108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 12 – The witness cannot be witnessed.

The witness cannot be witnessed.
– Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 18

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

Saṃśaya (Doubt) is the Fire that consumes Wisdom.

srimad_bhagavad_gita

Saṃśaya (Doubt) is the Fire that consumes Wisdom.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Four verse 40

When dominated by Kleśa, Citta is not a friend.

srimad_bhagavad_gita

“When dominated by Kleśa,
Citta is not a friend.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Six verse 6

Fasting is not eating between meals.

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“Fasting is not eating between meals.”
– T Krishnamacharya

Tapas is Proper Diet, Mantra Chanting and Self-Inquiry.

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Tapas is Proper Diet, Mantra Chanting and Self-Inquiry.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Six verse 46

(Refer also to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1 with its Kriyā Yoga and additional commentaries from Krishnamacharya and Desikachar)

The practice of Āsana without breathing and without remembering Ananta has no value.

“The practice of Āsana without breathing and
without remembering Ananta has no value.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 47

If we recognise a person as they are now……

srimad_bhagavad_gita

“If we recognise a person as they are now,
not as they were yesterday,
we realise that what we see is not eternal.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Thirteen verse 28

How long should a person stay in an Āsana?

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Question to T Krishnamacharya –

Q: How long should a person stay in an Āsana every day?
A: A person must stay in any one Āsana for at least fifteen minutes.
Śrī Krishnamacharya – The Pūrnācārya
– published by the KYM in 1997

Examples of Vinyāsa Krama for Sitting Āsana within a Single Practice.


As Desikachar actually had very few long term students, many peoples views around such as his Āsana teaching, or views on Yoga in general are formed from experiencing him teaching within a group situation, either at a seminar, lecture or retreat.

Actually he really was not very comfortable teaching mixed public groups in these situations, and in relation to teaching practices, what practices he could present had to be very generalised and therefore contrary to the principles he taught according to what he learnt from his father.

On the other hand as a private student the Āsana practices I was exposed to had a precision and intensity offering a breadth and depth impossible to emulate within a group class environment.

As an example I am offering an extract from the seated section of a practice he taught me. The Āsana in this section are Daṇḍāsana, Ardha Matsyendrāsana, Mahā Mudrā, Baddha Koṇāsana, Paścimatānāsana and as a Pratikriyāsana, Dvipāda Pīṭham.

There were two options for practice, a lighter application or a more intense one. In the lighter version the balance of repeat or stay was as follows:

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Impurities in the heart cause mental agitation……

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Impurities in the heart cause mental agitation
– anxiety, lack of direction, anger.
This agitation, in turn, affects the body,
sometimes making it impossible to sit still even for a few minutes.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 31

Sukha and Duḥkha cannot be there at the same time.

srimad_bhagavad_gita

Sukha and Duḥkha cannot be there at the same time.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Thirteen verse 21

(Refer also to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 9 for similar idea regarding the oscillation between being either in a state of being present or one of being distracted.)

Even in the case of Śikṣaṇa Krama the ancient teachers had steps…….

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“Even in the case of Śikṣaṇa Krama the ancient teachers had steps in the teaching:

  • Yukta Śikṣaṇa
    The teaching must be appropriate to the intelligence of the individual.
  • Grahaṇa Śikṣaṇa
    Also able to absorb correctly what you have understood.
    You must test them, confuse them to see if they have.
  • Yukta Smaraṇa
    The teacher should find out how much the person remembers
    what they have understood.
  • Yukta Abhyāsa
    Is how much a person practices what he is given.
    To see if he has learnt, understood and practiced.
  • Yukta Anu Bhāva
    Even practice can be mechanical, even if it is regular.
    So how much you have learnt from the practice.
    What it has taught you.
  • Yukta Pracāram
    Finally, you ask the person to transmit what they have received.

The transmission shows the Siddhi of the Sādhana.
This is Viniyoga.
These outlines are valid whether Śikṣaṇa or Rakṣaṇa Krama.
If what is given is mechanical it is not Viniyoga.
That is why the Viniyoga spirit is very important these days.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

Download this post as a PDF 

Follow Truth with Faith.

srimad_bhagavad_gita

“Follow Truth with Faith.”
– TKV Desikachar commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter 12 verse 20

Āsana and Prāṇāyāma can create a condition where the mind is fit for Dhāraṇā.

Āsana and Prāṇāyāma can, according to the Yoga Sūtra,
create a condition where the mind is fit for Dhāraṇā.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 156

Prāṇāyāma – Where to Start? Part Three

Prāṇāyāma – Where to Start? Part Three

In the previous two articles we discussed Krishnamacharya’s teachings around his understanding of and approach to the viniyoga or application of Prāṇāyāma.

Firstly in terms of Āsana being the starting point for exploring the breath in order to set a starting point and as a guideline for the direction of our Prāṇāyāma.

Secondly the importance of considerations around Prāṇāyāma as a process in terms of being in it for the long haul rather than only looking at practices which offer immediate fruits after a single practice or class.

The second post also commented on the need to leave more than enough time during our Yoga practice for Prāṇāyāma, rather than it being the token twiddle at the end of the practice.

I would like to use this post to consider how we need to add a structure within which we can build content. Without a structure our practice in this area can easily become random in terms of length or haphazard in terms of consistency.

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Being absorbed in the breath in Prāṇāyāma is Pratyāhāra.

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“If we are completely absorbed in the breath in Prāṇāyāma,
automatically there is Pratyāhāra.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 153

Learning Support for Chanting the Gaṇapati Prārthanā Saṃhitā Pāṭhaḥ


Learning Support for Chanting the Taittirīya Saṃhitā 2.3.14
– Gaṇapati Prārthanā Saṃhitā Pāṭhaḥ.
From my personal library of recordings from my studies
with my teacher TKV Desikachar.
To Download or Listen
To Download the Chant Sheet in Romanised Saṃskṛta with Notations

108 Teaching Path Pointers – 10 – The viniyoga of Yoga is about a system to teach to a student

The viniyoga of Yoga is a name for a system to teach to a student,
rather than about students to teach a system to.

Link to Series: 108 Teaching Path Pointers

108 Chanting Practice Pointers – 5 – A Mantra is that which shapes space through vibration of sacred syllables.

mantra

A Mantra is that which shapes space through vibration of sacred syllables.
In the art of Mantra Saṃskṛta is a sacred tool for shaping sacred form out of space.
Sounding the Saṃskṛta according to the precisions of pronunciation and vibration
manifests the sacred form inherent in each Mantra out of universal space.
The ancient seers understood this process and left us sacred phonemes
to guide our journey into and beyond the self.

Link to Series: 108 Chanting Practice Pointers

Pratyāhāra means withdrawing from that on which we are feeding.

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

Pratyāhāra means withdrawing from that on which we are feeding.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 152