“The quality of our breath expresses our inner feelings.”
– TKV Desikachar
“If I had a student I would give more respect to the exhalation.
The course would be based on the observation of the exhalation in Prāṇāyāma and Āsana.
This would give the type of Prāṇāyāma and for which Āsana.
One should see what is the response of the exhalation in the posture or when sitting.
When fixing Prāṇāyāma, even if you are reducing the length of the exhalation,
if any problem then the cycle should be completely changed.
One must give respect to the exhalation.
One can get an idea by the position of the stomach.
One should keep 2/3″ in hand on inhalation and exhalation.”
– TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978
“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
“The purpose of Āsana and Prāṇāyāma are twofold,
to reduce symptoms of ill-health or,
to prepare the mind towards fulfilling the main emphasis of Patañjali,
which is Meditation.
However according to the teaching I have received,
both of these roles can be fulfilled with
relatively few Āsana postures and Prāṇāyāma techniques.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras 1996
“Then he has certain ideas also about Kuṇḍalinī.
The force is Prāṇa,
the force called Śakti or Kuṇḍalinī is indeed Prāṇa.
The only means that can have any effect is the use of Prāṇāyāma,
with emphasis on exhalation and the Bandha,
aided by devotional chantings.
And the evolution of Kuṇḍalinī is very much linked to the person’s state of mind and Vairāgya.”
– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.
“We start our practice where we are and look toward a certain goal.
Then we choose the steps that will lead us toward realising that goal
and will gradually bring us back into our everyday life,
but our daily practice does not return us to the exact place we started.
The practice has changed us.”
– TKV Desikachar
“Can these four Yoga Aṅga – Yama, Niyama, Āsana, Prāṇāyāma
– be practiced by everyone at every stage of life?
How often and how long should one practice?
How can we adapt our practice to changing circumstances?
These questions and others like them must be answered by a competent teacher,
according to each student’s individual circumstances.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 30
‘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 Twelve Practice: Choosing a Ratio and the Proper Technique for Prāṇāyāma
– Pages 163-177
“The choice of a proper ratio involves two things,
what can be done and what should be done.
What can be done involves a given person’s capacity
to inhale, hold the breath, exhale and hold the breath.
What should be done involves
our direction of movement, our aim, our need.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘Choosing a Ratio and the proper technique for Prāṇāyāma’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Twelve Page 163
“One important thing is food.
Different combinations have different effects on the body.
When we work with Āsana and Prāṇāyāma we need to consider which foods to take.
Your mind is according to your food.
The type of food you take influences your mind.
The subject is vast.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983
“There is another practical thing, it is like what we call Vinyāsa.
At different times, he (Krishnamacharya) has said that any teaching must have the following conditions:
First, from where is the student coming? What is called Deśa. Is he from America, or is he from North India? Teaching must consider whether the person is from one country or another.
“Kumbhaka is the continuation of a specific movement that preceded it.”
– TKV Desikachar December 1987