Rāja Yoga is just words without Sādhana……

IWYS_M1

“Now let us go to some of his views on matters of interest. He believes that the only Yoga text that has any clear presentation of Yoga is the Yoga Sūtra.

But, he says, Rāja Yoga is just words without Sādhana, just like I read the other day, that philosophy itself is more interesting than any result from it.

However, with SādhanaRāja Yoga is the same as Bhakti Yoga.”

TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Another contribution is how he utilises the Yoga Sūtra in the practice……

IWYS_M1

“Another contribution, I feel, is how he utilises the Yoga Sūtra in the practice.
I remember in the first Zinal, when I used the word Yoga Sūtra,
people thought I was talking about Greek civilisation or something.

My own reading of the Yoga Sūtra, without him,
would have made me think it just another of those useless books on India.
He linked each of the Sūtra to the practice.”

TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

The practice of Yoga is linked to the Nāḍī, or pulse……

jathara_parivrtti

“The practice of Yoga is linked to the Nāḍī, or pulse, so he always thinks that the pulse rate tells whether you have done a good practice or a bad practice.

He suggests that our life may be measured by the number of beats to the heart, and if somebody wants to live long and well, he has to reduce the rate of the heart beat. This is, of course, a little different from what the aerobic people say, who think you should boost your heart rate to 130/140.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’, given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981

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Mahā Mudrā, if practiced every day, prevents ill health……

maha_mudra

“Another thing that he made very simple, and practical, is the use of Mahā Mudrā.
This is a very well known posture now,
but when you start looking at the texts, nothing is clear there.
He has incorporated the Āsana part, the breathing part, and the Mudrā part,
and, he feels, Mahā Mudrā, if practiced every day, prevents ill health.”
– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

He also added the idea of Bhāvana in the practice of Prāṇāyāma……

jalandhara_bandha

“Further, he also added long ago, the idea of Bhāvana in the practice of Prāṇāyāma. Long, long ago, he said, the breathing, inhalation, exhalation and retentions have some sort of relationship with the highest force, Lord Nārāyaṇa.

Inhalation is like an inspiration from God himself.
Retention is some sort of meditation, because you are with Him.
Exhalation is some sort of movement towards God,
and retention after exhale is like a surrender to God.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

One of the most complicated aspects of Yoga practice is the Bandha……

nadi_shodana

“One of the most complicated aspects of Yoga practice is the Bandha. He has been able to link correctly various ideas on the Bandha that appear in different texts, and is able to say that certain Bandha can only be done in certain parts of the Prāṇāyāma.
I may also say, that nobody is clearer about the Mūla Bandha than Krishnamacharya.”
– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

One of the greatest contributions of Krishnamacharya to Prāṇāyāma……

jalandhara_bandha

“And, in the Prāṇāyāma also, the different types, like Vaikharī,
the different Vṛtti, the different Krama, he put them all into practice.
One of the greatest contributions, I would say, of Krishnamacharya to Prāṇāyāma,
is the use of Bāhya Kumbhaka, and the importance of Recaka, or exhalation.”
– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

The idea of Vinyāsa, begin from where you are, go to a point, and……

 

Finally he conceived the idea of what is called Vinyāsa. In fact, in the beginning of his teaching, around 1932, he evolved a list of postures leading towards a particular posture, and coming away from it.

This is different Āsana linked to one another in a scheme as though one posture leads to the following one. And this scheme was very important, especially for children, who find it very interesting.

He continues to have the same faith in this, although you cannot always follow these schemes for adults or people who are sick.

Still the idea of Vinyāsa, begin from where you are, go to a point, and come back to where you have to be, remains valid.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’, given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Pratikriyāsana, the idea of compensation and counterpose……

purvatasana

Krishnamacharya in Pūrvatāsana

“He has also given to us the concept of Pratikriyāsana,
the idea of compensation and counterpose.
Since all actions have some reactions,
we have to compensate for the reactions.”
TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

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Breathing is an essential tool in the practice of Āsana……

baddha_konasana

Most importantly, he also has gone to the final limits of the use of the breathing in postures. He found, and he insists, that breathing is an essential tool in the practice of Āsana.

Varying the way to breathe, varying the length of the breath, using different combinations of postures and breath, he has proven that it is possible to modify postures to meet the requirements of individuals.

For him, breathing is like the steering wheel of a car.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’, given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

The person who taught me how to vary postures……

Āsana_18a

The person who taught me how to vary postures, to bend the legs, to turn the neck, all the simple and complicated variations, as necessary, is Krishnamacharya. It is important to vary each posture according to the individuals requirements.

Further, he also introduced the use of other aids or supports, so that the person gets the benefit of a posture through other means when he is not able to do the posture itself. This can involve sitting on a chair, using a roll, using supports, etc., the use of other means to help a person achieve certain results.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’, given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

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Krishnamacharya practices Yoga Āsana and Prāṇāyāma every day……

sirsasana

Let us look at his usual day. Whether you believe it or not, this old man gets up at one o’clock in the morning. Anybody is welcome to wait on the verandah and see that he gets up at one o’clock in the morning. And one o’clock in the morning is something for us, I mean it is like a terror to get up at one o’clock, and he is 93. He prepares his own tea and then he practices.

I did not believe that, until I saw, because he is staying with me, that he practices Yoga Āsana and Prāṇāyāma every day. In fact more than once every day, including headstand and Padmāsana, I am mentioning Padmāsana you see, because we are all sitting on chairs.

