One important facet I experienced within the teaching process of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar was an intensive apprenticeship into the skills of being able to design individual practices for a range of possibilities, as well as for a variety of situations and stages within a student’s learning interests, needs and practice potentials.
Within this was the key premise of designing an individualised developmental practice for all aspects of practice, rather than just the more well-known notions of therapeutic adaptations, or the homogenous sequencings, that are more commonly seen as representative of Krishnamacharya’s teaching within modern Yoga approaches.
Accordingly, this meant that I spent a lot of time over the years in my lessons with Desikachar learning how to plan practices that incorporated a wide variety of Āsana, Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma techniques, initially as goal in themselves, ere to how these schematics could be applied within a students developmental Yoga journey.
For example in terms of Āsana
Autumn greetings as the seasonal changes appear to be arriving quite suddenly as I move back into teaching, seemingly along with the UK educational establishment, after a Covid co-incidental two month sabbatical planned from last year. Within which I must say I felt increasingly hermit like from the demands of living in a social solicitude in the hills that have been my home these past 15 years.
It was certainly a good time weatherwise and the Cotswolds are a great landscape for walking as I covered over 300 miles in two months around the surrounding countryside. Though, as September arrives, I am not sure we are in any way closer to a maskless existence? Accordingly my teaching work is still confined to the online studies and consultations that became the normality through the months preceding my study break.
Mudrā Pointer 9 – Whatever the effect Bahya Kumbhaka has……
Whatever the effect Bāhya Kumbhaka has, it is
extended by the use of Uḍḍīyāna and Mūla Bandha.
However the total length of the breath is reduced.
Bandha substantially reduces the lengths
of the Pūraka, the Recaka and the Kumbhaka.
Which and by how much depends on the individual.
cYs Practitioner Training Programme 2004 Retreat Extract 2
Session 4 – Self Planning & Self Practice
This was a five day mid-afternoon Prāṇāyāma only planning and practice project for year Two students within a Four year Practitioner Training Programme.
The format was:
- 5′ Pulse taking
- 15′ Prāṇāyāma Planning
- 10’ Group Chanting
- 15′ Prāṇāyāma Practice
- 5’ Sitting
- 5′ Pulse taking
- 5’ For recording your pulse, personal notes or reflections from the practice
cYs Practitioner Training Programme 1999 Retreat Extract 1
Session 1 – Self Planning & Self Practice
This was a six day pre-breakfast planning and practice project for year three students within a four year Practitioner Training Programme.
The format was:
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.
– Paul Harvey on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter One verse 1