“Because of the different uses of breathing,
he strongly believes that the beginning of Prāṇāyāma is in Āsana.
Āsana, and Āsana alone,
with proper breathing techniques,
leads you to the idea of Prāṇāyāma.”
“The person who taught me how to vary postures, to bend the legs, to turn the neck, all the simple and complicated variations, as necessary, is Krishnamacharya. It is important to vary each posture according to the individuals requirements.
Further, he also introduced the use of other aids or supports, so that the person gets the benefit of a posture through other means when he is not able to do the posture itself. This can involve sitting on a chair, using a roll, using supports, etc., the use of other means to help a person achieve certain results.”
“It is said that some day, everyone will get a back pain. There are so many reasons for it. On conducting a study on back pain, we found that there are three categories of people with back pain.
– There are people with back pain, who, after doing Yoga find that the pain has disappeared.
– The second category are those who are able to avoid back pain as long as they follow a life of discipline. But the moment they stop it starts again.
– And to the third category belong people who are not relieved of pain in spite of discipline. We have to go beyond the spine. There is a very large part for emotions here. One has to go into the emotions of the individual.”
– The Yoga of Healing – TKV Desikachar
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.
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
“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 France 1984
“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 Suṣumnā 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
“Some standing postures develop the legs, such as Ardha Utkaṭāsana (half squat).
This posture is like weight lifting.
Other postures like Vīrabhadrāsana (standing,
bending backward with one knee bent) will also help.
The principle is we must bring action to the area of the body we wish to improve.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Seven Page 106-7
“We can only begin to improvise after we begin to understand the various postures.
We do not suggest improvisation for the sake of improvisation.
We do it when we need help to develop or to sustain attention,
or as an aid to a particular physical need”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Seven Page 101
“Thus we use improvisation to bring something new and useful into the practice of Āsana.
Therefore, if one of you is asked to do an Āsana with the legs straight and another to do that same Āsana with the legs bent, please don’t think you are winning or losing a contest.
Since this is not dance, form is not important.
What is important when doing an Āsana is the experience that happens at the moment.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Seven Page 98
“There are those people who change as a result of practice and those who never change in spite of practice.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Six Page 88-89
“Some people who practice Yoga develop such a good physical condition that this becomes their only concern.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Five Page 77
“Please don’t have the idea that programs are fixed, that is, on Monday we do the headstand, on Tuesday we do the shoulderstand, etc. Programs are planned taking into consideration our free time, capabilities, and desires. We must always plan our practice as a unit, whether it is small or large. This means we start and finish in one session, at one particular time.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Four Page 68
“When we teach the headstand, we first teach preparation, then we teach the counterpose Sarvāṅgāsana which in itself is a major pose that demands its own counterpose Bhujaṅgāsana. It is all very systematic.
Planning means to go gradually, to prepare, and then to compensate.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Four Pages 53-54
“Yoga, unlike dance or mime,
is not an expression of form for others to watch.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Four Page 46
“The more we expose ourselves to practice,
the more we will understand how we can observe ourselves
and how to discover our starting point.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Four Page 48
“I had one student who could do all the Āsana and was shocked to discover that she was unable to stay in Mahā Mudrā for eight breaths! She was so flexible that she took her body for granted.
Mahā Mudrā requires more than suppleness of the body.
We must be able to stay and breathe in this posture.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Four Page 45
“I think, that all those who want to practise Vedic chanting must be able to do so,
provided there is no confusion with Patañjali’s Yoga.”
– Extract from an interview with TKV Desikachar on Vedic Chanting
“In a group class, if a teacher is unable to follow the unique conditions of each student, it would be unfortunate, since not only we would not understand Yoga, we might also be discouraged.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Two Page 15
“What appears as Yoga to an outsider is mainly the physical aspects of our practice.
They will not be aware of how we breathe, how we feel the breath,
and how we co-ordinate breathing with physical movement.
They tend to be interested only in our flexibility and suppleness.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Two Page 13
“Just because one person can bend more than another
does not prove or disprove that the former is better in the practice of Yoga.
Such comparisons cannot be the basis of happiness based upon superiority,
or the opposite, unhappiness over inferiority.
Often this unhappiness is so severe that it makes us quit our pursuits.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter One Page 7
Āsana offers a purpose more than just physical.
Āsana offers a link of the mind to the physical.
Āsana introduces the concept of Dhyāna as a practice.
Āsana seeks to minimise the Saṃskāra or habitual patterns which dull the mind.
In doing so it seeks to increase our sensitivity to ourselves,
what is around us and its corresponding influences,
and to what sustains us.
– Extract from my personal notes taken during 121 lessons with TKV Desikachar on the ‘Principles of Practice’ in Madras during April 1980.