The seeds from Krishnamacharya’s and Desikachar’s teachings on Haṭha Yoga……

The seeds from Krishnamacharya’s and Desikachar’s teachings on Haṭha Yoga are best rooted through a personal home practice by:

Firstly –

By prioritising the twin aspects within a joint commitment to learn both Haṭha Yoga practice techniques and Haṭha Yoga practice theory. The intended outcome of this two pronged approach is engaging in learning how to practice, rather than just learning what to practice.

“Yoga must be adapted to an individuals needs,
expectations and possibilities,
rather than adapting an individuals needs,

expectations and possibilities to Yoga.”

This means learning to engage with the process of what it means to have a personal Yoga practice alongside engaging learning to study the theory of the component principles that underpin what constitutes creating and sustaining a personalised Yoga practice.

“Some are satisfied with what Āsana brings them.
Others are curious as to where Āsana can take them.”

These twin aspects of the arts of Yoga practice techniques and Yoga practice theory support our being able to independently and intelligently choose, adapt and ultimately self-develop and self-refine our personal Yoga Sādhana.

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Deepening our relationship with Prāṇāyāma deepens our relationship with Āsana……

One aspect of Yoga Sādhana is that it is ultimately about a maturing of our relationship with all aspects of on the mat (and seat) Yoga practice, rather than just a maturing of our Āsana practice.

“Are we confusing the maturation of our Āsana practice
with the maturation of our Yoga practice?”

This is especially relevant if we consider these various aspects as existing within a holarchy. This implies that one “level”, here Āsana; whilst being the foundation, technical reference point, verification and ladder for the next “level”, here Prāṇāyāma; also remains interdependent with it. Thus Āsana is correspondingly influenced by the insights that arise from Prāṇāyāma as we work towards a transition from Bāhya Aṅga Sādhana towards Antar Aṅga Sādhana.

“Āsana is the primary choice to work the breath.
Prāṇāyāma is the primary choice to refine the breath.”

For example, fully embracing Prāṇāyāma as a Sādhana is initially founded on the core principles that underpin an intelligent relationship with Āsana. This foundation helps to seed insights that are unique to Prāṇāyāma practice. These insights in turn both deepen our relationship with Prāṇāyāma as well as refreshing and further deepening our relationship with Āsana.

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Meditation is not a technique, it is a journey.

‎”Meditation is not a technique,
it is a journey.”
– TKV Desikachar 1998

If you are using something more complex, say Gāyatrī Mantra……

Gāyatrī

“The number of times you say OM on inhalation, holding the breath,
and exhalation is influenced by the length of the breath.
We cannot fix the number of recitations on the basis of the Praṇava itself.
We can only fix it on the basis of a person’s capacity of breath.
If you are simply using OM, it can go with almost any ratio.
If you are using something more complex, say Gāyatrī Mantra,
it is very long and has different structures so there are regulations on
how many times you say it when you inhale, hold the breath, and exhale,
and in what part of the Mantra you can break, etc.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 238-239

Once you know how to recite the Praṇava orally you will be able to do it silently……

“I think once you know how to recite the Praṇava
orally you will be able to do it silently.
And perhaps each time you can add a little meaning
to it as well as find a little more meaning in it.
The best way is to begin orally and
then transfer it to a mental recitation.
Then you can easily use it in your Yoga practice.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 238

Don’t go on doing a lot of postures……

“Don’t go on doing a lot of postures; if you do,
I think the meaning in Yoga will be lost.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 238

Many people have this problem of maintaining attention during practice……

“Many people have this problem of maintaining attention during the practice.
You can place your attention on a particular part of the body
but there must be something happening, a movement.
Thats why the best movement is the breath.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 237

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Sixteen 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 a deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

Chapter 16 Theory: A Session for Questions Pages 221-235

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108 Yoga Practice Pointers – 65 – Yoga Practice needs a Mat and a Map……

Yoga Practice needs a Mat and a Map,
of the two the more important question is,
what Map are you using, rather than,
what Mat are you using.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Practice Pointers

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 56 – We experience the world via the conjunction of the ‘eye’ of the Cit……

We experience the world via the conjunction
of the ‘eye’ of the Cit with the ‘I’ of the Citta.
– Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 17

