What are the Primary Areas for Study of Yoga Practice Techniques……

What are the Primary Areas for Study of Yoga Practice Techniques and Yoga Practice Theory?

As a student we need to consider the five fundamental practice areas that need to be prioritised and developed according to the teachings of Krishnamacharya.
These are the practice of:

  • Āsana or general postures
  • Mudrā or special postures
  • Prāṇāyāma or seated breathing
  • Dhyānam or seated meditation
  • Chanting for learning or as a meditational practice.
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Mind is not the highest point in Yoga.

citta

Mind is not the highest point in Yoga.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

Samādhi is a state of mind and an understanding that arises from it.

samadhi

Samādhi is a state of mind and an understanding that arises from it.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 18

If you don’t know yourself how can you think of something which is……

isvara

“If you don’t know yourself how can you think of something which is more than you or higher than you?”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 29

As for pulse taking, this is considered by Āyurveda to be a method of confirming a diagnosis……

nadi_pariksa

“As for pulse taking,
this is considered by Āyurveda to be a method of confirming a diagnosis,
which has been formed from listening to the voice,
watching the posture, the eyes, the colour of the skin,
the quality of the energy, and interviewing the patient.”
– T Krishnamacharya

You should not get tired of the means or the practice.

abhyasa

“You should not get tired of the means or the practice.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 14

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Children’s Āsana Practice Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram Sept 1980

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 September 1980, 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_KYM_Practice_1980

How do you know the use of the right means is good?

“How do you know the use of the right means is good?”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 13

Restraint is in the sense of if I am here I am not elsewhere.

nirodha

“Restraint is in the sense of
if I am here,
I am not elsewhere.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

In Samādhi there is an understanding……

samadhi

“In Samādhi there is an understanding.
Something not based on your memories,
something that transcends your memories.
Prajña comes only in Samādhi.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

Downloadable ‘100 Years of Beatitude’ around Śrī T Krishnamacharya

Downloadable film ‘100 Years of Beatitude’ digitalised from a video of a 1989 documentary honouring  Śrī T Krishnamacharya at the time of his centennial celebrations.

The research and commentary for the film was by Sarah Dars, who also contributed several articles to the special December 1989 edition of the Viniyoga Journal on Krishnamacharya’s life.

The introduction to one of her articles, entitled ‘At the Foot of the Mountain’ read:

“Yogin, Āyurveda physician, teacher of the Mahārājah , master of Mīmāmsā, Nyāya, Sāṃkhya,…..
It is impossible to come to the end of the long list of areas in which Krishnamacharya excelled, as he was also an astrologer, multi lingual , Saṃskṛta scholar, poet, musician………
A totally exceptional person, wreathed in legend, to whom one listens as if seated at the foot of the mountain…”

Amongst my various meetings with Krishnamacharya I remember attending public lectures and the phrase ‘to whom one listens as if seated at the foot of the mountain’ captures the spirit of his understanding of Yoga.

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It is not enough to realise that there is somewhere to go……

sraddha

“It is not enough to realise that there is somewhere to go,
you must also be really interested in taking the step.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

The spirit of Abhyāsa is to always verify the best means to go from……

abhyasa

“The spirit of Abhyāsa is to always verify
the best means to go from one step to another.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 13

Compare Ardha Utkāṭāsana and Bhujaṅgāsana in relation to the following situations……

Compare Ardha Utkāṭāsana and Bhujaṅgāsana in relation to the following situations:

1. In strengthening neck and arm muscles.

2. Potential stress on the sacroiliac joint.

3. Influencing the digestion.

4. Potential risk on the knees.

5. As a preparation for Dhanurāsana.

6. In helping with flat feet.

7. In improving elimination.

8. In decreasing lower back pain.

Download or view this post as a PDF Study Sheet

Programs are planned taking into consideration our free time, capabilities and……

“Please don’t have the idea that programs are fixed, that is, on Monday we do the headstand, on Tuesday we do the shoulderstand, etc. Programs are planned taking into consideration our free time, capabilities, and desires. We must always plan our practice as a unit, whether it is small or large. This means we start and finish in one session, at one particular time.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Four Page 68

When we teach the headstand we first teach preparation……

bhujangasanasarvangasanasirsasana

“When we teach the headstand, we first teach preparation, then we teach the counterpose Sarvāṅgāsana which in itself is a major pose that demands its own counterpose Bhujaṅgāsana. It is all very systematic.
Planning means to go gradually, to prepare, and then to compensate.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Four Pages 53-54

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How can we distinguish the actual state of Dhyāna from infatuation……

d_paris_1999

Question by TKV:
“How can we distinguish the actual state of Dhyāna
from infatuation with an object that pleases and fills the mind?”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 24th 1988

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Four Practice

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 Four Practice: Practice Planning – Pages 45-68

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Yoga, unlike dance or mime, is not an expression of form for others to watch.

“Yoga, unlike dance or mime,
is not an expression of form for others to watch.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Four Page 46

The more we expose ourselves to practice……

“The more we expose ourselves to practice,
the more we will understand how we can observe ourselves
and how to discover our starting point.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Four Page 48

We must be able to stay and breathe in this posture……

maha_mudra

“I had one student who could do all the Āsana and was shocked to discover that she was unable to stay in Mahā Mudrā for eight breaths! She was so flexible that she took her body for granted.
Mahā Mudrā requires more than suppleness of the body.
We must be able to stay and breathe in this posture.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Four Page 45

All means by themselves have no direction……

abhyasa

“All means by themselves have no direction.
One must fix the direction and make sure it is not lost.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 12

The beauty of the Sūtra is that they are only related to the mind……

sutra

“The beauty of the Sūtra is that they are only related to the mind.
Thus they stand above various religions and can be studied and related to
by all types of persons from all types of religions.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

108 Yoga Practice Pointers – 11 – I may not feel ‘better’ after a practice……

I may not feel ‘better’ after a practice.
I always feel ‘different’ after a practice.
That difference offers new views within old patterns.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Practice Pointers

Sleep and Samādhi are the only times when there is no ‘I’.

samadhi

“Sleep (Nidrā) and Samādhi are the only times when there is no ‘I’.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2