Paul’s Short & Longer Yoga Practice Theory Articles – Collected & Collated

There are currently some 100 short and longer articles I have written around Yoga Practice and Yoga Practice Theory. So I felt it could be worthwhile to set up a webpage where they are all collected together onto a single page, as well as being collated into topics according to content.

So, below you can find an outline of the primary Yoga practice topics and where relevant, practice sub-topics. Live links are shown to take you to the page itself and directly to the topic in question.

As well as aiming to help the reader by offering resources from my studies with Desikachar around Āsana, Mudrā, Prāṇāyāma, Dhāraṇā and Chant Practice, it also highlights that there are some topics that I could offer more articles around. So over the next months I will post around themes such as the application of Dynamic and Static Form or understanding the differences in the Variation or Modification of Āsana.

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Reflections on TKV Desikachar’s Teaching and Svatantra……

As a student, my teacher worked at guiding me towards becoming increasingly independent in developing and refining more and more my personal practice skills so I became less and less dependent on him being the vehicle for if, when, where, what and how well I practice.

I have always respected this aspect of his 121 teaching, in that, like a parent with a child, he progressively facilitated my learning. This enabled me to evolve an intelligently consistent, situation adaptive and yet long term developmental self-practice, initially through and then much more than, just Āsana.

“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.”

Especially as, like any art that we wish to become accomplished in, this self-skill was cultivated primarily within my home environment with all its hues and moods that inevitably influence, or are driven by deeper motivations within our current intentions and situation realities.

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Design a Practice to experience the application of Sound in Āsana…

Design a Practice to experience the application of Sound in Āsana.
Present keynotes with your reasoning behind your choices.

The Vinyāsa Krama or planning steps in the practice will be for a total of 60 working breaths.

– It will be based primarily around Āsana, perhaps with Mudrā.
– In this instance, the practice will not include any sitting Prāṇāyāma or Dhyāna.
– In the planning structure, any link Āsana such as Samasthiti, Śavāsana, Vajrāsana, do not count in the breath tally.
– State the intended direction and outcome of the practice in terms of the goal or goals.
– Indicate the primary or crown you are choosing to build the practice around.
– Justify your choice of supporting or compensatory Āsana within the scheme.

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

Yoga Practice Planning and Theory Questions – Collected & Collated

Design an Āsana practice to include three hand balance Āsana of your choice…

Design an Āsana practice to include three hand balance Āsana of your choice.

The Vinyāsa Krama or planning steps in the practice will be for a total of 90 working breaths.

– It will be based primarily around Āsana.
– In this instance, the practice will not include any sitting MudrāPrāṇāyāma or Dhyāna.
– In the planning structure, any link Āsana such as Samasthiti, Śavāsana, Vajrāsana,
do not count in the breath tally.
– State the intended developmental path of the practice.
– Consider the primary Āsana you are choosing to build the practice with.
– Justify your choice of supporting or compensatory Āsana within the scheme.

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

Yoga Practice Planning and Theory Questions – Collected & Collated

Self Planning & Self Practice Project around Mahāmudrā…

Design a personal practice focusing on using Mahāmudrā to explore the following breathing ratios:

1.1.1.1.
1.1.2.0.
1.1.2.1.
1.0.2.1.

The following guidelines are offered as a framework for this project:
a)  Total of 12 breaths each side in Mahāmudrā.
b)  Different ratios to be tried on different days, at least twice each ratio.
c)  Add necessary preparation and compensation.
d)  Prepare your practice diary under:-

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Design an Āsana practice around Dhanurāsana  and Ardha Matsyendrāsana

Design an Āsana practice around Dhanurāsana and Ardha Matsyendrāsana

The Vinyāsa Krama or planning steps in the practice will be for a total of 90 working breaths.

– It will be based primarily around Āsana, perhaps with Mudrā.
– In this instance, the practice will not include any sitting Prāṇāyāma or Dhyāna.
– In the planning structure, any link Āsana such as Samasthiti, Śavāsana, Vajrāsana,
do not count in the breath tally.
– State the intended developmental path of the practice.
– Consider the primary Āsana you are choosing to build the practice with.
– Consider the primary ratio you are choosing to use in the crown of the practice.
– Justify your choice of supporting or compensatory Āsana within the scheme.

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

Yoga Practice Planning and Theory Questions – Collected & Collated

There is an increasing tendency in terms of Modern Therapeutic Yoga application strategies……

There is an increasing tendency in terms of Modern Therapeutic Yoga application strategies, especially when marketing Yoga as a Therapy through group class situations, to create brand banding to identify ‘sufferers’.

Personally, I feel it is not appropriate when considering Yoga practices for others to ‘lump’ people together as say back pain sufferers, or migraine sufferers, or insomnia sufferers, etc.

