What is the Future of our Past within the spirit of Viniyoga…….

Today commemorates TKV Desikachar‘s eightieth birthday, the second to have passed since his death in August 2016. This day, coincidentally, also sees me travelling to the South of France for a 3 day gathering of most of his long term pupils from around the world.

Curiously this meeting comes to pass exactly twenty years after the last such meeting in June 1998 where some 16 students from 8 countries gathered in London with Desikachar to explore, as he put it:
“How to respect this tradition and at the same time, to live and teach in the present situation?”

This time again sees some 16 students gathering from 8 countries, though obviously the occasion of meeting without Desikachar’s physical presence will be strange. Yet I feel it will also offer an unique opportunity to salute that which links us and to reconnect with old friends and reaffirm where we find ourselves within the Yoga world today. Such as what is the future of our past within the spirit of Viniyoga?

Year Ending ’17 and Year Beginning ’18

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Once more another year has almost passed into history, for me becoming too many to want to count! However I am no longer so directly involved in the manic movements so often a part of this month.
My daughters are now both parenting their own off-spring with a six year old boy and two month old baby girl, whilst my son is still roaming abroad and currently in South America with his partner till next summer.

So these days Granpa can increasingly sit back a bit with the Xmas break offering moments to pause to reflect on what has passed this year, especially on what is deadwood to discard and what are seeds to hold onto for the next year. On that note along with my commitment to maintaining personal time and space in my monthly schedule for UK and Overseas students, for my ongoing work with individuals and small study groups, the behind the scenes needs for a continual review and refinement of the curation aspects of the ever accumulating Yoga practice and study resources have commanded my focus, time and energy.

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The Centre for Yoga Studies Journal Posts & Articles 2017 Revision

Seven Years have now passed since the Yoga Studies website was re-launched with a bringing together of a number of existing projects, along with the incorporation and correlation of a range of Yoga Study and Practice resources, all under one webrella.

Within this time it has been over two years since the Journal Blog aspect of the website has seen a Menu Category revision. Plus during this time the website has also developed or added:

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PDF Repository for Yoga Practice & Study Posts and Resources

The role of this post is to let readers know that there is now a single resource page where you can centrally access whatever PDF versions of the Yoga Studies posts are available from individual posts within the Journal section of the website. Links to existing PDF’s will gradually be correlated on this page from two primary fields, that of Yoga Practice and of Yoga Study.

“Yoga Practice is an essential part of Yoga Study.
Rather than Yoga Study being an essential part of Yoga Practice.”

Hopefully this will offer those interested a single point of reference to PDF versions of posts around the topics below. As I collate these resources the date at the bottom of the page will indicate the last update.
Meanwhile thank you for your interest.

Currently available group categories are listed below:

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Overview of the Application of Āsana Practice Techniques and Theory Modules

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Follow this link for details of Small Group Learning Art of Application of Āsana Study Workshop options
Follow this link for details of Online Personalised Learning Art of Application of Āsana Study options

The Module One Workshops and Module Two to Seven Courses are in depth studies through:

1. The Application of Āsana Module One Workshops – 10 hours
 over two days or 7.5 hours online study

  • Introduction to Āsana practice according to age
  • Introduction to Āsana practice according to health
  • Introduction to Āsana practice according to lifestyle
  • Introduction to Āsana practice according to energetic constitution
  • Introduction to Āsana practice according to psychological constitution
  • Introduction to definition, meaning and context of Āsana
  • Introduction to how Āsana are arranged into groups and sequences
  • Introduction to how counterpostures are used in Āsana practice
  • Introduction to how we breathe in Āsana practice
  • Introduction to why we move or stay in Āsana practice
  • Introduction to how we adapt our Āsana practice
  • Introduction to how we intelligently plan our Āsana practice

2. The Application of Āsana Module Two Courses – 20 hours 
over four days or 15 hours online study

  • Why and how we use Sequence Building in planning Āsana practices
  • Why and how we use Counterposes and Transitions in planning Āsana practices
  • In-depth exploration of Specific Primary Āsana Form, Function and Application

3. The Application of Āsana Module Three Courses – 20 hours
 over four days or 15 hours online study

  • Why and how we use Movement or Staying in planning Āsana practices
  • Why and how we use the Breath in planning Āsana practices
  • In-depth exploration of Specific Primary Āsana Form, Function and Application

