The teaching of Krishnamacharya around Āsana included an in-depth appreciation of the Lakṣaṇa……


My extensive study of Āsana with TKV Desikachar was shaped around forming a deep appreciation of specific core principles that underpin the planning and practice of Āsana and their application to the individual student’s constitution, psychology and need.

Amongst these dozen or so core principles, the first group I studied when looking at any Āsana in depth, were the concepts of Nāma, Rūpa and Lakṣaṇa, or the name, the form and the characteristics of that particular Āsana.

Obviously the Nāma is a useful tag point for identification and the Rūpa is vital as a reference point for the Sat Viniyoga or appropriate application of the Āsana within overall considerations around direction and outcome such as the Śikṣaṇa Krama, Rakṣaṇa Krama or Cikitsā Krama application of the forms used.

However I do feel these days that our understanding in Āsana practice is dominated by the Nāma and the Rūpa with little emphasis on the Lakṣaṇa or inherent characteristics of the Āsana and how understanding this aspect can have a profound effect on the approach, application and outcome of the overall or accumulative impact of the Āsana within the student’s practice.

The teaching of Krishnamacharya around Āsana included an in-depth appreciation of the Lakṣaṇa, especially around the thirty or so primary Āsana such as Jaṭhara Parivṛtti, Bhujaṅgāsana or Januśīrṣāsana.

Prārthanā Ślokam – Gurubhyastad Verse for all Teachers with Translation

Śrī Nāthamuni

The notion of Paraṃparā or ongoing transmission from teachers to students is typified by Śrī Nāthamuni, Yogi par excellence from the 9th Century. He was a forebear of Śrī Kṛṣṇamācarya and grandfather of Śrī Yāmunācārya, himself the author of the Stotra Ratnam and the Gītārtha Saṃgraha

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What we are seeking is linked to the discovery of faith within us.

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“What we are seeking is linked to the discovery of faith within us.”
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

Śrī Kṛṣṇavāgīśa – A Prayer to Śrī Krishnamacharya with Translation

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

śrī kṛṣṇavāgīśa yatīśvarābhyām saṃprāpta cakrāṅkaṇa bhyāṣyasāram |

śrī nūtnaraṅgendra yatau samarpitsvam śrī kṛṣṇamāryaṃ guruvaryamīḍe |

virodhe kārtike māse śatatārā kṛtodayam yogācāryaṃ kṛṣṇamāryaṃ guruvaryamahaṃ bhaje ||

“I offer praise to one who is disciplined, Guru Śrī Krishnamacharya, whose great teachers were
Śrī Kṛṣṇa who taught him mantra and initiated him into Cakrāṅkaṇam
(the ritual of prostrating and receiving Śaṅkha, right side and Cakra left side, on the shoulders).
Śrī Vāgīśa who taught him the essence of Śrī Bhyāṣyam (Vedānta) and
Śrī Raṅganātha (Raṅgendra) who initiated him into Bharaṇyāsam
(to place at the Lord’s feet or how to surrender to God).
Born in the year Virodha, during the month of Kṛtika, under the star Śatatāra,
this teacher of Yoga, Guru Krishnamacharya I salute.”

The convention is to speak about the guruparamparā and not describe or or speak about the teacher’s contributions.

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The state of Dhyānam is possible in a seated posture……

dhyanam

“The state of Dhyānam is possible in a seated posture.
If a person lies down, it may induce sleep.
If a person walks and moves about, he may be distracted by the objects around him.
This posture must be in a place where the mind will not be distracted.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Dhyānam

108 Yoga Practice Pointers – 17 – One of the key concepts in the viniyoga of Āsana……

One of the key concepts in the viniyoga of Āsana
is how to facilitate movement in the spine
rather than just movement of the spine.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Practice Pointers

In order to experience Dhyānam, the sixth step, Dhāraṇā……

dhyanam

Dhyānam is the seventh Aṅga of the Aṣṭāṅga Yoga.
In order to experience Dhyānam, the sixth step,
Dhāraṇā, should have been practiced thoroughly.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Dhyānam

A person who is physically fit and who has been cleansed by the Agni of Dhyānam……

dhyanam

“A person who is physically fit and who has been cleansed by the Agni of Dhyānam
has no fear of sickness, disease, age or death.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Dhyānam

Mano Bandha is Dhyānam……

dhyanam

“Just as Mūla BandhaUḍḍīyāna BandhaJālandhara Bandha and Jivha Bandha are very important for Prāṇāyāma, Mano Bandha is very important for Dhyānam.
Mano Bandha is Dhyānam.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Dhyānam

If we appreciate the role of breathing in Āsana how can we make it longer?


