Photograph of T Krishnamacharya taken by Paul Brunton……

Photograph of T Krishnamacharya taken by Paul Brunton during his travels in India
whilst staying as a guest of the Maharajah in Mysore, South India.

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In Yoga one who has mastered themselves is one who can produce……


“In Yoga one who has mastered themselves is one who can produce whatever Guṇa is required.”
– TKV Desikachar December 1st 1979

108 Chanting Practice Pointers – 1 – The practice of Bhakti Dhyānam outlined in the Yoga Sūtra Chapter One……


The practice of Bhakti Dhyānam outlined in the Yoga Sūtra Chapter One
can utilise either Veda Mantra or Tantra Mantra.
The Veda focus is one of external harmony with the forces of nature (Tri Guṇa) and
the Tantra focus is one of internal empowerment within the forces of nature (Tri Guṇa).

Link to Series: 108 Chanting Practice Pointers

It is necessary to have a competent and accessible teacher.


“It is necessary to have a competent and accessible teacher.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Prārthanā Ślokam – Patañjali Opening Dhyānaṃ Ślokam with Translation

This is a translation of part of the Opening Prayers as taught to TKV Desikachar by T Krishnamacharya and taught by TKV Desikachar to his personal students.

View or Download the Prārthanā Ślokam (Request Prayer) – Dhyānaṃ Ślokam relative to Patañjali.

योगेन चित्तस्य पदेन वाचां मलं शरीरस्य च वैद्यकेन ।
योऽपाकरोत् तं प्रवरं मुनीनां पतञ्जलिं प्राञ्जलिरानतोऽस्मि ॥

yogena cittasya padena vācāṃ malaṃ śarīrasya ca vaidyakena |
yo’pākarot taṃ pravaraṃ munīnāṃ patañjaliṃ prāñjalirānato’smi ||

  ‘Yoga for the psyche,
 grammar for speech and medicine for impurities of the body.
Coming from the lineage of teachers, to Patañjali I salute.’

आबाहु पुरुषाकारं शङ्खचक्रासि धारिणम् ।
सहस्र शिरसं श्वेतं प्रणमामि पतञ्जलिम् ॥

ābāhu puruṣākāraṃ śaṅkhacakrāsi dhāriṇam |
sahasra śirasaṃ śvetaṃ praṇamāmi patañjalim ||

 ‘Up to the shoulders human form, holding conch, disc, sword.
One thousand heads white to Patañjali I salute.’

श्रीमते अनन्ताय नागराय नमो नमः ॥

śrīmate anantāya nāgarājāya namo namaḥ ||

 ‘To venerable, eternal serpent king, Nāga, my reverences.’

It was learnt by heart as a Bhāvanam for Dhyānaṃ, to create a meditational mood linked to Patañjali prior to commencing either chanting practice or textual study of the Yoga Sūtra.

View or Download the Prārthanā Ślokam (Request Prayer) – Dhyānaṃ Ślokam for Patañjali with translation.

View or Download the Yoga Sūtra Full Opening Prayers with Chant Notations (without translation)

View or Download the Prārthanā Ślokam (Request Prayer) – Śuklām Opening Verse with Translation

View or Download the Prārthanā Ślokam (Request Prayer) – Gurubhyastad Opening Verse with Translation

Listen or Download the Yoga Sūtra Full Dhyānaṃ Ślokam for Patañjali by TKV Desikachar as a sound file.

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 1 – Tapas – the effort to reduce something.

Tapas – the effort to reduce something.
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

The first four verses in the Yoga Sūtra Chapter One are very significant……

The first four verses in the Yoga Sūtra Chapter One are very significant.

If what is offered here interests then proceed.

Also the first four Sūtra summarise the whole thrust of the teaching.

  • Verse 1. Starting Point.
  • Now follow the teachings of Yoga.
  • Verse 2. Goal and Means.
  • Yoga is the containment of fluctuations in the psyche.
  • Verse 3. Outcome.
  • Then the seer abides in its own character.
  • Verse 4. Obstacles.
  • At other times there is identification with the fluctuations.

Although Krishnamacharya came from a strict Indian tradition……


T Krishnamacharya at 91

“Although Krishnamacharya came from a strict Indian tradition,
he liberated the restrictions.
He segregated his personal beliefs from his teaching
and his interest in the different texts on Yoga and Vedānta.

It isn’t necessary to be a Hindu to practice Yoga,
the Hindu text, the Brahma Sūtra refute Yoga.
In the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali God is not emphasised.

Hindus have taken advantage of Yoga,
Brahmin rituals use Yoga breathing,
even if it is only symbolic and they use Mantra.

Krishnamacharya didn’t mix the different teachings,
he didn’t start a class with prayers when he worked with foreigners.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

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108 Teaching Path Pointers – 2 – viniyoga or application of Yoga according to……


TKV Desikachar taught the viniyoga of Yoga,
or application of Yoga according
to state of life, place, time and circumstance
to optimise the student’s potential within
that situation as seen from his
own, forever evolving, innovating and
maturing, developmental teaching thread.

Link to Series: 108 Teaching Path Pointers

Learning the Art of Mantra and Vedic Chanting


with Paul Harvey in the Cotswolds

Paul was taught Mantra and Vedic Chanting privately within 121 lessons by his teacher TKV Desikachar over 20 years. As well as studying Chanting, he also studied Indian singing through 121 lessons in Chennai within both the traditional Indian Carnatic and Hindustani music systems.

