Postscript to yesterdays post around the three Niyama within Kriyā Yoga…… 

A postscript to yesterdays post around the three Niyama
within Kriyā Yoga on the uses of the terms ‘self’ or ‘Self’ within
the legs in the tripod supporting our efforts at nurturing a state of Yoga.

“Activities that nurture a state of Yoga involve
self-discipline, Self-inquiry and Self-awareness.”

The first leg supporting the tripod refers to Citta
as the self in terms of nurturing self-discipline.

Tapas is to discipline our eating habits.”
– T Krishnamacharya

The second leg supporting the tripod refers to Cit
as the Self in terms of nurturing Self-inquiry.

Svādhyāya is an inquiry into one’s true nature.”
– T Krishnamacharya

The final leg supporting the tripod refers to Cit
as the Self in terms of nurturing Self-awareness.

“Yoga is awareness, a type of knowing.”
– T Krishnamacharya

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 42 – Activities that nurture a state of Yoga…….

Activities that nurture a state of Yoga involve
self-discipline, Self-inquiry and Self-awareness.
– Reflections around Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 41 – Some define their experience of life by seeking Duḥkha……

Some define their experience of life by seeking Duḥkha,
some by seeking Sukha.
The Yoga Practitioner sees both as Avidyā
and defines their experience of life by seeking
what lies beyond duality through unwavering Viveka.
– Reflections around Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 26

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

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 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

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.

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

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

Haṭha Yoga has another role other than mere freedom of movement……

Freedom of or in movement is obviously an asset and of course a useful pursuit in the world of homo-sedens that abounds these days. However movement according to the principles inherent in Haṭha Yoga has a further role other than mere freedom of movement as an end in itself. Thus in Haṭha Yoga the role of freedom in movement, albeit embedded with useful anatomical insights, is not the priority that appears to dominate the forms of Āsana utilised within many popular Yoga classes.

Of course freedom in movement is obviously a support in allowing us to apply the principles of Haṭha Āsana practice, but it is not the end in itself it seems to have become under the guise of calling it all Yoga. For example it can help with facilitating an exploration of the energetic processes that ultimately define, guide and differentiate Haṭha Yoga from movement forms such as exercise, fitness, dance, etc.

Yet these days it increasingly seems to be that, on the journey towards the deeper purpose inherent in Haṭha Yoga and its relationship to Rāja Yoga, we are more and more being sidetracked by the goals within the myriad of movement forms that proliferate or even ‘pose’ as Āsana practice today.

Yesterday was the second commemoration of TKV Desikachar’s passing……

Desikachar and Paul Chanting in 1999

This is a post about not posting……

As some of you may have noticed yesterday was the second commemoration of TKV Desikachar’s passing. As a remembrance of this day last year I offered a post with him being asked questions as a student around his father. This year I was proposing to post, as a tribute, around my work with him as his student in the development and refinement of my personal practice.

However as the day emerged I realised that my attention for this time needed to turn more towards an inner reflection rather than an outward expression of my relationship with him. So I chose this day off from media or any outer contact in order to have a personal space to be more fully with my memories and experiences from our time together. 

These memories of studying with him for over twenty years, mostly in Madras sitting in his teaching room around the table, or with me on the practice mat with him observing, or sharing the mat chanting together, remind me of how private our relationship was. Looking back I feel that was a unique situation that would be very difficult to emulate in the environment within which Yoga sits these days, let alone find a teacher who only taught adults one to one and never ran or even wanted to run a teacher training course.

Of course this unique situation was not without its inner and outer demands and my memories and experiences contain both good, challenging and difficult moments. However within all of these moments the quality of our relationship as teacher and student endured and I remain eternally indebted for the transmission that became the fruit of our time being alone together.

As to my post originally planned for yesterday, it will appear over the next few days.

Śrī Gurubhyo Namaḥ

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 36 – Viparyaya is seeing what we want to see……

Viparyaya is seeing what we want to see.
or not seeing what we need to see.
Commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 8

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

Yoga teaching as an extension of Yoga practice rather than……

Reflecting on Desikachar’s comment, quoted below from yesterday, I am reminded of its depth in terms of its observation around its message exorting us to consider the relationship between the need to practice more, the more we teach.

“The more you teach,
the more you must practice.”

Within this message is also the need to take steps to ensure our Yoga practice avoids being an extension of our Yoga teaching. In other words ensuring our Yoga teaching is an extension of our Yoga practice.

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

Hence the need to hold our personal practice on a separate trajectory to our teaching practice. Within this there are further considerations that may be helpful such as the need to ensure that our personal Yoga Practice doesn’t become a repetition of, or rehearsal for, our Yoga Teaching plans. Or not using teaching time as  a way to ‘clock up’ practice hours through demonstrating, or leading the class through ‘follow me’ choreographies.

