Primary Prāṇāyāma Techniques as taught by Krishnamacharya and Desikachar

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1. Primary Prāṇāyāma Techniques

Anuloma Ujjāyī
– Inhale or Pūraka both Nostrils with Ujjāyī Throat Control
– Alternate Nostril Exhale (Starting with Left)

Viloma Ujjāyī
– Alternate Nostril Inhale (Starting with Left)
– Exhale or Recaka both Nostrils with Ujjāyī Throat Control

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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

Amongst the Antarāya that relegate Prāṇāyāma to the wish list……

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Amongst the Antarāya that
relegate Prāṇāyāma to the wish list
is the choice of a long relaxation as
a substitute ending to Āsana practice.

Āsana is the interface between the body……

Āsana is an interface between the body
and the systemic energy processes.
Prāṇāyāma is an interface between the
systemic energy processes and the psyche.
Dhyāna is an interface between the psyche and
the awareness that pervades our sense of being.

108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers – 6 – Bhāvana for the Breath in Nāḍī Śodhana.

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Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointer 6 – Bhāvana for the Breath in Nāḍī Śodhana

One aspect in the refinement of Nāḍī Śodhana is
the experience of the breath as a subtle vibration
rather than an audible sound.

Link to Posts Series: 108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers

Propose a Prāṇāyāma practice to increase the length……

Propose a Prāṇāyāma practice to increase the length
and stamina of the inhalation within Viloma Ujjāyī.

To Download or View this question as a PDF Study Sheet

Āsana is basically something linked to Prāṇāyāma……

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“In the Yoga Sūtra,
Āsana is basically something linked to Prāṇāyāma,
since Prāṇāyāma is a very important practice there,
linked to Dhāraṇā.”
– TKV Desikachar commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 46

Yoga is a process which makes me understand how my mind……

Response from TKV Desikachar on attempts being made to link Yoga to specific diseases

We have to examine many factors to see what is the origin of what is known as a symptom and according to that we have to propose for this condition some Yoga which is not just Āsana.

Yoga is a process which makes me understand how my mind is functioning and then reduces the turbulence of mind, any technique that helps this helps the person. We are reaching the human being through the mind; we are reaching the sickness through interaction at the mental level, with different tools of course.

This is why it is a challenge for Yoga.”

Extract from Interview with TKV Desikachar by Paul Harvey in 2000
on ‘Science, Medical Conditions and Yoga as a Therapy’.

We can use Āsana to explore the Breath and……

“We can use Āsana to explore the breath and
then use Prāṇāyāma to experience the breath.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar

Dynamic postures bring out inherent weaknesses and trends in the breath……

“Dynamic postures bring out inherent weaknesses and trends in the breath.
They can also tell you what ratios should be avoided.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar

To influence Prāṇa, we have to influence the mind……

“To influence Prāṇa,
we have to influence the mind.
This is achieved by the means of the breath.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar

Prāṇa is that which helps us handle things……

Prāṇa is that which helps us handle things.
It is not something we can handle.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar

In Āsana the Breath is an accessory to the Āsana……

In Āsana, the Breath is an accessory to the Āsana.
In Prāṇāyāma, the Āsana is an accessory to the Breath.

Propose a 50′ practice to experience the link between Mudrā & Prāṇāyāma.

Propose a 50′ practice to experience the link between Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma.

To Download or View this question as a PDF Study Sheet

Yoga is a mirror of ourselves……

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“Yoga is a mirror of ourselves.
It is Darśana Vijñāna,
the science of observation,
not just doing Āsana.
In teaching Yoga this implies:
– that we may not transmit exactly the way we have been taught.
– that we may not teach what we ourselves are doing.”
– TKV Desikachar 1981

What are the concepts of Sṛṣṭi Krama, Sthiti Krama and Anta Krama?

 

What are the concepts of Sṛṣṭi Krama, Sthiti Krama and Antya Krama and what is their significance in relationship to the practice of Āsana, Prāṇāyāma and Dhyānam?

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.

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108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers – 5 – Bhāvana for the Breath in Kumbhaka

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Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointer 5 – Bhāvana for the Breath in Kumbhaka

Explore the Antar Kumbhaka with a soft holding.
Explore the Bāhya Kumbhaka with a firm surrender.

Link to Posts Series: 108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers

Our Yoga practice needs to evolve….

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.

Āsana practice as a prerequisite to exploring how to integrate Prāṇāyāma……


I was taught by Desikachar that we need to at least have some sort of working relationship with an Āsana practice as a prerequisite to exploring how to integrate Prāṇāyāma into our practice Sādhana.

Also in the approach of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar to Yoga practice this idea is even more relevant as important information, that guides our initial and subsequent steps into Prāṇāyāma, is gleaned from certain factors only apparent from observation of how our respiratory system performs during Āsana practice.

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Before studying Prāṇāyāma one must understand something about the breath.

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“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

Without Āsana, Prāṇāyāma cannot become accomplished……

“Without Āsana,
Prāṇāyāma cannot become accomplished.
Without containing Prāna,
the mind cannot achieve steadiness.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
The Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 45

When the body is disordered………….

“When the body is disordered,
make use of the body to reduce.
When thought is agitated,
make use of Prāṇāyāma to reduce.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
The Yoga Rahasya Chapter Four verse 31

Uḍḍīyāna Bandha is a pre-requisite for the other two Bandha…….

Uḍḍīyāna Bandha is a pre-requisite for the other two Bandha, Jālandhara and Mūla.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition, The Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 67

Āsana is not just another form of exercise……


In exploring the principles that underpin the practice of Āsana the first idea to consider is that our practice is not just another form of exercise. Yoga Āsana are more than just physical postures or exercises to stretch and tone the body, or enhance our sense of personalised well-being. From within its Haṭha roots the concern of Yoga is our relationship with the force which is behind our movements and its source that initiates our every action.

Further the different practice elements that constitute a mature Yoga practice are not separate compartments. They are linked through the principles underpinning them. For example a respiratory competence learnt through the practice of Āsana facilitates progress within the seated practice of Prāṇāyāma. An enduring stable posture learnt through the practice of Prāṇāyāma supports the cultivation the meditative attitude inherent in progress towards Dhyāna or meditation.

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If you are not in a hurry you will enjoy the process.

“If you are not in a hurry
you will enjoy the process.”
– TKV Desikachar