“Āsana alone can be a support for our outer relationship with living.
However can Āsana alone be a support for our inner relationship with dying?
Especially as our conception of death is buried deep within our psyche.
This is why Yoga offers vehicles beyond Āsana for the inner and especially final journey.”
“One could say, of course,
that I have taught Yoga to hundreds of people,
of different ages, states, origins,
but by Yoga I mean only postures and breath control,
and do not count meditation or interpretation of the texts.
These I have only taught to a few people and
only to those I deemed worthy after several interviews,
designed to give me an idea of their personality
and the firmness of their intentions.
I discouraged those who appeared to have superficial reasons for learning Yoga,
but never those who came to find me because of health problems and
who had frequently been turned away by the medical profession.”
– From interviews with T Krishnamacharya by Sarah Dars,
published in Viniyoga Review no 24, December 1989
“The more you teach,
the more you must practice.”
– TKV Desikachar
“We always have the potential for the state of Samādhi
but somehow something comes between us and that state.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘The Antaraṅga Sādhana, Saṃyama and Kaivalya’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Thirteen Page 181
Response from TKV Desikachar on attempts being made to link Yoga to specific diseases
“We have to examine many factors to see what is the origin of what is known as a symptom and according to that we have to propose for this condition some Yoga which is not just Āsana.
Yoga is a process which makes me understand how my mind is functioning and then reduces the turbulence of mind, any technique that helps this helps the person. We are reaching the human being through the mind; we are reaching the sickness through interaction at the mental level, with different tools of course.
This is why it is a challenge for Yoga.”
We can approach these three concepts and the question of their relationship with practice from a chronological and within that, a psychological viewpoint. According to the Yoga teachings from T Krishnamacharya there are three chronological and accompanying psychological stages of life, or Tri Krama.
1. The first Krama is the stage of growth and expansion known as Sṛṣṭi Krama. Here, chronologically, the starting point is the age from which people traditionally began the Āsana aspect of Yoga practice.
Our Yoga practice needs to evolve,
amongst other longer term unfoldings,
towards a live-in personalised relationship,
rather than just a go-out group class affair.
“Contemplate the Source of the Breath.”
In exploring the principles that underpin the practice of Āsana the first idea to consider is that our practice is not just another form of exercise. Yoga Āsana are more than just physical postures or exercises to stretch and tone the body, or enhance our sense of personalised well-being. From within its Haṭha roots the concern of Yoga is our relationship with the force which is behind our movements and its source that initiates our every action.
Further the different practice elements that constitute a mature Yoga practice are not separate compartments. They are linked through the principles underpinning them. For example a respiratory competence learnt through the practice of Āsana facilitates progress within the seated practice of Prāṇāyāma. An enduring stable posture learnt through the practice of Prāṇāyāma supports the cultivation the meditative attitude inherent in progress towards Dhyāna or meditation.
“If you are not in a hurry
you will enjoy the process.”
– TKV Desikachar
“Many years ago my father said that Yoga is a simple system that does not require any equipment.
One only requires some floor space!”
– TKV Desikachar