108 Postural Practice Pointers – 26 – Bhāvana when moving or staying in Dvipāda Pīṭham

108 Postural Practice Pointers – 26 – Bhāvana when moving or staying in Dvipāda Pīṭham

When lifting or staying within the Pūraka focus on
drawing upwards, as if raising from the chest,
rather than just raising as if from the hips.
When lowering or staying within the Recaka focus on
not collapsing down, but drawing in from the abdomen,
rather than the body just dropping as if from the hips.

Link to Series: 108 Postural Practice Pointers

The fourth way the mind functions is called Ekāgratā……

“The fourth way the mind functions is called Ekāgratā.
Here clarity has come about
and we have direction and are able to proceed.
What we want to do is much clearer
and distractions hardly matter.
This is also called Dhāraṇā which was explained earlier.
Yoga is actually the beginning of Ekāgratā.
Yoga suggest means to create conditions that gradually
move the Kṣipta level of mind towards Ekāgratā.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 251

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 61 – What we observe is changing……

What we observe is changing,
What we observe with is changing,
Where we observe from is unchanging.
– Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 20

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

Another way the mind functions is called Vikṣipta……

“Another way the mind functions is called Vikṣipta.
We act but we have doubts;
distractions come about,
there are obstacles.
The set direction does not look right
and we don’t know what to do about it.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 251

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 60 – Dveṣa is the consequence of Duḥkha……

Dveṣa is the consequence
of Duḥkha from such as,
getting what you are not expecting or,
getting other than what you are expecting.
– Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 8

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

A slightly better condition than Kṣipta is what is called Mūḍha……

“A slightly better condition than Kṣipta
is what is called Mūḍha.
Here the mind is like a dull, sleepy, heavy buffalo.
There is hardly any inclination to act, to respond, or to observe.
This could be a temporary situation or a more regular affair.
There are many reasons for this–”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 251

The mind functions at five levels……

“The mind functions at five levels.
Mostly it functions in such a way that we hardly notice it.
So much happens, so many ideas, perceptions
come and go that very often we lose track.
It is like a monkey that is drunk and somebody is poking it.
It is distraught and cannot comprehend anything.
In Yoga this level of functioning is called Kṣipta.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 251

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 59 – Rāja Yoga is the relationship we have with our thoughts……

Rāja Yoga is the relationship we have with our thoughts,
notably those that afflict, as in knock down or weaken, us.
– Reflection around Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 5

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 58 – What keeps you away from your self?

What keeps you away from your self?
– Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 5

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Seventeen Theory

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

‘Religiousness in Yoga: Lectures on Theory and Practice’ by the University Press of America,
a transcript of recordings of a one month Yoga Programme in Colgate University in 1976, published in 1980.

Unlike the later redacted edition, re-published in 1995 as the ‘Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice’, it captures the evolution of the retreat with the days lectures and Q & A dialogues as they alternated between ‘lectures on the principles and purposes of Yoga and discussions related to the practice of Yoga with special reference to the postures and the breathing techniques’.

TKV Desikachar, in his forward to the original version wrote:

“These lectures and discussions, printed words put before persons I might never meet,
are but reflections of that deeper result that grew out of a living face-to-face encounter.
Coming to learn of Yoga only through reading leaves much to be desired.
Yet, something worthwhile about Yoga might be shared through the medium of the printed word.”

A chapter by chapter Study guide is offered below with added verse and word cross-references where possible to support a deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

Chapter 17 Theory: Various Approaches to Yoga Pages 237-249

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We must act in life, but we should not be disappointed by the results……

“We must act in life,
but we should not be disappointed
by the results of our actions
for we may often act imperfectly.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 242

The breadth, depth and potential of Desikachar’s teachings on practice……

Śrī TKV Desikachar 1938-2016

In Memorium August 8th 2019

The teachings that TKV Desikachar received from T Krishnamacharya around Yoga practice and practice theory were far more extensive than is often presumed from the contemporary perception of Krishnamacharya’s Yoga legacy. These perceptions were mostly formed from either, the more well publicised approaches to Āsana by some of Krishnamacharya’s early students, or the popularised generic view of Viniyoga as a stylistic application of Āsana, found primarily within the therapeutic adaptive Yoga field or commingled breath and movement group Yoga classes.

