Know your breath and its unique characteristics in Āsana and you will……


Know your breath and its unique characteristics within Āsana and
you will have an initial template for working with your breath in Prāṇāyāma.

Modern postural Yoga talks a lot about individual patterning from our genetic past, along with upbringing and lifestyle conditioning, determining what body patterns we inherently carry from life to death

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Cale Vāte Calaṃ Cittam – As is the Breath so is the Psyche…….

Cale Vāte Calaṃ Cittam –
As is the breath so is the psyche.

The concept according to my teacher, oft quoted by Krishnamacharya, appears in the second verse of Chapter Two in the Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā. It follows the opening verse which introduces Prāṇāyāma albeit with caveats around certain prerequisites.

Firstly establish an Āsana as a firm seat, not as simple as it seems given the predilection for action Āsana contrasting a difficulty in remaining seated, upright and still for half an hour.

Secondly the diet needs to be sorted in terms of being nourishing (not spartan or predominantly raw) and in appropriate quantities.

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The breath can be a key to unlocking the mystery of the relationship……

In looking at how to deepen (rather than broaden) our personal practice choosing to focus on exploring the breath can be a key to unlocking the mystery of the relationship between body, breath, mind and beyond.

Here we can think of the deepening into our practice arising through progressively slowing the patterning of our breathing. To do this we have to reconsider our practice, not in terms of what we do with our body but what we do with the breath within our body.

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The Link between the practice limbs of Āsana, Mudrā, Prāṇāyāma and Dhyānam


The Link between the practice limbs of Āsana, Mudrā, Prāṇāyāma and Dhyānam

One of the essences of Krishnamacaharya’s and Desikachar’s teaching focused on the developmental and progressive integration of the different aspects of ĀsanaMudrā, Prāṇāyāma and Dhyānam into a single constantly evolving organism.

Thus in honouring the Paramparā it is not possible for me to separate these four practice components into four completely disconnected study topics to be learnt in any random order.

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This guiding principle of seeing the person rather than the problem……

Yoga for Every Body (220px)

Yoga Practices for Therapeutic situations

As the basis of this book is Yoga for Every Body I would now like to focus on this aspect of Yoga. To help in understanding how to proceed we will firstly discuss some basic principles for Yoga as a form of therapeutic intervention. From here we will look at different examples of practices for different students each with a unique story accompanied by unhelpful symptoms arising from their particular life story.

It is tempting here to propose a technique and then state that this technique will help this particular situation or problem. However, my teacher taught me that Yoga is to be tailored to the needs and aspirations of each person rather than fitting the person to some ready made technique.

“It appears that modern Yoga Therapy is increasingly angled at looking at a persons problems,
rather than looking at a person with problems.”

Thus with this guiding principle of seeing the person rather than the problem or disease and the acceptance that we are not working just with a preordained technique we can continue.

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The Benefits of employing Kumbhaka during Āsana……


An extract from, and link to a post from Anthony Grim Hall’s extensive Blog site.

“The Benefits of employing Kumbhaka (retaining the breath in or out) during Asana.”
– Guest post by Mick Lawton

“For well over a year I’ve wondered why Krishnmachrya’s breath retentions that are mentioned in Yoga Makaranda are not employed by the Ashtanga community.

It seemed odd that Pattahbi Jois did not mention breath retention when he wrote Yoga Mala. (Although, he kind of makes reference to breath retention when writing about Kukkutasana – he tells us to perform Nauli – which can only be effectively performed during rechaka Kumbhaka).
I was troubled by the fact that “this rather significant” part of Krishnamacharya’s method had just fallen by the wayside. How could this be?

It was about this time that I became aware (through Anthony Hall’s extremely informative blog) that Srivatsa Ramaswami also advocated Kumbhaka in certain Asana.
Considering that Srivatsa Ramaswami was a student of Krishnamacharya for over 30 years, I started to think it very odd that these breath retentions were generally being overlooked in other traditions that recognised Krishnamacharya as their primary teacher.

I decided that I would conduct an experiment to see if there were any benefits/disadvantages to employing Kumbhaka during Asana.”

I would add a further personal musing to Mick Lawton’s observations:

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