The beauty of Krishnamacharya’s teaching is that it is about…..

asana_52a

The beauty of Krishnamacharya’s teaching is that it is about
learning Yoga for different types of people,
rather than todays increasingly studio driven group class modality of
learning different types of Yoga for people.

One hallmark within TKV Desikachar’s teaching on Āsana……

One hallmark within TKV Desikachar’s teaching on Āsana,
was not to confuse ‘appropriate’ alignment techniques,
with ‘proper’ alignment techniques.
The former implies a personalised starting point,
whilst the latter implies a developmental potential.
However both need to be related to 3 questions:
Where am I coming from?
Why am I practicing Āsana?
Where am I going to?

Amongst the Antarāya that relegate Prāṇāyāma to the wish list……

nadi_sodana
Amongst the Antarāya that
relegate Prāṇāyāma to the wish list
is the choice of a long relaxation as
a substitute ending to Āsana practice.

Two primary roles in the adaptation of Āsana……

“Two primary roles in the adaptation of Āsana
to the needs and potential of the student are
Facilitating a decrease of tension within the body
whilst
Facilitating an increase of attention within the breath.”
– Commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 47

Yoga Cikitsā is about treating a person in a problem……

Yoga Cikitsā is about Respecting the Problem and Treating the Person

Yoga Cikitsā is about
treating a person in a problem.
Rather than
treating a problem in a person.

I wonder if Modern Postural Yoga is confusing……

“I wonder if Modern Postural Yoga is confusing,
experiencing a supple body,
with experiencing a subtle body?”

Sat viniyoga is about learning to do more with less……

Sat viniyoga
is about learning to do more with less.
Asat viniyoga
is about learning to do less with more.
Whether Āsana or Students!!

It appears that one can often talk about the effects of Yoga Āsana on the spine in Yoga yet……

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.

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It is ironic when a collective term used to describe an approach……

It is ironic when a collective term used to describe
an approach to teaching an individual,
becomes an individual term used to describe
an approach to teaching a collective.

A sign of a maturing in our relationship with a 121 Yoga Teacher is……

In the novice phase of our relationship with a 121 Yoga Teacher,
it’s not so much about what we bring to the Lesson,
it’s more about what we take away from the Lesson.

A sign of a maturing in our relationship with a 121 Yoga Teacher,
is that we accept more responsibility for what we bring to the Lesson,
being a determining factor in what we take away from the Lesson.

In the novice phase of our relationship with a Yoga Class……..

In the novice phase of our relationship with a Yoga Class,
it’s not so much about what we bring to the Class,
it’s more about what we take away from the Class.

A sign of a maturing in our relationship with a Yoga Class,
is that we accept more responsibility for what we bring to the Class,
being a determining factor in what we take away from the Class.

As a Yoga Teacher we need to ensure that our personal Yoga Practice…..

As a Yoga Teacher we need to ensure that our personal Yoga Practice
doesn’t become a repetition of, or rehearsal for, our Yoga Teaching plans.

Our Yoga Teaching needs to be an appurtenance to our Yoga Practice.

Our Yoga Teaching needs to be an appurtenance to our Yoga Practice.
Rather than our Yoga Practice being an appurtenance to our Yoga Teaching.

Five Musings around Śīrṣāsana……

sirsasana

Five questions my teacher taught me that need to be ‘posed’,
for or to any student wishing to practice Śīrṣāsana,
or even for and to any teacher wishing to teach Śīrṣāsana,
whatever the situation.

1. Who is going to practice it?
2. Why do they wish to use it?
3. When are they going to practice it?
4. How are they going to get in and out of it?
5. What do they need to have done to verify their capability?

Once you lose the breath in Āsana……

Once you lose the breath in Āsana,
effort becomes force.

Some people use Yoga to move away from something undesirable……

“Some people use Yoga (or even training for a career as a Yoga Teacher),
to move away from something undesirable for, or in their lives (Abhāva).
Others use Yoga to move towards something desirable (Bhāva) for, or in their lives.
Either can be positive, however good to be clear about our motives,
especially if our relationship with that which we wanted to move away from,
or that which we wanted to move towards,
changes along the way.”

it is still unclear how much Yoga someone has to do to get the benefits…..