It is tempting, or even convenient also, to propose a technique and then state that this technique will help this particular situation or problem.

“We cannot say that this Āsana or this
Prāṇāyāma can be given for this disease.”
– T Krishnamacharya

However, my teacher taught me that Yoga is to be tailored to the needs and aspirations of each person rather than fitting the person to some ready-made group standard technique.

It is true to say there are some common characteristics within various health problems or conditions, but then so there are in all areas of people’s lives. We live together in groups determined by commonalities and yet each of us is unique in our view and relationship with our surroundings.

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Design a practice leading to staying in Sarvāṅgāsana for 8 minutes…

Design a practice leading to staying in Sarvāṅgāsana for 8 minutes.

The Vinyāsa Krama or planning steps in the practice will be for a total of 100 working breaths.

– It will be based primarily around Āsana, perhaps with Mudrā.
– In this instance, the practice will not include any sitting Prāṇāyāma or Dhyāna.
– In the planning structure, any link Āsana such as Samasthiti, Śavāsana, Vajrāsana,
do not count in the breath tally.
– State the intended developmental path of the practice.
– Consider the primary Āsana you are choosing to build the practice with.
– Consider the primary ratio you are choosing to use in the crown of the practice.
– Justify your choice of supporting or compensatory Āsana within the scheme.

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

Yoga Practice Planning and Theory Questions – Collected & Collated

Design a practice to stay 8 minutes in Paścimatānāsana…

Design a practice to stay 8 minutes in Paścimatānāsana

The Vinyāsa Krama or planning steps in the practice will be for a total of 90 working breaths.

– It will be based primarily around Āsana, perhaps with Mudrā.
– In this instance, the practice will not include any sitting Prāṇāyāma or Dhyāna.
– In the planning structure, any link Āsana such as Samasthiti, Śavāsana, Vajrāsana,
do not count in the breath tally.
– State the intended developmental path of the practice.
– Consider the primary Āsana you are choosing to build the practice with.
– Consider the primary ratio you are choosing to use in the crown of the practice.
– Justify your choice of supporting or compensatory Āsana within the scheme.

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

Yoga Practice Planning and Theory Questions – Collected & Collated

Yoga Teaching Reflections on Covid 19-20-21…

Upcoming Yoga Diary Schedule March 2022 – June 2023
– Module One Workshops & Module Two Courses

Here I am, seemingly ensconced in the resplendence of my Cotswold countryside existence. Yet worldwide, I have been witnessing this most complex, convoluted and cataclysmic cycle of Covid chaos with its unpredictable inroads into all aspects of our lives. It is extraordinary how deeply into our everyday lifestyle the impact of this minuscule being has penetrated, whether personally, locally, nationally and transnationally.

I remember the last live workshop I had in my home with a small group of students in March last year. Within it observing how we were becoming increasingly aware of the likely effect of its presence in terms of travel restrictions, et al.

Though from a personal working viewpoint, the travel restrictions meant only a marginal impact on my teaching commitments, given that much of my interaction is online with 121 students worldwide. Hence, my online workshop and course module programme has remained as it was pre-Covid, almost as if there had been no pandemic.

Yet looking back, I realise how little I had foreseen the immanence of its spectre in terms of its ability to penetrate so profoundly into the breadth and depth of all our lives.

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Pañca Maya – The five aspects of Being Human…

One way it may be helpful to reflect on the relationship between our lives and our practice is through the model of the Pañca Maya or the five aspects of being human. In this instance through reflecting on the notion that influencing the subtler aspects of the Pañca Maya can impact more powerfully on the gross aspect, whereas influencing the gross aspects of the Pañca Maya may well impact less powerfully on the subtler aspects.

“What does reflecting on our relationship with Annamaya reveal?”

For example what happens at the level of the physical body may not impact that strongly on the increasingly subtler aspects of the Pañca Maya such as our energy processes, social conditionings, latent impressions and emotional drives.

“Freedom of movement within the Annamaya does not
presume
 freedom of movement within the Prāṇamaya.”

Whereas what happens at the subtler levels of being, such as the conscious and unconscious stimuli of our external surroundings and internal processes on the latent impressions and emotional drives, can impact very strongly on how our body functions and responds.

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Design a practice with an emphasis on working with arm movements in Bhujaṅgāsana…

Design a practice with an emphasis on working with arm movements in Bhujaṅgāsana as preparation for Dhanurāsana.

The Vinyāsa Krama or planning steps in the practice will be for a total of 60 working breaths.

