Prāṇa is the élan vital……

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Prāṇa is the élan vital.
It is the mover and the sustainer of the body in all living beings.
Because of this all pervasive movement and irrepressible vitality,
it is also hard to keep reined in through the ten sensory horses.
When the personalised field of Prāṇa becomes unreined,
it transforms into Vāta and the system becomes disturbed.
The primary practice in Yoga to minimise the conversion of Prāṇa into Vāta is Prāṇāyāma.”

Bhakti Dhyānam uses Japa to build a bridge….

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Bhakti Dhyānam uses Japa to build a bridge,
over the fear bringing streams of the mind.”
– Personal Commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 28

Are we confusing the maturation of our Āsana practice with the maturation of our Yoga practice?

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Are we confusing the maturation of our Āsana practice
with the maturation of our Yoga practice?

In Jñāna Dhyānam the most difficult exercise for the mind

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In Jñāna Dhyānam the most difficult exercise for the mind
is the one of not exercising the mind.
– Commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 13

108 Postural Practice Pointers – 9 – Back Bends are Front Stretches

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Postural Practice Pointer 9 – Back bends are Pūrvatāna Āsana or Front Stretches

Prone Backbends as front stretches are wall to wall Āsana
in terms of Bhāvana, rather than floor to ceiling.
Thus in Sālamba Bhujaṅgāsana the focus is on
the sternum stretching forwards and
the big toes stretching backwards.

The role of Śavāsana within an Āsana practice was as a transitional link pose…

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Within the teachings of T Krishnamacharya, as transmitted to TKV Desikachar, the role of Śavāsana within an Āsana practice was as a transitional link pose between categories of Āsana.

For example between Standing and Lying Āsana, or Lying and Inverted Āsana, or Inverted and Prone Backbends, or Prone Backbends and Seated Āsana, or Seated Āsana and Sitting Practices.

The extent of its use and length of rest at each stage, when transiting from one category to another within our Āsana practice journey, was dependent on the facility of the practitioner and the intensity of the practice.

“Cale Vāte Calaṃ Cittam
As is the breath so is the mind.”

Within this individualised variance is the guiding principle that the role of Śavāsana is to facilitate a smooth transition for the flow of the breath and also the pulse through and beyond the Āsana practice as a marker for the practitioners state of mind.

However according to Desikachar the viniyoga of Śavāsana was seen in terms of recovery from the fatigue of the preceding aspect of the practice rather, than say recovery from the preceding aspects of ones life. Regarding the approach for the latter, amongst other things such as Vihāra, the purpose, content, duration and frequency of the Āsana practice must be carefully reconsidered.

The viniyoga of Yoga Practice & Study – Two Day Core Workshop May 19/20th 2018

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The Art of the viniyoga of Yoga Core Workshop
– Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Mantra & Sūtra Study & Practice

This Workshop is offered as a starting point for students wishing to explore the viniyoga of Yoga but finding the range of Yoga practice and study options in the cYs Programme offering too many initial choices. Thus this two day workshop draws together a number of the core practice and study strands that this approach specialises in into one composite workshop. From this hands-on experience developmental choices will become clearer.

“Our Yoga practice needs to be a conscious deepening of what we can do.
Rather than becoming an unconscious re-enforcing of what we can’t do.”

The Art of viniyoga of Yoga – Core Study & Practice Workshop is limited to a maximum of five students to allow for a personalised approach and in-depth transmission between teacher and student. It introduces the student, through a 2 day workshop, to the primary principles and teachings from T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar on the art of viniyoga or application of Yoga.

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Vinyāsa Krama is pronounced according to its meaning as……

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Vinyāsa Krama is pronounced according to its meaning as Vi-Nyāsa Krama or special placing in a sequence of steps. It is the arranging of the various postures or breathing patterns in an intelligent sequence, respecting the variables in the student and the purpose of the practice.

What might be helpful to consider is one of the ways Desikachar presented this teaching to me within our lessons in that the viniyoga of Vinyāsa Krama is comparable to the notion of climbing steps. Here intelligent application means to climb each step by bringing both feet onto the same step before taking the next one. In other words ensure we are grounded and stable before we take another step.