Question by Desikachar during my 121 lessons 1980:
“If we appreciate the role of breathing in Āsana how can we make it longer?”

From my notes from his response:

1. By using a valve, such as the throat (Ujjāyī) we can:

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108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers -3 – Pratiloma Ujjāyī is a gracious Prāṇāyāma technique.

seated_pranayama_2

Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers -3 – Pratiloma Ujjāyī

Pratiloma Ujjāyī is a gracious Prāṇāyāma technique.

Link to Posts Series: 108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers

Action is best performed when it is for the good of the society….

srimad_bhagavad_gita

“Action is best performed when it is for the good of the society,
with the spirit of dedication to the lord and
with freedom from the attitude of being the doer and the beneficiary.”
– TKV Desikachar Commentary on Gītārtha Saṃgraha of Śrī Yāmunācārya Śloka Seven

It is honouring ones Dharma that will reveal the true nature of oneself.

srimad_bhagavad_gita

“It is honouring ones Dharma that will reveal the true nature of oneself.”
– TKV Desikachar Commentary on Gītārtha Saṃgraha of Śrī Yāmunācārya Śloka Two

108 Personal Studies Pointers – 2 – One should consider and understand the relevance of the breath……

“The breath is related to the intellect, chest, respiratory system, digestive system, etc.
So one should consider and understand the relevance of the breath to these areas.
Also how these areas are in students before we start applying specific principles of breathing,
otherwise it could aggravate the area and any inherent problem.”
From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar

Plan an Āsana practice to include Ardha Uttānāsana……


Plan an Āsana practice to include:

1. Ardha Uttānāsana – Stay 8 Breaths

2. Śīrṣāsana – Stay 20 Breaths

3. Navāsana – Stay 8 Breaths

A  question given it me by TKV Desikachar during our 121 lessons in 1980 when learning Āsana practice planning skills.

Mudrā practice is important since it assists the 10 Prāṇa to move freely in the Nāḍī.

maha_mudra

Mudrā practice is important since it assists the ten Prāṇa to move freely in the Nāḍī.”
– T Krishnamacharya introducing Chapter Three in the Gheraṇḍa Saṃhitā

Asmitā – To confuse memory and wisdom……

asmita

Asmitā – To confuse memory and wisdom.”
– TKV Desikachar Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 6

The Heart of Yoga is Developing a Personal Practice.

TKV_5

“The Heart of Yoga:
Developing a Personal Practice.”
– TKV Desikachar

Yoga is a search into the self……

Desikachar_France_1999

“Yoga is a search into the self.
It is the means and the goal.
It approaches the question by saying what is not self.”
– TKV Desikachar

Eight steps in the process of learning the teachings……

eight_processes_of_learning

Desikachar taught me that there were eight steps in the process of learning the teachings.

  • Upadeśa – To come near to the teachings and remain
  • Śravaṇa – To listen to the teachings with an open ear
  • Grahaṇa – To seize hold of or grasp onto the teachings
  • Dhāraṇā – To concentrate on memorising the teachings
  • Manana – To carefully reflect on the teachings
  • Anuṣṭhāna – To live with and put the teachings into practice
  • Anubhāvana – To have some experiences from following the teachings
  • Pracāra – To share and apply the teachings with others

Namely the process of coming near to, listening to, grasping, memorizing, reflecting, applying, experiencing and sharing the teachings.

However the body is only part of the problem……

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“However the body is only part of the problem,
you have to do something at a deeper level.
This comes back to the mind.”
– TKV Desikachar

When I do something is it because I want to do it or……

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

“When I do something is it because I want to do it,
or am I being led to do it by the mind?”
– TKV Desikachar

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108 Teaching Path Pointers – 9 – Throughout Krishnamacharya’s teaching life he remained focused on……

Throughout Krishnamacharya’s teaching life he remained focused on
the priorities of seeing the who as the starting point
before considering the what.

Link to Series: 108 Teaching Path Pointers

Plan an Āsana practice to include Jaṭhara Parivṛtti……

asana_planning_june_2015

Plan an Āsana practice to include:

1. Jaṭhara Parivṛtti – Stay 8 breaths each side

2. Uttāna Pādāsana – Stay 8 breaths

3. Viparīta Daṇḍāsana – Stay 8 breaths

A  question given it me by TKV Desikachar during our 121 lessons in 1980 when learning Āsana practice planning skills.

It is not the request but where it is coming from.

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“It is not the request but where it is coming from.”
– TKV Desikachar