– It will be based primarily around Āsana, perhaps with Mudrā.
– In this instance, the practice will not include any sitting Prāṇāyāma or Dhyāna.
– In the planning structure, any link Āsana such as Samasthiti, Śavāsana, Vajrāsana, do not count in the breath tally.
– State the intended direction and outcome of the practice in terms of the goal or goals.
– Indicate the primary or crown you are choosing to build the practice around.
– Justify your choice of supporting or compensatory Āsana within the scheme.

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

Yoga Practice Planning and Theory Questions – Collected & Collated

Design a Prāṇāyāma practice for yourself to include a crown ratio of 1.1.1.1. in Nāḍī Śodhana

Design a Prāṇāyāma practice for yourself to include:

A crown ratio of 1.1.1.1. in Nāḍī Śodhana

Utilising:
– Combining progressive and transitional Ratios
– Using a Vinyāsa Krama with both steps up to a crown and down
– The number of breaths totalling between 36 and 48

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

Yoga Practice Planning and Theory Questions – Collected & Collated

Design a Prāṇāyāma for yourself to include Śītalī, Anuloma Ujjāyī and Nāḍī Śodhana…

Design a Prāṇāyāma practice for yourself to include:

 Śītalī, Anuloma Ujjāyī and Nāḍī Śodhana
Utilising:
– Combining progressive and transitional Ratios
– Using a Vinyāsa Krama with both steps up to a crown and down
– The number of breaths totalling between 36 and 48

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

Yoga Practice Planning and Theory Questions – Collected & Collated

Design a Practice for the morning after a heavy meal and late night…

Design a Practice for the morning after a heavy meal and late night

The Vinyāsa Krama or planning steps in the practice will be for a total of 60 working breaths.

– It will be based mainly around Āsana, perhaps with Mudrā and/or Prāṇāyāma.
– In this instance, the practice will not include any sitting Dhyāna.
– In the planning structure, any link Āsana such as Samasthiti, Śavāsana, Vajrāsana, do not count in the breath tally.
– State the intended direction and outcome of the practice in terms of the goal or goals.
– Indicate the primary or crown you are choosing to build the practice around.
– Justify your choice of supporting or compensatory Āsana within the scheme.

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

Yoga Practice Planning and Theory Questions – Collected & Collated

Design an evening Practice before going out (as if) to teach Yoga…

Design an evening Practice before going out (as if) to teach Yoga

The Vinyāsa Krama or planning steps in the practice will be for a total of 60 working breaths.

– It will be based mainly around Āsana, perhaps with Mudrā and/or Prāṇāyāma.
– In this instance, the practice will not include any sitting Dhyāna.
– In the planning structure, any link Āsana such as Samasthiti, Śavāsana, Vajrāsana, do not count in the breath tally.
– State the intended direction and outcome of the practice in terms of the goal or goals.
– Indicate the primary or crown you are choosing to build the practice around.
– Justify your choice of supporting or compensatory Āsana within the scheme.

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

Yoga Practice Planning and Theory Questions – Collected & Collated

A fundamental facet in the principles of Āsana, Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma practice…

slibss_web

A fundamental facet in the principles of Āsana, Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma practice, in the teachings of Krishnamacharya through Desikachar, is the ordering of Āsana according to the acronym SLIBSS.

It is the practice arrangement or Vinyāsa Krama in the following order:

This is referred to in Religiousness in Yoga page 23-27.

It is the foundational structure on which all the other variants of Āsana, Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma practice arise from or are goals towards.

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Navaratri or the Nine Nights of Durgā as a time for Mantra Sādhana……

tri_devi_470

The nine-night long Navaratri, an important occasion in India, is celebrated as a time to honour the Divine Feminine, especially the Goddess Durgā within the Indian tradition. It will commence today Saturday 17th October 2020, the first day of the month of Aśvin, according to the Hindu calendar. During this time the primary focus is Durgā manifesting through three primary aspects of the Divine Feminine.

Thus for the first three nights the focus is around the Divine Feminine in her power-bestowing aspect known as Durgā. For the second three nights the focus is around the Divine Feminine in her prosperity-bestowing aspect known as Lakṣmī. For the third three nights the focus is around the Divine Feminine in her wisdom-bestowing aspect known as Sarasvatī.

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T Krishnamacharya’s accomplishments should not be defined just by his more well known characterisations……

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

I feel Krishnamacharya’s accomplishments should not be defined just by his more well known characterisations, such as his remarkable philosophical background being applied to contextualising traditional Indian texts from within a Yoga viewpoint, or his unique access to Haṭha teachings and texts and innovating from these resources when choreographing modern postural Āsana synthesises for children and young adults.

“All of Krishnamacharya’s and Desikachar’s
life work focused on the training of students,
some of whom then went on to become teachers.”

