Prāṇa, Patañjali and Practice – BWY CPD Bristol March 25th 2018

BRITISH WHEEL OF YOGA – SOUTH WEST REGION

Sunday March 25th 2018 in Bristol

IST Day – Prāṇa, Patañjali and Practice

Through practice, presentation, study and discussion
we will explore the roles, purpose and relationship of Rāja and Haṭha Yoga.

The concepts of Energy, the influence of Mind and the emphasis on Practice have been the continuing focus for Yoga Teachings and Teachers since the time of Patañjali. What are these concepts, how can they be appreciated and utilised in times & cultures very different from their origins?

read more

Before studying Prāṇāyāma one must understand something about the breath.

seated_pranayama_2

“Before studying Prāṇāyāma one must understand something about the breath.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

108 Yoga Practice Pointers – 37 – Contemplate the Source of the Breath.

Contemplate the Source of the Breath.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Practice Pointers

The continued effort of the Breath is that which gives life……

When working with the Breath in Āsana its perhaps less appealing initially,
but ultimately more attractive, satisfactory and effective,
to integrate  a focus of Samāpatti (Unity) of
Śaithilya (Relaxation) in Ananta (the Infinite),
through a developmental Sādhana (Means to Accomplish)
on the Siddhi (accomplishment) of Dīrgha or Length,
supported by Sūkṣma or Subtlety.

From Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 47 T Krishnamacharya taught that:
– the common denominator for successfully uniting (Samāpatti)
both (Bhyām) aspects of relaxation (Śaithilya) and the infinite (Ananta)
within the practice of Āsana is the Breath.
He saw it as Prayatna (continued effort)
and synonymous with Jīvana (giving life).
The continued effort of the Breath is that which gives life.

The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali deals with the mind……

“The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali deals with the mind.
It examines the different functions of the mind
and provides means to modify these functions
so that it serves the person in a very constructive way.
The means by which certain qualitative changes in the mind
are brought about is called Sādhanā.”
– TKV Desikachar on Śraddhā in the Yoga Sūtra

108 Postural Practice Pointers – 11 – Vinyāsa for Jaṭhara Parivṛtti

Postural Practice Pointer 11 – Vinyāsa for Jaṭhara Parivṛtti

This is a suggestion for a Vinyāsa for approaching and leaving Jaṭhara Parivṛtti.
When lowering from the upward raised legs position use one long exhale,
but through two distinct stages of movement.
The first part of the exhale is to lower the knees over the chest.
The second part of the exhale is used to rotate the trunk into the twist.
The exit is the exact counterpart with one inhale and two stages of movement.
The first part of the inhale brings the knees over the chest.
The second part of the inhale extends the legs upwards.
A suggestion for Bhāvana is to gradually increase the stay.
For example stay one breath each side the first time
and then increase the stay next time to two breaths each side
and finally stay three breaths each side.
As to breathing a suggested ratio of 1.0.1.0. during both movement and stay.

Link to Series: 108 Postural Practice Pointers

Through Śraddhā we get the Vīrya to pursue to the end……

“Through Śraddhā we get the Vīrya to pursue to the end
and if we hold firm to this Śraddhā we always have the Smṛti,
the memory of our original goal.
This is very important as with progress on the path to the goal,
we get distracted by or satisfied with some of the gains made
that were previously not within our capacity.
It is through Śraddhā that we have the Smṛti,
the memory of the original goal, that prevents us from being satisfied
with anything less than what we started out for.”
– TKV Desikachar on Śraddhā in the Yoga Sūtra

When considering what to practice, it can be helpful to consider our starting point……

When considering what to practice, it can be helpful to consider our starting point. For example are we looking for the role of an Āsana practice to help in recovering from a situation where we are as if personally overdrawn. Also what is the nature of our ‘overdraft’?

Is its impact or origin physical, energetic, psychological or emotional, or even a combination of more than one. Here the concepts of too little, too much or wrong can also be helpful as a reference in that, as well as considering the nature of the ‘overdraft’ we need to consider the means we undertake to remedy this aspect of the situation. In other words our first priority is to reduce the negative aspect at least.

However sometimes we can try something that is as if a short term loan and at a high rate of interest in terms of time, effort, energy and committment. Thus whilst finding our situation temporarily improving a further depletion can possibly arise as we find ourselves unable to as if ‘keep up with the extra payments’ given the nature of the original depletion and its current impact on our potentials.

So having a clear reference point in terms of identifying the nature of the starting point and the short term or longer term potentials of our choice of an appropriate remedy is as important as the personal determination to clear the deficit we have created within us. Here a personal teacher can be helpful.

Where does Śraddhā sit in a human being?

sraddha

“Where does Śraddhā sit in a human being?
Is it a part of the mind?
No. It is beyond the mind.
It is Śraddhā which instructs the mind.
It comes from the hidden depths of the Saṃskāra and Vāsana
to influence one’s actions.”
– TKV Desikachar on Śraddhā in the Yoga Sūtra

Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Mantra and Sūtra Intensive Israel January 5th-6th 2018

ISRAELI YOGA TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION
Two Day Yoga Intensive January 5/6th 2018
Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Mantra and Sūtra

The Art of the Application of Yoga Practice & Study

Body Postures or Āsana
Yoga as a Physiological Practice

Seated Breathing or Prāṇāyāma
Yoga as an Energetic Practice

Chanting Sacred Sounds or Mantra
Yoga as a Devotional Practice

Personal Sādhana as Āsana, Prāṇāyāma & Mantra
Yoga as a Physiological-Energetic-Devotional Practice

Textual Study or Yoga Sūtra
Yoga as a Spiritual Inquiry

We will look at Yoga Practice through the Physiological and Energetic aims underpinning Āsana and Prāṇāyāma and Devotional aims underpinning Mantra. Plus how these tools are vital aids to the Spiritual Inquiry within the Yoga Sūtra.