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It is the pleasure of practising Yoga because you want to practice……

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These days, in certain situations, when asked what I do I sometimes say I write technical manuals and that usually moves the conversation quickly onto something like the British weather.

Why don’t I mention Yoga? Am I embarrassed about my relationship with Yoga? Not at all, its more about people’s reaction when asked and saying I am a Yoga teacher, a response somewhere as if an amalgam of being a fitness trainer, dentist and priest.

Also these feelings are often wrapped up in the response that I must do that or diverted into a projection around how I am seen in terms of say flexibility because I ‘do’ Yoga.

There are even folks I have been meeting occasionally for years and each time we meet I get the ‘I must do that’. Aside from the wry amusement at observing folks slight uncomfortableness as the word Yoga appears to represent something that at some level they feel they must need in their lives as if a commodity, there is for me a more important aspect that touches me.

This is around the difference between having to do something and wanting to do something.

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108 Postural Practice Pointers – 8 – The Intelligent Leg

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Postural Practice Pointer 8 – The Intelligent Leg

“The intelligent leg is the back leg.”

Just because a person can achieve the form of the Āsana….

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“Just because a person can achieve the form of the Āsana,
we can’t presume they will also achieve the experience of the Āsana.”

Reflections on Pratikriyāsana or the role of Opposite Action Postures

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When considering the viniyoga or application of Pratikriyāsana or opposite action postures within a students personal practice, it may help to look at the integration of their intended role from three perspectives.

– Firstly their intended role as a counterposture, thus more from a physiological perspective.
– Secondly their intended role as a compensation, thus more from a psychological perspective.
– Thirdly their intended role as a transition, thus more from sequential perspective.

Appropriate integration of these three principles constitute an essential component in the Vinyāsa Krama or intelligent steps utilised within practice planning.

it is still unclear how much Yoga someone has to do to get the benefits…..

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“But it is still unclear how much Yoga someone has to do to get the benefits found and
how cost-effective it is relative to undertaking other forms of exercise or taking drugs.”
– Prof Myriam Hunink
Erasmus University medical centre in Rotterdam and Harvard school of public health in Boston

Are we in danger of the teaching of Yoga Āsana (and consequently Yoga ‘Therapy’ Teacher Training Courses) being increasingly shaped towards the health and therapeutic healthcare ‘Yoga For’ needs to meet the demands and standardisations of the medical and/or insurance health authorities in terms of:

1. Choice – Which Yoga posture works for what problem?
2. Duration – How long must I stay in a particular posture in order to have a specific effect/result?
3. Frequency – How often must I practice this posture to effect a result?
4. Timescale – Over what period of time must I practice this posture to effect a result?
5. Comparable Applications – What will be the effect of Yoga postures compared to other forms of physical exercise?
6. Relative Costs – What will be the cost of Yoga compared to other forms of exercise?
7. Treatment Budgets – What will be the cost of Yoga as a form of treatment relative to taking drugs?

Complex implications to evaluate and they leave us with more questions around what is healthy for the heart of Yoga rather than what is healthy for the heart of the person!

“We cannot say that this Āsana or this Prāṇāyāma can be given for this disease.”
– T Krishnamacharya 1984

Five Musings around Sarvāṅgāsana……

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Five questions my teacher taught me that need to be ‘posed’,
for or to any student wishing to practice Sarvāṅgāsana,
or even for and to any teacher wishing to teach Sarvāṅgāsana,
whatever the situation.

1. Who is going to practice it?
2. Why do they wish to use it?
3. When are they going to practice it?
4. How are they going to get in and out of it?
5. What do they need to have done to verify their capability?

A day without Gāyatrī is like a day without Sun.

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A day without Gāyatrī is like a day without Sun.

The wise person should cross by the boat of Mantra…..

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“Holding the body steady, with the three (upper parts, chest, neck, head) erect,
causing the senses and the mind to enter the heart,
the wise person should cross by the boat of Mantra,
all the fear bringing streams of the mind.”
– Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad Chapter 2 verse 8