However, what he is less well known for is his work with individual students, probably because it happened behind closed doors and students rarely had cause to speak about it to others. Nor would they have reason to want to teach it to others as it had been taught to them, as it was given at a particular moment in time, within a unique situation, with a specific purpose and within a private, rather than a public group setting.

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The Viniyoga of Āsana Part 7 of 15 – Different Types of Postural Activity in Āsana Practice

7. Different Types of Postural Activity in Āsana Practice

Generally in terms of Āsana practice we can consider two types of physical activity:

– Dynamic or Movement and Stay or Static.

1. Dynamic is the movement aspect of an Āsana or posture.

– Though some Āsana are more suited to Movement or Dynamic Work

For Example:

2. Stay is the Static aspect of an Āsana or posture.

– Though some Āsana are more suited to Stay or Static Work

For Example:

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cYs Practitioner Training Programme Retreat Extract 3 – Self Planning & Self Practice

cYs Practitioner Training Programme 2004 Retreat Extract 3

Session 4 – Self Planning & Self Practice

This was a five day mid-afternoon Prāṇāyāma only planning and practice project for year Four students within a four year Practitioner Training Programme.

The format was:

  • 5′ Pulse taking
  • 15′ Prāṇāyāma Planning
  • 10’ Group Chanting
  • 15′ Prāṇāyāma Practice
  • 5’ Sitting
  • 5′ Pulse taking
  • 5’ For recording your pulse, personal notes or reflections from the practice

The Bhāvana practice proposition and Prāṇāyāma practice techniques that set each afternoons focus, technique and crown ratio are shown below.

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Cultivating the skills within Yoga Practice Planning for Individual Students

One important facet I experienced within the teaching process of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar was an intensive apprenticeship into the skills of being able to design individual practices for a range of possibilities, as well as for a variety of situations and stages within a student’s learning interests, needs and practice potentials.

Within this was the key premise of designing an individualised developmental practice for all aspects of practice, rather than just the more well-known notions of therapeutic adaptations, or the homogenous sequencings, that are more commonly seen as representative of Krishnamacharya’s teaching within modern Yoga approaches.

Accordingly, this meant that I spent a lot of time over the years in my lessons with Desikachar learning how to plan practices that incorporated a wide variety of Āsana, Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma techniques, initially as goal in themselves, ere to how these schematics could be applied within a students developmental Yoga journey.

For example in terms of Āsana

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cYs Practitioner Training Programme Retreat Extract 2 – Self Planning & Self Practice

cYs Practitioner Training Programme 2004 Retreat Extract 2

Session 4 – Self Planning & Self Practice

This was a five day mid-afternoon Prāṇāyāma only planning and practice project for year Two students within a Four year Practitioner Training Programme.

The format was:

  • 5′ Pulse taking
  • 15′ Prāṇāyāma Planning
  • 10’ Group Chanting
  • 15′ Prāṇāyāma Practice
  • 5’ Sitting
  • 5′ Pulse taking
  • 5’ For recording your pulse, personal notes or reflections from the practice

The Bhāvana practice proposition and Prāṇāyāma practice techniques that set each afternoons focus, technique and crown ratio are shown below.

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cYs Practitioner Training Programme Retreat Extract 1 – Self Planning & Self Practice

cYs Practitioner Training Programme 1999 Retreat Extract 1

Session 1 – Self Planning & Self Practice

This was a six day pre-breakfast planning and practice project for year three students within a four year Practitioner Training Programme.

The format was:

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The Viniyoga of Inversion as an Āsana or as a Mudrā……

The Viniyoga of Inversion as an Āsana or as a Mudrā……

There are some forms within the postural resources developed by Krishnamacharya that can function as either an Āsana or as a Mudrā, depending on how they are approached and utilised. This choice of direction and outcome can be realised according to the specific Bhāvana associated with the intention of the practitioner and the style of performance.

This distinction in characteristics can be generalised around whether the practitioner focuses on a dynamic form with the developmental priority around the variations of and in the posture, or on a static form with the focus on the developmental priority on the lengthening and refinement of the breath.

In other words, as to whether the focus is on the development of the various Vinyāsa Krama within the dynamic form through a specific competence within a number of physical variations. Or, the focus is on the development within the static form, of a specific competence within a number of respiratory ratios.

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Learning Support for Chanting the Nārāyaṇa Sūktam

Śrī TKV Desikachar 1938-2016

In Memorium August 8th 2020

Learning Support for Chanting the Nārāyaṇa Sūktam

– From the Taittirīya Upaniṣad Chapter 4 verses 25-27 in the Mahānārāyaṇaya Upaniṣad
An offering for this day from my personal library of recordings from my studies with TKV Desikachar.
To Listen or Download the Nārāyaṇa Sūktam as an MP3 Sound File
To Download the Chant Sheet with Romanised Saṃskṛta and Chant Notations