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 should never forget what Patañjali has said……

viniyoga

Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 6 – “tasya bhūmiṣu viniyogaḥ”.
“We should never forget what Patañjali has said –
Teach according to the strength, resources and weakness of the individual”.
TKV Desikachar

Yoga regards the mind principally, this is absolutely universal…….

“I unintentionally mixed the Vedic tradition,
teaching about God’s pre-eminence,
with Yoga, whose goal and intention are different.
Yoga regards the mind principally, this is absolutely universal.

In the Yoga system, Īśvara, the principle of perfection,
is nothing but a means to attain mental clarity,
and still, it is a means among others!

read more

One must be clear when one speaks about Yoga…..

Patanjali Yoga Sutra

“Therefore one must be clear when one speaks about Yoga:
as far as we are concerned, we refer mainly to Patañjali’s Yoga.
Otherwise, quoting various texts,
one can justify almost anything in the name of Yoga.
Patañjali’s Yoga is obviously the most open, universal
and the most clearly distinct from Vedānta, which is a school in itself.”
Extract from an interview with TKV Desikachar on Vedic Chanting

A Bhāvana doesn’t depend on the reality of what I fix upon……

bhavana

“A Bhāvana doesn’t depend on the reality of what I fix upon.
I can direct my Bhāvana to a real sensation,
such as the contact between my feet and the ground, for instance.
But I could easily imagine myself in good health,
when in reality I am ill.”
– ‘Concerning the Cakra’ by TKV Desikachar

Bhāvana means that I create for myself a place, an idea, an image……

bhavana

Bhāvana means that I create for myself a place,
an idea, an image, a vision
and I direct my attention towards it.”
– ‘Concerning the Cakra’ by TKV Desikachar

Whilst Prāṇa circulates in us, we live, and when it goes, we die.

prana

“Each time we wish to understand a system whatever it is, we need a structure. What applies to modern science already applied to the ancient yogic sages when they were concerning themselves with the human system.

The method of the ancients was to reflect, to meditate and to attempt to find clear replies to their questions. They tried to give a form to what they wanted to understand, corresponding to what they already understood. In this way of proceeding, they did not differ from the sages of the ancient medical science of Āyurveda who also tried to understand the human organism in a particular way, nor from the doctor philosophers of ancient China.

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Your mind is a product of your food, memory is linked to food……

smrti

“Your mind is a product of your food, memory is linked to food.
My stability, my confidence is linked to food.
All these facts are mentioned in the texts.
For these reasons I said that food is very important and becomes me.
Not just the muscles, but the whole me, the whole personality.”
TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

The best word for health is the Saṃskṛta word Svastha.

The best word for health is the Saṃskṛta word Svastha.

Question to TKV Desikachar:
Sir, could you please tell us what is meant by health? How do you understand a healthy person?

TKV Desikachar Response:
The best word that comes to my mind for health is the Saṃskṛta word Svastha. Sva plus Stha is Svastha. Sva indicates myself and Stha means to remain.

For me health is that state of being where I can manage myself. This is indicated by the word Svastha. A-svastha is that state where I am not able to manage by myself.

TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

What is the relationship between Yoga and Āyurveda?

patanjali-1

Question to TKV Desikachar:
What is the relationship between Yoga and Āyurveda?

TKV Desikachar Response:
First of all, we believe that the same master gave us Āyurveda and Yoga: Patañjali. We worship Patañjali remembering him as the person who gave us Āyurveda for the body and Yoga for the mind.

Body and mind are so interlinked that you cannot really separate them. Since Āyurveda is a complete system, they talk also about Yoga. Yoga is defined in Āyurveda. And the language of Yoga is such that a person cannot understand the Yoga texts without understanding the concepts of Āyurveda.

At least in theory, these sciences go very well together. However, in India, the treatment given to Yoga in the Āyurveda University is very scarce, it is not even worth mentioning. So, in reality, Āyurveda people are not familiar with Yoga as much as they should be. The only exception was my father. He knew both, that is why he was able to mix both systems, according to the need.

“What Patañjali gave for the mind through Yoga,
he gave for the body through Āyurveda.”

What I would say is, what Patañjali gave for the mind through Yoga, he gave for the body through Āyurveda.

