Once you know how to recite the Praṇava orally you will be able to do it silently……

“I think once you know how to recite the Praṇava
orally you will be able to do it silently.
And perhaps each time you can add a little meaning
to it as well as find a little more meaning in it.
The best way is to begin orally and
then transfer it to a mental recitation.
Then you can easily use it in your Yoga practice.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 238

Don’t go on doing a lot of postures……

“Don’t go on doing a lot of postures; if you do,
I think the meaning in Yoga will be lost.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 238

Many people have this problem of maintaining attention during practice……

“Many people have this problem of maintaining attention during the practice.
You can place your attention on a particular part of the body
but there must be something happening, a movement.
Thats why the best movement is the breath.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 237

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Sixteen Theory

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 16 Theory: A Session for Questions Pages 221-235

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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

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

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

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

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

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

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

seated_pranayama_2

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.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Study Path Pointers

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

seated_pranayama

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

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 – 6 – To experience the intention behind the Bandha the body must be prepared……

maha_mudra_UB

Mudrā Pointer 6 – 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……

abhyasa

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