Although the inhale is the
exploratory means to learn
more about the Prāṇa Sthāna,
it is initially the exhale that will
teach us about the Apāna Sthāna,
and here is a primary means in the
application of Āsana as a therapy.
Although the inhale is the
When talking about Yoga as if a practice,
I feel it could be helpful to distinguish
between which aspects of Yoga practice
we are actually referring to as they tend to
have differing, and at times even seemingly
contrasting, facets, paradigms and purposes.
From a Cikitsā Krama viewpoint,
the practitioner’s energy and
respiratory capacity may be low,
so the scope for working on the length
of the breath may well be limited.
Therefore a suggested strategy initially,
is to focus on the subtlety of the breath.
Whereas, in the Bāhya Aṅga section of Aṣṭāṅga Yoga
can be seen as being apt for a Rakṣaṇa situation,
whereby the primary aim is establishing stability,
through a formal practice within a Yoga Sādhana.
to teaching children Āsana,
was more about cultivating
strength in Prāṇa Sthāna and
movement in Apāna Sthāna.
Whereas for teaching adults
Āsana, the approach was
now more about cultivating
movement in Prāṇa Sthāna
and strength in Apāna Sthāna.
– To come near to the teachings and remain
– To listen to the teachings with an open ear
– To seize hold of or grasp onto the teachings
– To concentrate on memorising the teachings
– To carefully reflect on the teachings
– To live with and put the teachings into practice
– To have some experiences from following the teachings
– To share and apply the teachings with others
In the other words the journey towards
coming near to, listening to, grasping, memorizing,
reflecting, applying, experiencing and sharing the teachings.
My Āsana study with Desikachar was shaped around forming
a deep appreciation of specific core principles that underpin
the planning and practice of Āsana and their application to
the individual student’s constitution, psychology and need.
Amongst these dozen or so core principles,
the first group when looking at any Āsana in depth,
were the concepts of Nāma, Rūpa and Lakṣaṇa, or the
name, form and characteristics of that particular Āsana.
Obviously, the Nāma is a useful tag point for identification
and the Rūpa is vital as a reference point for the Sat Viniyoga,
or right application of the Āsana within overall considerations of
initial direction and outcomes through such as the Śikṣaṇa Krama,
Rakṣaṇa Krama or Cikitsā Krama application of the forms used.
However, I do feel these days that our understanding in Āsana
practice is more dominated by the Nāma and the Rūpa with
little emphasis on the Lakṣaṇa or inherent characteristics of the
Āsana and how understanding this aspect can have a profound
effect on the approach, application and outcome of the overall or
accumulative impact of the Āsana within the student’s practice.
The teachings of Krishnamacharya around Āsana included
an in-depth appreciation of the Lakṣaṇa, especially around
the thirty or so primary and secondary support Āsana such as
Uttānāsana, Jaṭhara Parivṛtti, Bhujaṅgāsana or Januśīrṣāsana.
Has the fusion of Yoga and Fitness
become a confusion of Yoga as Fitness?
Yoga offerings include
– Yoga for Asthma
– Yoga for Bunions
– Yoga for Colds
– Yoga for Digestion
– Yoga for Eyesight
– Yoga for Flexibility
and so on through to
All of Krishnamacharya’s and Desikachar’s
life work focused on the training of students,
some of whom then went on to become teachers.
Rather than the reality that pervades Yoga today,
in that the priority is on the training of teachers,
some of whom may go on to became students.
Krishnamacharya and Desikachar’s transmission
sought to preserve specific personal priorities
when transmitting Yoga teachings to others.
For example when teaching youngsters,
the focus was on doing less with more.
However when teaching adults personally,
the focus was on doing more with less.
This would be with regards to Āsana practice,
as well as with regard to the number of Students.
As a teacher it can be helpful to consider Āsana as
vehicles to transmit the fundamental principles of practice.
For example a cardinal principle of practice is that Āsana
have a primary and a secondary aspect within their Lakṣana.
Thus we must inquire into what is the primary aspect in this Āsana,
and what is the secondary aspect in this particular Āsana?
The idea is to maintain the integrity of the primary characteristics.
Thus we may need to compromise the secondary characteristics.
For example in Uttānāsana to sustain the primary work in the spine
we can consider a secondary compromise by releasing the knees.
I feel we need to ensure that
we use our practice to support our teaching,
rather than using our teaching to support our practice.
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?