4. The Application of Āsana Module Four Courses – 20 hours over four days or 15 hours online study

  • Why and how we use Variation and Modification in planning Āsana practices
  • Why and how we use Energetic and Psychological characteristics in planning Āsana practices
  • In-depth exploration of Specific Primary Āsana Form, Function and Application

5. The Application of Āsana Module Five Courses – 20 hours over four days or 15 hours online study

  • In-depth exploration of Observation in Āsana in planning Āsana practices
  • Why and how we use Observation in Āsana in planning Āsana practices
  • In-depth exploration of Specific Primary Āsana Form, Function and Application

6. The Application of Āsana Module Six Courses – 20 hours over four days

  • In-depth exploration of Specific Intermediate Āsana Form, Function and Application
  • Why and how we use Intermediate Āsana in planning Āsana practices

7. The Application of Āsana Module Seven Courses – 20 hours 
over four days

  • In-depth exploration of Specific Strong Āsana Form, Function and Application
  • Why and how we use Strong Āsana in planning Āsana practices
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We have lost a fine teacher and a Yoga master……

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This picture, taken 1979, with fond memories of early days with
TKV Desikachar and the KYM with co-founder AG Mohan and the faculty.

“Many years ago and not knowing my connection, a Yoga student commented around me “Don’t go to Desikachar, he has no charisma”. At the time, though saying nothing, I was reminded that this was for me an important facet around my appreciation of him, in that it was his ordinariness that I found engaging.

Furthermore, this quality was reflected throughout his life in terms of its simplicity in that it didn’t actually change over the decades that I visited and studied within lessons or spent personal time or travelled with him privately.

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As I sit within this time of passing and remembrance……

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TKV Desikachar 1938-2016

As I sit within this time of passing and remembrance it occurred to me that August 2016 exactly marks the 40th anniversary from the first time I met and worked with Desikachar in August 1976.

The setting was a small group of students, especially by todays seminar norms, amidst the august settings of Cambridge University at a week organised by a student of Desikachar from that era, Ian Rawlinson.

I remember the first moments of Desikachar coming onto a small platform in the room, a shy somewhat reticent person and asking us to show to him our personal Yoga practice, already not what we were expecting at our first meeting.

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TKV Desikachar has passed away from this life……..

TKV Desikachar

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

It is with profound sadness and a great personal sense of loss,
that I offer the news that TKV Desikachar has died this Sunday evening at 9.15pm London time on Sunday August 7th or 2.45am Monday August 8th Madras time.
With my prayers and deep condolences to his wife Menaka and family for the loss of the light and clarity he offered to all who had the privilege to have contact with him and his teachings.

Reflections by Paul around TKV Desikachar following his passing on August 8th 2016……..
As I sit within this time of passing and remembrance……
We have lost a fine teacher and a Yoga master……

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The Art of Sacred Chanting – Monthly Veda Mantra and Chant Saṅga

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The Art of Personal Sādhana aims to reflect the fundamentals of Śrī T Krishnamacharya teaching, namely transmission occurs through the direct experience of the teacher with the student’s personal Practice and Study Sādhana through 121 Lessons and Small Study Groups limited to a maximum of five students.

Monthly Group Veda Mantra Chanting Saṅga in the Cotswolds 2017-2018

As well as the Individual Lesson, Weekend Workshop and Longer Course intensive study options through:

A Free Monthly Veda Mantra Chant Class is offered in the Cotswolds as a support for all interested in exploring, learning and experiencing the ancient Art of Veda Mantra as a Sacred Sādhana.

Each monthly meeting will introduce the student to the primary principles and teachings from T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar on the Art of Sounding and authentic Veda Mantra Chanting.

Each meeting will focus on developing the principles of Veda Mantra Chanting and authentic Saṃskṛta Mantra practice through practical experience along with theory teaching on Chant and Saṃskṛta.

“Sound is something that takes you in the direction of its origin.”
– TKV Desikachar

Veda Mantra Chanting in small groups allows interested students from all backgrounds to practice with the added support of others and benefit from the group dynamic. Small group classes can also support developing or enhancing a personal practice.

