It feels as if ‘Modern Postural Yoga’
is increasingly concerned with the
Movement of the Silhouette rather
than the Stillness of the Source.
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“The way to better oneself is not to ponder over the past but to look ahead.
Even Duḥkha is a great teacher.
In fact it is the first and important step in the ladder of Viveka or clarity.
The greatness of Patañjali is to look at Duḥkha as the stepping stone to success.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 16
I wonder if Modern Postural Yoga is confusing,
experiencing a supple body,
with experiencing a subtle body?
“The whole process of observing others
and observing oneself is entirely different.
Often we confuse the two.
Ideally, when we observe others,
we should forget about ourselves.
– TKV Desikachar 1981
At times getting to the practice mat
is more about exercising Mind over Matter.
In other words getting there because of the Mind.
At other times getting to the practice mat
is more about exercising Matter over Mind.
In other words getting there in spite of the Mind.
Compare Paścimatānāsana, Januśīrṣāsana, Upaviṣṭa Koṇāsana and Baddha Koṇāsana
With regard to:
1. Differences between them in terms of stress on the knees.
2. Differences between them in terms of stress on the lower back.
3. Differences between them in terms of effect on high blood pressure.
4. Differences between them as a preparation for runners.
5. Differences between them as a counterpose for runners.
6. Differences between them for a person with sciatica.
“Viniyoga is an offering.
Every offering presents two aspects:
what is offered and the way it is offered.
Each of these aspects has two sides:
to give and to receive.
When there is harmony between these two sides,
the offering is perfect; it becomes viniyoga,
like the viniyoga of Prasādam in a modest temple in India.”
– TKV Desikachar 1983
“What are the effects of Kriyā Yoga?
Samādhi Bhāvana –
The ability to pursue the right practice that brings one closer to Īśvara.
Kleśa Tanū Karaṇa –
Reduction of those obstacles that we have somehow acquired through wrong actions,
leading to undesirable and bitter experiences.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 2
When less Āsana time than you would like,
better to reduce the number of Āsana,
or the number of repetitions,
or the length of the stays,
rather than, reducing the length of the breath.
Or….. even considering lengthening the breath,
thus even fewer Āsana, all with a longer breath than usual.
Here the Bhāvana could be to observe the effect
of a more spacious than usual Āsana breathing
on a more cramped than usual daily mindset.
“We should not worry about whether or not we have a larger audience than others, our only concern should be people. How to reach all those people who have not found the comfort they are looking for in other ways and for whom Yoga can be so useful.
We must urgently open the door of Yoga, and if the Bhakti of Krishnamacharya is an obstacle to this opening, people will not be able to enter. If I start by saying: “This is my tradition…” some people will reply: “All right, keep it well for you”…
I think that in Krishnamacharya’s teaching, it is necessary to remove everything that can hold people back and keep everything that is likely to be most useful to them. If Krishnamacharya’s Yoga helps, so much the better, and we must resort to it. If on the contrary it is a source of difficulty or division, we must leave it aside.”
– TKV Desikachar 1999
Postural Practice Pointer 15 – Forward bending and Prāṇa to Apāna Breathing
When moving away from the lower limbs during forward bend Āsana,
move firstly by as if arching from the arms and upper back,
before ultimately arching from the lower back.
In terms of a Bhāvana during the movement,
the focus is on inhaling from Prāṇa Sthāna towards Apāna Sthāna.
Thus breathing as if from the upper chest towards the lower abdomen.
Postural Practice Pointer 14 – Forward bending and Apāna to Prāṇa Breathing
When bending towards the lower limbs during forward bend Āsana,
move firstly by as if rounding from the lower back,
before ultimately rounding from the upper back.
In terms of a Bhāvana during the movement,
the focus is on exhaling from Apāna Sthāna towards Prāṇa Sthāna.
Thus breathing as if from the lower abdomen towards the upper chest.
It appears that one can often talk about the effects of Yoga Āsana on the spine in Yoga, yet the reality is more based on the effects of Yoga Āsana on the external aspects of the structural form. It has also been an observation over some four decades of teaching Yoga that the two can get confused in terms of assessing developmental progress within the practice of Yoga Āsana.
Furthermore it appears that it is possible to work the body into ‘advanced’ Yoga Āsana yet observe that the spine is not deeply influenced, for example with the hips and shoulders or lax joint ligaments facilitating the impression of the form. Hence the application of Yoga from this perspective is to start with the spine as the primary priority with the limbs the secondary priority.
Thus the principles of modification of Yoga Āsana are from the perspective of allowing adjustments to the limbs in order to facilitate a deeper more profound impact on the spine.
“Another important aspect is that the masters
taught us to move from a deeper source,
not just from muscles and joints.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1984