What are the concepts of Sṛṣṭi Krama, Sthiti Krama and Anta Krama?


What are the concepts of Sṛṣṭi Krama, Sthiti Krama and Antya Krama and what is their significance in relationship to the practice of Āsana, Prāṇāyāma and Dhyānam?

We can approach these three concepts and the question of their relationship with practice from a chronological and within that, a psychological viewpoint. According to the Yoga teachings from T Krishnamacharya there are three chronological and accompanying psychological stages of life, or Tri Krama.

1. The first Krama is the stage of growth and expansion known as Sṛṣṭi Krama. Here, chronologically, the starting point is the age from which people traditionally began the Āsana aspect of Yoga practice.

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Compare Dvipāda Pīṭham and Śalabhāsana in relation to their potential……

Compare Dvipāda Pīṭham and Śalabhāsana in relation to their potential within the following situations:

1. In strengthening the leg muscles.

2. Potential stress on the sacroiliac joint.

3. Influencing the circulation.

4. Potential risk on the knees.

5. As a preparation for Dhanurāsana.

6. In helping with flat feet.

7. In improving the inhalation.

8. In decreasing lower back pain.

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Āsana practice as a prerequisite to exploring how to integrate Prāṇāyāma……

I was taught by Desikachar that we need to at least have some sort of working relationship with an Āsana practice as a prerequisite to exploring how to integrate Prāṇāyāma into our practice Sādhana.

Also in the approach of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar to Yoga practice this idea is even more relevant as important information, that guides our initial and subsequent steps into Prāṇāyāma, is gleaned from certain factors only apparent from observation of how our respiratory system performs during Āsana practice.

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Āsana is not just another form of exercise……

In exploring the principles that underpin the practice of Āsana the first idea to consider is that our practice is not just another form of exercise. Yoga Āsana are more than just physical postures or exercises to stretch and tone the body, or enhance our sense of personalised well-being. From within its Haṭha roots the concern of Yoga is our relationship with the force which is behind our movements and its source that initiates our every action.

Further the different practice elements that constitute a mature Yoga practice are not separate compartments. They are linked through the principles underpinning them. For example a respiratory competence learnt through the practice of Āsana facilitates progress within the seated practice of Prāṇāyāma. An enduring stable posture learnt through the practice of Prāṇāyāma supports the cultivation the meditative attitude inherent in progress towards Dhyāna or meditation.

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An example of a Secondary Yoga Practice, primarily for early evening use.

An example of a Secondary Yoga Practice.

This 25′ practice is intended mainly for post-work early evening use. It was designed for a student as a secondary practice to complement their existing pre-work early morning practice.

The context within which it sits is that they have an early morning Āsana and Prāṇāyāma practice before leaving for work. Getting to work involves 10′ walking to catch a train, often standing during the train journey and then walking a further 10-15′ after getting off.

This framework also includes a demanding decision making and team management working environment, often involving many meetings during a typical day.

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The convention of Paramparā or ongoing transmission from teacher to student…

Guru Pūrṇimā

The convention of Paramparā or ongoing transmission from teacher to student
is especially honoured annually on this particular full moon day called Guru Pūrṇimā.

The chant below is from traditional prayers chanted at the beginning of any textual studies.
It honours ones teacher and their teacher and their teacher and so on in time memorial.

The recording below by TKV Desikachar I made within lessons over 30 years ago
and is offered as a downloadable MP3 along with a notated chant sheet.

gurubhyastad gurubhyaśca
To my teacher and all their teachers

namo vākamadhīmahe |
I salute through my words

vṛṇīmahe ca tad rādyau
Lauding and that first

dampatī jagatāṃ pati ‖
couple world Lord of

To my teacher and all their teachers
I salute through my words.
Lauding not only them, but the first
couple, Lord of the world.

– Śrī Gurubhyo Namaḥ –

View or Download Gurubhyastad Gurubhyaśca Opening Prayer PDF with notations

Listen or Download Gurubhyastad Gurubhyaśca Opening Prayer MP3 Sound File

A sample Parivṛtti and Paścimatāna Themed Group Practice

Attached as a PDF is a sample group class practice offered to a student as an example of theming two complementary Āsana groupings, that of Parivṛtti and Paścimatāna.

