In Veda, Āyurveda and Yoga Sūtra, various techniques are offered to……


“In VedaĀyurveda and Yoga Sūtra, various techniques are offered to aid in healing the sick.
In addition to herbs and medicines, Patañjali suggests that ĀsanaPrāṇāyāma and Vairāgya
are particularly beneficial and, as any medicine, should be used with care and discipline.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 34

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Four 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 Four Practice: Practice Planning – Pages 45-68

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The greater the Śraddhā, the more meaning there is in the techniques such……


“The greater the Śraddhā, the more meaning there is in the techniques such as Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Dhyānam, Bhāvana and all the others. Without Śraddhā, these techniques have little effect on the state of the mind and the progress to Citta Vṛtti Nirodha.

However, sometimes some minor benefits that we get through Āsana or Prāṇāyāma practice, open up the Śraddhā within us. Śraddhā is within each of us but is covered. It could be any experience that uncovers it.”

– TKV Desikachar on Śraddhā in the Yoga Sūtra

A positive approach has a positive effect on the immune system……


Question to TKV Desikachar:
So we can consider then that the effect of Yoga is not seen to be directly on the symptom as in modern medicine, it appears from what you are saying it is more to do with the relationship with that problem.

At what level is the human system changing? Because there must be some change in order for that change to reach to the level of the symptom or to my relationship with the symptom. At what level of the human system do you think these changes are occurring at?

Response from TKV Desikachar:
I have asked this question to experts because one of my jobs is also to write about these things. I have asked people how does it happen. Positive attitudes they say produce positive things in your immune system. There are a lot of technical terms for that. Negative attitudes produces negative immune system. Attitudes influence how the immune system functions.

Somebody who is asthmatic who is so miserable who thinks she cannot do anything, when she starts she can do something, she is not so unfit, she can raise the arms, she can breath a little more than she thinks she can. When she gets confidence in herself she becomes more positive about herself, even the medicine she takes has a more positive effect as we have seen sometimes when people do Yoga with this affection, with this love, the need for medicine is reduced.

So I think from the scientific point of view a positive approach has a positive effect on the immune system and the rest is a question of time.

– Extract from Interview with TKV Desikachar by Paul Harvey in 2000
on ‘Science, Medical Conditions and Yoga as a Therapy’.

Prāṇāyāma is possible only after a reasonable mastery of Āsana.


“It (Prāṇāyāma) is possible only after a reasonable mastery of Āsana Practice.”
– Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 49 by TKV Desikachar 1987

So how can we establish a link between Nāḍī and Cakra?


“So how can we establish a link between what has been said about Nāḍī and Cakra
and the practice of Yoga?
What role does Yoga practice have here?”
– ‘Concerning the Cakra’ by TKV Desikachar

Patañjali has proposed 3 approaches to verify the indications……

Patañjali has proposed 3 approaches to verify the indications.
Tapas – Process of action
You will be doing something that you will not be habitually doing.
For example one day no salt, cigarettes, Prāṇāyāma.
Tapas is from the root to create thirst.
It means to deprive.
It will tell us about ourselves.
It will reveal our Saṃskāra and Pariṇāma or changes in ourselves.
From this Tapas we will start to get an indication of our individual nature.
For example active or lazy.
Tapas indicates the the beginning of the Bheda, through the Bhāva.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

A Prāṇāyāma Practice that was passed onto me many decades ago as……

A Prāṇāyāma Practice passed onto me many decades ago as a Pakkā (Pukka) teaching from Pattabhi Jois:
1. Inhale-Exhale Deeply – 5 Breaths
2. Inhale-Exhale Stop 20″ – 3 Breaths
3. Inhale Hold 30″ Exhale – 3 Breaths
4. Inhale-Exhale Deeply – 5 Breaths
5. Inhale Hold 20″ Exhale Stop 20″ – 2 Rounds N.S.
6. Inhale R Hold 20″ Exhale R Stop 20″ – 3 Breaths
7. Inhale L Hold 20″ Exhale L Stop 20″ – 3 Breaths
8. Inhale-Exhale Deeply – 5 Breaths
9. Bhastrika 50 breaths + 15″ Hold
10. Inhale-Exhale Deeply – 5 Breaths
11. Inhale R Hold 60″ Exhale L – 3 Breaths
12. Inhale L Hold 60″ Exhale R – 3 Breaths
13. Inhale Hold 60″ Exhale – 1 Round N.S.
14. Inhale-Exhale Deeply – 5 Breaths
15. Śītalī + 15″ Hold
16.  Inhale-Exhale Deeply 5 Breaths
Certainly a practice that fulfils the meaning of Pakkā (cooked, ripe, fully formed) in terms of intensity and length.

Of the Four Aspects of the Breath which is more important?


“Of the Four Aspects of the breath which is more important,
(such as) holding after inhalation by will and so on?”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

Mahā Mudrā – the great gesture, is a seated asymmetrical posture……

Mahā Mudrā – the great gesture, is a seated asymmetrical posture combining forward flexion of the trunk with straightening of the back. At the forefront of the boundary between the main types of Āsana and Prāṇāyāma, this Mudrā is the central pillar of his teaching of technique.”
Claude Marachel was a long serving and senior student of TKV Desikachar over 33 years from 1969-2002. This is an extract from Claude talking about what Desikachar told him about his father, Krishnamacharya.

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Haṭha Yoga is Prāṇāyāma.


Haṭha Yoga is Prāṇāyāma.”
– Śrī T Krishnamacharya