Āsana_16a

“But it is still unclear how much Yoga someone has to do to get the benefits found and
how cost-effective it is relative to undertaking other forms of exercise or taking drugs.”
– Prof Myriam Hunink
Erasmus University medical centre in Rotterdam and Harvard school of public health in Boston

Are we in danger of the teaching of Yoga Āsana (and consequently Yoga ‘Therapy’ Teacher Training Courses) being increasingly shaped towards the health and therapeutic healthcare ‘Yoga For’ needs to meet the demands and standardisations of the medical and/or insurance health authorities in terms of:

1. Choice – Which Yoga posture works for what problem?
2. Duration – How long must I stay in a particular posture in order to have a specific effect/result?
3. Frequency – How often must I practice this posture to effect a result?
4. Timescale – Over what period of time must I practice this posture to effect a result?
5. Comparable Applications – What will be the effect of Yoga postures compared to other forms of physical exercise?
6. Relative Costs – What will be the cost of Yoga compared to other forms of exercise?
7. Treatment Budgets – What will be the cost of Yoga as a form of treatment relative to taking drugs?

Complex implications to evaluate and they leave us with more questions around what is healthy for the heart of Yoga rather than what is healthy for the heart of the person!

“We cannot say that this Āsana or this Prāṇāyāma can be given for this disease.”
– T Krishnamacharya 1984

It appears that Modern Therapeutic Yoga is increasingly angled at……

cikitsa

It appears that Modern Therapeutic Yoga is increasingly angled
at looking at the problems in front of the person
in terms of Yoga for What,
rather than looking at the person behind the problems
in terms of Yoga for Who.

Links To Related Posts:

This approach is known as the Yoga of Rejuvenation and Prevention……

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

When somebody comes to us they are not coming with one problem……

This guiding principle of seeing the person rather than the problem……

Science, Medical Conditions and Yoga as a Therapy

Five Musings around Sarvāṅgāsana……

sarvangasana

Five questions my teacher taught me that need to be ‘posed’,
for or to any student wishing to practice Sarvāṅgāsana,
or even for and to any teacher wishing to teach Sarvāṅgāsana,
whatever the situation.

1. Who is going to practice it?
2. Why do they wish to use it?
3. When are they going to practice it?
4. How are they going to get in and out of it?
5. What do they need to have done to verify their capability?

The art of viniyoga presumes that the five application principles of……

viniyoga

The art of viniyoga presumes that
the five application principles of
1. What is being taught,
2. Why it is being taught,
3. When it is being taught
4. Where it is being taught and especially
5. How it is being taught,
are personally applicable and
socially relevant to
Who is being taught.

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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Even these days the influence of Krishnamacharya’s teachings……

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Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Even these days, the influence of Krishnamacharya’s teachings around Yoga are primarily known through his exacting teaching of Āsana. This has also been mainly experienced in the West with the developmental work of his early students, such as through the choreographical artistry in the work of Pattabhi Jois or through the geometrical precision in the work of BKS Iyengar.

However this area of Āsana teaching, though itself multifaceted and hugely influential, if disproportionately predominant within Yoga today, only reveals one aspect of the many dimensions of practice expressed within his teaching. This teaching evolved and refined over 70 years, from his return from his long stay around the borders of Nepal and Tibet in 1919, to his death in 1989

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The viniyoga of Yoga is about a system to teach to a student

The viniyoga of Yoga is a name for a system to teach to a student,
rather than about students to teach a system to.

Dhyāna is taught as a personalised process unique to each student……

dhyanam

Question:
Would appreciate any clues as to the Dhyāna practice as you were taught.”

Response:
Reflecting on this question reminds me of a video of a lecture by S Sridharan from the KYM recently reposted on August 5th 2015 on the Krishnamacharya Yoga Facebook page. I feel that the extract below sums up well the essence of Krishnamacharya’s teaching, especially when involving the Antar Aṅga:

“But when it came to personal practice we would have to meet our teacher in his room separately…..
What my teacher has imparted to me as my Yoga practice. I cannot share it with any of you.
Not for the reason that I don’t want to share it, it will have no value for any of you…..

When we teach something it should be very personal from the point of view of Yoga practice.
Yoga is a topic that just cannot be taught over a platform.”

He also discussed earlier in the video the notion that the only group activity was the study of texts. When it came to personal practice this was within a private room and was a personal matter between the teacher and the student.

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One of the key concepts in the viniyoga of Āsana……

One of the key concepts in the viniyoga of Āsana
is how to facilitate movement in the spine
rather than just movement of the spine.

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