“To share Chanting is to share an experience of silence through listening,
a process of healing, and a link with nature, the deeper self and the divine.”
– TKV Desikachar

The Art of Veda Mantra Chanting Class is limited to a maximum of five students to allow for a personalised approach, interactive teaching and in-depth transmission between student and teacher.

Meetings will be at Paul’s home studio, near Stroud, monthly on Wednesdays from 6.45 – 8.00pm.

Upcoming Dates. Please contact Paul to discuss dates and places.

The Monthly Veda Mantra Chanting Class is free and all are welcome to join, though a consistent commitment would be helpful for both student and teacher.

As the group will be limited to a maximum of five students please contact Paul to confirm a place is available. The meetings will be free and there will be no fee for the ongoing sessions.

2016 Spring Reflections on Time, Teaching and Transmission.

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I recently needed to renew all my ageing and failing lever arch files, giving me an opportunity to peruse and reflect on the contents accumulated from my decades of personal study with Desikachar. As well as sifting out any stuff that was superfluous, it was a reminder of how wide and deep my studies in Madras were. As per the shelves in the picture, my notes fell into two main groups, that of Personal Textual Study and that of Personal Yoga Practice.

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Aṣṭāṅgāsana – The eight limbs of Āsana Planning and Practice

With nearly 2000 Posts and Resources on the site I have been reflecting on how to expand the access points and yet simplify the reader experience for visitors. So I started by looking at the Blog Page by reviewing the broad topic categories and considering the need to re-organise the groupings as well as increasing the  range of related topics within the sub-groupings.

The first general topic in the Journal is that of Posts on Yoga Practice and its five main areas for study are:

Going deeper into these five aspects of practice I see that the first topic, that of Āsana & Kriyā Practice, now has some 500 posts in the one thread. Obviously a need for review here! So turning my attention to this I started to consider what would be a useful, yet appropriate way to sub-categorise the topics in this particular section.

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The Krishnamacharya methodology of melding the Application of Āyurveda with that of Yoga

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One other study area that I was privileged to be able to experience alongside my many visits to study Yoga Practice Techniques and Associated texts in Chennai with my teacher TKV Desikachar, within the intimacy and vitality of private lessons, was that of Āyurveda and its application within Yoga.

“In Āyurveda, it gives certain behaviour by which we can stay well.
If a person follows the following he will freer of sickness.
Regularly, systematically he eats, rests and exercises adequately.
Both in amount and quality. Food or Ahāra,
along with Vihāra – recreation, rest, exercise, other activities.”
– TKV Desikachar 

Thus during my many visits to India, between 1979 and 2002, my work in Yoga was complemented by the study of Āyurveda constitutional diagnosis and prognosis, along with Nādī Parīkṣā or pulse diagnosis and the application skills of Āyurveda, into Yoga practice and lifestyle, according to the teachings of T Krishnmacharya within Yoga Rakṣaṇa (lifestyle support) or Yoga Cikitsā (therapeutic recovery) situations.

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Yoga as Exercise, Exercise as Yoga……

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These past ten years have found me increasingly re-evaluating my work as a Yoga Teacher Trainer, within an ever widening proliferation and saturation of Yoga teacher training options, amidst accompanying concerns of competitive bar-lowering in teacher training programme course lengths and entry criteria.

This on-going re-evaluation has also sat within the ever widening debates, around the dilution/merging/hijacking/branding/re-labelling of Yoga and amidst multifarious claims as to the ‘origins’ within the oft used generic of Modern Postural Yoga. These debates and origin/ownership source arguments now exist not only within the West but even within its original home in the Indian sub-continent.

Adapting the form of Yoga is one thing.
Adapting the roots of Yoga another.
Better not to confuse the two when choosing.

Aside from this, at the heart of my concerns, amidst the backdrop of the increasing compromises I experienced in trying to ‘fit’ the methodology and process I learnt in India into the Western educational large group learning paradigms, was a wish to reflect even more studiously the 121 and small group teaching mediums that were the lifelong foundations of  T Krishnamacharya‘s and TKV Desikachar‘s work in Chennai.

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Paul’s cYs Blog Journal 2015 Revision

Paul’s cYs Blog Journal 2015 Revision

Five Years have now passed since the cYs website was re-launched with a bringing together of a number of existing projects, along with the creation and incorporation of new projects, all under one umbrella.

