The Viniyoga of Planning Principles within Āsana Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma

– Vinyāsa Krama –
Intelligent sequence building in Āsana Mudrā & Prāṇāyāma

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1. In terms of Practice Planning the Spirit of Viniyoga is achieved by two broad means:
2. General Guidelines for Practice Planning:
3. General Guidelines for Choosing Āsana:
4. General Guidelines for Setting Practice Aims or Learning Outcomes:

“The Spirit of Viniyoga is starting
from where one finds oneself.
As everybody is different and
changes from time to time, there
can be no common starting point,
and ready-made answers are useless.
The present situation must be examined
and the habitually established
status must be re-examined.”
– TKV Desikachar

1. In terms of Practice Planning the Spirit of Viniyoga
is achieved by two broad means:

1. The selection of practice material that is appropriate
to the needs and circumstances of the student.

2. The intelligent use of Vinyāsa Krama.

2. General Guidelines for Practice Planning:

1. Be clear about your purpose.

2. Hold the reflection
that practice is a means, not an end.

3. Remember ‘can’ is not the same as ‘should’.

4. Ask yourself what is most effective.

5. Plan for others as it applies to them,
not as it applies to you.

6. Consider its relationship to both
short-term and long-term goals.

7. Look to cultivate a quality of Sattva by
diminishing Tamas and channelling Rajas.

8. Keep it simple and consider how
to spend more time in fewer Āsana.

9. Make the practice shorter
than the time available.

10. Stick to the conventions of technique
unless there is a reason to change them.

3. General Guidelines for Choosing Āsana:

1. Yoga emphasises that Āsana must not be neglected,
it is a valid tool that needs a precise application, hence
respecting that there need to be guidelines when choosing.

2. Most of the Āsana are not close
to the postures of the body we use
in our daily life and its activities.

3. Āsana practice seems to mean
different things to different people.

4. These days people begin Āsana practice
at different stages of their life.

5. The body undergoes many changes
and then there are many influences on it
through oneʼs work, interests and otherwise.

6. It can be said no human body is perfect.
As such there are definitely certain
vulnerable parts and some strong aspects.

7. When the body gets used to certain things,
less awareness about them seems to happen.

8. There is also a restrictive
fight-flight-freeze response
which, in no time, can change
the physiology of the body.

9. It is not humanly possible to adapt Āsana
practice to respect all the considerations.
Hence, a safe compromise that produces
certain positive effects and limits negative
effects is the only proper alternative.

10. The principles we utilise through
the Viniyoga of Āsana practice are
a fair attempt in this direction.

4. General Guidelines for Setting Practice Aims or Learning Outcomes:

1. Be clear about the difference between
Aims and Intended Learning Outcomes.
Furthermore, distinguish between
short-term and long-term aims
and short-term and long-term
intended learning outcomes.

2. Appreciate how you can factor short
term outcomes within long-term aims,
though avoid having too many aims or
intended outcomes within one practice.
Thus, in order to be clear about the goal
and avoid trying to reach too many goals
in the same practice, it is necessary to
consider some practice technicalities in
order to bridge the gap between the
short-term outcomes and long-term aims.

3. Consequently, it is better to consider
distinguishing starting from the immediate situation,
rather than with what are long-term aims,
in order to respect where a person is coming from,
in terms of age, situation, gender, work, lifestyle, etc.
As well as including the variable of a person’s
previous training and other factors such as
time of day and the season, both inside and out.

4. Furthermore, we must also respect
the after-effect of the Āsana practice,
as well as the after-action yet to come.
Here we must respect the travel from A to Z
and that Z seems to vary much more than A.
For example, there are generally fewer
variables with practice in the morning.
Whereas, with practice in the evening we are more
subject to the day’s effects and thus more variables.

5. Consider, the Physiological, Energetic
and Psychological aspects of practice.
Perhaps exploring intended learning
outcomes across five areas that practice
can enable us to interact with, namely the
Body, Spine, Breath, Mind and Emotions.

6. If being practised regularly, consider
the impact of the accumulative effect
of Āsana and Pratikriyāsana, in any
one practice, and especially over time
on any aims and intended outcomes.
Observations here can be helped by
keeping the practice concise, consistent
and coherent in intention and execution.

7. Allow for any unexpected or
unintended learning outcomes.

8. Thus the relationship between Aims
and Intended Learning Outcomes
needs to consider the ‘What’ as
being very different from the ‘Who’.

9. Finally, whatever the Practice Aims,
or the Intended Learning Outcomes,
try to conserve the Spirit of Viniyoga.

View this Page as Individual Posts in the 108 Yoga Planning Pointers Series

Āsana Mudrā & Prāṇāyāma – Collected Practice Planning and Practice Theory Questions

– Last updated 26th August 2022