These complementary Lakṣaṇa, or characteristics, can be expanded from either:

  • An Annamaya or structural viewpoint, in terms of the work on such as the spine and the legs.
  • Or from a Prāṇamaya or energetic viewpoint in terms of the effect on Agni, Apāna and Vāta.

This particular Vinyāsa Krama starts with lying, progressing to kneeling en route to a more usual construct of standing, lying and seated. After appropriate Pratikriyā Āsana the practice is concluded with a simple Laṅghana Cikitsā seated breathing practice with a Bhāvana of first gradually extending and then gradually reducing the exhalation.

In terms of the layers that can be added to the basic framework, given the nature of the context it has been limited to Āsana sequencing in terms of lying, kneeling, standing, lying and seated. Built into this is the combining of dynamic and static possibilities through the employment of long range movement within the preparatory stages and mid range movement and stay at key points.

Other layers such as the application of specific breathing patterns or other specific Bhāvana will be illustrated through other sample group practices in future posts.

To View or Download the Practice as a PDF

To View or Download the Post as a PDF

Preparatory Āsana to make Adho Mukha Śvānāsana more effective….

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Practice Study Question around Āsana Planning Theory:
Identify a minimum of two modifications of preparatory Āsana
which can be used to make Adho Mukha Śvānāsana more effective.

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

Variations of Āsana to make Navāsana more accessible……


Practice Study Question around Āsana Planning Theory:
Identify a minimum of two variations of preparatory Āsana
which can be used to make Navāsana more accessible.

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

Identify and illustrate four key Āsana to help prepare for Ardha Śalabhāsana


Practice Study Question around Āsana Planning Theory:
Identify and illustrate four key Āsana to help prepare for Ardha Śalabhāsana.

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

It is the pleasure of practising Yoga because you want to practice……

These days, in certain situations, when asked what I do I sometimes say I write technical manuals and that usually moves the conversation quickly onto something like the British weather.

Why don’t I mention Yoga? Am I embarrassed about my relationship with Yoga? Not at all, its more about people’s reaction when asked and saying I am a Yoga teacher, a response somewhere as if an amalgam of being a fitness trainer, dentist and priest.

Also these feelings are often wrapped up in the response that I must do that or diverted into a projection around how I am seen in terms of say flexibility because I ‘do’ Yoga.

There are even folks I have been meeting occasionally for years and each time we meet I get the ‘I must do that’. Aside from the wry amusement at observing folks slight uncomfortableness as the word Yoga appears to represent something that at some level they feel they must need in their lives as if a commodity, there is for me a more important aspect that touches me.

This is around the difference between having to do something and wanting to do something.

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An example personal practice from 2002 from TKV Desikachar……


Following on from the post two days ago and yesterdays post I wanted to offer a further sample practice given to me by my teacher, TKV Desikachar. It evolved from within our one to one lessons in Chennai, from 12 years ago, in 2002 and is based around:

Kapālabhāti Kriyā 48 breaths
Sūrya Bhedana Prāṇāyāma 12 breaths with 10″ Antar Kumbhaka and 10″ Bahya Kumbhaka
Kapālabhāti Kriyā 48 breaths
Sūrya Bhedana Prāṇāyāma 12 breaths with 20″ Antar Kumbhaka
Bhāradvājāsana – Stay 12 breaths each side with 10″ Bahya Kumbhaka
Apānāsana and Ūrdhva Prasṛta Pādāsana
– Aṅga Laghava Dynamic combination 12 times with 10″ Antar Kumbhaka and 10″ Bahya Kumbhaka
Candra Bhedana Prāṇāyāma 24 breaths

Though obviously relevant to my personal situation as a mid fifties bloke, at that time and place, it is a further illustration of how Antar Kumbhaka (AK) and Bahya Kumbhaka (BK) can be employed whatever the Āsana or techniques chosen.

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An example personal practice from 1980 from TKV Desikachar……


Following on from yesterdays post on Kumbhaka quoted below:

“According to Krishnamacharya,
one who has not mastered the Bāhya Kumbhaka,
has not mastered the breath.”
– TKV Desikachar 1988

I thought it might be helpful to republish a post from early 2014. Here I wanted to offer a example of a personal practice given to me by TKV Desikachar. It evolved from within our one to one lessons in Chennai, from over 35 years ago, in 1980 and is based around:

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Yoga Postures in Practice – A series on Āsana by Paul Part 4 Utkaṭāsana

Part Four – Building our Support with Utkaṭāsana

This is the fourth in a series of articles presenting the core principles for Āsana practice as taught to me through many years of personal lessons in India with my teacher TKV Desikachar.

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Musings on the Student’s Relationship with the Teacher

Memories from my early days, over 40 years ago now, of going to teachers to teach me Yoga were generally around the notion, replete with conscious and unconscious expectations, that the teacher was there to bring out the best in me.

For example I feel that many of us if group class teachers are used to working with the Lazarus factor (raising folks from the dead each week). Here we can get caught or even need the expectation, both in you and/or in the student, that you will be or are ‘the one’ to revitalise the students tired and/or wired bodies as well as restoring confident dispositions.

However my experiences arising from working with TKV Desikachar stood that notion on its head. This was not through anything he said or did but from my own slowly acquired realisation that my way of looking at the relationship was confused.

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Chatting with TKV Desikachar during a lesson in the early 1990’s…..

Chatting with TKV Desikachar during a lesson in the early 1990’s I commented on an observation formed from discussions with my students within a study group I had brought to Madras (Chennai) for a two week programme at the KYM during my personal study stay that year.

As a part of this particular study group visit to the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram some of the students took up the option of 121 lessons with teachers at the KYM. Sharing the content of the practices with me revealed the introduction of a sequence that I had not come across before within, at that time, my nearly 20 years of studies within the work of T Krishnamacharya.

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Prārthanā Mantraḥ – Gaṇapati Saṃhitā Pāṭhaḥ with Translation and Recording


Gaṇapati or Gaṇeśa is traditionally seen throughout India as
the ‘Remover of Obstacles’ and ‘Lord of Beginnings’.

He is honoured at the beginning of rituals and invoked as the patron of letters
(legend describes Gaṇeśa as the scribe who wrote the Mahābharata from the dictation of Vyāsa).

As such he can be viewed as the writer of ones destiny.

Taittirīya Saṃhitā 2. 3. 14
– Saṃhitā Pāṭhaḥ or Mūla Mantraḥ

oṃ gaṇānāṃ tvā gaṇapatigṃ havāmahe
kaviṃ kavīnāmupamaśravastamam |
jyeṣṭharājaṃ brahmaṇāṃ brahmaṇaspata
ānaśśvannūtibhissīda sādanam ||
śrī mahāgaṇapataye namaḥ ||

“We invoke thee, O leader of all the hosts.
The wisest of the wise.
The Sage of Sages with treasures beyond measure.
The King of Brilliance. The lead chanter of prayers.
Come with your blessings, listen to our prayers.
Have a seat in our sacred space.”

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Viniyoga Vignette 4 – Combining Prāṇāyāma within Āsana

A short end of study day 25′ evening practice from the second day of three day Practitioner Training Programme Module. Here the primary Bhāvana or theme was to offer a practice to conclude what would have been in itself a long day of study as well as internalising the student away from the accumulative stresses from two long days of training input.

Thus the practice out began with spacious work in lying as a grounding transition from the intense work of the day before moving towards sitting. From here moving from lying via kneeling Cakravakāsana, the use of Śītalī, with its head movement and mild Antar Kumbhaka, was introduced to energetically and mentally refresh, before integrating a more physical focus albeit with a sense of seated containment, via mid-range movement in Jānu Śīrṣāsana.

This then flowed into sitting integrated with several types of Prāṇāyāma, firstly exploring Bhramarī, then a subtle seated Ujjāyī and finally Nāḍī Śodhana to complete the transition from the days activities to the evenings endings.

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Mahāmṛtyañjaya Mantra – Saṃhitā Pāṭhaḥ – with Translation

taittirīya saṃhitā V. 4. 12.
mahāmṛtyañjaya mantra – saṃhitā pāṭhaḥ

tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhiṃ puṣṭivardhanam |
urvārukamiva bandhanānmṛtyormukṣīya mā‘mṛtāt ||

“We worship the three-eyed Lord who is fragrant
and who nourishes and nurtures all beings.
Like the pumpkin I am bound.
Liberate me from death for immortality.”

Put simply:

“Śiva sever my pumpkin so I can be free after death.”

View or Download this post as a PDF
View or Download the Mṛtyañjaya Mantra in Romanised Saṃskṛta with notations and chant extensions
Listen or Download the Mṛtyañjaya Mantra as a sound file from my personal collection of recordings