This re-launch incorporated existing and new projects into five different sections with:

  • A Yoga Freenotes section with Online Word by Word Yoga Sūtra, a searchable Glossary and Freenotes, with further texts and commentaries around Associated Yoga Texts

Since 2010 these past five years have seen the website accumulate:

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Candra is that which directs Prāṇa and Apāna in order to influence……

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Within the energetic processes in Haṭha Yoga the concept of Candra is that
which directs Prāṇa and Apāna in order to influence the activities of Sūrya.
These and other important concepts integral to the purpose of Haṭha Yoga form the
basis of the the Art of Haṭha Energetics Module One Personal Sādhana Study Workshop.

The implications of Krishnamacharya’s and Desikachar’s teachings on practice……

The implications of Krishnamacharya’s and Desikachar’s teachings on practice are:

Firstly –

we need to develop the twin aspects of learning Yoga practice techniques and Yoga practice theory through engaging in learning how to practice, rather than just learning what to practice.

This means learning to engage with the process of what it means to have a personal Yoga practice alongside engaging learning to study the theory of the component principles that underpin what constitutes creating and sustaining a personalised Yoga practice.

“Yoga must be adapted to an individuals needs, expectations and possibilities,
rather than adapting an individuals needs, expectations and possibilities to Yoga.”

These twin aspects of the arts of Yoga practice techniques and Yoga practice theory support our being able to independently and intelligently choose, adapt and ultimately self-develop and self-refine our personal Yoga Sādhana.

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The Art of Advanced Application of Āsana – Empower your Body Customising Āsana


Just putting the finishing touches to the Application of Āsana Module Two manual as I prepare to teach its contents for the four day Course for a small group starting this weekend. Currently running to 90 pages it complements the 60 page Application of Āsana Module One two day workshop manual.

These 150 pages of student training manuals sit within the Āsana section of the Arts of Yoga and Chant Practice Modular Programmes. The Āsana module sits within the five linked aspects of practice which, taken as a whole aim to reflect the Yoga practice and theory teachings of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar.

These five aspects of practice are the arts of Āsana, MudrāPrāṇāyāmaDhyāna, and Adhyayanam or Chanting. This approach to transmitting the teachings of Desikachar as individual threads arose from the choice to make a complete restructuring of all my training programmes, the first major overhaul in 25 years of teaching courses to students and especially training teachers within group class situations.

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Online Live Learning 121 eStudy Programme

121 Lessons

The aim is to reflect the fundamentals of Śrī Krishnamacharya’s teaching, namely, transmission occurs through the direct experience of the teacher with the students personal practice and study Sādhana.

Online Individualised Learning within a Personal Dialogue

Over the past decade, with the advent of online video technologies, I have found myself increasingly involved in virtual teaching situations with Yoga students and Yoga teachers. Here I have offered 121 video meetings to facilitate a personalised approach and in-depth transmission between teacher and student.

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Yoga Yatta – A chance to chat around your questions on Yoga

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I am receiving an increasing number of emails from around the globe regarding questions and requests for clarification around Yoga practice, theory and philosophy.

I talk more easily than I type and I also feel direct contact and dialogue is much more preferable to a keyboard based to’ing and fro’ing of views, opinions or questions.

Also we live increasingly in an age where direct face to face, albeit via screen and speaker, contact is possible through media such as Skype, FaceTime, WebEx, etc.

Hence I am proposing an offering of time and space using modern media to engage in a direct dialogue with your questions or requests for clarification with those interested.

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Yoga as a Therapy for Different Levels of Being……

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‘Yoga as a Therapy for Different Levels of Being’

As a support for those attending the Two Days in Israel, hosted by the Israeli Yoga Teachers Association I am posting links below to recent articles around the topic of Yoga as a Therapy within Modern Yoga:

December 1st 2014
‘This approach is known as the Yoga of Rejuvenation and Prevention……’

December 3rd 2014 –
‘It is interesting that in this current boom of Yoga Vogueing there are two distinct camps emerging……’

December 7th 2014
‘There is an increasing tendency in terms of modern Yoga therapy application strategies……’

December 17th 2014
‘What is healthy for the Heart of Yoga?’

