108 Yoga Practice Pointers – 65 – Yoga Practice needs a Mat and a Map……

Yoga Practice needs a Mat and a Map,
of the two the more important question is,
what Map are you using, rather than,
what Mat are you using.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Practice Pointers

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 56 – We experience the world via the conjunction of the ‘eye’ of the Cit……

We experience the world via the conjunction
of the ‘eye’ of the Cit with the ‘I’ of the Citta.
– Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 17

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108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 55 – Abhyāsa or Practice is the effort to remain within……

Abhyāsa or Practice is,
the effort to remain within
the stillness of the present.
Vairāgya or Dispassion is,
the absence of thirst towards
the dance of the past.
– Reflections around Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verses 12-15

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108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 54 – Every step towards observing the play of the mind……

Every step towards observing the play of the mind,
is a step towards observing the ploy of the mind.
– Reflection around Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 4

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108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers – 9 – Pratiloma Ujjāyī is both an elegant and eloquent Prāṇāyāma technique.

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Prāṇāyāma Pointer 9 – Pratiloma Ujjāyī is both……

Pratiloma Ujjāyī is both an elegant and eloquent Prāṇāyāma technique.

Link to Series: 108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers

108 Yoga Study Path Pointers – 27 – The irony of seeking well being……

The irony of seeking well being,
is that our being is always well.

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108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers – 8 – When using Mṛgi Mudrā to control the nostril flow in Prāṇāyāma……

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Prāṇāyāma Pointer 8 – Mṛgi Mudrā and nostril flow……

When using Mṛgi Mudrā to control the nostril flow in Prāṇāyāma,
the ring finger and thumb remain as if glued onto the nostrils,
with one nostril being fully closed and one nostril partially closed,
with adjustments to the pressure according to technique and ratio.
Even when using Ujjāyī within techniques such as Anuloma Ujjāyī,
the finger and thumb remain as if sealed on the sides of the nostrils.
Externally it’s as if there is nothing to observe in terms of the body.
Internally there is a vibrant flow within the dynamics of the breath.

Link to Posts Series: 108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers

108 Yoga Practice Pointers – 64 – Āsana involves the extending the length of the breath beyond the body……

According to the teachings of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar,
Āsana involves extending the length of the breath beyond the body,
rather than the extending of the body beyond the length of the breath.
The purpose is to facilitate the field of Prāṇa accumulating in its intensity.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Practice Pointers

Longer term Vinyāsa Krama within the Viniyoga of the breath in Āsana……

General perceptions in Yoga are that performance progressions in any Āsana are usually around improvement or refinement in the choreography of the entry or exit, or in the extremity of the final form.

For example if we were to compare the performance of students in say Uttānasana, evaluations would tend to be made concerning how far one bends forward, or how near the head is towards the knees, or how straight the legs are, or how close to the ground the hands are, et cetera.

“The Āsana are presented in Vinyāsa Krama,
the way it was taught to children in the Yogasāla.

This should not create the impression that
T Krishnamacharya taught in this manner to everyone.”
TKV Desikachar Introduction to Yoga Makaranda

However from the viewpoint of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar, in terms of Āsana practice for adults, the breath has its own developmental path within the performance of any Āsana.

“Ultimately our experience of the Āsana is refined
through the mystery of the breath,
rather than the mastery of the form.”

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108 Yoga Study Path Pointers – 26 – Yoga Practice turns and prepares the soil……

Yoga Practice turns and prepares the soil.
Yoga Study offers a range of seeds for planting.
We may need advice on how to integrate the two.
This integration of soil and seed unfolds into Sādhana.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Study Path Pointers

108 Postural Practice Pointers – 24 – In Dvipāda Pīṭham a key Bhāvana is on the arms……

Postural Practice Pointer 24 – In Dvipāda Pīṭham a key Bhāvana is on the arms.