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 55 – Abhyāsa or Practice is the effort to remain within……

Abhyāsa or Practice is,
the effort to remain within
the stillness of the present.
Vairāgya or Dispassion is,
the absence of thirst towards
the dance of the past.
– Reflections around Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verses 12-15

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 54 – Every step towards observing the play of the mind……

Every step towards observing the play of the mind,
is a step towards observing the ploy of the mind.
– Reflection around Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 4

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers – 9 – Pratiloma Ujjāyī is both an elegant and eloquent Prāṇāyāma technique.

seated_pranayama_2

Prāṇāyāma Pointer 9 – Pratiloma Ujjāyī is both……

Pratiloma Ujjāyī is both an elegant and eloquent Prāṇāyāma technique.

Link to Series: 108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers

108 Yoga Study Path Pointers – 27 – The irony of seeking well being……

The irony of seeking well being,
is that our being is always well.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Study Path Pointers

108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers – 8 – When using Mṛgi Mudrā to control the nostril flow in Prāṇāyāma……

seated_pranayama

Prāṇāyāma Pointer 8 – Mṛgi Mudrā and nostril flow……

When using Mṛgi Mudrā to control the nostril flow in Prāṇāyāma,
the ring finger and thumb remain as if glued onto the nostrils,
with one nostril being fully closed and one nostril partially closed,
with adjustments to the pressure according to technique and ratio.
Even when using Ujjāyī within techniques such as Anuloma Ujjāyī,
the finger and thumb remain as if sealed on the sides of the nostrils.
Externally it’s as if there is nothing to observe in terms of the body.
Internally there is a vibrant flow within the dynamics of the breath.

Link to Posts Series: 108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers

108 Yoga Practice Pointers – 64 – Āsana involves the extending the length of the breath beyond the body……

According to the teachings of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar,
Āsana involves extending the length of the breath beyond the body,
rather than the extending of the body beyond the length of the breath.
The purpose is to facilitate the field of Prāṇa accumulating in its intensity.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Practice Pointers

Longer term Vinyāsa Krama within the Viniyoga of the breath in Āsana……

General perceptions in Yoga are that performance progressions in any Āsana are usually around improvement or refinement in the choreography of the entry or exit, or in the extremity of the final form.

For example if we were to compare the performance of students in say Uttānasana, evaluations would tend to be made concerning how far one bends forward, or how near the head is towards the knees, or how straight the legs are, or how close to the ground the hands are, et cetera.

“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

However from the viewpoint of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar, in terms of Āsana practice for adults, the breath has its own developmental path within the performance of any Āsana.

“Ultimately our experience of the Āsana is refined
through the mystery of the breath,
rather than the mastery of the form.”

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108 Yoga Study Path Pointers – 26 – Yoga Practice turns and prepares the soil……

Yoga Practice turns and prepares the soil.
Yoga Study offers a range of seeds for planting.
We may need advice on how to integrate the two.
This integration of soil and seed unfolds into Sādhana.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Study Path Pointers

108 Postural Practice Pointers – 24 – In Dvipāda Pīṭham a key Bhāvana is on the arms……

Postural Practice Pointer 24 – In Dvipāda Pīṭham a key Bhāvana is on the arms.

With regard to Dvi Pāda Pīṭham, a key Bhāvana is on how we use the arms.
In the beginning try exploring leaving out raising the arms as you come up,
as shoulder movement means that people can start to move about on the mat.
Here we need to focus on lifting the body upwards as many people slide backwards.
Also many people will push up too much from the buttocks and distend the belly,
which in turn will increase the abdominal pressure and disturb the Apāna Sthāna.
So initially when learning this posture the Bhāvana of lifting from the feet is enough.
Then adding the engagement of a Bhāvana on the arms, by making the arms active.
Thus whilst lifting engage pushing the full length of the arms down firmly on the floor.
Once the legs are active and the arms are active, the neck can lengthen more naturally.

Link to Series: 108 Postural Practice Pointers

Anubhūta is the change that occurs in one’s state of mind……

Anubhūta is the change that
occurs in one’s state of mind
when it is related to external objects
through the involvement of the senses.
This is also known as experience.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on
Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 11