Tapas is Proper Diet, Mantra Chanting and Self-Inquiry.

srimad_bhagavad_gita

Tapas is Proper Diet, Mantra Chanting and Self-Inquiry.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Six verse 46

(Refer also to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1 with its Kriyā Yoga and additional commentaries from Krishnamacharya and Desikachar)

Even these days the influence of Krishnamacharya’s teachings……

krishnamacharya3

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Even these days, the influence of Krishnamacharya’s teachings around Yoga are primarily known through his exacting teaching of Āsana. This has also been mainly experienced in the West with the developmental work of his early students, such as through the choreographical artistry in the work of Pattabhi Jois or through the geometrical precision in the work of BKS Iyengar.

However this area of Āsana teaching, though itself multifaceted and hugely influential, if disproportionately predominant within Yoga today, only reveals one aspect of the many dimensions of practice expressed within his teaching. This teaching evolved and refined over 70 years, from his return from his long stay around the borders of Nepal and Tibet in 1919, to his death in 1989

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The practice of Āsana without breathing and without remembering Ananta has no value.

bhujangasana

“The practice of Āsana without breathing and without remembering Ananta has no value.”
– Śrī T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 47

Yoga is a Saṃskāra in that it equips us to realise our greatest potential.

tk5_1980

‎”Yoga is a Saṃskāra in that it equips us to realise our greatest potential.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

How long should a person stay in an Āsana?

maha_mudra

Question to T Krishnamacharya –

Q: How long should a person stay in an Āsana every day?
A: A person must stay in any one Āsana for at least fifteen minutes.
From the book ‘Śrī Krishnamacharya – The Pūrnācārya’, published by the KYM in 1997

Examples of Vinyāsa Krama for Sitting Āsana within a Single Practice.


As Desikachar actually had very few long term students, many peoples views around such as his Āsana teaching, or views on Yoga in general are formed from experiencing him teaching within a group situation, either at a seminar, lecture or retreat.

Actually he really was not very comfortable teaching mixed public groups in these situations, and in relation to teaching practices, what practices he could present had to be very generalised and therefore contrary to the principles he taught according to what he learnt from his father.

On the other hand as a private student the Āsana practices I was exposed to had a precision and intensity offering a breadth and depth impossible to emulate within a group class environment.

As an example I am offering an extract from the seated section of a practice he taught me. The Āsana in this section are Daṇḍāsana, Ardha Matsyendrāsana, Mahā Mudrā, Baddha Koṇāsana, Paścimatānāsana and as a Pratikriyāsana, Dvipāda Pīṭham.

There were two options for practice, a lighter application or a more intense one. In the lighter version the balance of repeat or stay was as follows:

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Impurities in the heart cause mental agitation……

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Impurities in the heart cause mental agitation
– anxiety, lack of direction, anger.
This agitation, in turn, affects the body,
sometimes making it impossible to sit still even for a few minutes.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 31

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Sukha and Duḥkha cannot be there at the same time.

srimad_bhagavad_gita

Sukha and Duḥkha cannot be there at the same time.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Thirteen verse 21

(Refer also to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 9 for similar idea regarding the oscillation between being either in a state of being present or one of being distracted.)

The relationship between the breath in Āsana with that in Prāṇāyāma.


In the beginning of our journey into the arts of Āsana and Prāṇāyāma, the outcome of our exploration into the breath in Āsana sets a direction and parameters for the beginnings of our exploration into how and where to develop the breath in Prāṇāyāma.

As we establish, progress and refine our practice of Prāṇāyāma, the strengths and issues that arise from our practice of Prāṇāyāma invite a subtler investigation of the breath in Āsana.

This investigation with its reciprocal and yet increasingly subtle direction offers a more precise guidance for where and how we revisit and engage with our work with the breath in Āsana.

Over time we come to both realise and experience the uniqueness of the breath within each of these two arts and the increasingly subtle development of the qualities of the relationship between the breath in Āsana, with that of the breath in Prāṇāyāma.

Āsana and Prāṇāyāma can create a condition where the mind is fit for Dhāraṇā.

Āsana and Prāṇāyāma can, according to the Yoga Sūtra,
create a condition where the mind is fit for Dhāraṇā.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 156

Prāṇāyāma – Where to Start? Part Three

Prāṇāyāma – Where to Start? Part Three

In the previous two articles we discussed Krishnamacharya’s teachings around his understanding of and approach to the viniyoga or application of Prāṇāyāma.

Firstly in terms of Āsana being the starting point for exploring the breath in order to set a starting point and as a guideline for the direction of our Prāṇāyāma.

Secondly the importance of considerations around Prāṇāyāma as a process in terms of being in it for the long haul rather than only looking at practices which offer immediate fruits after a single practice or class.

The second post also commented on the need to leave more than enough time during our Yoga practice for Prāṇāyāma, rather than it being the token twiddle at the end of the practice.

I would like to use this post to consider how we need to add a structure within which we can build content. Without a structure our practice in this area can easily become random in terms of length or haphazard in terms of consistency.

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Paul’s cYs Blog Journal 2015 Revision

Paul’s cYs Blog Journal 2015 Revision

Five Years have now passed since the cYs website was re-launched with a bringing together of a number of existing projects, along with the creation and incorporation of new projects, all under one umbrella.

This re-launch incorporated existing and new projects into five different sections with:

  • A Yoga Freenotes section with Online Word by Word Yoga Sūtra, a searchable Glossary and Freenotes, with further texts and commentaries around Associated Yoga Texts

Since 2010 these past five years have seen the website accumulate:

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Being absorbed in the breath in Prāṇāyāma is Pratyāhāra.

seated_pranayama_2

“If we are completely absorbed in the breath in Prāṇāyāma,
automatically there is Pratyāhāra.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 153

Learning Support for Chanting the Gaṇapati Prārthanā Saṃhitā Pāṭhaḥ


Learning Support for Chanting the Taittirīya Saṃhitā 2.3.14
– Gaṇapati Prārthanā Saṃhitā Pāṭhaḥ.
From my personal library of recordings from my studies
with my teacher TKV Desikachar.
To Download or Listen
To Download the Chant Sheet in Romanised Saṃskṛta with Notations

108 Chanting Practice Pointers – 5 – A Mantra is that which shapes space through vibration of sacred syllables.

mantra

A Mantra is that which shapes space through vibration of sacred syllables.
In the art of Mantra Saṃskṛta is a sacred tool for shaping sacred form out of space.
Sounding the Saṃskṛta according to the precisions of pronunciation and vibration
manifests the sacred form inherent in each Mantra out of universal space.
The ancient seers understood this process and left us sacred phonemes
to guide our journey into and beyond the self.

Link to Series: 108 Chanting Practice Pointers

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Ten 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 10 Theory: Prāṇāyāma – Pages 133-144

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It is beyond our conscious effort to move the Prāṇa.

“It is beyond our conscious effort to move the Prāṇa.
What is within our conscious effort is the breath,
so we use the breath to make this movement possible.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 142

Nobody can control the Prāṇa…..

“Nobody can control the Prāṇa,
it has its own movement.
We create a condition in which the Prāṇa returns.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 141