There are simple postures for Prāṇāyāma and Dhyāna…….

“There are simple postures for Prāṇāyāma and Dhyāna,
so that we can relax in the body and not be distracted by it.
There are challenging postures, to enable us to master our bodies and
for young people who will be engaged by the performance aspect of the posture.
There are also corrective postures.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

There are some forms within the postural resources developed by……


There are some forms within the postural resources developed by Krishnamacharya that can function as either an Āsana or as a Mudrā. The choice of outcome can be realised according to the specific Bhāvana associated with the intention of the practitioner and the style of performance.

For example if we look at the possibilities around inverted postures interpreted as Āsana through forms known as Śīrṣāsana or Sarvāṅgāsana, we can cultivate the external intensity of Āsana or the internal intensity of a Mudrā through choosing either of two practice directions.

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108 Yoga Planning Pointers – 2 – It seems that there is not much place for or interest in the use of Kumbhaka….

The longer term measure of our Prāṇāyāma potential is determined by
our skilful efforts with all four components of the breath in Āsana.
For example can we maintain 8.8.8.8. in Parśva Uttānāsana or 12.6.18.12 in Mahāmudrā?
These days though, it seems that there is not much place for or interest in the use of Kumbhaka
and breathing practices, if used at all it appears to be mainly Cikitsā or about recovery,
or at best Rakṣaṇa or constitutional, rather than Śikṣaṇa and developmental.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Planning Pointers

My understanding on the context and content of Yoga Makaranda

yoga makaranda

My understanding from my discussions over the years with TKV Desikachar regarding the context and content of Yoga Makaranda, is that when teaching youngsters the length of the breath was minimised to a relatively short fixed length and use of Kumbhaka was limited to a few seconds Antar Kumbhaka and Bahya Kumbhaka.

However there were no limitations on the range or intensity of Āsana and lots of use of variations to be engaged with within each Āsana.

“The Āsana are presented in Vinyāsa Krama, the way it was taught to children in the Yogasāla.
This should not create the impression that T Krishnamacharya taught in this manner to everyone.”
– TKV Desikachar Introduction to Yoga Makaranda

In the adult there were no such limitations for the breath and the work with variations of the Āsana was re-prioritised to working with a fewer Āsana and fewer variations within each Āsana, but with the challenge of a greater range of breathing patterns both in length and combinations.

Certainly Antar Kumbhaka or Bahya Kumbhaka of 10″ was commonplace in the adult practice and here the ‘perfection’ of the Āsana was measured by mastery of all aspects of the breath rather than for the youngster, where ‘perfection’ of the Āsana was measured by mastery of all aspects of the form. This was consistent with Krishnamacharya’s teaching in his Yoga Rahasya on Yoga Sādhana and Stages of Life.

Furthermore my understanding is that if we use a particular Āsana with all its permutations of form and thus less focus on the variations of the breath it operates more as an Āsana. If we use a specific primary Āsana with the focus on all its permutations of breath and thus less priority around the variations of the form it operates more as a Mudrā.

Sarvaṅgāsana is such an example with its 32 variations devised by Krishnamacharya emphasising its role as an Āsana and its static solo form with its focus on extensive breath ratios involving all four aspects of the breath, perhaps augmented by the Tri Bandha, emphasising its role as a Mudrā.

For more on introduction to Yoga Makaranda read……
Introduction to the Yoga Makaranda by TKV Desikachar

For more on Sarvaṅgāsana as a Mudrā read….
Saravāṅgāsana as a Mudrā – Part One

An example personal practice from 2002 from TKV Desikachar……

Practice_2002

Following on from the post two days ago and yesterdays post I wanted to offer a further sample practice given to me by my teacher, TKV Desikachar. It evolved from within our one to one lessons in Chennai, from 12 years ago, in 2002 and is based around:

Kapālabhāti Kriyā 48 breaths
Sūrya Bhedana Prāṇāyāma 12 breaths 1.1.1.1. with 10″ Antar Kumbhaka and 10″ Bahya Kumbhaka
Kapālabhāti Kriyā 48 breaths
Sūrya Bhedana Prāṇāyāma 12 breaths 1.2.1.0. with 20″ Antar Kumbhaka
Bhāradvājāsana – Stay 12 breaths each side with 10″ Bahya Kumbhaka
Apānāsana and Ūrdhva Prasṛta Pādāsana
– Aṅga Laghava Dynamic combination 12 times with 10″ Antar Kumbhaka and 10″ Bahya Kumbhaka
Candra Bhedana Prāṇāyāma 24 breaths 1.0.2.0

Though obviously relevant to my personal situation as a mid fifties bloke, at that time and place, it is a further illustration of how Antar Kumbhaka (AK) and Bahya Kumbhaka (BK) can be employed whatever the Āsana or techniques chosen.

