Q: How necessary is Yoga in these modern times?

Question to T Krishnamacharya:
How necessary is Yoga in these modern times?
Krishnamacharya’s Response:
“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.”

If engaging therapeutically, firstly examine the gait of the breath……

“If engaging therapeutically, firstly
examine the gait of the breath
and the power of the body.
Otherwise it will not bestow fruits.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
the Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 85

Prāṇāyāma done along with Mantra yields fruits…..

According to one’s capability and reference,
Prāṇāyāma done along with Mantra yields fruits
in the treatment of all kinds of diseases.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
the Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 84

Owing to differences in the body structure, all Āsana are not meant for everybody.

“There are different body structures,
therefore not all Āsana are enjoined.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
the Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 31

While it is used as a metaphor that the Kuṇḍalinī is going up, really, it does not make sense……

“While it is used as a metaphor that the Kuṇḍalinī
is going up, really, it does not make sense.
If we say that Kuṇḍalinī is an energy that gives us truth,
then we have to a accept the fact that we have
two energies in life, Prāṇa and Kuṇḍalinī.
Some also say that energy is sleeping.
What is meant by this?

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The terms Ha and Ṭha also represent two extreme sides of a wavering mind……

“The terms Ha and Ṭha also represent
two extreme sides of a wavering mind.
Ha often is meant to represent the sun, Ṭha the moon.
Suṣumṇā in the middle Nāḍī.
Prāṇa in the Ha and Ṭha represents
a confused and wavering mind.
Prāṇa in the  Suṣumṇā represents a clear, steady mind.
Hence, Jñāni is one whose Prāṇa is in Suṣumṇā
and Ajñāni is one whose Prāṇa is still
in the opposite two Nāḍī, Ha and Ṭha.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 246-247

The obstacle is also called Kuṇḍalinī because it looks like an earring……

“The obstacle is also called Kuṇḍalinī because it looks like an earring
worn by women in the olden days and Kuṇḍali means ‘earring’.
It is also called Śakti because its power is so great that
it is able to block the flow of Prāṇa into the Suṣumṇā.
We must note that it is Prāṇa that is eventually
supposed to go into the Suṣumṇā.
Many books describe that which goes up as Kuṇḍalinī.
Kuṇḍalinī does not go up.
Suṣumṇā is like a conductor through which energy flows.
This energy is the same energy that is always present, Prāṇa.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 243-244

Some people describe that Kuṇḍalinī  goes through the Suṣumṇā……

Question to T Krishnamacharya –

Q: Some people describe that Kuṇḍalinī
goes through the Suṣumṇā
to the Sahasrāra.
Is this correct?
A: No, it is the Prāṇa Vāyu that
moves through the Suṣumṇā.
Śrī Krishnamacharya – The Pūrnācārya
– published by the KYM in 1997

Uḍḍīyāna Bandha is a pre-requisite for the other two Bandha…….

Uḍḍīyāna Bandha is a pre-requisite for
the other two Bandha, Jālandhara and Mūla.
From the practice of Uḍḍīyāna Bandha
the Nāḍī and Cakra become purified and strengthened.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
the Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 67

Śīrṣāsana as a Viparīta Karaṇī Mudrā

sirsasana

Śīrṣāsana as a Viparīta Karaṇī Mudrā

This day, for so long TKV Desikachar‘s birthday, is the first since his death last August.
In memorium is the article below:

“In the scheme of Haṭha Yoga where the harnessing and channelising of one’s life energy is the goal, the Viparīta Karaṇī Mudrā occupies a special place.
A person’s full potential is realised when this energy moves to the top of the head.
There are various techniques that the ancient seers had formalised to remove the obstacles in the path of this energy and to aid its movement.
All these techniques culminated the Viparīta Karaṇī Mudrā, the principle of inversion,
one form of which is Śīrṣāsana.

TKV Desikachar explains this concept starting with the most basic requirements of the practice and moving step by step through the various techniques, all of which are used in  Śīrṣāsana.”

Originally published by the KYM Darśanam February 1994

Download or view this article as a PDF

Introduction to the Yoga Makaranda by TKV Desikachar

tkv_tk_3_1980

Introduction to the Yoga Makaranda by TKV Desikachar

Extract from the issue of KYM Darśanam published in November 1993,
it was written by TKV Desikachar as an introduction to a serialisation of the Yoga Makaranda
which ran over 10 issues of the magazine until February 1996.

“I would like to bring to the notice some important aspects of this book to help understand the context in which it was written and to avoid misinterpretation.

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The force called Śakti or Kuṇḍalinī is indeed Prāṇa……

prana

“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.

Whilst Prāṇa circulates in us, we live, and when it goes, we die.

prana

“Each time we wish to understand a system whatever it is, we need a structure. What applies to modern science already applied to the ancient yogic sages when they were concerning themselves with the human system.

The method of the ancients was to reflect, to meditate and to attempt to find clear replies to their questions. They tried to give a form to what they wanted to understand, corresponding to what they already understood. In this way of proceeding, they did not differ from the sages of the ancient medical science of Āyurveda who also tried to understand the human organism in a particular way, nor from the doctor philosophers of ancient China.

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The position of a particular posture in an Āsana practice will change……

“The position of a particular posture in an Āsana practice will change its effect
and will influence a particular part of the body.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

It is beyond our conscious effort to move the Prāṇa.

“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…..

“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

The practice of Prāṇāyāma is to confine more and more Prāṇa within our bodies.

jalandhara_bandha

“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 effect upon Prāṇa will not be as much as in Prāṇāyāma

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“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

We normally practice Ujjāyī for a long time before introducing Nāḍī Śodhana Prāṇāyāma.

seated_pranayama_2

“We normally practice Ujjāyī for a long time before introducing Nāḍī Śodhana Prāṇāyāma.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Nine Page 121

Mudrā practice is important since it assists the 10 Prāṇa to move freely in the Nāḍī.

maha_mudra

Mudrā practice is important since it assists the ten Prāṇa to move freely in the Nāḍī.”
– T Krishnamacharya introducing Chapter Three in the Gheraṇḍa Saṃhitā