By way of contrast my own experiences studying with Desikachar, developed over some thirty ongoing visits to Madras over more than two decades to study privately with him, may offer a different insight into the practice possibilities that I became increasingly exposed to. However as with many, even these days, being introduced to the teachings of Krishnamacharya still meant that Āsana was the starting point for our exploration into what is Yoga. In other words the ‘on the practice mat’ aspects of Bāhya Aṅga Sādhana.

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The Mantra is not something we find in a book or something we buy……

“The Mantra is not something we find in a book or something we buy.
While it might have some effect in the beginning, it will not last.
To be effective it must be received properly
and repeated over a long period of time.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 240

While it is used as a metaphor that the Kuṇḍalinī is going up, really, it does not make sense……

“While it is used as a metaphor that the Kuṇḍalinī
is going up, really, it does not make sense.
If we say that Kuṇḍalinī is an energy that gives us truth,
then we have to a accept the fact that we have
two energies in life, Prāṇa and Kuṇḍalinī.
Some also say that energy is sleeping.
What is meant by this?

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The problem is in the mind and the key is in the mind.

“The problem is in the mind
and the key is in the mind.”
– TKV Desikachar

People often ask me if I teach Āsana……

“People often ask me if I teach Āsana.
When I say “Yes, I do.” they say,
“Oh you are a Haṭha Yogi.”
If I talk about the Yoga Sūtra
they say, “You are a Rāja Yogi.”
If I say I am chanting the Veda,
they say, “You are a Mantra Yogi.”
If I say I just practice Yoga,
they can’t understand.
They want to put a label on me.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 247-248

Āsana brings steadiness, health and lightness of limb……

‘Āsana brings steadiness, health and lightness of limb.’

For me, still to this day, one of the finest, simplest, direct and most succinct definitions on the purpose of Āsana within the processes and practices of Haṭha Yoga, is the definition offered in the Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā Chapter 1 verse 17. It is a definition valid for any situation, or presentation, or as a response to questions from any background or level of interest around why we practice Āsana.

It can also be a springboard to discussing physiological qualities such as the relationship of Agni to the energetic qualities of health and lightness of limb. Or it can be a springboard to discussing psychological qualities such as the relationship of the Guṇa Rajas, to mental qualities, such as steadiness.

Paul’s Short & Longer Yoga Practice Theory Articles – Collected & Collated

Paul’s Short & Longer Yoga Practice Theory Articles – Collected & Collated

There are currently some 100 short and longer articles I have written around Yoga Practice and Yoga Practice Theory. So I felt it could be worthwhile to set up a webpage where they are all collected together onto a single page, as well as being collated into topics according to content.

So, below you can find an outline of the primary Yoga practice topics and where relevant, practice sub-topics. Live links are shown to take you to the page itself and directly to the topic in question.

As well as aiming to help the reader by offering resources from my studies with Desikachar around Āsana, Mudrā, Prāṇāyāma, Dhāraṇā and Chant Practice, it also highlights that there are some topics that I could offer more articles around. So over the next months I will post around themes such as the application of Dynamic and Static Form or understanding the differences in the Variation or Modification of Āsana.

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As teachers we can only confine ourselves to diseases……

“As teachers we can only confine ourselves
to diseases where we have a role to play.
These are diseases where the mind is involved.
We work with diseases where a relationship
exists between body and mind.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

The terms Ha and Ṭha also represent two extreme sides of a wavering mind……

“The terms Ha and Ṭha also represent
two extreme sides of a wavering mind.
Ha often is meant to represent the sun, Ṭha the moon.
Suṣumṇā in the middle Nāḍī.
Prāṇa in the Ha and Ṭha represents
a confused and wavering mind.
Prāṇa in the  Suṣumṇā represents a clear, steady mind.
Hence, Jñāni is one whose Prāṇa is in Suṣumṇā
and Ajñāni is one whose Prāṇa is still
in the opposite two Nāḍī, Ha and Ṭha.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 246-247