If one takes care of the breath much more happens…

Criteria for the quality of Āsana

“If one takes care of the breath much more happens.
Perhaps some bad effects can be reduced.
But, because of its importance we can force it on people
and they find it difficult to understand the
mechanics and application, such as counting.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

One must be present in the action…

Criteria for the quality of Āsana

1. One must be present in the action.
2. Even with the eyes closed one must recognise the Āsana.
3. One should not suffer and want to be away from the Āsana.
4. It is the breath which defines the quality of the Āsana.
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

In the beginning the breath must be good…

Criteria for the quality of Āsana

1. In the beginning the breath must be good.
2. As one progresses the breath must still be good,
but the Āsana is better than it was.
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

In other words, begin your practice from where you are…

Principles behind the Practice of Āsana

In other words:
Begin your practice from where you are.
Finish your practice where you are going.
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

Do not fight yourself…

Principles behind the Practice of Āsana

1. Do not fight yourself.
2. Do not take your body for granted.
3. We must consider and relate age and interest.
4. Start with something normal or neutral.
5. Let the first part of the practice be an investigation into how you feel.
6. Have some aim in your practice.
7. Let the goal also be that you have enough time to come back to a normal body posture.
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

What appears as Yoga to an outsider is…

“What appears as Yoga to
an outsider is mainly the
physical aspects of our practice.
They will not be aware of
how we breathe,
how we feel the breath,
and how we co-ordinate
breathing with physical movement.
They tend to be interested only
in our flexibility and suppleness.”
– TKV Desikachar 1976

The test for intelligent effort is the response of the breath…

Principles behind the Practice of Āsana

“The test for intelligent effort
is the response of the breath.
Therefore, the technique is
proper and intelligent effort
and the response of the
breath to that effort.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

We investigate the reaction of the effort on the breath…

Principles behind the Practice of Āsana

“We investigate the reaction
of the effort on the breath.
The sound and speed of the
breath expresses the effort.
Therefore, in Āsana, there
is a relationship between
the effort and the breath.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

With step by step intelligent application…

Principles behind the Practice of Āsana

“With step by step
intelligent application,
less effort is required.
In other words, effort
that will reduce effort.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

Breath can change the Āsana…

Breath can change the Āsana,
as in Mahā Mudrā 10.0.10.0,
or the same with 10.0.20.0.”
– TKV Desikachar 1991

Āsana is offered as a means not an end…

Āsana is offered as a means not an end.
This is important because in current use,
there is no difference between Yoga and Āsana.
People say doing Yoga when in fact doing Āsana.
Yet they don’t say I am doing Yoga when
they are doing Prāṇāyāma or Meditation.”
– TKV Desikachar 1991

Apart from Āsana and Prāṇāyāma there are some special techniques…

“Apart from Āsana and Prāṇāyāma there are some special techniques.
Amongst them, those known as Mudrā need special mention.
Mudrā are essentially some more refinements to
Prāṇāyāma to intensify the effect.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras 1996

Where do Āsana lead us?……

Where do Āsana lead us?

“Where do Āsana lead us?
1. For seated practices
To stay in a stable posture with the spine erect,
for Dhyāna or preparation for Dhyāna.
2.  For health
They do something for the energy flow of the body.
3. Ability to master the body
Not necessarily to promote health,
but to show that we can master the body.
Often these are good for health,
though many are only useful as challenges.”
– TKV Desikachar

Further Reading – What is the Yoga of Krishnamacharya?

Observation must have a direction and be complete…

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“Observation must have a direction and be complete.
We always have a tendency to tell more than what we see,
which is a mistake.
If we tell somebody that they have a problem,
yet we know that we will not be able to give them a solution
because of a lack of time or any other reason,
maybe we are going to hurt them.
Therefore,
we should first make sure that we have a solution to offer.”
– TKV Desikachar 1981

The breath should be slow, smooth and powerful…

“The breath should be slow, smooth and powerful.
It should be held for 1”-2” after the inhale to prevent contraction.
Retention is also the extension of the hold after the exhale
and it is carried out to retain the state of contraction.
It is necessary to complete an exhale otherwise the inhale will get shorter.
Contraction of the stomach after the exhale will make it more effective.”
– TKV Desikachar England 1992

Using the breath in Āsana makes the Āsana adaptable…

“Using the breath in Āsana
makes the Āsana adaptable.
For example, by varying the
breath we can vary the effect.”
– TKV Desikachar England 1992

Here the word Citta is used rather than Manas…

“Here the word Citta is used rather than Manas.
Citta is not used in Chapter Two,
except with regard to Pratyāhāra in verse 54.
Otherwise the term Manas is used,
as in when the mind is automatically
pulled out by external forces.
Therefore for many of us mind is Manas.

Unless there is a shift from Manas to Citta,
it is not possible to do Dhāraṇā.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 1

TKV Desikachar Yoga Sūtra Study Quotes Collected and Collated
T Krishnamacharya Yoga Sūtra Study Quotes Collected and Collated