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It is said that some day, everyone will get a back pain……

d_paris_1999

It is said that some day, everyone will get a back pain. There are so many reasons for it. On conducting a study on back pain, we found that there are three categories of people with back pain.

– There are people with back pain, who, after doing Yoga find that the pain has disappeared.

– The second category are those who are able to avoid back pain as long as they follow a life of discipline. But the moment they stop it starts again.

– And to the third category belong people who are not relieved of pain in spite of discipline. We have to go beyond the spine. There is a very large part for emotions here. One has to go into the emotions of the individual.”

– The Yoga of Healing – TKV Desikachar

I don’t think anybody can identify ‘Krishnamacharya’s style’…..

tkv_tk_1980

“He has developed so much in his teaching, made so many changes,
that I don’t think anybody can identify ‘Krishnamacharya’s style’.
One person will say one thing, and a few minutes later somebody else will say,
no, no, this is what he taught me.
So fortunately it solved the problem of the ‘Krishnamacharya style’,
unless you are unwilling to see, of course.”
– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

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

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Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Six Theory

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.

A chapter by chapter Study guide is offered below with added verse and word cross-references where possible to support a a deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

Chapter Six Theory: Puruṣa and Prakṛti – Pages 81-90

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Āsana based Exercises for the management of Low Back Pain

Abstract
Low Back Pain is an endemic disorder afflicting a large percentage of people. The aetiological factors are mostly psychosomatic along with postural defects, occupational predispositions and sendentary life styles. Though several rehabilitative techniques are prescribed, no systematic analysis of these are available.

The present study evaluates several simple Āsana on the basis of biomechanical principles. These studies also select a set of Āsana which work on the back with increasing intensity. A series of tests are evolved to assess the physiological debility of a patient. These test results form the basis of selection of Āsana to be prescribed to the patient. A chart is finally provided to enable the therapist to increase the intensity of Āsana so that the muscles of the low back can be strengthened systematically and progressively.

The results of clinical trials on 16 patients using this method of Āsana selection and rehabilitation indicates the usefulness of this method for the management of low back pain, Only regular practitioners of these exercises improve while indifferent or improper practice has no rehabilitative value.

by TV Ananthanarayanan – Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram and
TM Srinivasan – Founder Member, Biomedical EngineeringDivision, I. I. T., Madras

Originally published in The Yoga Review Vol. III, No. 1, 1983

Download or view as a PDF

Sample Practice by T Krishnamacharya for a student with diabetes……

TK_Diabetes_PracticeA handwritten copy of a sample Practice by T Krishnamacharya for a student with diabetes.
It was shared with me by TKV Desikachar from his father’s teaching files.
Download or view this practice as a PDF

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Five Theory

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 a deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

Chapter Five Theory: Duḥkha and the Concept of Saṃskāra – Pages 69-79

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Downloadable ‘100 Years of Beatitude’ around Śrī T Krishnamacharya

Downloadable film ‘100 Years of Beatitude’ digitalised from a video of a 1989 documentary honouring  Śrī T Krishnamacharya at the time of his centennial celebrations.

The research and commentary for the film was by Sarah Dars, who also contributed several articles to the special December 1989 edition of the Viniyoga Journal on Krishnamacharya’s life.

The introduction to one of her articles, entitled ‘At the Foot of the Mountain’ read:

“Yogin, Āyurveda physician, teacher of the Mahārājah , master of Mīmāmsā, Nyāya, Sāṃkhya,…..
It is impossible to come to the end of the long list of areas in which Krishnamacharya excelled, as he was also an astrologer, multi lingual , Saṃskṛta scholar, poet, musician………
A totally exceptional person, wreathed in legend, to whom one listens as if seated at the foot of the mountain…”

Amongst my various meetings with Krishnamacharya I remember attending public lectures and the phrase ‘to whom one listens as if seated at the foot of the mountain’ captures the spirit of his understanding of Yoga.

Programs are planned taking into consideration our free time, capabilities and……

“Please don’t have the idea that programs are fixed, that is, on Monday we do the headstand, on Tuesday we do the shoulderstand, etc. Programs are planned taking into consideration our free time, capabilities, and desires. We must always plan our practice as a unit, whether it is small or large. This means we start and finish in one session, at one particular time.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Four Page 68

When we teach the headstand we first teach preparation……

bhujangasanasarvangasanasirsasana

“When we teach the headstand, we first teach preparation, then we teach the counterpose Sarvāṅgāsana which in itself is a major pose that demands its own counterpose Bhujaṅgāsana. It is all very systematic.
Planning means to go gradually, to prepare, and then to compensate.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Four Pages 53-54

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Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Four 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 a deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

Chapter Four Practice: Practice Planning – Pages 45-68

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Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Three Theory

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.

A chapter by chapter Study guide is offered below with added Yoga Sūtra verse and word cross-references to support a a deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

Chapter Three Theory: The Concepts of Avidyā and Duḥkha – Pages 31-44

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Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Two Practice

g class=”aligncenter wp-image-2024″ style=”font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.5em;” src=”http://www.yogastudies.org/wp-content/uploads/Desikachar_teaching_gaunts_house.jpg” alt=”TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House” width=”290″ height=”200″ />

‘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 Yoga Sūtra verse and word cross-references to support a a deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

Chapter Two Practice: The Principles of Practice – Pages 13-30

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