Q: How necessary is Yoga in these modern times?

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Question to T Krishnamacharya:
How necessary is Yoga in these modern times?
Krishnamacharya’s Response:
For the strengthening of the Aṅga,
Yoga Āsana practiced with long inhalation and exhalation is important.
To reduce the disturbances of the mind, to gain mental strength and to increase longevity,
Prāṇāyāma is necessary.

The teacher follows the student and will use many methods……

srimad_bhagavad_gita

“The teacher follows the student and will use many methods
to see the student grasps the teachings.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Eleven verse 1

Breath is indispensable for life and its absence is death……

maha_mudra

“Breath is indispensable for life and its absence is death.
Hence the necessity to make it longer and accumulate the Prāṇa Śakti.
Just as a rich man accumulates money slowly to get wealthy,
so also one should practice every day
through the proper use of the breath in Āsana to maintain good health.”
T Krishnamacharya‘s response to a question on breathing.

Even Duḥkha is a great teacher……

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“The way to better oneself is not to ponder over the past but to look ahead.
Even Duḥkha is a great teacher.
In fact it is the first and important step in the ladder of Viveka or clarity.
The greatness of Patañjali is to look at Duḥkha as the stepping stone to success.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 16

True liberty is what relationship you have with your habits.

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“True liberty is what relationship you have with your habits.”
– T Krishnamacharya

Saṃśaya (Doubt) is the Fire that consumes Wisdom.

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Saṃśaya (Doubt) is the Fire that consumes Wisdom.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Four verse 40

When dominated by Kleśa, Citta is not a friend.

srimad_bhagavad_gita

“When dominated by Kleśa,
Citta is not a friend.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Six verse 6

Fasting is not eating between meals.

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“Fasting is not eating between meals.”
– T Krishnamacharya

Tapas is Proper Diet, Mantra Chanting and Self-Inquiry.

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Tapas is Proper Diet, Mantra Chanting and Self-Inquiry.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Six verse 46

(Refer also to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1 with its Kriyā Yoga and additional commentaries from Krishnamacharya and Desikachar)

The practice of Āsana without breathing and without remembering Ananta has no value.

bhujangasana

“The practice of Āsana without breathing and without remembering Ananta has no value.”
– Śrī T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 47

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If we recognise a person as they are now……

srimad_bhagavad_gita

“If we recognise a person as they are now,
not as they were yesterday,
we realise that what we see is not eternal.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Thirteen verse 28

Yoga is a Saṃskāra in that it equips us to realise our greatest potential.

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‎”Yoga is a Saṃskāra in that it equips us to realise our greatest potential.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

How long should a person stay in an Āsana?

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Question to T Krishnamacharya –

Q: How long should a person stay in an Āsana every day?
A: A person must stay in any one Āsana for at least fifteen minutes.
From the book ‘Śrī Krishnamacharya – The Pūrnācārya’, published by the KYM in 1997

Impurities in the heart cause mental agitation……

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Impurities in the heart cause mental agitation
– anxiety, lack of direction, anger.
This agitation, in turn, affects the body,
sometimes making it impossible to sit still even for a few minutes.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 31

Sukha and Duḥkha cannot be there at the same time.

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Sukha and Duḥkha cannot be there at the same time.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Thirteen verse 21

(Refer also to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 9 for similar idea regarding the oscillation between being either in a state of being present or one of being distracted.)

Āsana for problems of the body and Prāṇāyāma for problems of the mind.

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‎”Use Āsana for problems of the body and
Prāṇāyāma for problems of the mind.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Practice Priorities

Chief among preparations for Dhyānam are proper diet and Prāṇāyāma

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“The ideal Dhyānam, which becomes easier with practice,
requires certain preparations to reduce the tendency of the mind to be distracted,
either by being jumpy and agitated, or dull and inert.
Chief among these preparations are proper diet and Prāṇāyāma.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

Bhakti is the mark of a certain unique relationship……

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

“Serious practitioners of Yoga from Vedic times to the present day
emphasise that a clear mind is a prerequisite for Bhakti and
that it is only through Bhakti that the true nature of the Jīva is revealed.
Bhakti, singe minded and abiding, is the mark of a certain unique relationship
characterised by unshakeable faith, absolute trust and boundless devotion.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 30

The state of Dhyānam is possible in a seated posture……

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“The state of Dhyānam is possible in a seated posture.
If a person lies down, it may induce sleep.
If a person walks and moves about, he may be distracted by the objects around him.
This posture must be in a place where the mind will not be distracted.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Dhyānam

In order to experience Dhyānam, the sixth step, Dhāraṇā……

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Dhyānam is the seventh Aṅga of the Aṣṭāṅga Yoga.
In order to experience Dhyānam, the sixth step,
Dhāraṇā, should have been practiced thoroughly.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Dhyānam

A person who is physically fit and who has been cleansed by the Agni of Dhyānam……

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“A person who is physically fit and who has been cleansed by the Agni of Dhyānam
has no fear of sickness, disease, age or death.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Dhyānam

Mano Bandha is Dhyānam……

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“Just as Mūla BandhaUḍḍīyāna BandhaJālandhara Bandha and Jivha Bandha are very important for Prāṇāyāma, Mano Bandha is very important for Dhyānam.
Mano Bandha is Dhyānam.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Dhyānam

Mudrā practice is important since it assists the 10 Prāṇa to move freely in the Nāḍī.

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Mudrā practice is important since it assists the ten Prāṇa to move freely in the Nāḍī.”
– T Krishnamacharya introducing Chapter Three in the Gheraṇḍa Saṃhitā

Prāṇāyāma must be properly instructed……

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“Prāṇāyāma must be properly instructed.
The posture used, seated erect for example, is also important.
The duration and regularity in terms of time is also as important as proper instructions.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 34

Another term for Citta Vṛtti Nirodha is Dhyānam……

svastikasana

”Another term for Citta Vṛtti Nirodha is Dhyānam,
the state of mind in which an individual focuses on,
visualises and remains with Īśvara.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

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