Where are we starting from?……

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“We must consider the direction of one’s Āsana Practice.
Where are we starting from?
Where are we going to?
Is this journey of Pariṇāma working with immediate needs in mind?
Is this journey of Pariṇāma working with long term needs in mind?
Is this journey of Pariṇāma trying to integrate both immediate needs and long term needs?”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

The idea is to bridge the gap that is between what exists and what is desired….

“The idea is to bridge the gap that is between what exists and what is desired.
This is what Abhyāsa refers to. This is not exactly practice.
1. We first require an appreciation of what we want to do or learn.
2. We then find out how to travel or go in that direction.
3. We then learn the techniques by which we travel.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 12

Whenever we look at an Āsana we must look at two sides……

“Whenever we look at an Āsana
we must look at two sides:
1. What is involved in the Āsana
2. Who is doing the Āsana
– TKV Desikachar 1984

We cannot escape the need for adaptation……

“We cannot escape the need for adaptation.
Adaptation is the application of certain principles,
to achieve certain results.
It implies:
– Knowing where the person is now.
– Knowing where we want them to go.
Adaptation is the means used to bridge this gap.”
– TKV Desikachar 1981

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Fourteen Practice

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 Fourteen Practice: The Concept, Preparation and Techniques of Bandha
– Pages 195-205

read more

Another simple posture for Bandha is Adho Mukha Śvanāsana……

“Another simple posture is Adho Mukha Śvan Āsana.
The next step is to try them in some sitting postures such as Mahā Mudrā.
These Bandha can also be done in the headstand.
It is easy to do Bandha in this position because the lifting,
Uḍḍīyana Bandha, and holding up, Mūla Bandha,
of Apāna to the flame is almost automatic
because now the Apāna is above the flame.
If we can do the three Bandha in these postures,
we are ready to introduce them in our Prāṇāyāma.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘The Concept, Preparation and Techniques of Bandha’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Fourteen Page 197

We must begin to do these Bandha in some simple postures……

“We must begin to do these Bandha in some
simple postures so our bodies can get used to them.
The easiest posture is to lie flat on the back.
We call this Taḍāka Mudrā when we
do Uḍḍīyana Bandha in this position.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘The Concept, Preparation and Techniques of Bandha’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Fourteen Page 197

We should anticipate a great reduction in our ability to do long breathing……

“We should anticipate a great reduction in our ability to do
long breathing and holding the breath once we introduce the Bandha.
There is quite a lot of effort involved in doing them.
If a person can do 10.10.20.10, I have found
that with Bandha the breath is reduced to 6.6.12.6,”
– TKV Desikachar ‘The Concept, Preparation and Techniques of Bandha’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Fourteen Page 200

The best Āsana for doing Bandha are inverted, lying flat, or sitting……

“The best Āsana for doing Bandha are inverted, lying flat, or sitting with the back straight.
A classic posture is Mahā Mudrā, which is in fact, Mahā Mudrā only if the Bandha are used.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘The Concept, Preparation and Techniques of Bandha’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Fourteen Page 200

The more you teach the more you must practice.

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

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

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’.

108 Personal Studies Pointers – 11 – 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

The whole process of observing others and observing oneself is entirely different……

“The whole process of observing others
and observing oneself is entirely different.
Often we confuse the two.
Ideally, when we observe others,
we should forget about ourselves.
– TKV Desikachar 1981

Yoga is a mirror of ourselves……

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“Yoga is a mirror of ourselves.
It is Darśana Vijñāna,
the science of observation,
not just doing Āsana.
In teaching Yoga this implies:
– that we may not transmit exactly the way we have been taught.
– that we may not teach what we ourselves are doing.”
– TKV Desikachar 1981

Viniyoga is an offering……

Viniyoga is an offering.
Every offering presents two aspects:
what is offered and the way it is offered.
Each of these aspects has two sides:
to give and to receive.
When there is harmony between these two sides,
the offering is perfect; it becomes viniyoga,
like the viniyoga of Prasādam in a modest temple in India.”
– TKV Desikachar 1983

We should not worry about whether or not we have a larger audience than others……

“We should not worry about whether or not we have a larger audience than others, our only concern should be people. How to reach all those people who have not found the comfort they are looking for in other ways and for whom Yoga can be so useful.

We must urgently open the door of Yoga, and if the Bhakti of Krishnamacharya is an obstacle to this opening, people will not be able to enter. If I start by saying: “This is my tradition…” some people will reply: “All right, keep it well for you”…

I think that in Krishnamacharya’s teaching, it is necessary to remove everything that can hold people back and keep everything that is likely to be most useful to them. If Krishnamacharya’s Yoga helps, so much the better, and we must resort to it. If on the contrary it is a source of difficulty or division, we must leave it aside.”
– TKV Desikachar 1999

The masters taught us to move from a deeper source……

“Another important aspect is that the masters
taught us to move from a deeper source,
not just from muscles and joints.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1984

Even if one’s Guru says a certain thing will happen……

vikalpa

“Even if one’s Guru says a certain thing will happen and it happens,
that is still Vikalpa, as it has not gone through the necessary progression.
When you take the word of the Guru for authority,
unless you put it through the process of discriminative investigation,
the mere acceptance of it, even if true, because it suits your fancy
i.e. Vikalpa, will not make it valid for you.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 19th 1988

I don’t think anybody can identify ‘Krishnamacharya’s style’……

“He has developed so much in his teaching, made so many changes,
that I don’t think anybody can identify ‘Krishnamacharya’s style’.
One person will say one thing, and a few minutes later somebody else will say,
no, no, this is what he taught me.
So fortunately it solved the problem of the ‘Krishnamacharya style’,
unless you are unwilling to see, of course.”
– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Yoga is not this or that tradition, Yoga is Yoga……

“We must ensure that we provide education that is not conflict ridden.
You have repeatedly quoted the phrase:
“That tradition…, the tradition of Krishnamacharya…”.
Others say: “Our tradition”,
but Yoga is not this or that tradition, Yoga is Yoga!”
– TKV Desikachar 1999