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108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 35 – The Yoga Sūtra is about reflecting on that which reflects……

The Yoga Sūtra is about reflecting on that which reflects,
in order to reflect from that which is the source of attention,
rather than from that which is the scene of inattention.
– Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 49

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

Āsana is the interface between the body……

Āsana is an interface between the body
and the systemic energy processes.
Prāṇāyāma is an interface between the
systemic energy processes and the psyche.
Dhyāna is an interface between the psyche and
the awareness that pervades our sense of being.

Cultivating a home Yoga practice is an odyssey through a relationship……

“Cultivating a home Yoga practice is an odyssey through a relationship. However, this odyssey not only requires patience and perseverance, but also enthusiasm and care. In this respect, as in any relationship, it is necessary to consider establishing priorities.

“Only through Yoga Yoga is known.
Only through Yoga Yoga arises.

One who is diligent with Yoga,
Enjoys Yoga for a long time.”
Vyāsa Commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 6

To students interested in forming a relationship with a home practice with its attendant fruits, two initial suggestions are offered: First, think of a personal Yoga practice as if acquiring a new book. However before you try to fit this book into what is probably the already overcrowded bookshelf of life, take a decision to remove an existing book to make room for the new one.

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108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 34 – The paradox of being in a state of distraction is that……

The paradox of being in a state of distraction
is that we are actually in a state of focus.
Its just that we are focused on being turned outwards,
as in the tendency of being scattered,
as in Vyutthāna Saṃskāra,
rather than being focused on being turned inwards,
as in the tendency of being contained,
as in Nirodha Saṃskāra.
Both Saṃskāra are acquired tendencies
and thus we can cultivate a choice within our oscillations.
– Commenting on Yoga Sūtra Chapter 3 verse 9

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 33 – The Yoga Sūtra is also very helpful in guiding us around the notion of……

The Yoga Sūtra is also very helpful in guiding us around
the notion of surrendering to that which we don’t know,
through that which we do know.
– Commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 23

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 32 – Yoga is about remaining true to the Self……

Yoga is about
remaining true to the Self
within the wiles of Myself.
– Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 21

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 31 – Yoga is the experience of stillness……

Yoga is the experience of stillness,
within the fluctuations of mind,
rather than the experience of stillness,
of the fluctuations of mind.
– Commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verses 2-3

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 30 – Yoga is more about looking inwards at what we fear most…….

Yoga is about looking inwards,
at what we fear most.
Rather than looking outwards,
at what we desire most.
– Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 9

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

I find myself reflecting on the notion of ‘authentic lineage’……

I find myself reflecting on the notion of ‘authentic lineage’, often taught within the statement of Paramparā or ‘from one to another’ as in a succession from teacher to student et al. Both from questions asked of me and questions I have around what I see, generally within the world of ‘Modern’ Yoga and more specifically emerging around the claims on facets in the evolution of TKV Desikachar’s teaching over four decades.

Currently I see various representational phrases being used in modern organisational setups around pupils or students of TKV Desikachar such as ‘Influenced by the Teaching of…..’ or ‘The Living Tradition of…..’ or ‘The Lineage of……’ as if a provenance of authority alluding to authenticity, studentship and tradition.

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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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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.

The continued effort of the Breath is that which gives life……

Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 47
prayatna-śaithilya-ananta-samāpattibhyām |
Both relaxation of continued effort and unity in infinity.”

When working with the Breath in Āsana its perhaps less appealing initially,
but ultimately more attractive, satisfactory and effective,
to integrate  a focus of Samāpatti (Unity) of
Śaithilya (Relaxation) in Ananta (the Infinite),
through a developmental Sādhana (Means to Accomplish)
on the Siddhi (accomplishment) of Dīrgha or Length,
supported by Sūkṣma or Subtlety.

From Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 47 T Krishnamacharya taught that:
– the common denominator for successfully uniting (Samāpatti)
both (Bhyām) aspects of relaxation (Śaithilya) and the infinite (Ananta)
within the practice of Āsana is the Breath.
He saw it as Prayatna (continued effort)
and synonymous with Jīvana (giving life).
The continued effort of the Breath is that which gives life.

Our continued efforts with the Breath in Āsana
is that which helps enliven our various levels of interaction with
our inner and outer worlds as expressed through the Pañca Maya.

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 29 – Ātma is the source of the sunlight in the Psyche.

Ātma is the source of the sunlight in the Psyche.
– Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 21

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

Its potentially complex these days when something taught……

Its potentially complex these days when something taught to an individual student,
in a personalised, age and situation relevant context;
within a specific environment and epoch;
becomes the ‘gold’ standard for groups of students to follow ‘faithfully’,
through respecting every inch of the formal nuances.

Equally, its potentially complex these days when something taught to a group of students,
in a generalised, open aged and multi-need context;
within a non-specific trans-national environment and epoch;
becomes the ‘gold’ standard for individual students to follow ‘faithfully’,
through respecting every inch of the formal nuances.