“The problems we have in life come because of Saṃskāra.
We are not able to distinguish the coloured image of the mind from the real object.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘The Antaraṅga Sādhana, Saṃyama and Kaivalya’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Thirteen Page 188
Prone Backbends as front stretches are wall to wall Āsana
in terms of Bhāvana, rather than floor to ceiling.
Thus in Sālamba Bhujaṅgāsana the focus is on
the sternum stretching forwards and
the big toes stretching backwards.
Some people use Yoga (or even training for a career as a Yoga Teacher),
to move away from something undesirable for, or in their lives (Abhāva).
Others use Yoga to move towards something desirable (Bhāva) for, or in their lives.
Either can be positive, however good to be clear about our motives,
especially if our relationship with that which we wanted to move away from,
or that which we wanted to move towards,
changes along the way.
“These problems in our observation are related to the mixing of:
Imagination is already there operating when we begin to observe.
All the more that we are better and better informed about what we should see, etc.
Memory is, unfortunately, never factual.
Finally, we should never forget that all conclusions are wrong, because things change.
Hence the importance of private lessons, which allow for more flexibility.”
– TKV Desikachar 1981
“Observation must have a direction and be complete.
We always have a tendency to tell more than what we see, which is a mistake.
If we tell somebody that he has a problem, yet we know that we will not be able to give him a solution because of a lack of time or any other reason, maybe we are going to hurt him.
Therefore, we should first make sure that we have a solution to offer.”
– TKV Desikachar 1981
The extent of its use and length of rest at each stage, when transiting from one category to another within our Āsana practice journey, was dependent on the facility of the practitioner and the intensity of the practice.
“Cale Vāte Calaṃ Cittam
As is the breath so is the mind.”
Within this individualised variance is the guiding principle that the role of Śavāsana is to facilitate a smooth transition for the flow of the breath and also the pulse through and beyond the Āsana practice as a marker for the practitioners state of mind.
However according to Desikachar the viniyoga of Śavāsana was seen in terms of recovery from the fatigue of the preceding aspect of the practice rather, than say recovery from the preceding aspects of ones life.
“What are the factors to consider in our teaching?
At least they should be made known to the student.
Deha Bheda – tall, fat, lean, scoliosis, straight back.
Sādhana according to the physical characteristics.
Something which must be fed, otherwise it will destroy.
For example lumbar lordosis and deep back bends could cause problems.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983
Yoga Sūtra Chapter One Title
“The Yoga Sūtra is divided into four chapters.
The first chapter, called Samādhi Pādaḥ,
assumes the aspirant has progressed adequately to be in a state called Samāhita.
Such a person is not easily agitated.
They have a clearer perception to comprehend concepts such as Īśvara and Vairāgya.”
“Svabhāva (innate disposition) – Nature of a person.
For example tendency to put on weight, liver problem,
muscular pains for no reason, changes in temperature.
This is why Āyurveda divides humans into 3 types.
Approximately Pitta–Sattva, Kapha–Tamas, Vāta–Rajas Guṇa.
We not only look at the physical structure,
but also how food affects the individual.
Heavy in the morning, etc.
For example different children in the family affected by the same food differently.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983
“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.
Vinyāsa Krama is pronounced according to its meaning as Vi-Nyāsa Krama or special placing in a sequence of steps. It is the arranging of the various postures or breathing patterns in an intelligent sequence, respecting the variables in the student and the purpose of the practice.
What might be helpful to consider is one of the ways Desikachar presented this teaching to me within our lessons in that the viniyoga of Vinyāsa Krama is comparable to the notion of climbing steps. Here intelligent application means to climb each step by bringing both feet onto the same step before taking the next one. In other words ensure we are grounded and stable before we take another step.
It also has the benefit of allowing a steady view of what is involved in taking the next step as well as reducing the risk of losing what we already have. However this way of approaching the developmental aspects of our practice may be at variance with our more usual way of climbing steps, such as one step at a time.
How do we know that? Here a teacher who knows you as an individual rather than a member of a group can be very helpful. For example we all have different modes of being, some climb steps slowly, some quickly, some two at a time, all according to our innate tendencies. This is an attitude to life that can reflect in the way we practice, or in the choice of the style of practice, or how we approach ‘progressing’ our practice, or even in the teacher we ‘choose’.
Add to this the notion that in its essential role Yoga was seen as a means to destabilise our perception of self in order to ‘break up’ the notion of what we see as the ‘I’. Perhaps comparing this against the modern approach where folks come to classes seeking stability as a counterpose to the destabilising effects of our worldly involvements, then the notion of Vinyāsa Krama as presented here can have even more relevance.