With regard to Dvi Pāda Pīṭham, a key Bhāvana is on how we use the arms.
In the beginning try exploring leaving out raising the arms as you come up,
as shoulder movement means that people can start to move about on the mat.
Here we need to focus on lifting the body upwards as many people slide backwards.
Also many people will push up too much from the buttocks and distend the belly,
which in turn will increase the abdominal pressure and disturb the Apāna Sthāna.
So initially when learning this posture the Bhāvana of lifting from the feet is enough.
Then adding the engagement of a Bhāvana on the arms, by making the arms active.
Thus whilst lifting engage pushing the full length of the arms down firmly on the floor.
Once the legs are active and the arms are active, the neck can lengthen more naturally.

Link to Series: 108 Postural Practice Pointers

Anubhūta is the change that occurs in one’s state of mind……

Anubhūta is the change that
occurs in one’s state of mind
when it is related to external objects
through the involvement of the senses.
This is also known as experience.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on
Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 11

Trying to escape from Saṃskāra only increases their power……

‎”Trying to escape from Saṃskāra only increases their power and,
in addition, leads to the acquisition of still more Saṃskāra.”
– T Krishnamacharya commenting on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 18

Yoga practice as a process precedes Yoga practice as content……

Where do we start when approaching the determination to open up to practice options beyond the group class mentality with its double edged sword of support and dependancy? For example we could start by exploring what it means to cultivate a personal regular home practice in terms of looking at it as from the initial viewpoint of being a process, before considering what is its content.

At this point it might be helpful to examine what are the differences between the two concepts of process and content, so vital in the work of Desikachar around planning Yoga practices for individual students. Here it might also be useful to remind ourselves that Krishnamacharya and Desikachar considered teaching individuals as the only valid means to explore Yoga as having both a process and content.

“Yoga Sādhana is about what grows out of
practising alone amidst the inside at home, rather
than practising with others amidst the outside in class.”

So what is Yoga practice as a process?

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108 Mudrā Practice Pointers – 5 – To experience the intention behind the Bandha the body must be prepared……

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Mudrā Pointer 5 – To experience the intention behind the Bandha……

To experience the intention behind
the Bandha, the body must be prepared.
For example if the pulse remains increased
after their use, it is an indicator that we are not ready.
If excessive tension is felt in the areas where they are used,
then an indicator that we are not ready for Bandha in Mahāmudrā.

Link to Series: 108 Mudrā Practice Pointers

Śraddhā will give life to all the means……

Śraddhā will give life to all
the means that are in the Yoga Sūtra.”
– TKV Desikachar on Śraddhā in the Yoga Sūtra

Is Yoga relevant to the West?

“Is Yoga relevant to the West?
Question which is relevant to India as well.  Because of the changes there.

The word Yoga is integrated into its language, religion rituals etc., so it is accepted in India. But in the West there are certain problems. The word is associated with physical gymnastics or mental gymnastics. This has complicated the job of the Yoga teacher. Even in India, if you know nothing else you can always teach Yoga

One is also asked to show your Yoga.  A Yogi for some people means Svāmī, for others Siddhi, for others exercise teacher. Even the image of the Yogi is seen as important. However nowhere do the texts insist on dress or beard as part of the Yogi.

So let us look at ideas behind Yoga……”
– TKV Desikachar 1987

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 53 – Having a meditation practice is one thing……

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Having a meditation practice is one thing,
practicing meditation is something else.
Better not to confuse the two in terms of
the gap between intention and outcome.
Meditation is that which might or might not
arise out of our efforts at meditation practice.
The outcome depends on the extent of the intention.
– Reflections around Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 14

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

108 Yoga Practice Pointers – 63 – Yoga practice is an Upāya to support……

Yoga practice is an Upāya to support
the art of living more skilfully.
Living more skilfully is an Upāya
to support the art of Yoga practice.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Practice Pointers

108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers – 7 – When using the Antar Kumbhaka to lengthen the breath……

Prāṇāyāma Pointer 7 – Antar Kumbhaka and lengthening the breath……

When using the Antar Kumbhaka to lengthen the breath,
always factor in its effect on the length of the exhale.
It should be able to stay the same length and quality.
If it is affected, change the length of the Kumbhaka,
rather than compromising the flow of the breath.

Link to Posts Series: 108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers