“Contact with breath
is contact with life.”
– TKV Desikachar
“The practices dealing with the body and the
breath are known as Āsana and Prāṇāyāma.
They are interlinked, in Āsana the body is
the focus and the breath serves this focus.
In Prāṇāyāma the regulation of the breath is the focus,
the body is prepared adequately via Āsana for this
regulation to materialise without any resistance.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras 1996
“Krishnamacharya’s understanding of Cikitsā
or Yoga therapy and the arrangement and
sequencing of postures, along with modifying
the posture and using different breathing
patterns, plus the use of sound and different
Bhāvana or mental foci was profound.
This allowed for many possibilities to be
offered, for a great number of students
with problems, from a range of relatively
few postures and breathing techniques.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras 1996
“Prāṇāyāma must be properly instructed.
The posture used, seated erect for example,
is also important.
The duration and regularity in terms of time
is also as important as proper instructions.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 34
“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
Question to T Krishnamacharya:
How necessary is Yoga in these modern times?
“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.”
“For curing an illness,
Prāṇāyāma practice of at least 24 breaths
should be done several times each day
– ideally eight times.
All other unnecessary physical activities should be curtailed.
Food should be limited to liquids – primarily milk;
and hot, dry foods avoided.
Breathing practice should be done without the aid of any tools or instruments.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 34
“The number of times you say OM on inhalation, holding the breath,
and exhalation is influenced by the length of the breath.
We cannot fix the number of recitations on the basis of the Praṇava itself.
We can only fix it on the basis of a person’s capacity of breath.
If you are simply using OM, it can go with almost any ratio.
If you are using something more complex, say Gāyatrī Mantra,
it is very long and has different structures so there are regulations on
how many times you say it when you inhale, hold the breath, and exhale,
and in what part of the Mantra you can break, etc.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 238-239
‘Religiousness in Yoga: Lectures on Theory and Practice’ by the University Press of America,
a transcript of recordings of a one month Yoga Programme in Colgate University in 1976, published in 1980.
Unlike the later redacted edition, re-published in 1995 as the ‘Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice’, it captures the evolution of the retreat with the days lectures and Q & A dialogues as they alternated between ‘lectures on the principles and purposes of Yoga and discussions related to the practice of Yoga with special reference to the postures and the breathing techniques’.
TKV Desikachar, in his forward to the original version wrote:
“These lectures and discussions, printed words put before persons I might never meet,
are but reflections of that deeper result that grew out of a living face-to-face encounter.
Coming to learn of Yoga only through reading leaves much to be desired.
Yet, something worthwhile about Yoga might be shared through the medium of the printed word.”
A chapter by chapter Study guide is offered below with added verse and word cross-references where possible to support a a deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.
Chapter Fourteen Practice: The Concept, Preparation and Techniques of Bandha
– Pages 195-205
“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
“As Uḍḍīyāna Bandha is done on holding the breath after exhalation,
one of the most important requirements
is that we are able to do a long holding of the breath
without sacrificing the quality of the inhalation and exhalation.
If this is not possible we should forget about Bandha for the time being.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘The Concept, Preparation and Techniques of Bandha’
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Fourteen Page 197