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 the year end. My daughters are now both parenting their own children with a seven year old boy and a fourteen month old baby girl. Plus this year we are joined by my son returning/visiting after two years roaming North America from a Canadian base, followed by this past year travelling throughout South America.
So these days, with my kids directing the Xmas show, Granpa can sit back from the details and embrace the break with its offering of space to pause and reflect on what has passed this year. Time to root out what is now deadwood to discard and what are potential seeds to hold onto for planting in the 2019 Yoga garden.
Regarding seeds I feel are important to hold onto, my Dharma commitment will continue to honour that which remained at the heart of Krishnamacharya’s and Desikachar’s priorities throughout their lives, namely teaching personal lessons within a private context. Furthermore it still remains the vital element in appreciating what Desikachar intended when he introduced the term Viniyoga in 1983 as a collective description of a process for a systematic development of the student’s personal experience of Yoga.
This is a post about not posting……
As some of you may have noticed yesterday was the second commemoration of TKV Desikachar’s passing. As a remembrance of this day last year I offered a post with him being asked questions as a student around his father. This year I was proposing to post, as a tribute, around my work with him as his student in the development and refinement of my personal practice.
However as the day emerged I realised that my attention for this time needed to turn more towards an inner reflection rather than an outward expression of my relationship with him. So I chose this day off from media or any outer contact in order to have a personal space to be more fully with my memories and experiences from our time together.
These memories of studying with him for over twenty years, mostly in Madras sitting in his teaching room around the table, or with me on the practice mat with him observing, or sharing the mat chanting together, remind me of how private our relationship was. Looking back I feel that was a unique situation that would be very difficult to emulate in the environment within which Yoga sits these days, let alone find a teacher who only taught adults one to one and never ran or even wanted to run a teacher training course.
Of course this unique situation was not without its inner and outer demands and my memories and experiences contain both good, challenging and difficult moments. However within all of these moments the quality of our relationship as teacher and student endured and I remain eternally indebted for the transmission that became the fruit of our time being alone together.
As to my post originally planned for yesterday, it will appear over the next few days.
Śrī Gurubhyo Namaḥ
“This past weekend, sixteen of TKV Desikachar’s long term students from around the world met and
spent time together in the South of France. We reflected on what we each personally received from
our teacher through our individual lessons in Chennai over many years.
Within this context certain questions arose that we would like to share as an offering.
– How is the Spirit of Yoga transmitted?
– What are the conditions that make this transmission possible?
– How can all of us support the continuity of this transmission?
We will continue to meet and work together to sustain
the spirit of TKV Desikachar’s teaching as we have understood it.”
– Ste Cécile les Vignes, June 24th 2018
Chase Bossart; Bernard Bouanchaud; Johanna Bouanchaud; Barbara Brian;
Malek Daouk; Paul Harvey; Hoda Khoury; Hellfried Krusche;
Gill Lloyd; François Lorin; Laurence Maman; Marina Margherita;
Frans Moors; Martyn Neal; Simone Tempelhof-Moors; Dolphi Wertenbaker
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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?
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:
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.
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.
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……
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.
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, Mudrā, Prāṇāyāma, Dhyāna, 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.
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.
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
A gallery of pictures from a Pilgramage to India in 2001 with family, friends and students to undertake a Yatra to ascend five sacred mountains to the the five sacred temples known as the Pañca Kedar from a story in the Mahābhārata in the events following the final battle.
Link to Picture Gallery from this Journey
This particular sacred journey myth is based around the five Pāṇḍava brothers attempt to seek atonement for the Gotrahatya (killing of kinsmen) and Brāhmanahatya (killing of Brahmins) they had just committed during the war.
Today marks the launching of a new website for offering Yoga Studies.
For me an exciting and welcome move as it pulls together a number of Yoga teaching, news and research strands into one web site. From this new home I will be more able to weave together the various dimensions of my Yoga communications without having to disperse my energies across numerous mediums.
The new Yoga Studies site will offer all visitors the possibility of easily accessing the various threads that currently live in my web world all from one site. The new venture also means that I now have the means to instantly publish news, blog and Sūtra updates to the web, or to my Facebook and Twitter pages or, if you use the RSS link on the page, to your own computer via your news reader, or via email subscription to your mail box.
I look forward to finally being able to develop my Yoga blog contributions, as well as the Yoga Sūtra Freenotes project in a way that will reach out more skilfully to the Yoga Community and even allow for return contributions to the various posts.
Other facets to the new site include an extensive cYs/VB Practitioners Yoga Teaching and Yoga Therapy searchable Register, along with indicators of the level of Training or external Registrations.
For this new project I am very grateful to my Yoga friend, web mentor and designer Ronen Hirsh for drawing me into the world of WordPress as a vehicle to help me actualise what I need to realise this aspect of my teaching Dharma.