Paul also explored the application of Indian voice work in the West with some of the leading proponents of Indian Rāga singing and movement fusion workshops and Indian Rāga 121 vocal skills lessons.

Originally it was during Pauls continuing visits to study the Arts and Practices of Yoga from 1979 with Desikachar in India that he became exposed to the Art of Mantra, Veda and Yoga Chanting. It was taught by his teacher both as a method of transmission for sacred texts and teachings and as a personalised Sādhana through which one became deeply focused as well as facilitating access to the profundity of an experience of the Sacred.

This experience and the other benefits such as a deepening confidence in the message of the heart, improvements in memory through the teaching and learning processes, confidence and power arising in the sound of our own voice, led Paul in 1985 to begin nearly 20 years of formal study with his teacher.

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Interview with Shubha and Sribhashyam……

Yoga Service in Berlin talks with TK Sribhashyam and Srimathi Shubha Mohan Kumar, the youngest son and youngest daughter of Śrī T Krishnamacharya, about their father, vinyāsa and the essence of Yoga.

Āyurveda & Yoga – Dravya and Rasa, Substance and Taste within Food – Part 9 of 12


“All food is medicine, all medicine is food.”

Āyurveda was the one of the first medical systems to realise the crucial importance of the kind of food we eat and to appreciate the interaction between health and disease, disease and food, and food and health. It will be from this point that this article will explore the question of diet by examining the concepts of elements and taste in food.

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Past Memories, Present Moments

A group picture from 1993 with a worldwide gathering of students of TKV Desikachar at the newly completed Gurukulam of Mary Louise Skelton in Hamilton, Upstate New York. Mary Louise was originally a student of T Krishnamacharya in 1969 and then TKV Desikachar from 1974 and was one of the main players in the rooting of Desikachars work in the West through her part in the setting up of a one month seminar in Colgate University in 1976 under the theme ‘Religiousness in Yoga’.

The transcript of this course was published in 1980 as ‘Religiousness in Yoga: Lectures on Theory and Practice’ by the University Press of America. Currently available through Amazon US or Amazon UK it remains, still for me to this day in all but appearance, as one of the finest modern expositions on Yoga. Again, for me, still superior to the re-edited version, although many photographs added within a ‘user friendly’ presentation and textual cut down. Personally described to me by Desikachar as ‘old wine in new bottles’ it was published under the title ‘The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice’ by Inner Traditions.

A bow of gratitude is offered for Mary Lou’s part in the dissemination of the seeds of Krishnamacharya’s teaching through the work of his son in the West.

The five day gathering in June 1993 was a personal exploration, facilitated by Desikachar around the theme: ‘Meditation – Some Concerns’ and still arouses fond memories of our time together even if juxtaposed by my travelling afterwards to New York City with Desikachar teaching at a full on Yoga Journal Convention with over 2000 attendees and the many Yogalebrities of the day.

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Sahavāsam (Dwelling Together) – What you associate with becomes part of you.


‎”Sahavāsam (Dwelling Together)
– What you associate with becomes part of you.”
– TKV Desikachar January 15th 2000

TKV Desikachar interviewed by Leslie Kaminoff in October 1992.

Originally posted to e-Sutra on April 24, 1999. Now available on-line through Leslie Kaminoff’s Teaching Organisation Yoga Anatomy.

You should only take that food which you would offer to the person you revere most.


“You should only take that food which you would offer to the person you revere most.”
Notes from my studies of the Dhyānamālika verse 11 with TKV Desikachar in Chennai 23rd December 2000

The Bhagavad Gītā is about confusion OF Dharma and the Yoga Sūtra……


“The Bhagavad Gītā is about confusion OF Dharma and
the Yoga Sūtra is about confusion AND Dharma.”
– TKV Desikachar

Gāyatrī Mantra as taught by T Krishnamacharya – with translation


tat savitur vareṇiyaṃ
That sun most excellent

bhargo devasya dhīmahi |
on the radiance of the Divine I meditate |

dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt ||
wisdom may (that radiance) our impel |

“I meditate on the divine radiance

of the most excellent sun.

May it impel my wisdom.”

Gāyatrī is a particular ancient metre or rhythmic pattern of twenty-four syllables generally composed as a triplet of three lines with eight syllables in each line.
Hence T Krishnamacharya’s view that Om is not a component part of this Mantra, though it may be added as an accompaniment if appropriate, according to the students background, interest and understanding.

View or Download this post in Romanised Saṃskṛta with a translation and traditional chanting notations.

So if certain Yoga Sādhana have a place in another culture……


So if certain Yoga Sādhana have a place in another culture we must consider whether this symbol (Om) has a place with people who don’t understand it.”

TKV Desikachar – Lecture on September 5th 1983 in Zinal, Switzerland (Fuller notes on this lecture yet to be posted)

The Mantra especially Praṇava were chanted……


“The Mantra especially Praṇava were chanted,
meditated upon and referred to with
considerable devotion and respect in the olden days.
Contemporary use of ‘OM‘ on tea shirts, vests and other
casual wares is sometimes difficult to put up with.”
Extract from S Ramaswami’s January 2012 Newsletter