A short end of study day 25′ evening practice from the first day of three day Practitioner Training Programme Module. Here the primary Bhāvana or theme was to offer a practice to conclude what would have been a long day with both study and travelling to the venue that morning from various parts of the country.
“It is not essential to work in the firm order of exhale, inhale, holds.
However the exhale should come first,
then you can emphasise the inhale or holds, whichever suits the person or situation.
If the exhale is disturbed you must be careful.
Always start the use of the ratio from the exhale.
Based on the reaction you can play with the inhale and holds.
Never sacrifice the quality of the exhale.
Sometimes the length of the exhale can be sacrificed, but not the quality.
One can refer to Yoga Sūtra I 34 to show that the exhalation should come first.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar
It seems that with ‘Modern Postural Yoga’
the perception of ‘advanced’ practice is based
around physical appearance and artistic performance,
as exemplified by Āsana;
over psychological efforts and cultivation of inner skills,
as exemplified by Prāṇāyāma and Dhyānam.
Link to Series: 108 Yoga Practice Pointers
“Prāṇāyāma leads to this.
Pratyāhāra, to see without the senses distracting or pulling the mind,
and Dhāraṇā, to see without the mind losing itself,
because of colouring or expectations.
Dhyānam arises out of this.”
– TKV Desikachar
to see without the senses
distracting or pulling the mind,”
– TKV Desikachar
“Dhyānam is not Naimityakam –
something that is done once in a while.
It is a regular practice, almost a ritual.
One must prepare for this ritual every day.
There is nothing better than Prāṇāyāma for this preparation.”
– TKV Desikachar commentary on Dhyānamālikā Śloka 14
“We cannot say that this Āsana or this Prāṇāyāma can be given for this disease.”
– T Krishnamacharya 1984
”If a person can’t exhale from the lower abdomen
then you can be sure their Mūla is gone.”
– T Krishnamacharya
Question to TKV Desikachar:
“How is Āyurveda linked to Cikitsā or the therapeutic application of Yoga?”
TKV Desikachar Response:
“There is a lot of difference. As far as Yoga is concerned, we are concerned with the personality of the person, the mental aspect and the higher aspirations of the student.
That is why Yoga has a lot to offer. For the body Āyurveda is the solution. A good combination would be Āyurveda and Yoga.
My father used to do that. He would teach Āsana practice, or Prāṇāyāma or meditation and he would talk about diet and he would also give some Āyurveda medicine.
He was treating not only the body but the whole person with the help of this great combination.”
– Extract from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.
”Use Samavṛtti in Prāṇāyāma to reduce the power of Rajas and Tamas.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Five verse 27
“Śikṣaṇa Krama – do something perfectly or correctly.
Anything is taught to achieve perfection in the practice of Āsana and Prāṇāyāma.
In other words teaching children and healthy people where you can take risks with no problems.
Not a valid approach for groups.
We need to use intelligence and Viveka,
not follow the idea of no pain, no gain to become painless,
or to get to a point without suffering.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983
“Āsana and Prāṇāyāma can, according to the Yoga Sūtra,
create a condition where the mind is fit for Dhāraṇā.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 156
“If we are completely absorbed in the breath in Prāṇāyāma,
automatically there is Pratyāhāra.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 153
‘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 10 Theory: Prāṇāyāma – Pages 133-144
“It is beyond our conscious effort to move the Prāṇa.
What is within our conscious effort is the breath,
so we use the breath to make this movement possible.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 142
“Nobody can control the Prāṇa,
it has its own movement.
We create a condition in which the Prāṇa returns.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 141
“What we are trying to do in the practice of Prāṇāyāma
is to confine more and more Prāṇa within our bodies.
When Prāṇa is not able to enter our bodies,
it is because something is there that should not be.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 136
“The Yoga Sūtra says that as we practice Prāṇāyāma,
more and more of the covering of the mind,
Avidyā, is removed and there is clarity.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 137
“However, in Āsana attention is divided between the breath and the body movement.
In Āsana we use the breath as the medium of movement to affect the body.
Since our attention is divided between body and breath,
the effect upon Prāṇa will not be as much as in Prāṇāyāma.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 138