How does Vedānta differ from Yoga?

vedanta

“How does Vedānta differ from Yoga?
In brief, we can say that the purpose of Yoga is to change the state of mind,
so that it is less muddy.
In this effort, God may help.

The purpose of Vedānta is to become God…..
At an ideological level, Vedānta rejects Yoga’s idea of God as something potentially helpful,
beside that point it likewise rejects whatever is said in Yoga that does not take one toward God.

However, the Vedānta Sūtra does emphasise the importance of sitting properly for meditation
and the Bhagavad Gītā speaks of the need for proper breathing.
All the Śāstra, in fact, accept the physical discipline of Yoga.”
– TKV Desikachar Chennai July 1981

The ultimate goal of Yoga is to always observe things accurately……

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“The ultimate goal of Yoga is to always observe things accurately,
and therefore never act in a way that will make us regret our actions later.”
– TKV Desikachar

The force called Śakti or Kuṇḍalinī is indeed Prāṇa……

prana

“Then he has certain ideas also about Kuṇḍalinī.
The force is Prāṇa,
the force called Śakti or Kuṇḍalinī is indeed Prāṇa.
The only means that can have any effect is the use of Prāṇāyāma,
with emphasis on exhalation and the Bandha,
aided by devotional chantings.
And the evolution of Kuṇḍalinī is very much linked to the person’s state of mind and Vairāgya.”
TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Conscious breathing is one of the greatest tools to influence the effect of the postures…..

Āsana_24b

“Conscious breathing is one of the greatest tools to influence the effect of the postures
without changing the posture.”
– TKV Desikachar

We start our practice where we are and look toward a certain goal….

Desikachar_France_1999

“We start our practice where we are and look toward a certain goal.
Then we choose the steps that will lead us toward realising that goal
and will gradually bring us back into our everyday life,
but our daily practice does not return us to the exact place we started.
The practice has changed us.”
– TKV Desikachar

Exhalation is the most important part of the breath……

asana_53
Exhalation is the most important part of the breath,
it encourages the inhalation.
By increasing the exhalation we bring attention to the lower abdomen.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

The breath makes Āsana part of Yoga.

Āsana_25b

“The breath makes Āsana part of Yoga.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

The focus during Āsana should be on…….

Āsana_66

“The focus should be on
the contraction of the abdomen or
the expansion of the chest during Āsana.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Often people have little distinction between Exercise and Yoga….

siksana

“Continuing the idea of Śikṣaṇa,
it is possible to put further categories into Sādhana.
It is important,
as often people have little distinction between exercise and Yoga.
According to texts and great masters Sādhana is not just at the body level,
but at the Indriya level, the mind level and possibly even further.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

There are two categories of practice……

Āsana_22

“There are two categories of practice, the Śikṣaṇa Krama way, according to the rules,
or the Cikitsā Krama way, the application or adaptation of a posture
to suit a particular person or a particular situation.
Where postures need to be adapted to suit particular bodies and their limitations.
The authority for the postures comes from the teacher,
although some rules are indicated in the texts.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Always raise and lower the arms in the plane of the movement…….

Āsana_25b

“Always raise and lower the arms in the plane of the movement.
This helps the forward movement by causing you
to arch the back slightly before you bend forward.
Traditionally arms are straight and placed behind the ears.”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

Know the Breath from the feelings in the Āsana……

seated_pranayama_2

1. Know the Breath from the feelings in the Āsana.
2. Choose a ratio close to that used in Āsana.
3. Choose a technique to suit the day.
4. Choose a proper posture for the spine.
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

For standing Āsana it is not necessary to close the eyes…..

Āsana_64

“For standing Āsana it is not necessary to close the eyes.
As standing Āsana are usually at the beginning of a practice,
it can sometimes be distracting to close the eyes,
because of all the visual activity proceeding the practice.
Having the eyes open can also stop you becoming unbalanced as you move.
The eyes can be useful for checking alignment within dynamic movements.
You may not observe this with the eyes closed.
However, the attention with the eyes open should be passive and aware.”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

Where are we starting from?……

asana_56

“We must consider the direction of one’s Āsana Practice.
Where are we starting from?
Where are we going to?
Is this journey of Pariṇāma working with immediate needs in mind?
Is this journey of Pariṇāma working with long term needs in mind?
Is this journey of Pariṇāma trying to integrate both immediate needs and long term needs?”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

You put your mind in one place during an Āsana……

Āsana_14a

“You put your mind in one place during an Āsana,
the body compensates and places the escape elsewhere.”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

The action of a posture may be delayed……

Āsana_12a

“The action of a posture may be delayed
because the student has tried to force the body into a posture.
Never measure something by its immediate effects.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

These problems in our observation are related to the mixing of…..

tkv_6a

“These problems in our observation are related to the mixing of:

Vikalpa:
Imagination is already there operating when we begin to observe.
All the more that we are better and better informed about what we should see, etc.

Viparyaya:
Because of the past Saṃskāra, there is a sort of perversion in observation.

Smṛti:
Memory is, unfortunately, never factual.

Finally, we should never forget that all conclusions are wrong, because things change.
Hence the importance of private lessons, which allow for more flexibility.”
– TKV Desikachar 1981

Observation must have a direction and be complete….

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“Observation must have a direction and be complete.
We always have a tendency to tell more than what we see, which is a mistake.
If we tell somebody that he has a problem, yet we know that we will not be able to give him a solution because of a lack of time or any other reason, maybe we are going to hurt him.
Therefore, we should first make sure that we have a solution to offer.”
– TKV Desikachar 1981

Jihva Cāpalya is one of the most powerful…..

TKV_5

Jihva Cāpalya (fickleness of the tongue) is one of the most powerful Cāpalya.”
– TKV Desikachar

Emphasis on the inhale brings attention to the upper chest….

puraka

“Emphasis on the inhale brings attention to the upper chest,
with the retention of the breath after the inhale the spine will stretch and create heat.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

A Bhāvana doesn’t depend on the reality of what I fix upon……

bhavana

“A Bhāvana doesn’t depend on the reality of what I fix upon.
I can direct my Bhāvana to a real sensation,
such as the contact between my feet and the ground, for instance.
But I could easily imagine myself in good health,
when in reality I am ill.”
– ‘Concerning the Cakra’ by TKV Desikachar

Bhāvana means that I create for myself a place, an idea, an image……

bhavana

Bhāvana means that I create for myself a place,
an idea, an image, a vision
and I direct my attention towards it.”
– ‘Concerning the Cakra’ by TKV Desikachar

Whilst Prāṇa circulates in us, we live, and when it goes, we die.

prana

“Each time we wish to understand a system whatever it is, we need a structure. What applies to modern science already applied to the ancient yogic sages when they were concerning themselves with the human system.

The method of the ancients was to reflect, to meditate and to attempt to find clear replies to their questions. They tried to give a form to what they wanted to understand, corresponding to what they already understood. In this way of proceeding, they did not differ from the sages of the ancient medical science of Āyurveda who also tried to understand the human organism in a particular way, nor from the doctor philosophers of ancient China.

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Students need to be aware of which parts of the body to……

tkv_6a

“Students need to be aware of which parts of the body to bring attention to,
without the teachers hands to remind them;
so by reminding them in another posture,
they will be aware of which part to move.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

What the mind desires does not diminish as we age…..

kama

“What the mind desires does not diminish as we age,
only the capacity to realise it.”
– TKV Desikachar

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