We should be careful if we feel very enthusiastic……

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“We should be careful if we feel very enthusiastic,
because it could distort the spirit of the teaching.”
TKV Desikachar speaking with his senior Western students London 1998

Faith in the Modern World – A talk by TKV Desikachar

FAITH IN THE MODERN WORLD a talk by TKV Desikachar in Nantes, France April 1995

Desikachar_France_1999

I am very pleased that the subject of faith in the modern world has attracted so much interest. I would like to develop this idea in the following way. In the Indian tradition, even today, near the beginning of the 21st century, faith is very alive and is even taken for granted. In India, anywhere in India, people still believe in temples and teachers. Further, in our families there is enormous respect for the parents. Even though we are exposed, more than ever, to the West, this faith continues. It is an amazing situation because on the one hand, we have learnt to question many things, and on the other, we continue to live as in the past. Our traditions are alive, our masters respected and revered and our temples, churches and mosques full. It is almost like our country has not changed at all. But this is in India and India is only a small part of this great world.

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Sāṃkhya as an inquiry into the Yoga of Spirit and Matter

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What is it that weapons do not cleave?
That fire does not burn?
That waters do not wet?
That wind does not whither?
– Commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Two verse 23

The previous post offered a meditative reflection on this Śloka (verse).
Expanding further on this Śloka from notes from my 121 studies over 4 years of this Sacred Scripture with my teacher allows us to consider more deeply the context for and meaning within the Śloka.

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108 Study Path Pointers – 9 – What is it that weapons do not cleave……

srimad_bhagavad_gita

What is it that weapons do not cleave?
That fire does not burn?
That waters do not wet?
That wind does not whither?
– Commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Two verse 23

Link to Series: 108 Study Path Pointers

What is the role of Dharma in the face of survival?

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“What is the role of Dharma in the face of survival?”
– TKV Desikachar speaking with his senior Western students London 1998

How do you measure if something is important?

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“How do you measure if something is important?”
TKV Desikachar speaking with his senior Western students London 1998

Śraddhā is essential for progress, whether in Yoga or……

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Śraddhā is essential for progress, whether in Yoga or any other endeavour.
It is a feeling that cannot be expressed or intellectually discussed.
It, however, is a feeling that is not always uncovered in every person.
When absent or weak, it is evident through the lack of stability and focus in a person.
Where present and strong, it is evident through the commitment, perseverance and enthusiasm the person exhibits.
For such a person, life is meaningful.”
– TKV Desikachar

We must treat first the condition that bothers the mind.

“We must treat first the condition that bothers the mind.”
– TKV Desikachar

The viniyoga of Yoga is about Relationship……

viniyoga

The viniyoga of Yoga is the application of the principles that link together to offer possibilities to enhance your relationship with yourself through your practice. This opens the possibility that a deepening of your practice comes not from adding more difficult postures, but from refining your relationship with what you already have.

Life is already full of pressures to go for the newest model, to bring more in from the outside rather than concentrating on bringing more out from the inside. So we need to take care that we do not become an avid consumer of a new posture or new technique purely for the sake of it.

Yoga is a relationship within which you commit yourself to depth of involvement rather than breadth of involvement. In that sense, Yoga is no different from how any relationship with someone or something we care for and wish to spend time with should be.

From this relationship we can eventually start to experience the fruits that arise from the time, care, effort and attention. Perhaps keeping the following words of a teacher from long ago in our mind as we adapt Yoga to suit our particular needs:

“Only through Yoga Yoga is known,
Only through Yoga Yoga changes.
One who is patient at Yoga,
enjoys the fruits over a long time.”
(View or download this post as a PDF with chant notations.)

Extract first published in 1996 in ‘The Guide to Natural Therapies’.

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It is Paramparā alone that ensures that words of the texts are interpreted correctly.

