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

1. Why Improvise P91-92

  • Routine
  • Discovery
  • Concentration
  • Physical Needs
  • Efficiency

2. Examples of improvisation P91-98

  • Modify the Form P92-93
  • Modify the Breath P93
  • Modify the Approach P93-95
  • Using Opposite Āsana P95
  • Change the Bhāvana P95-96
  • Modification using props P96-98

3. Examples of improvisation P91-98

  • Summary of examples P98

4. Question on varying Breath in Āsana P98-101

  • Free
  • In=Ex
  • 1.0.2.0
  • A.K.
  • B.K.
  • A.K. + B.K.
  • Move on B.K.
  • Move on Exhale

5. Question on Random Improvisation P101

  • Don’t improvise for sake of improvisation

6. Question on Improvisation of Breath P101-103

  • Examples of Improvisation according to student

7. Question on Improvisation of Breath P103

  • Āsana and physical discipline or sport

8. Question on Improvisation of Breath P104

  • Prāṇāyāma and physical discipline or sport

9. Question on Improvisation of Breath P104-106

  • Āsana and stretching exercises

10. Question on Improvisation of Breath P106

  • Āsana and excessive stretching

Follow this link for a Downloadable PDF version of the Chapter Seven Study Guide

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