as ‘the keeping of the tongue turned upwards,
wherever you are and in whatever the activity you are engaged’.
The Viniyoga of Jihvā Bandha taught that it was to be used
in most Seated Āsana, with the exception of Seated Twists.
Though not so much in Standing Āsana,
or Backbend Āsana like Matsya Āsana.
“Nidrā or deep sleep is the state in which the
mind’s link with external stimuli is cut off.
In this state, Tamas is dominant.
Although in deep sleep the mind
has no link with anything external,
this does not exclude all links,
which is why we are often able to recall
whether our sleep was sound or disturbed.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 10
In the Bhagavad Gītā, Karma is defined as a Śodhana Kriyā where,
as actions are performed, they also offer a chance to refine oneself.
Thus, whatever I do and whatever happens is a chance to refine myself.
The Bhāvana here is Ātma Śuddha where all actions are an opportunity
for purification of that which inhibits the expression of our essence.
– Reflection on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Five verse 11
Vīrabhadra Āsana or warrior pose is an Āsana where the postural focus at the level of Annamaya or the structural aspect, involves the skill of holding seemingly opposite points of attention at the same time.
Front Leg Focus on Toes Down
Rear Leg Focus on Heel Down
For example, if we start by considering the attention on the feet using the above illustration, the front left foot focus is on the rooting of toes, whereas the focus on the rear right foot is on the rooting of the heel.
Thus, here we have an example of a Pratikriyā Bhāvana, or opposite action focus, where we need to hold our attention with a contrasting dynamic in two places simultaneously. In this example on both the front left or rear right foot at the same time, but with different points of attention.
Postural Practice Pointer 27 – Bhāvana when working with Vīrabhadrāsana
Front Leg Focus on Toes Down
Rear Leg Focus on Heel Down
Front Knee Bent Forwards
Rear Knee Straightened Backwards
Front Leg Hip Lifted Backwards
Rear Leg Hip Lifted Forwards
Front Leg Shoulder Drawn Back
Rear leg Shoulder Drawn Forward
Upper Back and Chest Arching Forwards
Resisting the Lower Back from Bending Backwards
Yoga Practice is about a re-turning towards our inner life.
Here it might be helpful to reflect
on how to cultivate the four pillars of
Maitrī, Karuṇā, Muditā and Upekṣā and
the role they can have in helping to transform
the unhelpful aspects of these inner feelings.
“Bhāvana is a beneficial attitude
that is consciously cultivated
despite tendencies to the contrary”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on
Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 33
With the spirit of Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 33 in mind,
the cultivation of the four pillars is an inner practice
that can support a stepping, rather than stymieing,
onto our practice mat or seat through:
This particular full moon day is known as Guru Pūrṇimā. On this day the ongoing transmission from teacher to student is especially honoured. In previous years I have offered posts with chants honouring the lineage of teachers.
This year I would like to focus on the significance of the full moon within this day by offering a chant known as the Candra Namaskṛtya Mantra.
oṣadhayaḥ saṃvadante somena saha rājñā ‖
– Taittirīya Saṃhitā 4.2.6