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“There is no question that Guru Paramparā is essential for proper teaching,
understanding and practice of all Śāstra, whether Yoga, Veda or Vedāṅga.
It is Paramparā alone that ensures that words of the texts are interpreted correctly.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

Āsana demonstration from Yogāsanagalu by T Krishnamacharya

A selection of Āsana from the book Yogāsanagalu by written by T Krishnamacharya in 1941. The third edition, published in 1972, contained Āsana demonstration pictures of Krishnamacharya then aged 84. Featured in this post are examples of Lying Āsana, click to enlarge image or view as a slide show:

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Śraddhā – A sense of confidence arising from the source……

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A recent surge of questions from Yoga teachers around the notion of Śraddhā.
Collating and ordering the range of questions being asked we arrive at:
– What is Śraddhā?
– How do we offer a relevant meaning for Śraddhā to a group class?
– How do we teach Śraddhā to a group of students?
– How do we plan a practice with Śraddhā as the focus for a group class?
Before responding more in a future post I wanted to let the questions sit as reflections for all interested in this topic.
Meanwhile helpful reference points could be:
The Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20
The Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Six verse 37
The Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Seventeen verse 2

108 Yoga Planning Pointers – 1 – The journey towards Bandha begins with learning the process of……

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The journey towards Bandha begins with learning the process of active exhalation.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Planning Pointers

Āsana demonstration from Yogāsanagalu by T Krishnamacharya

A selection of Āsana from the book Yogāsanagalu by written by T Krishnamacharya in 1941. The third edition, published in 1972, contained Āsana demonstration pictures of Krishnamacharya then aged 84. Featured in this post are further examples of Seated Āsana, click to enlarge image or view as a slide show:

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Learning Support for Chanting the Śraddhā Sūktam

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Learning Support for Chanting the Śraddhā Sūktam
– From the Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa 2.8.8
From my personal library of recordings from my studies with my teacher TKV Desikachar.
To Download or Listen
To Download the Chant Sheet with Romanised Saṃskṛta and Chant Notations

If you want to be happy take up Yoga……

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Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

“With discipline and modest fare.
Stay lean and keep the fire going in your belly.
Think of God and repeat his words – silently and out loud.

If you want to be happy take up Yoga.
If you don’t; don’t.
Follow your Dharma.
Stay where you belong.
Sing songs and thank the sun every day.

Look sharp, a vagrant mind will lead you astray.
Practice, pay attention and be amazed.

Doubt burns up everything, including the doubter.
To banish it bow down to the Lord.”

– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra C1 v5

– To Download this post as a PDF

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Yoga Tārāvalī

The Yoga Tārāvalī is a source often quoted within Aṣṭāṅga Yoga Communities because of the adoption of its opening verse (along with one of the traditional opening prayers to Patañjali) as their opening prayer dedications.

However it is a full text in itself, has 29 verses in total and is primarily a teaching on Haṭha Yoga. It was one of the Haṭha texts taught by T Krishnamacharya to TKV Desikachar, along with the more popular medieval Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā and other lesser known Haṭha texts such as the Yoga Yājñavalkhya.

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Learning Support for Chanting the Yoga Tārāvalī

Learning Support for Chanting the Yoga Tārāvalī. From my personal library of recordings from my studies with my teacher TKV Desikachar.

To Download or Listen
To Download the Chant Sheet with Romanised Saṃskṛta

T Krishnamacharya Cikitsā Practice excerpt aged 96

A short clip extracted from a video of T Krishnamacharya practising as part of his Yoga Cikitsā or Yoga therapeutics when recovering from a hip fracture from a fall in 1984 when aged 96. Apologies for the quality, the original cassette is a bit flakey.

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Extract from Module One Yoga Sūtra Study Workshop

Yoga Teachings on Emotions, Mind, Body and Energy

Chapter One has 51 Sūtra and is called SAMĀDHI PĀDAḤ or the Path to Integrating the Psyche.

This first chapter introduces the psyche, its activities, practices required for change and the possibilities for practice according to the inherent abilities of the practitioner. This chapter is for a student who already has a quality of a Samāhīta Citta or a stable psyche.

– Primary concepts in the Yoga Sūtra Chapter One

Theme One verses 1-11 – Cit and Citta

  • v1-4 – Definition and Purpose of Yoga
  • v5 – 11 – Activities of the Citta or Psyche

Theme Two verses 12-22 – Jñāna and Śraddhā

  • v12 – 19 – Meditation or Dhyānam as Jñāna Yoga
  • v20 – 22 – The role of Śraddhā

Theme Three verses 23-39 – Bhakti and Eka Tattva

  • v23 – 31 – Meditation or Dhyānam as Bhakti Yoga
  • v32 – 39 – Short Term Meditational Strategies

Theme Four verses 40-51 – Sabīja and Nirbīja Samādhi

  • v40 – 46 – Refinement of Dhyānam
  • v47 – 51 – Final Steps