Know the Breath from the feelings in the Āsana……

seated_pranayama_2

1. Know the Breath from the feelings in the Āsana.
2. Choose a ratio close to that used in Āsana.
3. Choose a technique to suit the day.
4. Choose a proper posture for the spine.
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

The power of the breath……

prana

“The power of the breath,
the power of the senses and
physical strength of the body are each distinct properties.
They should not work against each other
but rather contribute to each others well being.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 30

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Twelve Practice

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

‘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

read more

The choice of a proper ratio involves two things……

seated_pranayama_2

“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 inhalehold 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

If we direct the mind onto one part of the breath, then the mind……

prana

“If we direct the mind onto one part of the breath,
then the mind affects the other parts of the breath.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

If we relate to part of the breath we are related to all of the breath.

“If we relate to part of the breath,
we are related to all of the breath.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

One important thing is food……

annam

“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 are many postures to suit a variety of different body types…..

“There are many postures to suit a variety of different body types.
Āsana practice is to prepare the body, to sit for Prāṇāyāma.
Āsana also helps to get rid of impurities
so that it is possible to do something deeper, inside the mind.”
– TKV Desikachar England 1992

Principles behind why Krishnamacharya only taught adults 121……

tkv_tk_3_1980

“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.

read more

By observing how the breath responds in Āsana……

“By observing how the breath responds in Āsana i.e.
Forward Bends.
Backward Bends.
Lying Postures.
Inverted Postures.
Twist Poses.
As to whether there is a better quality in either inhalation or exhalation,
one can decide how to proceed in Prāṇāyāma.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

According to Krishnamacharya, one who has not mastered the Bāhya Kumbhaka……

bahya kumbhaka

“According to Krishnamacharya,
one who has not mastered the Bāhya Kumbhaka,
has not mastered the breath.”
– TKV Desikachar 1988

Kumbhaka is the continuation of a specific movement that……

kumbhaka

Kumbhaka is the continuation of a specific movement that preceded it.”
– TKV Desikachar December 1987

A person who does not have a conscious feeling of the Recaka and……

kumbhaka

“A person who does not have a conscious feeling of the Recaka and Pūraka
should not go into Kumbhaka.”
– TKV Desikachar December 1987

What interests you most in Āsana?……

TKV_5

Three questions given by Desikachar in a retreat in 1978

“1. What interests you most in Āsana?
2. What distinguishes Āsana from Prāṇāyāma?
3. What is hard to teach? Āsana and/or Prāṇāyāma, or something else?”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

Where do Āsana lead us?……

“Where do Āsana lead us?
1. For seated practices. (Adhyātmika – Concerning our essence)
To stay in a stable position with the spine erect for Dhyāna or preparation for Dhyāna.
2.  For health. (Cikitsā – Therapeutics)
They do something for the energy flow of the body.
3. Ability to master the body. (Śakti – Power)
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.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar

One should practice and inquire into the effects of the practice…….

One should practice and inquire into the effects

“One should practice and
inquire into the effects of the practice
as well as the practice.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

Who is competent to teach Yoga and what are the responsibilities?

Picture courtesy of TKV Desikachar

Question to T Krishnamacharya:
Who is competent to teach Yoga and what are the responsibilities involved?

“Competence requires a deep study of the texts (Śāstra) and
also taking all of one’s duties and responsibilities seriously (Svadharma).”

The aim in Yoga is to train ourselves so that we can modify inhalation or exhalation……

seated_pranayama_2

“The aim in Yoga is to train ourselves so that we can modify
inhalation or exhalation and hold the breath to meet a demand.
That is why we develop different ratios.
If these things can be done,
and if we need a particular ratio,
it is in our pocket.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘Choosing a Ratio and the proper technique for Prāṇāyāma’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Twelve Page 173

Slow and regulated breathing are also helpful techniques to quieten……

seated_pranayama_2

“Slow and regulated breathing using special techniques
to lengthen the the inhale and exhale processes
are also helpful techniques to quieten the disturbed mind
and reduce the unpleasant consequences of this state.
Along with these breathing techniques examination of food habits
and changing them to suit is also a must.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 34

Our goals are not always to strive for what we cannot do.

seated_pranayama_2

“Our goals are not always to strive for what we cannot do.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘Choosing a Ratio and the proper technique for Prāṇāyāma’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Twelve Page 171