Saṃkalpa is mainly the intention to do something……

samkalpa

Saṃkalpa is mainly the intention to do something,
to be serious about my goal; it is something I feel I must do.
Saṃkalpa must be on both parts: student and teacher,
like when we chant ‘saha nāvavatu…’.
Saṃskāra means the purification,
like cleaning a vessel before I use it for another purpose.
It’s a kind of Viyoga or separation.
It concerns how I prepare for the situation.
The Saṃskāra is an effort in both directions: student and teacher.
Saṃyoga means there is a good exchange;
something begins to happen, something is given and something is received.
The best teaching has all three of these.”
TKV Desikachar speaking with his senior Western students London 1998

Begin your practice from where you are……

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

“Begin your practice from where you are,
finish your practice where you are going.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

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Whether or not I like it, I should know where I am……

Whether or not I like it, I should know where I am

“Whether or not I like it, I should know where I am.
Otherwise we try to draw the line from where we are not to where we want to be.
Therefore the first point must be understood and then we can go to the next point.”
– TKV Desikachar France August 1983

Yoga is trying to do something for oneself.

Yoga is trying to do something for oneself

‎”Yoga is trying to do something for oneself.”
TKV Desikachar England 1976

Krishnamacharya also decided that you could be in one posture and do a number of variations.

Krishnamacharya also decided that you could be in one posture and do a number of variations

“Krishnamacharya also decided that you could be in one posture
and do a number of variations.”
– TKV Desikachar England 1992

The traditional model, Śikṣaṇa, for Yoga was to stay in a posture……

The traditional model, Śikṣaṇa, for Yoga was to stay in a posture

“The traditional model, Śikṣaṇa, for Yoga was to stay in a posture,
Krishnamacharya introduced movement in the postures.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

The true purpose of Krishnamacharya’s teaching was to bring Man into contact with something beyond himself

The true purpose of Krishnamacharya’s teaching
“The true purpose of Krishnamacharya’s teaching was
to bring Man into contact with something beyond himself,
and far greater.”
– TKV Desikachar: Health, Healing and Beyond C1 p17

In Āyurveda, it gives certain behaviour by which we can stay well……

TKV_5

“In Āyurveda, it gives certain behaviour by which we can stay well.
If a person follows the following he will freer of sickness.
Regularly, systematically he eats, rests and exercises adequately.
Both in amount and quality.
Food or Āhāra, along with Vihāra – recreation, rest, exercise, other activities.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

The best word for health is the Saṃskṛta word Svastha.

The best word for health is the Saṃskṛta word Svastha.

Question to TKV Desikachar:
Sir, could you please tell us what is meant by health? How do you understand a healthy person?

TKV Desikachar Response:
The best word that comes to my mind for health is the Saṃskṛta word Svastha. Sva plus Stha is Svastha. Sva indicates myself and Stha means to remain.

For me health is that state of being where I can manage myself. This is indicated by the word Svastha. A-svastha is that state where I am not able to manage by myself.

– Extract from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

What is the relationship between Yoga and Āyurveda?

patanjali-1

Question to TKV Desikachar:
What is the relationship between Yoga and Āyurveda?

TKV Desikachar Response:
First of all, we believe that the same master gave us Āyurveda and Yoga: Patañjali. We worship Patañjali remembering him as the person who gave us Āyurveda for the body and Yoga for the mind.

Body and mind are so interlinked that you cannot really separate them. Since Āyurveda is a complete system, they talk also about Yoga. Yoga is defined in Āyurveda. And the language of Yoga is such that a person cannot understand the Yoga texts without understanding the concepts of Āyurveda.

At least in theory, these sciences go very well together. However, in India, the treatment given to Yoga in the Āyurveda University is very scarce, it is not even worth mentioning. So, in reality, Āyurveda people are not familiar with Yoga as much as they should be. The only exception was my father. He knew both, that is why he was able to mix both systems, according to the need.

“What Patañjali gave for the mind through Yoga,
he gave for the body through Āyurveda.”

What I would say is, what Patañjali gave for the mind through Yoga, he gave for the body through Āyurveda.

– Extract from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

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There is an image in the world today that the Guru has a following……

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“There is an image in the world today that the Guru has a following
and his students follow him like the Pied Piper.
This is not good. The true Guru shows you the way.
You go your way and then you’re on your own,
because you know your place and you are grateful.
I can always thank my Guru naturally and enjoy the relationship,
but I do not have to follow him around, because then I am not in my own place.
Following the Guru’s destination is another way of losing yourself.
The Yoga concept of Svadharma means ‘your own Dharma’ or ‘your own way’.
If you try to do somebody else’s Dharma, trouble happens.
The Guru helps you find your own Dharma.”
– TKV Desikachar

How we look at something depends on what is within us.

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“How we look at something depends on what is within us.”
– Notes from my studies of the Dhyānamālika
with TKV Desikachar in Chennai December 2000

What is the relationship between diet and health?

annam

Question to TKV Desikachar:
What is the relationship between diet and health?

TKV Desikachar Response:
It is a big subject. Our system has to be nourished. Food or Annam is needed. There is the Annamaya, we have a body which has to be nourished. The food we need and eat is Annam.

“Annam is that which will nourish you or that which will eat you.”

This Annam is a very interesting Saṃskṛta word. Annam is that which will nourish you or that which will eat you. The Annam or food must nourish me, it should not consume me. For this reason there is given so much importance to Annam that nourishes and Annam that will consume.
– Extract from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

Progress must be seen as the distance from the starting point……

TKV_5

‎”Progress must be seen as the distance from the starting point,
rather than the more usual reference of the distance from the finishing point.”
TKV Desikachar England 1976

The teacher decides which of the Tri Krama is the……

Āsana_22_web

“The teacher decides which of the Tri Krama (three steps) is the best for the student:
Śikṣaṇa Krama requires a perfect knowing to transmit a strict practice,
without any compromise, as it should be in Vedic chanting for example.
Rakṣaṇa Krama is aimed at protection and preservation;
it promotes continuity in any levels like health, abilities, knowledge, etc.
Cikitsā Krama looks for adaptation, healing, recovering…”
TKV Desikachar speaking with his senior Western students London 1998

Yoga has been adapted to life in the modern day.

Āsana_40a

  • Yoga has been adapted to life in the modern day.
  • Any posture far removed from the normal posture is a problem and therefore risky if there is any problem with the body.
  • Inverted postures present problems because of the tension that people carry in their necks.
  • Postures that create tension should be avoided.
  • Moving into the posture after the exhale is an adaptation.
  • Krishnamacharya designed aids to help people achieve postures.
  • Slow movement has a different action on the muscles, it is harder work.
  • The role of Āsana, its purpose and goal must be respected.
  • Opposite postures are a handicap but can help us to appreciate something different in a posture.
  • We must feel ourselves and what is happening in a posture.

From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992