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

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

Prāṇāyāma reduces Avidyā and clarity arises in the mind

jalandhara_bandha

“The Yoga Sūtra says that as we practice Prāṇāyāma,
more and more of the covering of the mind,
Avidyā, is removed and there is clarity.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 137

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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Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Nine 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 9 Practice: The Practical Aspects of Prāṇāyāma – Pages 117-131

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The best time to introduce Mantra is while holding the breath.

seated_pranayama_2

Holding the breath gives us a moment when there is nothing happening.
A moment when it should be possible to count.
In fact, the best time to introduce Mantra is not during
inhalation or exhalation but while holding the breath.
It is said that a moment of holding the breath is a moment of Dhyāna.
Some Mantra are very long.
Since we do not have to concentrate on breathing while holding the breath,
these longer Mantra can be recited correctly.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Nine Page 128-129

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

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

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Eight 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 Eight Theory:
Yama, Niyama and Āsana – The First Three Aṅga of Yoga
– Pages 107-115

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It is important that we do not start Yoga by first doing Ahiṃsā……

TKV_USA

“It is important that we do not start Yoga by first doing Ahiṃsā and when that is mastered, do Satya, etc.
As we progress, seeking to better ourselves by any means, very gradually these things happen.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eight Page 111

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Seven 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 deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

Chapter Seven: Improvisation in Āsana – Pages 91-106

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The principle is we must bring action to the area of the body we wish to improve……

ardha_utkatasanavirabharasana

“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……

supta_eka_padangusthasanasupta_eka_padangusthasana_2

“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……

uttanasana_4uttanasana_3

“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

If we are doing Āsana and the mind continues to wander……

janu sirsasana

“If we are doing Āsana and the mind continues to wander,
we are not doing the Āsana, only our bodies are doing them.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Seven Page 91

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Six 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.

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 Six Theory: Puruṣa and Prakṛti – Pages 81-90

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When there is clarity, there is silence……

Desikachar_1999_1
“When there is clarity, there is silence.
When there is intellectual clarity we are happy,
we are pleased but this might not last.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Six Page 90

There is no death for the Puruṣa because there is no change for it……

purusa

“There is no death for the Puruṣa
because there is no change for it,
and what is death but change.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
Chapter Six Page 87