“Prāṇa is that which helps us handle things.
It is not something we can handle.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar
Yoga Cikitsā is about
treating a person in a problem.
treating a problem in a person.
“I wonder if Modern Postural Yoga is confusing,
experiencing a supple body,
with experiencing a subtle body?”
“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
At times getting to the practice mat
is more about exercising Mind over Matter.
In other words getting there because of the Mind.
At other times getting to the practice mat
is more about exercising Matter over Mind.
In other words getting there in spite of the Mind.
Compare Paścimatānāsana, Januśīrṣāsana, Upaviṣṭa Koṇāsana and Baddha Koṇāsana
With regard to:
1. Differences between them in terms of stress on the knees.
2. Differences between them in terms of stress on the lower back.
3. Differences between them in terms of effect on high blood pressure.
4. Differences between them as a preparation for runners.
5. Differences between them as a counterpose for runners.
6. Differences between them for a person with sciatica.
When less Āsana time than you would like,
better to reduce the number of Āsana,
or the number of repetitions,
or the length of the stays,
rather than, reducing the length of the breath.
Or….. even considering lengthening the breath,
thus even fewer Āsana, all with a longer breath than usual.
Here the Bhāvana could be to observe the effect
of a more spacious than usual Āsana breathing
on a more cramped than usual daily mindset.
Postural Practice Pointer 15 – Forward bending and Prāṇa to Apāna Breathing
When moving away from the lower limbs during forward bend Āsana,
move firstly by as if arching from the arms and upper back,
before ultimately arching from the lower back.
In terms of a Bhāvana during the movement,
the focus is on inhaling from Prāṇa Sthāna towards Apāna Sthāna.
Thus breathing as if from the upper chest towards the lower abdomen.
Postural Practice Pointer 14 – Forward bending and Apāna to Prāṇa Breathing
When bending towards the lower limbs during forward bend Āsana,
move firstly by as if rounding from the lower back,
before ultimately rounding from the upper back.
In terms of a Bhāvana during the movement,
the focus is on exhaling from Apāna Sthāna towards Prāṇa Sthāna.
Thus breathing as if from the lower abdomen towards the upper chest.
It appears that one can often talk about the effects of Yoga Āsana on the spine in Yoga, yet the reality is more based on the effects of Yoga Āsana on the external aspects of the structural form. It has also been an observation over some four decades of teaching Yoga that the two can get confused in terms of assessing developmental progress within the practice of Yoga Āsana.
Furthermore it appears that it is possible to work the body into ‘advanced’ Yoga Āsana yet observe that the spine is not deeply influenced, for example with the hips and shoulders or lax joint ligaments facilitating the impression of the form. Hence the application of Yoga from this perspective is to start with the spine as the primary priority with the limbs the secondary priority.
Thus the principles of modification of Yoga Āsana are from the perspective of allowing adjustments to the limbs in order to facilitate a deeper more profound impact on the spine.
“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
“Yoga is the least systematic of exercises.
If one practices postures without addressing needs,
no routine is established,
because needs change from day to day.
One should act on the present and the future
and not worry too much about the past.”
– From interviews with T Krishnamacharya by Sarah Dars,
published in Viniyoga Review no 24, December 1989
We can approach these three concepts and the question of their relationship with practice from a chronological and within that, a psychological viewpoint. According to the Yoga teachings from T Krishnamacharya there are three chronological and accompanying psychological stages of life, or Tri Krama.
1. The first Krama is the stage of growth and expansion known as Sṛṣṭi Krama. Here, chronologically, the starting point is the age from which people traditionally began the Āsana aspect of Yoga practice.
Compare Dvipāda Pīṭham and Śalabhāsana in relation to their potential within the following situations:
1. In strengthening the leg muscles.
2. Potential stress on the sacroiliac joint.
3. Influencing the circulation.
4. Potential risk on the knees.
5. As a preparation for Dhanurāsana.
6. In helping with flat feet.
7. In improving the inhalation.
8. In decreasing lower back pain.
Postural Practice Pointer 13 – The Lakṣana of Parśva Trikoṇāsana
The Lakṣana of Parśva Trikoṇāsana, or side triangle pose,
is as a movement OF the spine to the side over one leg,
rather than as a bending or arcing IN the spine towards the side.
Thus the aim is for the spine to stay straight relative to the leg,
with the intention of extending it from crown to coccyx.
Our Yoga practice needs to evolve,
amongst other longer term unfoldings,
towards a live-in personalised relationship,
rather than just a go-out group class affair.
Postural Practice Pointer 12 – The Viniyoga of Daṇḍāsana
“The starting point determines the journey.”
- Legs are together unless some anatomical reason why this is not possible
- The sides of the feet are maintained together, stretch the back of the heels
- A key point here is having active hips, releasing the knees can activate the hips
- Someone who is stiff in spine and legs will certainly need to release the knees
- Release the knees as much as is required to extend the spine towards vertical
- Someone who is flexible may also need to release the knees so as to activate hips
- The mortar (hips/pelvis) must be strong for the pestle (spine) to work strongly
- Shoulder blades are back, feel the channel between the shoulder blades
- Back of the neck drawn up to help lift chest up
- Hands or fingers on the ground back by hips but not weight bearing
ISRAELI YOGA TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION
Tuesday January 9th 2018
Sound Health Workshop on
A Half Day of Yoga Chanting with Paul Harvey,
student of TKV Desikachar
A half day open to all Yoga students and teachers interested in Sound and Chanting,
irrespective of experience and ability.
We will explore Yoga Chanting focussed on the application of Sound
within Practice, with discussion and question time.
The emphasis will be the application of Yoga chanting in practice and
the role of sound as a tool for health, well being and awareness.
“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.