We will explore their potential as tools to recover, support or transform within short term or long term situations, given the students starting point, potentials and personal goals.

This two day intensive reflects the teachings of TKV Desikachar and his teacher T Krishnamacharya as taught to Paul Harvey. It is offered with respect for the vital source from which these Yoga teachings originated and their place in our age and culture.

Follow Link to Read or Download a PDF of the Intensive

Three Tools in the Application of Yoga – Israel January 10th-13th 2018


Four Days of Training in Yoga Practice & Study

January 10th-13th 2018 with Paul Harvey

Three Tools in the Application of Yoga

Āsana – Sūtra – Cikitsā

Practice – Inquiry – Therapy

Theme 1. Teaching Intermediate Āsana

Theme 2. Exploring Yoga Sūtra as a Spiritual Inquiry

Theme 3. Applying Yoga within Cikitsā Situations

Our time together will explore the above three themes from an Application perspective and their relevance to Yoga teaching within a variety of situations for a variety of students.

We will spend our mornings focused around the Study of the Yoga Sūtra as a Spiritual Inquiry and Teaching Intermediate Āsana within a range of situations. Our afternoons will again focus on Teaching Āsana Practice within 121 situations and Exploring Yoga as Cikitsā. We will immerse ourselves in the teachings of T Krishnamacharya on the Application of Yoga within 121 situations, as well as his understanding of Haṭha, Rāja and Āyurveda from my 23 years of study with TKV Desikachar.

Follow Link to Read or Download a PDF of the Course

My understanding of Prāṇāyāma is that the Kumbhaka should be an aid……

kumbhaka

“My understanding of Prāṇāyāma is that the Kumbhaka should be an aid.
The aim is to get a feeling difficult to put into words, but different from normal states.
The question is how much does Kumbhaka play a part in this?
So Investigate the use of Kumbhaka and only use it when it helps you be with the breath.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

The perception that something is desirable is Sukha….

“The perception that something is desirable is Sukha.
This perception sets in motion an urge to possess it.
This is Rāga.
Whether what is desired will give a lasting happiness is a different matter.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 7

There is an impression in some schools that Tamas and Rajas……

guna

“There is an impression in some schools that Tamas and Rajas are to be rejected.
This is not so, both are necessary. It is the combination thats important.”
– TKV Desikachar December 1st 1979

During the practice of Āsana one must constantly use Ujjāyī……

“During the practice of Āsana one must constantly engage
in regulating the exhale, inhale and retention.
Ujjāyī is to be smooth and slow,
according to the strength or capability of the student.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
the Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 33

Without Āsana, Prāṇāyāma cannot become accomplished……

“Without Āsana,
Prāṇāyāma cannot become accomplished.
Without containing Prāna,
the mind cannot achieve steadiness.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
The Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 45

Without mastering Āsana and regulating the inhale and exhale in Āsana……

“Without mastering Āsana and
regulating the inhale and exhale in Āsana,
the Āsana will not produce the desired fruits.”
From T Krishnamacharya’s composition, the Yoga Rahasya

When the body is disordered………….

“When the body is disordered,
make use of the body to reduce.
When thought is agitated,
make use of Prāṇāyāma to reduce.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
The Yoga Rahasya Chapter Four verse 31

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 T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
the Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 67

Āsana is not just another form of exercise……


In exploring the principles that underpin the practice of Āsana the first idea to consider is that our practice is not just another form of exercise. Yoga Āsana are more than just physical postures or exercises to stretch and tone the body, or enhance our sense of personalised well-being. From within its Haṭha roots the concern of Yoga is our relationship with the force which is behind our movements and its source that initiates our every action.

Further the different practice elements that constitute a mature Yoga practice are not separate compartments. They are linked through the principles underpinning them. For example a respiratory competence learnt through the practice of Āsana facilitates progress within the seated practice of Prāṇāyāma. An enduring stable posture learnt through the practice of Prāṇāyāma supports the cultivation the meditative attitude inherent in progress towards Dhyāna or meditation.

read more

Our action has two foundations……

“Our action has two foundations.
One, Vidyā never leads us into trouble.
Two, Avidyā leads us into trouble
because of something we did into the past
influencing our present action.”
TKV Desikachar France 1983

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 29 – Ātma is the source of the sunlight in the Psyche.

Ātma is the source of the sunlight in the Psyche.
– Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 21

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

The practice which is Śodhana for the Antar Aṅga……

“The practice which is Śodhana for the Antar Aṅga
is Antaraṅga Sādhana.”
– T Krishnamacharya introduction to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three

Often Dhyāna fails because one is not able to reach the first stage……

“Often Dhyāna fails because one is not able to reach the first stage,
the Pūrva Aṅga.
Often one wants to go to the second stage
without going through the first one,
and that is not possible.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 19th 1988

What is the most important aspect of Pūrva Aṅga?

Question:
What is the most important aspect of Pūrva Aṅga?
Response:
Pūrva Aṅga is essentially a process of elimination
in which we eliminate those thoughts that are not relevant.
In fact Yoga is the process of eliminating the undesirable
so we can be linked with the desirable.
It is the movement from Saṃyoga to Viyoga,
from Saguṇa to Nirguṇa.
But we must be careful how we define desirable or undesirable.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 19th 1988