Āsana offers a purpose more than just physical……

Āsana offers a purpose more than just physical.
Āsana offers a link of the mind to the physical.
Āsana introduces the concept of Dhyāna as a practice.
Āsana seeks to minimise the Saṃskāra
or habitual patterns which dull the mind.
In doing so it seeks to increase our sensitivity to ourselves,
what is around us and its corresponding influences,
and to what sustains us.”
– TKV Desikachar

Question to Krishnamacharya – “Can you explain the concept of Vinyāsa and Pratikriyā Āsana?”


Question to T Krishnamacharya:
“Can you explain the concept of Vinyāsa and Pratikriyā Āsana?”

“The question asked relates to Yoga and not to Vidyā Abhyāsa. There is no Āsana without Vinyāsa. Yoga is an experience, Āsana is the third of the eight limbs of Yoga and it is also important to pay attention to first two limbs, namely Yama and Niyama.

One who wishes to enquire into and understand Vinyāsa should first know what is Āsana. According to Patañjali Yoga Sūtra, Āsana is defined as “Sthira Sukham Āsanam“.

Sthira – Namely firm and without disease and Sukham – pleasant and comfortable. To be in Sukham state, all parts of the body should be in perfect harmony. This is true for all, whether one is a man, woman, deaf, mute, blind or even for animals. Any action that disturbs this state of harmony should be followed by a Pratikriyā to restore the harmony. One cannot but accept this principle.

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For Yoga Teachers it is important to understand……

“For Yoga Teachers it is
important to understand
the movement of the mind
as well as of the body.”
TKV Desikachar on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

Even with my students they teach a posture because it has been……

“Even with my students they teach a posture
because it has been taught to them.
Like a rubber stamp.
This is not Viniyoga.
People have rigid ideas.
For example, why Cakravākāsana for this lady
after Śīrṣāsana, whereas something else,
say Mahāmudrā for somebody else.
So it does not follow what is good for me
is good for everybody.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

There are simple postures for Prāṇāyāma and Dhyāna……

“There are simple postures for Prāṇāyāma and Dhyāna,
so that we can relax in the body and not be distracted by it.
There are challenging postures,
to enable us to master our bodies and for young people who
will be engaged by the performance aspect of the posture.
There are also corrective postures.”
– TKV Desikachar England 1992

The teacher decides which of the Tri Krama is the……

“The teacher decides which of the Tri Krama is the best for the student:
Śikṣaṇa Krama requires a perfect knowing to transmit a strict practice,
without any compromise, as it should be in Vedic chanting for example.
Rakṣaṇa Krama is aimed at protection and preservation;
it promotes continuity in any levels like health, abilities, knowledge, etc.
Cikitsā Krama looks for adaptation, healing, recovering…”
TKV Desikachar speaking with his senior Western students London 1998

Q: How necessary is Yoga in these modern times?

Question to T Krishnamacharya:
How necessary is Yoga in these modern times?
Krishnamacharya’s Response:
“For the strengthening of the Aṅga,
Yoga Āsana practiced with long
inhalation and exhalation is important.
To reduce the disturbances of the mind,
to gain mental strength and to increase longevity,
Prāṇāyāma is necessary.”

Mano Bandha is Dhyānam……

“Just as Mūla BandhaUḍḍīyāna Bandha,
Jālandhara Bandha and Jivha Bandha
are very important for Prāṇāyāma,
Mano Bandha is very important for Dhyānam.
Mano Bandha is Dhyānam.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Dhyānam

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.

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

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

People often ask me if I teach Āsana……

“People often ask me if I teach Āsana.
When I say “Yes, I do.” they say,
“Oh you are a Haṭha Yogi.”
If I talk about the Yoga Sūtra
they say, “You are a Rāja Yogi.”
If I say I am chanting the Veda,
they say, “You are a Mantra Yogi.”
If I say I just practice Yoga,
they can’t understand.
They want to put a label on me.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 247-248

Don’t go on doing a lot of postures……

“Don’t go on doing a lot of postures; if you do,
I think the meaning in Yoga will be lost.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 238

Many people have this problem of maintaining attention during practice……

“Many people have this problem of maintaining attention during the practice.
You can place your attention on a particular part of the body
but there must be something happening, a movement.
Thats why the best movement is the breath.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 237

Whenever we look at an Āsana we must look at two sides……

“Whenever we look at an Āsana
we must look at two sides:
1. What is involved in the Āsana
2. Who is doing the Āsana
– TKV Desikachar 1984

Different Yoga practices are meant to prepare a person towards Dhyānam.

“Different Yoga practices are meant to prepare a person towards Dhyānam.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 21

We cannot escape the need for adaptation……

“We cannot escape the need for adaptation.
Adaptation is the application of certain principles,
to achieve certain results.
It implies:
– Knowing where the person is now.
– Knowing where we want them to go.
Adaptation is the means used to bridge this gap.”
– TKV Desikachar 1981

Another simple posture for Bandha is Adho Mukha Śvanāsana……

“Another simple posture is Adho Mukha Śvan Āsana.
The next step is to try them in some sitting postures such as Mahā Mudrā.
These Bandha can also be done in the headstand.
It is easy to do Bandha in this position because the lifting,
Uḍḍīyana Bandha, and holding up, Mūla Bandha,
of Apāna to the flame is almost automatic
because now the Apāna is above the flame.
If we can do the three Bandha in these postures,
we are ready to introduce them in our Prāṇāyāma.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘The Concept, Preparation and Techniques of Bandha’
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Fourteen Page 197

We must begin to do these Bandha in some simple postures……

“We must begin to do these Bandha in some
simple postures so our bodies can get used to them.
The easiest posture is to lie flat on the back.
We call this Taḍāka Mudrā when we
do Uḍḍīyana Bandha in this position.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘The Concept, Preparation and Techniques of Bandha’
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Fourteen Page 197