Know your breath and
its unique characteristics within Āsana
and you will have an initial template
for working with your breath in Prāṇāyāma.
Modern Postural Yoga talks a lot about individual patterning from our genetic past, along with upbringing and lifestyle conditioning, determining what body patterns we inherently carry from life to death. From this, how we need to consider what body we bring to Āsana practice and how we need to be intelligent in our choice of Āsana for our body and mind and the developmental direction of our body in Āsana practice.
Less talked about is that exactly the same can be said for our breath and the individual patterning from our genetic past, along with upbringing and lifestyle conditioning, determining what breathing patterns we inherently carry from life to death. From this, we also need to consider what breath we bring to Āsana practice and how we need to be intelligent in our choice of breathing patterns in Āsana for our body and mind and the developmental direction of our breath in Āsana practice.
“What is the role of Dharma
in the face of survival?”
– TKV Desikachar speaking with his
senior Western students London 1998
YOGA SŪTRA ON STRESS
– An Interview with TKV Desikachar by AV Balasubramanian and Paul Harvey
The Yoga Sūtra presents the potentials of the human mind, the means to its refinement, control and clarity and the obstacles that can come in the way of one’s progress. An understanding of stress in the light of the Yoga Sūtra is presented in the interview below.
In addition to covering the many techniques in Yoga to help persons under stress, TKV Desikachar constantly emphasises the importance of the attitude to our actions. He singles out the cultivation of the twin qualities of Śraddhā and Īśvara Praṇidhānā as the only sure means for being free from stress permanently.
What is the Indian tradition’s view on stress?
In the Indian tradition, stress would be the situation where a person exhibits the Udvega, attitudes or behavior which take over a person and control him. The origin of the Udvega lies in the Ṣad Ūrmi, the six enemies. These six are:
- Kāma: desire
- Krodha: anger
- Lobha: possessiveness, greed
- Moha: darkness; though not actually dark it is as if darkness exists because the person is so sure of himself and his opinions that he is unable to see.
- Mada: arrogance, the refusal to accept or give in.
- Mātsarya: jealousy, to resent the success of others and to be happy at their failures.
“In Veda, Āyurveda and Yoga Sūtra,
various techniques are offered to aid in healing the sick.
In addition to herbs and medicines,
Patañjali suggests that Āsana, Prāṇāyāma 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
The role of this post is to let readers know that there is now a single resource page where you can centrally access any individual post from the Yoga Studies Journal that is also offered as a PDF. Links to existing PDF’s are correlated on this page from within 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.”
This will offer those interested a single point of reference to PDF versions of posts grouped around the topics below. As I continue to add to these resources the date at the bottom of each topic will indicate the last update. Meanwhile thank you for your interest.
The 200+ Yoga Practice and Yoga Study PDF Resources are grouped as follows:
Yoga can be a question to be solved, or a mystery to be resolved.
Patañjali in his seminal text on meditation
discusses two primary paths for Dhyānam:
Jñana Yoga, the power of Ātma Vicāra
and Bhakti Yoga, the power of Japam.
Both lead towards the same goal.
It is merely the means that are different,
rather than the goal.
One day I was shopping at my favourite fruit stall in Adyar, Chennai in 1980.
This was in the days prior to such things as plastic bags, plastic bottles, etc.
So my fruit was put into paper bags and as the vendor handed them to me I noticed that they had been handmade from someone’s old A4 notes written in a distinctive green ink.
S’funny I thought, as the writing and sketches look familiar and sure enough
it was my own notes from my personal lessons with Desikachar.
Somehow my original notes had worked their way from being written up by me,
to the waste paper basket in my apartment, and via my cook,
to a paper bag maker, to be resold to the street vendors.
Question to T Krishnamacharya:
“Can you explain the concept of Vinyāsa and Pratikriyā Āsana?”
“The question asked relates to Yoga and not to Vidyā Abhyāsa. There is no Āsana without Vinyāsa. Yoga is an experience, Āsana is the third of the eight limbs of Yoga and it is also important to pay attention to first two limbs, namely Yama and Niyama.
Sthira – Namely firm and without disease and Sukham – pleasant and comfortable. To be in Sukham state, all parts of the body should be in perfect harmony. This is true for all, whether one is a man, woman, deaf, mute, blind or even for animals. Any action that disturbs this state of harmony should be followed by a Pratikriyā to restore the harmony. One cannot but accept this principle.
When reflecting on the intimacy of the relationship between
Prāṇāyāma and Āsana experientially, we could consider
exploring the practice of Prāṇāyāma and its developmental
conjunction with Āsana, via the following reference points.
Within the age-old coalescence of Prāṇāyāma and Āsana,
Prāṇāyāma can have three potential roles in influencing
the physical, energetic, psychological or emotional
effects arising from the prior practice of Āsana.
In this context the application of Prāṇāyāma can be
from one of three directions. It can be used to either
pacify, or to stabilise, or to intensify, the various
experiences arising from the practice of Āsana.
In the beginning of our journey into the arts of Āsana and Prāṇāyāma, the outcome of our exploration into the breath in Āsana sets a direction and parameters for the beginnings of our exploration into how and where to develop the breath in Prāṇāyāma.
All of Krishnamacharya’s and Desikachar’s
life work focused on the training of students,
some of whom then went on to become teachers.
Rather than the reality that pervades Yoga today,
in that the priority is on the training of teachers,
some of whom may go on to became students.
Avidyā is the illusion of experiencing
what feels real, as if it is actually true.
However, that we experience a feeling as real,
does not in fact actually mean that it is true.
So how to discern as to whether a feeling
that we experience as real, is really true?
– Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 5
– The Viniyoga of Āsana – Summary Post of Parts 1 to 5
– The Viniyoga of Āsana Part 1 – Āsana according to Haṭha and Rāja
– The Viniyoga of Āsana Part 2 – There are Many Approaches to Āsana Practice
– The Viniyoga of Āsana Part 3 – The Principles used in Constructing an Āsana
– The Viniyoga of Āsana Part 4 – Considerations around the Direction of Āsana Practice
– The Viniyoga of Āsana Part 5 – Common Points within the Variables in Āsana Practice
– The Viniyoga of Āsana – Summary Post of Parts 1 to 5 – Download as a PDF
– Parts 6-10 will be posted across May and Parts 11-15 across July 2020
1. The Definition of Āsana according to Haṭha and Rāja Yoga
5. What are the Common Points within the Variables in Āsana Practice
If we look at all the variables around Āsana practice we can find some similarities between various individuals.
- The variable must accept and include a persons previous training
- We must respect where a person is coming or starting from
- It is better to consider the immediate situation rather than the long term
- We must respect the after effect of the Āsana practice
- We must respect the after action to come
- We must respect the travel from A to Z or Upāya
- Z seems to vary much more than A, i.e.
Practice in the morning – generally less variables
Practice in the evening – more subject to the days effects and different lifestyles
- We must respect age, condition, gender, work, lifestyle, etc
- It is also necessary to consider some technical priorities