Chanting Offering for Mahā Śiva Ratri

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Six Verses on Nirvāṇa

They are said to have arisen as a spontaneous response to the question “Who Am I”
With the climax of each of the six verses:
Cit Ānanda Rūpaḥ Śiva Ahaṃ Śiva Ahaṃ
That Form of Pure Awareness and Bliss, I am Śiva, I am Śiva

From my personal library of recordings from my studies with my teacher TKV Desikachar.
To Download or Listen
To Download the Chant Sheet with Romanised Saṃskṛta and Translation

108 Yoga Practice Pointers – 20 – The heart of Yoga is the way in which a profound change is effected…..

The heart of Yoga is the way in which a profound change is effected on the way we view our environment.
In other words arising out of the various complementary practices of Yoga,
the way we see the world and its processes,
is enriched by a sensitivity to change and understanding of impermanence.
Further, the different practices are not separate compartments,
they are linked through the principles underpinning them.
For example, a meditative attitude in the practice of postures,
complements a stable posture in the practice of seated meditation.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Practice Pointers

108 Yoga Practice Pointers – 19 – Yoga practice is much more than just Āsana……

In terms of ageing mainframes and creaking joints,
it is perhaps useful to remind ourselves that
Yoga practice is much more than just Āsana.
In other words, even as the body slows down,
can we continue to slow the Breath down,
can we continue to slow the Mind down,
can we be Still within the distraction of age?

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Practice Pointers

viniyoga Vignette 3 – Śītalī and Anuloma Ujjāyī Prāṇāyāma within Āsana

A short end of study day 25′ evening practice from the first day of three day Practitioner Training Programme Module. Here the primary Bhāvana or theme was to offer a practice to conclude what would have been a long day with both study and travelling to the venue that morning from various parts of the country.

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108 Postural Practice Pointers – 2 – Jumping and the Bahya Kumbhaka

Postural Practice Pointer 2 – Jumping and the Bahya Kumbhaka

Jumping should be soundless and always on the Bāhya Kumbhaka or pause after the exhale.

Link to Series: 108 Postural Practice Pointers

Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā Chapter 1 verse 17 on Āsana

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kuryāttad āsanaṃ sthairyam ārogyaṃ ca aṅga lāghavan |
“Āsana Practice brings steadiness, reduced illness and a lightness of limb.”
Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā of Svāmi Svātmārāma Chapter One verse 17

This verse is commenting on the development of Āsana
as a foundation or accessory for more subtle practices.
Better not to confuse the vehicle with the direction.

I am reminded of a quote from Srivatsa Ramaswami:
“I studied with Śrī Krishnamacharya for a number of years.
I do not remember a single Yogāsana class which did not have
a decent dose of Prāṇāyāma and Ṣanmukhi Mudrā in it
and short prayers to begin and end the session.”

Nāma, Rūpa, Lakṣana – The Name, Form and Characteristics of Āsana

The Aṣṭāṅga Āsana or the eight limbs of Āsana Planning and Practice are the formula for constructing a skilful and place, time and lifestyle appropriate Āsana practice. These eight limbs fall into eight categories, that of:

  • The definition, meaning and context of Āsana
    – Core concept – Nāma Rūpa Lakṣana – name, form and characteristics
  • How Āsana are arranged into groups and categories
    – Core concept – Vinyāsa Krama – collecting postures together
  • How counterpostures or Pratikriyāsana are integrated
    – Core concept – Pratikriyāsana– maintaining the balance
  • The value and purpose of the breath in Āsana
    – Core concept – PrāṇaApāna Dhāraṇā – where the focus is
  • How movement or stay are used in Āsana 
    Core concept – Circulation and Purification – dynamic and static
  • The adaptation of Āsana practice
    – Core concept – Variation and Modification – change and necessity
  • Intelligently planning and Āsana practice
    – Core concept – Bṛṃhaṇa and Laṅghana Kriyā – connecting postures together
  • Observation within Āsana practice
    – Core concept – Spine, Breath and Attention – learning to look

In my last post on Aṣṭāṅgāsana I talked about introducing each of these eight topics to help the reader to appreciate more about what is inherent in the depth and breadth of this approach in terms of Āsana planning having a precise and comprehensive formula.

Āsana practice starts with a need to know something about the Āsana we are going to work with as we introduce, persevere and develop and especially personalise our practice. Hence we have to both practice but also have some theoretical background in order to context an Āsana in itself and in relationship to other Āsana.

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Learning from Life – The Wisdom of the Yoga Sūtra Part 1 of 2

The Wisdom of the Yoga Sūtra in guiding the journey of the psyche.

Buried within the rich traditions of “on the mat” Yoga practice are many teachings with advice and reflections on how to live more creatively whilst off the mat so to speak.

According to the teachings of Yoga, the postural practices of Āsana, the seated breathing practices of Prāṇāyāma, and other seated practices of meditation, or Dhyānam on such as reflecting on subtle aspects of attitudes or natural phenomena, or seated practices such as Chanting, or Japam or repetition of Mantra, all sit within a framework of daily living and its constant dynamic of helpful choices and positive responses or unhelpful choices and negative re-actions.

