Negative reasoning such as harming and the rest;
may be done, brought about, or by approval;
is preceded by greed, anger or delusion;
may be mild, moderate or intense;
its infinite fruits are suffering and ignorance;
thus cultivate the opposite side.
– Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 34
”Yoga is not an escape from life but an approach to living.”
– TKV Desikachar England 1976
The Yoga Sūtra is divided into four chapters.
This second chapter known as Sādhana Pādaḥ caters to them.
“The activites of Yoga are
self discipline, self-inquiry and contemplation on the divine.”
The first step consists of:
तपः स्वाध्यायेश्वरप्रणिधानानि क्रियायोगः ॥१॥
tapaḥ svādhyāya-īśvara-praṇidhānāni kriyā-yogaḥ |
“The activities of Yoga are self-discipline, self-study and contemplation on the divine.”
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1
“The three Upāya to take control of our inability to see things clearly.
”It is not enough to clean a vessel,
you must put something in.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1
As his pupil my teacher worked at guiding me towards becoming increasingly independent in developing and refining more and more my personal practice skills so I became less and less dependent on him being the vehicle for if, when, where, what and how well I practice.
I have always respected this aspect of his 121 teaching in that, like a parent with a child, he progressively facilitated my learning to enable me to grow into an intelligently consistent, situation adaptive and yet long term developmental self-practice, initially through, then much more than just Āsana.
Especially as, like any art that we wish to become accomplished in, this self-skill was cultivated primarily within my home environment with all its hues and moods that inevitably influence, or are driven by deeper motivations within our current intentions and situation realities.
“Saṃkalpa is mainly the intention to do something,
to be serious about my goal; it is something I feel I must do.
Saṃkalpa must be on both parts: student and teacher,
like when we chant ‘saha nāvavatu…’.
Saṃskāra means the purification,
like cleaning a vessel before I use it for another purpose.
It’s a kind of Viyoga or separation.
It concerns how I prepare for the situation.
The Saṃskāra is an effort in both directions: student and teacher.
Saṃyoga means there is a good exchange;
something begins to happen, something is given and something is received.
The best teaching has all three of these.”
– TKV Desikachar speaking with his senior Western students London 1998
अथ योगानुशासनम् ॥१॥
Now follow the teachings of Yoga.
– Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1
“The study of Yoga is a vast undertaking that requires sustained effort and guidance. The term Atha signifies auspicious beginning, uninterrupted continuity, and an appropriate end.
Part One – Moving into our Bodies with Samasthiti.
This is the first in a series of articles presenting the core principles for āsana practice as taught to me over many years of personal lessons in India with my teacher TKV Desikachar.
This post follows on from yesterday’s post introducing the use of and intention within the practice of closing chants that follow the study of chanting, or the study of associated Yoga texts. Traditionally chant practice or textual study was also preceded with an invocatory passage to help forge a link between the chanters, what is about to be chanted and its purport, as well as setting a context for study.
Thus each area of study that the teacher and student were about to venture into was preceded by an appropriate Dhyānam Ślokam, or set of verses that specifically linked the chanters with that particular area of study or practice. Therefore the opening verses would differ according to whether the focus was Veda Chanting, the Upaniṣat, the Bhagavad Gītā, the Yoga Sūtra, etc.
Veda Chanting Short Closing Prayer
In this lineage this particular dedication is a vital part of the closing process within a chant practice or textual study context and was important to and constantly used by Krishnamacharya throughout his life.
He also taught it to those of his direct students who studied chanting or the chant practices inherent in the study of associated Yoga texts with him within a traditional learning setting.
It is also called a Sāttvika Tyāga. This relates to the concept of not giving up the action, just changing your relationship with your expectations around the fruits of the action. This Bhāvana is inherent in the meaning of the chant and is linked to the teachings around the surrender of the self.
Further reflections on Krishnamacharya’s teachings on the concept of Sāttvika Tyāga within the Bhagavad Gītā will be offered within a future post.
kāyena vācā manasendriyairvā
budhyātmanā vā prakṛteḥ svabhāvāt |
karomi yadyatsakalaṃ parasmai
nārāyaṇāyeti samarpayāmi ||
sarvaṃ śrī kṛṣṇārpaṇamastu ||
” My body, speech, mind, senses,
intellect, essence, or outer and inner tendencies,
All that I will do over and over,
to the supreme Nārāyaṇa I offer.”
“All to the esteemed Kṛṣṇa I consign,
let it be so.”
“Begin your practice from where you are,
finish your practice where you are going.”
– TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978
“The Yoga Sūtra is divided into four chapters.
The first chapter called Samādhi Pādaḥ assumes the aspirant
has progressed adequately to be in a state called Samāhita.
Such a person is not easily agitated.
They have a clearer perception to comprehend concepts such as Īśvara and Vairāgya.”
– T Krishnamacharya introduction to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One