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The Healthcare Yoga Programme – Fitness – Well Being – Recovery

Personal Yoga Lessons can be offered whether for Fitness, Well Being or Recovery

Private lessons can be for anybody in any situation or life phase, though those with specific interests or needs 
will find the advantages of working individually more beneficial than group classes.

Furthermore certain situations may better suited to individual Yoga Lessons and require practices and advice customised and developed for home use within the privacy of a personal context.

Thus whatever your situation 121 lessons mean Yoga can be customised to meet your needs as a:

  • Developmental Practice for Personal Pursuits of body, breath or mind, or
  • Constitutional Practice for Lifestyle Support in sustaining health, energy and vitality, or
  • Therapeutic Practice within Recovery from illness, disease or unhelpful lifestyle consequences
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The Art of the Application of Yoga within Personal Lessons

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Who are Individual Yoga Lessons for Tuition or Therapy for?

Private lessons can be for anybody in any situation or life phase, though those with specific interests or needs 
will find the advantages of working individually more beneficial than group classes.

Furthermore certain situations may better suited to individual Yoga Lessons and require practices and advice customised and developed for home use within the privacy of a personal context.

Whether interested in learning Yoga as a: 

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What is the relationship between Yoga training as a Student or as a Teacher?

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What is the relationship between training as a Yoga Student and training as a Yoga Teacher?

Firstly –

The Yoga Studies Programme offers a comprehensive range of Personal Workshop and Course Modules for groups of around 4 students, totalling over 600 contact hours. The Modular Programme falls into the two groups, the Yoga Practice Techniques and Practice Theory Modules offer 300 contact hours study and the Associated Yoga and Lifestyle Texts Modules offer a further 300 contact hours study.

The 600 contact hours studying Yoga Practice Techniques and Theory or Associated Yoga and Lifestyle Texts can be undertaken purely as a student, without any obligation or need to simultaneously train as a Yoga teacher.

Each modular series, whether in the field of Study of Yoga Practice Techniques and Theory or Associated Yoga and Lifestyle Texts, is complete in itself and designed for Yoga students from any background or approach interested in exploring Yoga practice and textual study in small groups of around 4 students for personal development now, or if relevant in the future, professional needs.

“Training to learn how to teach Yoga is not the same as training to learn how to practice & study Yoga.”

This is unusual these days, as normally to access such a breadth and depth of Yoga training material a student would need to be a participant within a Yoga Teacher Training Course.

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What are the Primary Areas for Study of Yoga Practice Techniques……

What are the Primary Areas for Study of Yoga Practice Techniques and Yoga Practice Theory?

As a student we need to consider the five fundamental practice areas that need to be prioritised and developed according to the teachings of Krishnamacharya.
These are the practice of:

  • Āsana or general postures
  • Mudrā or special postures
  • Prāṇāyāma or seated breathing
  • Dhyānam or seated meditation
  • Chanting for learning or as a meditational practice.
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Extract from Module One Yoga Sūtra Study Workshop

Yoga Teachings on Emotions, Mind, Body and Energy

Chapter One has 51 Sūtra and is called SAMĀDHI PĀDAḤ or the Path to Integrating the Psyche.

This first chapter introduces the psyche, its activities, practices required for change and the possibilities for practice according to the inherent abilities of the practitioner. This chapter is for a student who already has a quality of a Samāhīta Citta or a stable psyche.

– Primary concepts in the Yoga Sūtra Chapter One

Theme One verses 1-11 – Cit and Citta

  • v1-4 – Definition and Purpose of Yoga
  • v5 – 11 – Activities of the Citta or Psyche

Theme Two verses 12-22 – Jñāna and Śraddhā

  • v12 – 19 – Meditation or Dhyānam as Jñāna Yoga
  • v20 – 22 – The role of Śraddhā

Theme Three verses 23-39 – Bhakti and Eka Tattva

  • v23 – 31 – Meditation or Dhyānam as Bhakti Yoga
  • v32 – 39 – Short Term Meditational Strategies

Theme Four verses 40-51 – Sabīja and Nirbīja Samādhi

  • v40 – 46 – Refinement of Dhyānam
  • v47 – 51 – Final Steps
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