He also added the idea of Bhāvana in the practice of Prāṇāyāma……

jalandhara_bandha

“Further, he also added long ago, the idea of Bhāvana in the practice of Prāṇāyāma. Long, long ago, he said, the breathing, inhalation, exhalation and retentions have some sort of relationship with the highest force, Lord Nārāyaṇa.

Inhalation is like an inspiration from God himself.
Retention is some sort of meditation, because you are with Him.
Exhalation is some sort of movement towards God,
and retention after exhale is like a surrender to God.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

The concept of Bhāva and Abhāva in Yoga Practice……

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

Amongst the many concepts taught to me by my teacher, to help with understanding and thus working more skilfully with the student, was the notion of Bhāva and Abhāva.

The teaching within this important concept is that when a student comes wanting to learn Yoga, are they interested in learning Yoga to move towards the deeper teachings of Yoga (Bhāva), or wanting to learn Yoga in order to move away from something they find unhelpful or undesirable in their life (Abhāva).

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One of the most complicated aspects of Yoga practice is the Bandha……

nadi_shodana

“One of the most complicated aspects of Yoga practice is the Bandha. He has been able to link correctly various ideas on the Bandha that appear in different texts, and is able to say that certain Bandha can only be done in certain parts of the Prāṇāyāma.
I may also say, that nobody is clearer about the Mūla Bandha than Krishnamacharya.”
– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Prāṇāyāma as Bṛṃhaṇa Kriyā or Laṅghana Kriyā……

Prāṇāyāma

“Because of his knowledge of Āyurveda,
he conceived Prāṇāyāma also as Bṛṃhaṇa Kriyā or Laṅghana Kriyā.”
– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

One of the greatest contributions of Krishnamacharya to Prāṇāyāma……

jalandhara_bandha

“And, in the Prāṇāyāma also, the different types, like Vaikharī,
the different Vṛtti, the different Krama, he put them all into practice.
One of the greatest contributions, I would say, of Krishnamacharya to Prāṇāyāma,
is the use of Bāhya Kumbhaka, and the importance of Recaka, or exhalation.”
– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

The beginning of Prāṇāyāma is in Āsana……

janu_sirsasana

“Because of the different uses of breathing,
he strongly believes that the beginning of Prāṇāyāma is in Āsana.
Āsana, and Āsana alone,
with proper breathing techniques,
leads you to the idea of Prāṇāyāma.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Āsana is Svādhyāya, making you understand something about yourself

svadhyaya_2

“He also presented the idea that Āsana is Svādhyāya,
making you understand something about yourself.”
– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

The idea of Vinyāsa, begin from where you are, go to a point, and……

 

Finally he conceived the idea of what is called Vinyāsa. In fact, in the beginning of his teaching, around 1932, he evolved a list of postures leading towards a particular posture, and coming away from it.

This is different Āsana linked to one another in a scheme as though one posture leads to the following one. And this scheme was very important, especially for children, who find it very interesting.

He continues to have the same faith in this, although you cannot always follow these schemes for adults or people who are sick.

Still the idea of Vinyāsa, begin from where you are, go to a point, and come back to where you have to be, remains valid.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’, given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

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Pratikriyāsana, the idea of compensation and counterpose……

purvatasana

Krishnamacharya in Pūrvatāsana

“He has also given to us the concept of Pratikriyāsana,
the idea of compensation and counterpose.
Since all actions have some reactions,
we have to compensate for the reactions.”
TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

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Breathing is an essential tool in the practice of Āsana……

baddha_konasana

Most importantly, he also has gone to the final limits of the use of the breathing in postures. He found, and he insists, that breathing is an essential tool in the practice of Āsana.

Varying the way to breathe, varying the length of the breath, using different combinations of postures and breath, he has proven that it is possible to modify postures to meet the requirements of individuals.

For him, breathing is like the steering wheel of a car.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’, given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

The person who taught me how to vary postures……

The person who taught me how to vary postures, to bend the legs, to turn the neck, all the simple and complicated variations, as necessary, is Krishnamacharya. It is important to vary each posture according to the individuals requirements.

Further, he also introduced the use of other aids or supports, so that the person gets the benefit of a posture through other means when he is not able to do the posture itself. This can involve sitting on a chair, using a roll, using supports, etc., the use of other means to help a person achieve certain results.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Children’s Āsana Practice Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram Jan 1981

Whilst living in Madras between 1979 and 1981 studying with Desikachar my daughter Sīta went to the Krishnamurti school and attended kids Āsana classes at the KYM.

Here is one practice from a class at the KYM from January 1981, like other classes in those days they were small groups (in both senses here) and each student got a hand written copy of the days practice, to which they added their name. More examples will be posted.

Sita_Class_Jan-1981_KYM

Krishnamacharya practices Yoga Āsana and Prāṇāyāma every day……

sirsasana

Let us look at his usual day. Whether you believe it or not, this old man gets up at one o’clock in the morning. Anybody is welcome to wait on the verandah and see that he gets up at one o’clock in the morning. And one o’clock in the morning is something for us, I mean it is like a terror to get up at one o’clock, and he is 93. He prepares his own tea and then he practices.

I did not believe that, until I saw, because he is staying with me, that he practices Yoga Āsana and Prāṇāyāma every day. In fact more than once every day, including headstand and Padmāsana, I am mentioning Padmāsana you see, because we are all sitting on chairs.

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Ghee formed a very important part of Krishnamacharya’s diet……

Desikachar & Krishnamacharya Chanting 1980

Desikachar & Krishnamacharya Chanting 1980

Question: What were his favourite foods?

Response: You might be surprised that he relished good food. He was from Andhra and so, relished food that was hot and spicy. He was very fond of sweets and would eat them in great quantities. With all this he would always have ghee. Ghee formed a very important part of his diet and whatever the food, it would be accompanied with large quantities of ghee.

Of course, he was also doing Āsana for three to four hours daily in addition to his Prāṇāyāma. His practice was extremely rigorous and that may account for his being able to handle these large quantities of spicy and sweet foods.”

– TKV Desikachar answering questions on T Krishnamacharya. Originally published in KYM Darśanam November 1993

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It is said that some day, everyone will get a back pain……

d_paris_1999

It is said that some day, everyone will get a back pain. There are so many reasons for it. On conducting a study on back pain, we found that there are three categories of people with back pain.

– There are people with back pain, who, after doing Yoga find that the pain has disappeared.

– The second category are those who are able to avoid back pain as long as they follow a life of discipline. But the moment they stop it starts again.

– And to the third category belong people who are not relieved of pain in spite of discipline. We have to go beyond the spine. There is a very large part for emotions here. One has to go into the emotions of the individual.”

– The Yoga of Healing – TKV Desikachar

Is belief in God a must for the success of Dhyāna?

dhyana

“Is belief in God a must for the success of Dhyāna?”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 19th 1988

The Hindu Veda classify Dhyāna into three major but not water-tight divisions……

garuda

“The Hindu Veda classify Dhyāna into three major but not water-tight divisions:

1. Karma – actions, the details, precise actions and results of rituals, such as the how and where you sit; considered most important for  Dhyāna.

2. Jñāna – inquiry, into anything from the lowest to the highest, such as God, myself, Prāṇa, Brahma, etc; recognising absolutely one object of inquiry, not many.

3. Bhakti – trying to connect myself with the highest force; to accept the absolute power of God – that he is Master and Teacher, the only reality.

Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra, the definitive text on Yoga, classifies Dhyāna in different yet similar terms.”

TKV Desikachar Madras December 20th 1988

Patañjali’s view is close to that of the Veda, but there are significant differences……

patanjali-1

Patañjali’s view is close to that of the Veda,
but there are significant differences such that the highest teaching of the Veda,
which is for this life and beyond this life,
cannot accept the teachings of Yoga which are for this life only.

So Hinduism rejects Yoga,
especially since Yoga does not insist on faith or belief in God.
But Hindus, so conditioned to being Hindu,
do Yoga as Hindus and therefore act in ways not consistent with Yoga teaching.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 20th 1988

In the Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two Patañjali introduces the term Kriyā Yoga……

kriyayoga

“In the Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1 Patañjali introduces the term Kriyā Yoga,
a Yoga that anyone can practice,
as distinct from the Yoga practiced by those who devote themselves totally to Yoga,
those whose only concern in life is to reach the highest.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 20th 1988

All seekers of truth are therefore advised to focus, instead, only on object……

isvara

“According to my teacher,
trying to calm the agitations of the mind by reflecting on external objects
is like trying to get milk from the wattles hanging from the neck of a goat.
All seekers of truth are therefore advised to focus,
instead, only on objects that are in the realm of the divine.”
– T Krishnamacharya commenting on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 35

The word Mantra means something that we will ponder……

mantra

The word Mantra means something that we will ponder, that we will reflect upon.
That is, you go to a teacher,
they say something and I go back home and reflect upon that.

That is the essential feature of Mantra, to reflect upon again and again.
The purpose of Mantra is to help us cross a harbour, an obstacle.
That is why the definition of Mantra is:

 मननात् त्रायते इति मन्त्रः॥
mananāt trāyate iti mantraḥ ||
“Who reflects on this, will cross the obstacle”.

– Extract from an interview with TKV Desikachar on Vedic Chanting

At what age can one start practicing Yogāsana?

158_158

Childrens Āsana Class with Desikachar Madras 1980

Question to T Krishnamacharya –
Q: At what age can one start practicing Yogāsana?
A: A person is fit to practice when they can eat by themselves.
– Śrī Krishnamacharya – The Pūrnācārya – published by the KYM in 1997

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What must form an essential part of a person’s daily practice?

sam_mukha_mudra

Question to T Krishnamacharya –

Q: What must form an essential part of a person’s daily practice?
A: A minimum of ten minutes in Antaḥ TrāṭakamṢat Mukhī Mudrā
or Mahā Mudrā is essential.
– Śrī Krishnamacharya – The Pūrnācārya – published by the KYM in 1997

What good is the sword of wisdom (Jñāna Asinā)……

bhujangasana

“What good is the sword of wisdom (Jñāna Asinā),
to cut away the chains of doubt (Saṃśaya),
if the holder is too weak to bear it.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on the Bhagavad Gītā Chapter 4 verse 42

The term Atha signifies auspicious beginning, uninterrupted continuity and an appropriate end.

tk2_chanting_1980

T Krishnamacharya Chanting aged 92

‎”The term Atha signifies auspicious beginning, uninterrupted continuity and an appropriate end.”
– T Krishnamacharya commenting on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

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