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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The more you teach the more you must practice.

“The more you teach,
the more you must practice.”
– TKV Desikachar

Tapas – Good, limited food……

Tapas
– Good, limited food
– The ability to listen
– Sharpening the senses
– Building resistance to Dvaṃdva
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 43

Today this world is ‘standing’ on Vitarka……

“Today this world is ‘standing’ on Vitarka
and it expands because of association.
It grows without any effort.
One has to put in special effort (Sādhana).
Otherwise nothing changes.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 34

Mano Vikāra – Some actions I have done I have not got what I want……

Mano Vikāra
Some actions I have done I have not got what I want.
Therefore this brings out certain changes
in certain mental processes and
a change in bodily activity.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 34

We find this power is something other than the mind…….

1. We know nothing.
2. We have problems.
3. We do something about them.
4. We have some power.
5. We find this power is something other than the mind.
– TKV Desikachar

Through observation in Āsana practice we can learn a lot about ourselves……

Āsana practice is the beginning that will confirm the importance of observation.
Through observation in Āsana practice we can learn a lot about ourselves
and even probably meet ‘that‘ which is observing inside us.”
– TKV Desikachar 1981

How is the Spirit of Yoga Transmitted?

“This past weekend, sixteen of TKV Desikachar’s long term students from around the world met and
spent time together in the South of France. We reflected on what we each personally received from
our teacher through our individual lessons in Chennai over many years.

Within this context certain questions arose that we would like to share as an offering.
– How is the Spirit of Yoga transmitted?
– What are the conditions that make this transmission possible?
– How can all of us support the continuity of this transmission?

We will continue to meet and work together to sustain
the spirit of TKV Desikachar’s teaching as we have understood it.”

– Ste Cécile les Vignes, June 24th 2018
Chase Bossart; Bernard Bouanchaud; Johanna Bouanchaud; Barbara Brian;
Malek Daouk; Paul Harvey; Hoda Khoury; Hellfried Krusche;
Gill Lloyd; François Lorin; Laurence Maman; Marina Margherita;
Frans Moors; Martyn Neal; Simone Tempelhof-Moors; Dolphi Wertenbaker

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What is the Future of our Past within the spirit of Viniyoga…….

Today commemorates TKV Desikachar‘s eightieth birthday, the second to have passed since his death in August 2016. This day, coincidentally, also sees me travelling to the South of France for a 3 day gathering of most of his long term pupils from around the world.

Curiously this meeting comes to pass exactly twenty years after the last such meeting in June 1998 where some 16 students from 8 countries gathered in London with Desikachar to explore, as he put it:
“How to respect this tradition and at the same time, to live and teach in the present situation?”

This time again sees some 16 students gathering from 8 countries, though obviously the occasion of meeting without Desikachar’s physical presence will be strange. Yet I feel it will also offer an unique opportunity to salute that which links us and to reconnect with old friends and reaffirm where we find ourselves within the Yoga world today. Such as what is the future of our past within the spirit of Viniyoga?

Uḍḍīyāna Bandha is done on holding the breath after exhalation……

“As Uḍḍīyāna Bandha is done on holding the breath after exhalation,
one of the most important requirements
is that we are able to do a long holding of the breath
without sacrificing the quality of the inhalation and exhalation.
If this is not possible we should forget about Bandha for the time being.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘The Concept, Preparation and Techniques of Bandha’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Fourteen Page 197

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Thirteen Theory

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

‘Religiousness in Yoga: Lectures on Theory and Practice’ by the University Press of America,
a transcript of recordings of a one month Yoga Programme in Colgate University in 1976, published in 1980.

Unlike the later redacted edition, re-published in 1995 as the ‘Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice’, it captures the evolution of the retreat with the days lectures and Q & A dialogues as they alternated between ‘lectures on the principles and purposes of Yoga and discussions related to the practice of Yoga with special reference to the postures and the breathing techniques’.

TKV Desikachar, in his forward to the original version wrote:

“These lectures and discussions, printed words put before persons I might never meet,
are but reflections of that deeper result that grew out of a living face-to-face encounter.
Coming to learn of Yoga only through reading leaves much to be desired.
Yet, something worthwhile about Yoga might be shared through the medium of the printed word.”

A chapter by chapter Study guide is offered below with added verse and word cross-references where possible to support a a deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

Chapter Thirteen Theory: Antaraṅga Sādhana, Saṃyama and Kaivalya Pages 179-194

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We always have the potential for the state of Samādhi but……

“We always have the potential for the state of Samādhi
but somehow something comes between us and that state.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘The Antaraṅga Sādhana, Saṃyama and Kaivalya’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Thirteen Page 181

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

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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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

Āsana is basically something linked to Prāṇāyāma……

pranayama_dhyana

“In the Yoga Sūtra,
Āsana is basically something linked to Prāṇāyāma,
since Prāṇāyāma is a very important practice there,
linked to Dhāraṇā.”
– TKV Desikachar commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 46

Sthira is the absence of Rajas.

Sthira is the absence of Rajas.”
– TKV Desikachar commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 46

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

Yoga is a process which makes me understand how my mind……

Response from TKV Desikachar on attempts being made to link Yoga to specific diseases

We have to examine many factors to see what is the origin of what is known as a symptom and according to that we have to propose for this condition some Yoga which is not just Āsana.

Yoga is a process which makes me understand how my mind is functioning and then reduces the turbulence of mind, any technique that helps this helps the person. We are reaching the human being through the mind; we are reaching the sickness through interaction at the mental level, with different tools of course.

This is why it is a challenge for Yoga.”

Extract from Interview with TKV Desikachar by Paul Harvey in 2000
on ‘Science, Medical Conditions and Yoga as a Therapy’.

We should know what NOT to teach……

“One of the important rules is that
we should know what NOT to teach.”
TKV Desikachar on Yoga as a Therapy’.

We see what we need to see.

“We see what we need to see.”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

We can use Āsana to explore the Breath and……

“We can use Āsana to explore the breath and
then use Prāṇāyāma to experience the breath.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar

Dynamic postures bring out inherent weaknesses and trends in the breath……

“Dynamic postures bring out inherent weaknesses and trends in the breath.
They can also tell you what ratios should be avoided.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar

To influence Prāṇa, we have to influence the mind……

“To influence Prāṇa,
we have to influence the mind.
This is achieved by the means of the breath.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar