There is an image in the world today that the Guru has a following……

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“There is an image in the world today that the Guru has a following
and his students follow him like the Pied Piper.
This is not good. The true Guru shows you the way.
You go your way and then you’re on your own,
because you know your place and you are grateful.
I can always thank my Guru naturally and enjoy the relationship,
but I do not have to follow him around, because then I am not in my own place.
Following the Guru’s destination is another way of losing yourself.
The Yoga concept of Svadharma means ‘your own Dharma‘ or ‘your own way’.
If you try to do somebody else’s Dharma, trouble happens.
The Guru helps you find your own Dharma.”
– TKV Desikachar

How we look at something depends on what is within us.

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“How we look at something depends on what is within us.”
– Notes from my studies of the Dhyānamālika
with TKV Desikachar in Chennai December 2000

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.

Progress must be seen as the distance from the starting point……

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‎”Progress must be seen as the distance from the starting point,
rather than the more usual reference of the distance from the finishing point.”
TKV Desikachar England 1976

The teacher decides which of the Tri Krama is the……

“The teacher decides which of the Tri Krama (three steps) is the best for the student:
Śikṣaṇa Krama requires a perfect knowing to transmit a strict practice,
without any compromise, as it should be in Vedic chanting for example.
Rakṣaṇa Krama is aimed at protection and preservation;
it promotes continuity in any levels like health, abilities, knowledge, etc.
Cikitsā Krama looks for adaptation, healing, recovering…”
TKV Desikachar speaking with his senior Western students London 1998

Yoga has been adapted to life in the modern day.

  • Yoga has been adapted to life in the modern day.
  • Any posture far removed from the normal posture is a problem and therefore risky if there is any problem with the body.
  • Inverted postures present problems because of the tension that people carry in their necks.
  • Postures that create tension should be avoided.
  • Moving into the posture after the exhale is an adaptation.
  • Krishnamacharya designed aids to help people achieve postures.
  • Slow movement has a different action on the muscles, it is harder work.
  • The role of Āsana, its purpose and goal must be respected.
  • Opposite postures are a handicap but can help us to appreciate something different in a posture.
  • We must feel ourselves and what is happening in a posture.

From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Śikṣaṇa Krama – do something perfectly or correctly……

asana_12

Śikṣaṇa Krama – do something perfectly or correctly.
Anything is taught to achieve perfection in the practice of Āsana and Prāṇāyāma.
In other words teaching children and healthy people where you can take risks with no problems.
Not a valid approach for groups.
We need to use intelligence and Viveka,
not follow the idea of no pain, no gain to become painless,
or to get to a point without suffering.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

It is beyond our conscious effort to move the Prāṇa.

“It is beyond our conscious effort to move the Prāṇa.
What is within our conscious effort is the breath,
so we use the breath to make this movement possible.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 142

Nobody can control the Prāṇa…..

“Nobody can control the Prāṇa,
it has its own movement.
We create a condition in which the Prāṇa returns.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 141

It is a mistaken concept that certain Āsana are only postures for meditation.

“It is a mistaken concept that certain Āsana are only postures for meditation.
If we look at the commentary of Vyāsa, we see that the postures
he elucidates are so complicated that we can’t be in Dhyāna.
We can feel these different postures and we can’t stay in them.
Two of these are Uṣṭrāsana and Krauñcāsana,
These are very difficult postures in which to remain.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 133

Meditation can’t be taught, but can be learnt.

dhyanam

“Meditation can’t be taught, but can be learnt.”
– TKV Desikachar

The practice of Prāṇāyāma is to confine more and more Prāṇa within our bodies.

jalandhara_bandha

“What we are trying to do in the  practice of Prāṇāyāma
is to confine more and more Prāṇa within our bodies.
When Prāṇa is not able to enter our bodies,
it is because something is there that should not be.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 136

The effect upon Prāṇa will not be as much as in Prāṇāyāma

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“However, in Āsana attention is divided between the breath and the body movement.
In Āsana we use the breath as the medium of movement to affect the body.
Since our attention is divided between body and breath,
the effect upon Prāṇa will not be as much as in Prāṇāyāma.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 138

Prāṇa is simply the expression of Puruṣa……

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

Prāṇa is simply the expression of Puruṣa in all parts of the body and beyond.
This Prāṇa has an intimate relationship to the mind
because the Puruṣa sees only through the mind.
Thus Prāṇa, mind and breath are interrelated.
Whatever happens in the mind influences the breath.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 135

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Mental attitude is very important in the practice of Prāṇāyāma.

seated_pranayama_2

“Mental attitude is very important in the practice of Prāṇāyāma.
In Prāṇāyāma we have no body movement to see; it involves mostly what we feel.
The only thing dynamic in Prāṇāyāma is the breath.
Yet, we must have the same attitude of attention in Prāṇāyāma, as in Āsana.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Nine Page 125

We normally practice Ujjāyī for a long time before introducing Nāḍī Śodhana Prāṇāyāma.

seated_pranayama_2

“We normally practice Ujjāyī for a long time before introducing Nāḍī Śodhana Prāṇāyāma”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Nine Page 121

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In Prāṇāyāma we accept the posture and forget the body……

seated_pranayama_2

“While we use the breath for the body in Āsana,
in Prāṇāyāma we accept the posture and forget the body.
The only requirement is that we must be comfortable and keep our backs straight.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Nine Page 117

One should consider and understand the relevance of the breath……

Āsana_2_FB

“The breath is related to the intellect, chest, respiratory system, digestive system, etc.
So one should consider and understand the relevance of the breath to these areas.
Also how these areas are in students before we start applying specific principles of breathing,
otherwise it could aggravate the area and any inherent problem.”
– TKV Desikachar from my 121 lessons 1981

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The Heart of Yoga is Developing a Personal Practice.

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“The Heart of Yoga:
Developing a Personal Practice.”
– TKV Desikachar

Yoga is a search into the self……

Desikachar_France_1999

“Yoga is a search into the self.
It is the means and the goal.
It approaches the question by saying what is not self.”
– TKV Desikachar

However the body is only part of the problem……

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“However the body is only part of the problem,
you have to do something at a deeper level.
This comes back to the mind.”
– TKV Desikachar

When I do something is it because I want to do it or……

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

“When I do something is it because I want to do it,
or am I being led to do it by the mind?”
– TKV Desikachar

It is not the request but where it is coming from.

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“It is not the request but where it is coming from.”
– TKV Desikachar

Mind should follow the breath……

recapūraka kumbheṣu mano’nusaraṇaṃ smṛtam |
recapūraka kumbhākhyāḥ sarve prāṇavidhārakāḥ ||

Mind should follow the breath.
Exhale, Inhale and Retention support life.
So during Āsana it is desirable that the mind must follow them.”
– TKV Desikachar commentary on T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
the Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 34

Yoga is the pursuit of the unpursuable.

“Yoga is the pursuit of the unpursuable.”
– TKV Desikachar

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