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

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Thirteen 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 Thirteen Theory: Antaraṅga Sādhana, Saṃyama and Kaivalya Pages 179-194

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We always have the potential for the state of Samādhi but……

“We always have the potential for the state of Samādhi
but somehow something comes between us and that state.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘The Antaraṅga Sādhana, Saṃyama and Kaivalya’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Thirteen Page 181

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.

Is desire the problem or…….

“Is desire the problem or,
not fulfilling the desire the problem?”
TKV Desikachar speaking with his senior Western students London 1998

The Saṅga must be springing from a common source if we want it to live……

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“The Saṅga must be springing from a common source if we want it to live.
It’s not a question of legal status nor physical meetings.
It is not the doing that will make the Saṅga.”
TKV Desikachar speaking with his senior Western students London 1998

You do your group of Āsana linked like words in a sentence………


“Another important thing that he has understood is
that these Āsana should not be taken one by one,
they have to be taken as a group and as a composition.
This means you don’t do headstand on Monday,
shoulder stand on Tuesday,
you do your group of Āsana linked like words in a sentence.”
– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Before studying Prāṇāyāma one must understand something about the breath.

seated_pranayama_2

“Before studying Prāṇāyāma one must understand something about the breath.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

My understanding of Prāṇāyāma is that the Kumbhaka should be an aid……

kumbhaka

“My understanding of Prāṇāyāma is that the Kumbhaka should be an aid.
The aim is to get a feeling difficult to put into words, but different from normal states.
The question is how much does Kumbhaka play a part in this?
So Investigate the use of Kumbhaka and only use it when it helps you be with the breath.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

Often Dhyāna fails because one is not able to reach the first stage……

“Often Dhyāna fails because one is not able to reach the first stage,
the Pūrva Aṅga.
Often one wants to go to the second stage
without going through the first one,
and that is not possible.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 19th 1988

What is the most important aspect of Pūrva Aṅga?

Question:
What is the most important aspect of Pūrva Aṅga?
Response:
Pūrva Aṅga is essentially a process of elimination
in which we eliminate those thoughts that are not relevant.
In fact Yoga is the process of eliminating the undesirable
so we can be linked with the desirable.
It is the movement from Saṃyoga to Viyoga,
from Saguṇa to Nirguṇa.
But we must be careful how we define desirable or undesirable.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 19th 1988

This is what Patañjali says in that everything must be given step by step…..

viniyoga

“This is what Patañjali says in that everything must be given step by step.
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 6 reflects this idea.”
– TKV Desikachar France August 1983

Do not make a style or fashion out of Kumbhaka……

kumbhaka

“Do not make a style or fashion out of Kumbhaka.
Only use it if it helps you feel the breath and
what is happening inside the body.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

If I had a student I would give more respect to the exhalation……

Of the Four Aspects of the Breath which is more important

“If I had a student I would give more respect to the exhalation.
The course would be based on the observation of the exhalation in Prāṇāyāma and Āsana.
This would give the type of Prāṇāyāma and for which Āsana.
One should see what is the response of the exhalation in the posture or when sitting.
When fixing Prāṇāyāma, even if you are reducing the length of the exhalation,
if any problem then the cycle should be completely changed.
One must give respect to the exhalation.
One can get an idea by the position of the stomach.
One should keep 2/3″ in hand on inhalation and exhalation.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

We are welcome to use Kumbhaka…..

“We are welcome to use Kumbhaka,
but if it in any way affects the quality of the inhale or exhale
and our own relation with this flow, then there is no meaning.
The tragedy of Kumbhaka is that we can use force,
as in Āsana, to achieve our aim.
But why and at what price?”
– TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

One should inquire onto one’s habits……

“One should inquire onto one’s habits.
Good or bad.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

The process of Cikitsā has two parts…..

cikitsa

“The process of Cikitsā has two parts:
1. Rakṣaṇa Krama
I am healthy and don’t want to be sick.
By not doing anything there will be no Rakṣaṇam.
For example:
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 16
heyaṃ duḥkham anāgatam
I’m alright now,
but I must be careful so I don’t get sick tomorrow.
This is Rakṣaṇa Krama.”
TKV Desikachar France 1983

Some people say they practice Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Meditation….

“Some people say they practice Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Meditation.
Among these things which is close to Sādhana and which is not close to Sādhana?”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

There are certain things we do in Yoga which seem to aid Dhyāna

dhyana

“There are certain things we do in Yoga which seem to aid Dhyāna
because they remove something which is blocking it.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘The Antaraṅga Sādhana, Saṃyama and Kaivalya’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Thirteen Page 186

Question to TKV Desikachar on Yama and Niyama:

TKV_France_1999

Question to TKV Desikachar on Yama and Niyama:

“The idea behind Yama and Niyama is the attitude we have to the inside and outside.
If I don’t know what is true there is no question of telling the truth.
However there is the intention, because one day it may become a reality.
Even though some of these things are not there in the beginning, if the intention is sincere then one day it will become an action if conditions and our psychological state change.
Yama as telling the truth also means discretion.”
TKV Desikachar France 1983

The force called Śakti or Kuṇḍalinī is indeed Prāṇa……

prana

“Then he has certain ideas also about Kuṇḍalinī.
The force is Prāṇa,
the force called Śakti or Kuṇḍalinī is indeed Prāṇa.
The only means that can have any effect is the use of Prāṇāyāma,
with emphasis on exhalation and the Bandha,
aided by devotional chantings.
And the evolution of Kuṇḍalinī is very much linked to the person’s state of mind and Vairāgya.”
TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Exhalation is the most important part of the breath……


Exhalation is the most important part of the breath,
it encourages the inhalation.
By increasing the exhalation we bring attention to the lower abdomen.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

The breath makes Āsana part of Yoga.

“The breath makes Āsana part of Yoga.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

The focus during Āsana should be on…….

“The focus should be on
the contraction of the abdomen or
the expansion of the chest during Āsana.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992