The worst obstacle of all occurs when, somewhere in the back of our minds……

“The worst obstacle of all occurs when,
somewhere in the back of our minds,
we think we have understood something and we haven’t.
That is, we fancy that we have seen the truth.
We think, because of a situation in which we feel
we have some sort of calmness, we have reached our zenith.
We say, ‘That is what I have been looking for; I have progressed.’
But in actual fact we have not progressed.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Antarāyāḥ, Obstacles to progress, Techniques to Overcome them’
Chapter Fifteen Page 209

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 40 – Awareness is a quality not a quantity.

cit devanagari

Awareness is a quality not a quantity.
Commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 34

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

108 Teaching Path Pointers – 34 – Something spreading more widely may not automatically mean……

Something spreading more widely may not
automatically mean that something is developing.
Should we be reflecting more on that which helps Yoga to develop,
rather than on that which helps Yoga to spread more widely?

Link to Series: 108 Teaching Path Pointers

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 39 – Prāṇāyāma is a key to the door of Dhāraṇā.

Prāṇāyāma is a key to the door of Dhāraṇā.
Commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 53

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

Different Yoga practices are meant to prepare a person towards Dhyānam.

“Different Yoga practices are meant to prepare a person towards Dhyānam.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 21

108 Yoga Practice Pointers – 49 – You must change the mind In order to meditate……

According to the teachings of Krishnamacharya,
you must first change the mind In order to meditate,
rather than trying to meditate in order to change the mind.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Practice Pointers

108 Teaching Path Pointers – 33 – TKV Desikachar did not teach different people different things……

TKV Desikachar did not teach different people different things.
Nor did he just teach the same thing to different people.
He taught different people the same thing in different ways.
The same could be said of T Krishnamacharya’s teaching.
Hence the context of the phrase the viniyoga of Yoga.

Link to Series: 108 Teaching Path Pointers

108 Postural Practice Pointers – 18 – Always weight on the feet not on the hands.

Postural Practice Pointer 18 – Always weight on the feet not on the hands.

With regard to Āsana where the hands are placed on the ground,
the weight should not be on them.
So always weight on the feet not on the hands.

Link to Series: 108 Postural Practice Pointers

Another obstacle is when our senses seem to take over……

“Another obstacle is when our senses seem to take over.
They reassert themselves as masters,
sometimes without our knowing it.
This is not surprising since we are trained from birth to
look here, see there, hear this, touch that, etc.
So sometimes, because of their habitual action of always looking for things, etc.,
The senses take over and our direction slowly shifts in the wrong way.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Antarāyāḥ, Obstacles to progress, Techniques to Overcome them’
Chapter Fifteen Page 209

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 38 – If you remove the past from the present what is left?

If you remove the past from the present what is left?
– Reflection on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 43

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

Prāṇāyāma was taught according to the principles of Cikitsā, Rakṣaṇa and Śikṣaṇa……

nadi_sodanaPrāṇāyāma, as with Āsana and Dhyānam, was taught according
to the principles of CikitsāRakṣaṇa and Śikṣaṇa Krama.
Thus we have breathing practices ranging from Cikitsā,
using simple ratio to settle an irregular breath, to Rakṣaṇa,
with competence and fluidity with various basic techniques and mild ratios,
to Śikṣaṇa and mastery of all techniques, and ratios and especially,
the Kumbhaka with long holds both after the inhale and the exhale.

The Vinyāsa Krama or steps in the evolution of practice are measured
by our practice abilities and consistency and potential within our life situation.
The longer term measure of our Prāṇāyāma potential is determined by
our skilful efforts with all four components of the breath in Āsana.
For example can we maintain 8.8.8.8. in Parśva Uttānāsana or 12.6.18.12 in Mahāmudrā?

These days though, it seems that there is not much place for or interest in the use of Kumbhaka
within breathing practices, if used at all it appears to be mainly Cikitsā or about recovery,
or at best Rakṣaṇa or constitutional, rather than Śikṣaṇa and developmental.

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108 Study Path Pointers – 21 – There was a time when folks were confused as to what is Yoga……

There was a time when folks were confused as to what is Yoga.
Now I wonder if folks are more confused as to what isn’t Yoga?

Link to Series: 108 Study Path Pointers

We cannot escape the need for adaptation……

“We cannot escape the need for adaptation.
Adaptation is the application of certain principles,
to achieve certain results.
It implies:
– Knowing where the person is now.
– Knowing where we want them to go.
Adaptation is the means used to bridge this gap.”
– TKV Desikachar 1981

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 37 – Better to be clear about being confused……

Better to be clear about being confused,
rather than being confused about being clear.
Commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 24

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

108 Postural Practice Pointers – 17 – Bhāvana for moving into Sālambana Bhujaṅgāsana

Postural Practice Pointer 17 – Bhāvana for moving into Sālamba Bhujaṅgāsana

1. Keeping the chin in Jālandhara Bandha till the effect is felt
in the lower back will support extending the upper back.
2. Keeping the abdomen firm as you inhale will help to concentrate
the breath into the Prāṇa Sthāna, as well as minimising the
effect of the downward pressure on the Apāna Sthāna.

(See also Postural Practice Pointer 9)
Link to Series: 108 Postural Practice Pointers

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There is also an obstacle that is from the nature of the mind itself……

“There is also an obstacle that is from the nature of the mind itself.
We get moods — sometimes we are all right, we can go on,
but sometimes we feel heavy, we feel dull, we don’t feel like proceeding.
This mental heaviness could be due to food, it could be due to cold weather,
it could be just the nature of the mind.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Antarāyāḥ, Obstacles to progress, Techniques to Overcome them’
Chapter Fifteen Page 208

108 Yoga Practice Pointers – 48 – Āsana alone can be a support for our outer relationship with living……

Āsana alone can be a support for our outer relationship with living.
However can Āsana alone be a support for our inner relationship with dying?
Especially as our conception of death is buried deep within our psyche.
This is why Yoga offers vehicles beyond Āsana for the inner and especially final journey.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Practice Pointers

Doubts always arise. There is no doubt about that!

Doubts always arise.
There is no doubt about that!”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Antarāyāḥ, Obstacles to progress, Techniques to Overcome them’
Chapter Fifteen Page 208

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Fourteen Practice

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 Fourteen Practice: The Concept, Preparation and Techniques of Bandha
– Pages 195-205

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108 Yoga Practice Pointers – 47 – Yoga is more about exploring……

Yoga is more about exploring
the movement of the mind, whilst
Āsana is more about exploring
the movement of the body.
The vehicle common to exploring both
is the movement of the breath.
The yoking of all three is towards the goal of
experiencing the source of all movement.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Practice Pointers