Extract from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

A text like the Yoga Sūtra is something so very special……

atha yoganusasanam web

“A text like the Yoga Sūtra is something so very special,
it becomes a life-companion.
It is so deep, if taken seriously,
but it can also be very shallow
if the depth of the study is not there
and if there is no application.”
TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal
Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

What is the relationship between diet and health?

annam

Question to TKV Desikachar:
What is the relationship between diet and health?

TKV Desikachar Response:
It is a big subject. Our system has to be nourished. Food or Annam is needed. There is the Annamaya, we have a body which has to be nourished. The food we need and eat is Annam.

“Annam is that which will nourish you or that which will eat you.”

This Annam is a very interesting Saṃskṛta word. Annam is that which will nourish you or that which will eat you. The Annam or food must nourish me, it should not consume me. For this reason there is given so much importance to Annam that nourishes and Annam that will consume.
TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

I told this person that I had learnt 380 postures in six months……

“I told this person that I had learnt something like 380 postures in six months,
my daughter could do the same thing in three months,
but this was when I did not know Yoga.
It has taken me years to know how to behave with somebody,
and that is probably more Yoga.”
TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

How is Āyurveda linked to Cikitsā or the therapeutic application of Yoga?

Question to TKV Desikachar:
“How is Āyurveda linked to Cikitsā or the therapeutic application of Yoga?”

TKV Desikachar Response:
“There is a lot of difference. As far as Yoga is concerned, we are concerned with the personality of the person, the mental aspect and the higher aspirations of the student.

That is why Yoga has a lot to offer. For the body Āyurveda is the solution. A good combination would be Āyurveda and Yoga.

My father used to do that. He would teach Āsana practice, or Prāṇāyāma or meditation and he would talk about diet and he would also give some Āyurveda medicine.

He was treating not only the body but the whole person with the help of this great combination.”

Extract from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

The word Mantra means something that we will ponder……

mantra

The word Mantra means something
that we will ponder,
that we will reflect upon.
That is, you go to a teacher,
they say something and
I go back home and reflect upon that.

That is the essential feature of Mantra,
to reflect upon again and again.
The purpose of Mantra is to
help us cross a harbour, an obstacle.
That is why the definition of Mantra is:

 मननात् त्रायते इति मन्त्रः॥
mananāt trāyate iti mantraḥ ||
“Who reflects on this,
will cross the obstacle”.

Extract from an interview with TKV Desikachar on Vedic Chanting

There is something mysterious about Vedic chanting……

Desikachar and Paul Chanting in 1999
“There is something mysterious about Vedic Chanting.
It is so simple that even people who don’t know music at all can practice it.
Many people who have never sung in their life are interested in it.”
Extract from an interview with TKV Desikachar on Vedic Chanting

Kuṇḍalinī represents that which blocks access to the central energetic channel…..

“The great yogin Yājñavalkhya said that the constant and intensive
practice of Prāṇāyāma brought Prāṇa and Agni together,
and gradually the obstacle at the base of the Suṣumṇā would be totally dissolved.
He gave this block the name ‘Kuṇḍali’ meaning coiled
or ‘Kuṇḍalinī’ meaning ‘rolled up’ in other texts.
Kuṇḍalinī represents that which blocks access to the central energetic channel.
When this obstacle is eliminated, Prāṇa penetrates
and begins to rise in the central channel.
This is the most precise description we have of the process.
This is also the most clear and coherent.”
– ‘Concerning the Cakra’ by TKV Desikachar

It is clear that no examination of the body will reveal Cakra.

2visuddhi

“It is clear that no examination of the body will reveal Cakra. The ancients knew this well and my father often repeated it. The system of Cakra is a subtle vision of the Yogi, in accordance with his own personal experience. For this reason there are different descriptions.

If we want to concern ourselves with the Cakra, we must accept them and recognise them in this way. This is why it is a a waste of time to argue about it, as people tend to do these days. Why does it matter if this or that Cakra is one or two centimetres higher or lower, if it is vertical or horizontal, blue or green.

On the contrary, it is a question of showing that we are concerned with particular inner images and to avoid this ridiculous situation of having useless arguments.”

– ‘Concerning the Cakra’ by TKV Desikachar

But we need to know how to help the person……

we need to know how to help the person

Question from Paul Harvey

So to conclude from what you are saying, because somebody comes in with a particular problem and Yoga helps that person with a problem we cannot turn it around and say therefore that Yoga helps that problem in all situations.

 Response from TKV Desikachar

We help the person, because we help the person certain illnesses are reduced
but we need to know how to help the person.

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