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The first Viveka is that I lack something……

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“The first Viveka is that I lack something.
If that urgency is not there then no technique will work.
There must be a very strong thirst.”
– TKV Desikachar

All (Yoga) techniques are for Viveka, as this is the means for freedom.

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“All (Yoga) techniques are for Viveka,
as this is the means for freedom.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 26

THE BASIC TENETS OF PĀTAÑJALA YOGA DARŚANAM

Patanjali Yoga Sutra

THE BASIC TENETS OF PĀTAÑJALA YOGA DARŚANAM
– By Srivatsa Ramaswami

Content Headings Guide

In this booklet Ramaswami presents a background to the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali by outlining concepts integral to understanding and appreciating its teaching.
Following this intention, introductions to the first and second chapters of the Yoga Sūtra are also offered emphasising the important elements for practice, study and reflection.
A content guide based on the headings in the booklet is outlined below, though the reader will need to apply page numbers as they are not in the original publication, from which the online PDF has 28 pages.

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Yoga Postures in Practice – A series on Āsana by Paul Part 3 Uttānāsana

Part Three – Moving from our Spine with Uttānāsana

This is the third 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.

The emphasis in the previous article was on “Growing from our Roots” and looked at Tāḍāsana, the second Āsana in the series within a general practice.

The first article “Moving into our Bodies” looked at the starting Āsana in the series, Samasthiti, as a pose that offered a means to bring our mind and through it, our deeper awareness to a focussed attention.

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Learning Support for Chanting Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinaḥ

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सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः ।
सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु ।
मा कश्चित् दुःख भाग्भवेत् ॥

sarve bhavantu sukhinaḥ |
sarve santu nirāmayāḥ |
sarve bhadrāṇi paśyantu |
mā kashchit duḥkha bhāgbhavet ‖

May all be happy
May all be free from illness
May all see what is auspicious
May no one suffer

Learning Support for Chanting Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinaḥ
From my personal library of recordings from my studies with my teacher TKV Desikachar
To Download or Listen
To Download the Chant Sheet with Devanāgari, Romanised Saṃskṛta and Translation

Yoga uses an intelligent approach which is applied to all things and during all the day.

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‎”Yoga uses an intelligent approach
which is applied to all things
and during all the day.”
TKV Desikachar England 1976

YOGAKSHEMAM – founded by TK Sribhashyam, third son of Krishnamacharya

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YOGAKSHEMAM
A School of traditional teaching of Indian Philosophy, Ayurveda and Yoga
founded by TK  Sribhashyam, the youngest son of T Krishnamacharya,
has announced the publication of an e-Newsletter.

Dear Reader,
We are happy to announce the birth of our Newsletter “Yogakshemam e-Newsletter” on the 2016 Epiphany day. It would be free and open to all. To be respectful to the environment, we interrupt the paper edition and launch the digital version. We are sure that you will appreciate this gesture as well as the contents.
To begin with, this version will have some articles of philosophical interest,
including one in memory to my father, Sri T. Krishnamacharya.
We plan to publish the e-version every two months.
– Letter from Sribhashyam

The first edition can be found here.
My thanks to Sriram, student of Desikachar, for the his email letting me know.

Sometimes the length of the exhale can be sacrificed, but not the quality…….

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“It is not essential to work in the firm order of exhale, inhale, holds.
However the exhale should come first,
then you can emphasise the inhale or holds, whichever suits the person or situation.
If the exhale is disturbed you must be careful.
Always start the use of the ratio from the exhale.
Based on the reaction you can play with the inhale and holds.
Never sacrifice the quality of the exhale.
Sometimes the length of the exhale can be sacrificed, but not the quality.
One can refer to Yoga Sūtra I 34 to show that the exhalation should come first.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar

Any movement can be done on the exhale or stop……

“Any movement can be done on the exhale or stop.
Not every movement can be done on inhale or hold.
Therefore the gradual movement of the breath
or introduction of the breath
should be directed into the exhale.
The exhale must be respected.
When the exhale is secure or firm,
then the attention can be shifted to the inhale or to work on the holds.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar

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The breath is related to the intellect, chest, respiratory system, digestive system etc

“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

Commentary on viniyoga Vignette 2 – Combining techniques in Prāṇāyāma

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For those who read the viniyoga Vignette post 2 on combining techniques in Prāṇāyāma from two days ago, I would add some observations around rationales on the choice and order of the techniques involved.

Step 1.
Śītalī Inhale with Ujjāyī Exhale
1.½.1.0 for 8 breaths
Step 2.
Anuloma Ujjāyī
1.½.1½.0 for 8 breaths
Step 3.
Pratiloma Ujjāyī
1½.0.1½.0 for 8 breaths
Step 4.
Ujjāyī
½.0.½.0 for 8 breaths

For example, starting with Śītalī could be useful for several reasons such as mid-afternoon being a time when there can be an energetic slump and the use of a open mouth inhale with the head raising to encourage volume, coupled with the Antar Kumbhaka, can offer a tonic for the system.

Step 1.
Śītalī Inhale with Ujjāyī Exhale
1.½.1.0 for 8 breaths

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108 Study Path Pointers – 13 – Yoga offers me an intelligent way to come out of my mistakes.

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Yoga offers me an intelligent way to come out of my mistakes.

Link to Series: 108 Study Path Pointers