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An example personal practice from 1980 from TKV Desikachar……

TKV_Practice_1980

Following on from yesterdays post on Kumbhaka quoted below:

“According to Krishnamacharya,
one who has not mastered the Bāhya Kumbhaka,
has not mastered the breath.”
– TKV Desikachar 1988

I thought it might be helpful to republish a post from early 2014. Here I wanted to offer a example of a personal practice given to me by TKV Desikachar. It evolved from within our one to one lessons in Chennai, from over 35 years ago, in 1980 and is based around:

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According to Krishnamacharya, one who has not mastered the Bāhya Kumbhaka……

bahya kumbhaka

“According to Krishnamacharya,
one who has not mastered the Bāhya Kumbhaka,
has not mastered the breath.”
– TKV Desikachar 1988

Kumbhaka is the continuation of a specific movement that……

kumbhaka

Kumbhaka is the continuation of a specific movement that preceded it.”
– TKV Desikachar December 1987

A person who does not have a conscious feeling of the Recaka and……

kumbhaka

“A person who does not have a conscious feeling of the Recaka and Pūraka
should not go into Kumbhaka.”
– TKV Desikachar December 1987

The lower abdomen is the dullest part of the spine……

apana

“The lower abdomen is the dullest part of the spine,
it is the starting point for the exhalation.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

So much happens in the spine with the breath……

maha_mudra

“So much happens in the spine with the breath,
we need to be aware of our breathing to have a maximum effect on the spine.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Your mind is a product of your food, memory is linked to food……

smrti

“Your mind is a product of your food, memory is linked to food.
My stability, my confidence is linked to food.
All these facts are mentioned in the texts.
For these reasons I said that food is very important and becomes me.
Not just the muscles, but the whole me, the whole personality.”
TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

As is the food in front of you, so is the mind behind you.

annam

“As is the food in front of you,
so is the mind behind you.”
– TKV Desikachar Class on Sāṃkhya 1979

It is usual to start a lesson be it, Chanting, Sūtra, Āsana with a prayer……

tkv_tk_3_1980

“It is usual to start a lesson be it, ChantingSūtra, Āsana, with a prayer.
A prayer is recited and repeated according to the study or purpose of the lesson,
to show respect for the subject.
When the student is familiar with the prayer they repeat it along with the teacher.
Focusing the study with a prayer helps to recall earlier study, lineage of repetition.
The student is given the meaning later.
After the lesson another prayer is said to offer thanks for the learning and for everybody.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Sāṃkhya Kārikā joins online searchable Yoga Texts Database.

samkhya

The Sāṃkhya Kārikā is now going online and linking to the Yoga Sūtra and the Bhagavad Gītā

Sāṃkhya is said to be a relative of Yoga. In fact they are often linked together when presenting models around the six major schools of inquiry within the Indian tradition.

“Sāṃkhya has been fundamental in its influence on the philosophical
foundations underpinning such as Yoga, Buddhism and Āyurveda.”

The first text that I was privileged to be able to study word by word, Śloka by Śloka along with the commentaries of Krishnamacharya and then Desikachar, within the intimacy and vitality of private lessons, was the Sāṃkhya Kārikā of Īśvara Kṛṣṇa.

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The message of the Bhagavad Gītā is…….

srimad_bhagavad_gita

“The message of the Bhagavad Gītā is:
The vision of the lord is certain through
singular devotion developed by honouring ones Dharma
in a spirit that leads to clarity and detachment.”
– TKV Desikachar Commentary on Gītārtha Saṃgraha of Śrī Yāmunācārya Śloka One

Bhagavad Gītā and Gītārtha Saṃgraha join online searchable Yoga Texts Database

The Bhagavad Gītā is now going online and linking to the Yoga Sūtra

Another important text allied to my inquiry into and around Yoga that I was privileged to be able to study word by word, Śloka by Śloka along with the commentaries of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar, within the intimacy and vitality of private lessons over 4 years of visits to Chennai, was the Bhagavad Gītā.

The first stage of the Bhagavad Gītā online resource project is complete with the entire text transcribed into a document with ‘proper’ Saṃskṛta notations. Now the second stage is under way with the setting up of the text as a live online and searchable chapter by chapter, word by word online resource in the same way as with the online Yoga Sūtra project with commentaries around each verse from study with my teacher on and around this particular text.

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All mental distractions arise from the free play of the senses and……

indriya

“All mental distractions arise from the free play of the senses
and only through continuing practice can one keep their power in check.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 18

Krishnamacharya would introduce the Sūtra philosophy when……

sutra

Krishnamacharya would introduce the Sūtra philosophy
when students were resting during an Āsana practice,
because he felt that this was the only time they had available to them.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

What is most vital to a person for everlasting happiness……

srimad_bhagavad_gita

“What is most vital to a person for everlasting happiness
is to understand the nature of consciousness
and the Lord and his created entities.”
– TKV Desikachar Commentary on Gītārtha Saṃgraha of Śrī Yāmunācārya Śloka Four