The best word for health is the Saṃskṛta word Svastha.

The best word for health is the Saṃskṛta word Svastha.

Question to TKV Desikachar:
Sir, could you please tell us what is meant by health? How do you understand a healthy person?

TKV Desikachar Response:
The best word that comes to my mind for health is the Saṃskṛta word Svastha. Sva plus Stha is Svastha. Sva indicates myself and Stha means to remain.

For me health is that state of being where I can manage myself. This is indicated by the word Svastha. A-svastha is that state where I am not able to manage by myself.

TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

The Saṃskāra of Yoga prepares one for Ātma Vidyā and is open to everyone.

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

“The Saṃskāra of Yoga prepares one for Ātma Vidyā and is open to everyone.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

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What is the relationship between Yoga and Āyurveda?

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Question to TKV Desikachar:
What is the relationship between Yoga and Āyurveda?

TKV Desikachar Response:
First of all, we believe that the same master gave us Āyurveda and Yoga: Patañjali. We worship Patañjali remembering him as the person who gave us Āyurveda for the body and Yoga for the mind.

Body and mind are so interlinked that you cannot really separate them. Since Āyurveda is a complete system, they talk also about Yoga. Yoga is defined in Āyurveda. And the language of Yoga is such that a person cannot understand the Yoga texts without understanding the concepts of Āyurveda.

At least in theory, these sciences go very well together. However, in India, the treatment given to Yoga in the Āyurveda University is very scarce, it is not even worth mentioning. So, in reality, Āyurveda people are not familiar with Yoga as much as they should be. The only exception was my father. He knew both, that is why he was able to mix both systems, according to the need.

“What Patañjali gave for the mind through Yoga,
he gave for the body through Āyurveda.”

What I would say is, what Patañjali gave for the mind through Yoga, he gave for the body through Āyurveda.

Extract from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

A text like the Yoga Sūtra is something so very special……

atha yoganusasanam web

“A text like the Yoga Sūtra is something so very special,
it becomes a life-companion.
It is so deep, if taken seriously,
but it can also be very shallow
if the depth of the study is not there
and if there is no application.”
TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal
Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

There is an image in the world today that the Guru has a following……

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“There is an image in the world today that the Guru has a following
and his students follow him like the Pied Piper.
This is not good. The true Guru shows you the way.
You go your way and then you’re on your own,
because you know your place and you are grateful.
I can always thank my Guru naturally and enjoy the relationship,
but I do not have to follow him around, because then I am not in my own place.
Following the Guru’s destination is another way of losing yourself.
The Yoga concept of Svadharma means ‘your own Dharma‘ or ‘your own way’.
If you try to do somebody else’s Dharma, trouble happens.
The Guru helps you find your own Dharma.”
– TKV Desikachar

Reflections on the relationship of Dharma and Kāma

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“God is always inside the heart.
However we are not always inside the will of God.
So actions can be right or wrong.”
– TKV Desikachar commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter 18 verse 15

How we look at something depends on what is within us.

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“How we look at something depends on what is within us.”
– Notes from my studies of the Dhyānamālika
with TKV Desikachar in Chennai December 2000

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 13 – There are some who are ruled by how they perceive the world as treating them.

There are some who are ruled by how they perceive the world as treating them.
There are others who reflect on how they are treating the world.
– Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter 2 verse 15

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

What is the relationship between diet and health?

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Question to TKV Desikachar:
What is the relationship between diet and health?

TKV Desikachar Response:
It is a big subject. Our system has to be nourished. Food or Annam is needed. There is the Annamaya, we have a body which has to be nourished. The food we need and eat is Annam.

“Annam is that which will nourish you or that which will eat you.”

This Annam is a very interesting Saṃskṛta word. Annam is that which will nourish you or that which will eat you. The Annam or food must nourish me, it should not consume me. For this reason there is given so much importance to Annam that nourishes and Annam that will consume.
TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

I told this person that I had learnt 380 postures in six months……

“I told this person that I had learnt something like 380 postures in six months,
my daughter could do the same thing in three months,
but this was when I did not know Yoga.
It has taken me years to know how to behave with somebody,
and that is probably more Yoga.”
TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

How is Āyurveda linked to Cikitsā or the therapeutic application of Yoga?

