Our goals are not always to strive for what we cannot do.

seated_pranayama_2

“Our goals are not always to strive for what we cannot do.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘Choosing a Ratio and the proper technique for Prāṇāyāma’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Twelve Page 171

Viniyoga Vignette 4 – Combining Prāṇāyāma within Āsana

A short end of study day 25′ evening practice from the second 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 in itself a long day of study as well as internalising the student away from the accumulative stresses from two long days of training input.

Thus the practice out began with spacious work in lying as a grounding transition from the intense work of the day before moving towards sitting. From here moving from lying via kneeling Cakravakāsana, the use of Śītalī, with its head movement and mild Antar Kumbhaka, was introduced to energetically and mentally refresh, before integrating a more physical focus albeit with a sense of seated containment, via mid-range movement in Jānu Śīrṣāsana.

This then flowed into sitting integrated with several types of Prāṇāyāma, firstly exploring Bhramarī, then a subtle seated Ujjāyī and finally Nāḍī Śodhana to complete the transition from the days activities to the evenings endings.

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Yoga has no prerequisites except that one must have a teacher……

tkv_tk_3_1980

“Yoga has no prerequisites except that one must have a teacher
and have faith in Īśvara, the first teacher.”
T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

Mahāmṛtyañjaya Mantra – Saṃhitā Pāṭhaḥ – with Translation

taittirīya saṃhitā V. 4. 12.
mahāmṛtyañjaya mantra – saṃhitā pāṭhaḥ

tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhiṃ puṣṭivardhanam |
urvārukamiva bandhanānmṛtyormukṣīya mā‘mṛtāt ||

“We worship the three-eyed Lord who is fragrant
and who nourishes and nurtures all beings.
Like the pumpkin I am bound.
Liberate me from death for immortality.”

Put simply:

“Śiva sever my pumpkin so I can be free after death.”

View or Download this post as a PDF
View or Download the Mṛtyañjaya Mantra in Romanised Saṃskṛta with notations and chant extensions
Listen or Download the Mṛtyañjaya Mantra as a sound file from my personal collection of recordings

The first Saṃskāra we have is faith……

sraddha

“The first Saṃskāra we have is faith.
So even if we react against this later,
deep inside we have some faith.”
– TKV Desikachar

108 Chanting Practice Pointers – 7 – Yoga Sūtra Chanting for the Mind……

ansuyadevi_1

Yoga Sūtra Chanting for the Mind.
Veda Mantra Chanting for the Soul.

Link to Series: 108 Chanting Practice Pointers

108 Study Path Pointers – 15 – Initially our Yoga Journey is towards our relationship with living…..

tat_tvam_asi

Initially our Yoga Journey is towards our relationship with living.
Ultimately our Yoga Journey is towards our relationship with dying.

Link to Series: 108 Study Path Pointers

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Eleven 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 Eleven Theory: Antaraṅga Sādhana – An Introduction to the Last Four Aṅga
– Pages 145-162

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This is what I mean by having Prāṇa inside the body……

TKV_USA_3a1

“This is what I mean by having Prāṇa inside the body.
When this is the case,
a person is not affected by the whims and opinions of others.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 148

Nathamuni’s Yoga Rahasya is quite likely to be a combination of…….

tkv_tk_1980

“My father never acknowledged that he discovered anything
even when I have seen that it was he who discovered.
He has discovered postures but he would say
that it was his teacher who taught him.
Rarely has he said that it was his “original” work.
At the same time, I have seen him – because I am his son also –
composing some verses and correcting those verses for
the Chandas (Metre) and all that and finally saying –
this is what Nathamuni is saying and this is what my teacher says!
I tend to think that the Nathamuni’s Yoga Rahasya that he taught us
is quite likely to be a combination of his own commentary
and the lessons he received though he would not accept it.”
– ‘The Study of Yoga Rahasya‘ – Extract from an Interview with TKV Desikachar in KYM Darśanam, a publication from Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram vol 1 no 1 Feb 1991.

In observation, try to go from Annamaya to the deeper levels.

Desikachar_PH_2

“In observation, try to go from Annamaya to the deeper levels.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras 1987

108 Postural Practice Pointers – 3 – Forward Bending and the Abdomen

Postural Pointer 3 – Forward Bending and the Role of the Abdomen

When moving into Paścimatāna Āsana such as Uttānāsana.
Better to pull back from the abdomen.
Rather than pushing forward from the lower back.

Link to Series: 108 Postural Practice Pointers

108 Study Path Pointers – 14 – What’s important is not to find the solution itself……

tat_tvam_asi

“What’s important is not to find the solution itself,
but to identify the mystery,
and to continuously touch it and draw strength from it.”
– Paul Harvey Interview Israel 2006

Link to Series: 108 Study Path Pointers

Chanting Offering for Mahā Śiva Ratri

maha_siva_ratri

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

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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The first Viveka is that I lack something……

viveka

“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