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

We have lost a fine teacher and a Yoga master……

kym_teachers_1979

This picture, taken 1979, with fond memories of early days with
TKV Desikachar and the KYM with co-founder AG Mohan and the faculty.

“Many years ago and not knowing my connection, a Yoga student commented around me “Don’t go to Desikachar, he has no charisma”. At the time, though saying nothing, I was reminded that this was for me an important facet around my appreciation of him, in that it was his ordinariness that I found engaging.

Furthermore, this quality was reflected throughout his life in terms of its simplicity in that it didn’t actually change over the decades that I visited and studied within lessons or spent personal time or travelled with him privately.

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As I sit within this time of passing and remembrance……

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TKV Desikachar 1938-2016

As I sit within this time of passing and remembrance it occurred to me that August 2016 exactly marks the 40th anniversary from the first time I met and worked with Desikachar in August 1976.

The setting was a small group of students, especially by todays seminar norms, amidst the august settings of Cambridge University at a week organised by a student of Desikachar from that era, Ian Rawlinson.

I remember the first moments of Desikachar coming onto a small platform in the room, a shy somewhat reticent person and asking us to show to him our personal Yoga practice, already not what we were expecting at our first meeting.

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TKV Desikachar has passed away from this life……..

TKV Desikachar

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

It is with profound sadness and a great personal sense of loss,
that I offer the news that TKV Desikachar has died this Sunday evening at 9.15pm London time on Sunday August 7th or 2.45am Monday August 8th Madras time.
With my prayers and deep condolences to his wife Menaka and family for the loss of the light and clarity he offered to all who had the privilege to have contact with him and his teachings.

Reflections by Paul around TKV Desikachar following his passing on August 8th 2016……..
As I sit within this time of passing and remembrance……
We have lost a fine teacher and a Yoga master……

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How do we know that the Āsana has served its purpose?……

Āsana_24b

“How do we know that the Āsana  has served its purpose?”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

What interests you most in Āsana?……

TKV_5

Three questions given by Desikachar in a retreat in 1978

“1. What interests you most in Āsana?
2. What distinguishes Āsana from Prāṇāyāma?
3. What is hard to teach? Āsana and/or Prāṇāyāma, or something else?”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

The attention is within the posture if we concentrate on the breath.

“The attention is within the posture if we concentrate on the breath.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

A teacher needs to know a students body and state of mind…….

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“A teacher needs to know a students body and state of mind
to prepare a suitable practice,
take into account the particular students problems,
be they physical or psychological.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Where do Āsana lead us?……

“Where do Āsana lead us?
1. For seated practices. (Adhyātmika – Concerning our essence)
To stay in a stable position with the spine erect for Dhyāna or preparation for Dhyāna.
2.  For health. (Cikitsā – Therapeutics)
They do something for the energy flow of the body.
3. Ability to master the body. (Śakti – Power)
Not necessarily to promote health but to show that we can master the body.
Often these are good for health, though many are only useful as challenges.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar

One should practice and inquire into the effects of the practice…….

One should practice and inquire into the effects

“One should practice and
inquire into the effects of the practice
as well as the practice.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 20 – From meditating on the Heart we come to know……

hrdaya

From meditating on the Heart,
we come to know the habits of the Mind.
From coming to know the habits of the Mind,
we come to know the Intrinsic Nature of the Mind.
– Personal Commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter 3 verse 34

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

We must discover why we practice.

TKV_5

“We must discover why we practice.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

The senses can be faster than the mind in triggering Saṃskāra.

indriya

“The senses (Indriya) can be faster than the mind in triggering Saṃskāra.”
– TKV Desikachar commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Three verse 41

Yoga Postures in Practice – A series on Āsana by Paul Part 4 Utkaṭāsana

Part Four – Building our Support with Utkaṭāsana

This is the fourth in a series of articles presenting the core principles for Āsana practice as taught to me through many years of personal lessons in India with my teacher TKV Desikachar.

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Avidyā is anything else other than Vidyā.

avidya

Avidyā is anything else other than Vidyā.”
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 3
– TKV Desikachar January 1997

Whatever perceives is always right……

drastr

“Whatever perceives is always right,
it is the mind that colours what we see.”
– TKV Desikachar 1979 on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 4

The test for intelligent effort is the response of the breath.

prana

“The test for intelligent effort is the response of the breath.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

Musings on the Student’s Relationship with the Teacher

Memories from my early days, over 40 years ago now, of going to teachers to teach me Yoga were generally around the notion, replete with conscious and unconscious expectations, that the teacher was there to bring out the best in me.

For example I feel that many of us if group class teachers are used to working with the Lazarus factor (raising folks from the dead each week). Here we can get caught or even need the expectation, both in you and/or in the student, that you will be or are ‘the one’ to revitalise the students tired and/or wired bodies as well as restoring confident dispositions.

However my experiences arising from working with TKV Desikachar stood that notion on its head. This was not through anything he said or did but from my own slowly acquired realisation that my way of looking at the relationship was confused.

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Chatting with TKV Desikachar during a lesson in the early 1990’s…..

Chatting with TKV Desikachar during a lesson in the early 1990’s I commented on an observation formed from discussions with my students within a study group I had brought to Madras (Chennai) for a two week programme at the KYM during my personal study stay that year.

As a part of this particular study group visit to the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram some of the students took up the option of 121 lessons with teachers at the KYM. Sharing the content of the practices with me revealed the introduction of a sequence that I had not come across before within, at that time, my nearly 20 years of studies within the work of T Krishnamacharya.

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In the case of a person whose mind is calm……

TK_1980a

“In the case of a person whose mind is calm and free from disturbances,
there is the integration of the person who meditates,
the mind which is utilised for meditation
and the object that is meditated upon.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 41