Question to TKV Desikachar:
“How is Āyurveda linked to Cikitsā or the therapeutic application of Yoga?”

TKV Desikachar Response:
“There is a lot of difference. As far as Yoga is concerned, we are concerned with the personality of the person, the mental aspect and the higher aspirations of the student.

That is why Yoga has a lot to offer. For the body Āyurveda is the solution. A good combination would be Āyurveda and Yoga.

My father used to do that. He would teach Āsana practice, or Prāṇāyāma or meditation and he would talk about diet and he would also give some Āyurveda medicine.

He was treating not only the body but the whole person with the help of this great combination.”

Extract from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

Dhāraṇā is the contact, Dhyāna is the communication, further….

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

Dhāraṇā is the contact.
Dhyāna is the communication.
Further, when we become so involved in
an object that our mind completely merges with it,
that is called Samādhi.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 155

In Dhyāna, when we become involved with a particular thing….

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“In Dhyāna, when we become involved with a particular thing and we begin to investigate it,
there is a link between myself and this thing; that is,
there is a perception and continuous communication between my mind and the object.
If there is this communication it is called Dhyāna
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 155

Dhāraṇā is when we create a condition so that the mind is directed to one point

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

Dhāraṇā is when we create a condition so that the mind,
going in a hundred different directions,
is directed to one point.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 154

Pratyāhāra does not mean we look at an object and say….

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

Pratyāhāra does not mean we look at an object and say.
‘We are not going to look at that object’.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 153

Finding your starting point within an Āsana to set a direction and goal

“In order to know where we are going to,
we must first know where we are coming from.”

Often in the Āsana aspect of Yoga practice, whether within our personal practice or a group class environment, the student is directed towards a goal.

This may be to do with a physical or structural foci such as the:

  • Basic Performance of the Āsana
  • Continuing Improvement of the Āsana
  • Specific Intensification of the Āsana
  • Introducing Stay into the Āsana

However the common factor within all of these options is that they are goal based.

This is fine as a general principle however as in any area of our lives, setting off towards any goal requires that we also have a clear idea of our starting point. For example, if I am wanting to travel to London I need to know whether I am starting from Birmingham or Brighton in order to set a direction and distance to navigate from. So it is with Āsana.

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The students learned and experienced the teachings in their own lives

tkv_tk_1980

“The students in turn, learned and experienced the teachings in their own lives,
and thus became competent to teach.
In this way the lineage of teachers is established.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

Kriyā Yoga emphasises that the Kleśa cannot be reduced instantly……

Kriyā Yoga emphasises that the Kleśa cannot be reduced instantly.
It is a gradual process.
Further Kleśa can only be reduced to the limit they become ineffective.
They cannot be destroyed.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 2

These five Kleśa surround the heart of every individual……

“These five Kleśa surround the heart of every individual.
They are related to the three Guṇa known as Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.
As long as one chooses not to inquire into the true nature of one’s self and acts mechanically,
they will unknowingly contribute to the dominance of the Kleśa.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 3

Who needs just Yoga as just Yoga anymore?

Āsana_5_web

“Has the original and ancient Yoga gene now become merely a non-genetic Yoga meme
and thus is only capable of being imitated rather than propagated?”

Noted amidst a flurry of competing exercise/mind and body workout adverts in my local village newsletter:

  • Booty Barre fuses legendary fitness techniques from Pilates, Dance, Callisthenics and Yoga creating balance, posture and body awareness.
  • Pilates Fusion Flow is a mix of Yoga, Pilates and Dance Movements which will strengthen the body and calm the mind.

So on top of Yoga being reduced down to postural exercise with added stress reduction and/or autogenic relaxation techniques, we now encounter a further dissipation of even that element in terms of it being a name or technique that can be bolted on or blended in to other exercise entertainment offerings.

Plus they are all competing for the one stop shop marketplace cakeshare in terms of offering a fitness building and stress reducing marriage.

Who needs just Yoga as just Yoga anymore?

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