The Doṣa and the Guṇa are related, we need to be able to……

dosa

“The Doṣa and the Guṇa are related,
we need to be able to understand the Guṇa to be able to understand the Doṣa.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

We can recognise which of our Guṇa is dominant by observation in Āsana practice.

guna

“We can recognise which of our Guṇa is dominant by observation in Āsana practice.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Ultimately our experience of the Āsana is refined through……

Āsana_16a

“Ultimately our experience of the Āsana is refined
through the mystery of the breath,
rather than the mastery of the form.”

What we observe today might not be the same tomorrow.

parinama

“What we observe today might not be the same tomorrow.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

The position of a particular posture in an Āsana practice will change……

Āsana_24

“The position of a particular posture in an Āsana practice will change its effect
and will influence a particular part of the body.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

According to the Gheraṇḍa Saṃhitā, Aśvinī Mudrā and Mūla Bandha are……

maha_mudra_UB

According to such as the Gheraṇḍa Saṃhitā, Aśvinī Mudrā and Mūla Bandha
are seen as very different forms in terms of definition and application.
Regarding application, only Aśvinī Mudrā is focussed around
the repeated contraction of the anal sphincter muscles.

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Tri Bandha Sādhana starts from the top down rather than the bottom up.

maha_mudra_UB

Tri Bandha Sādhana – Jālandhara, Uḍḍīyāna and Mūla,
starts from the top down rather than the bottom up,
in both senses.

Mūla Bandha is that part of Uḍḍīyāna Bandha that you do not release.

maha_mudra_UB

Mūla Bandha is that part of Uḍḍīyāna Bandha that you do not release.

The practice of Yoga is like a mirror……

Āsana_31

“The practice of Yoga is like a mirror,
it helps us to know something about ourselves on a particular day,”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

By observing how the breath responds in Āsana……

“By observing how the breath responds in Āsana i.e.
Forward Bends.
Backward Bends.
Lying Postures.
Inverted Postures.
Twist Poses.
As to whether there is a better quality in either inhalation or exhalation,
one can decide how to proceed in Prāṇāyāma.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

In Āsana practice there is an expression of the state of the mind……

Āsana_16a

“In Āsana practice there is an expression of the state of the mind,
the practice can be a handle to hold the mind.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

There are some forms within the postural resources developed by……


There are some forms within the postural resources developed by Krishnamacharya that can function as either an Āsana or as a Mudrā. The choice of outcome can be realised according to the specific Bhāvana associated with the intention of the practitioner and the style of performance.

For example if we look at the possibilities around inverted postures interpreted as Āsana through forms known as Śīrṣāsana or Sarvāṅgāsana, we can cultivate the external intensity of Āsana or the internal intensity of a Mudrā through choosing either of two practice directions.

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My understanding on the context and content of Yoga Makaranda

yoga makaranda

My understanding from my discussions over the years with TKV Desikachar regarding the context and content of Yoga Makaranda, is that when teaching youngsters the length of the breath was minimised to a relatively short fixed length and use of Kumbhaka was limited to a few seconds Antar Kumbhaka and Bahya Kumbhaka.

However there were no limitations on the range or intensity of Āsana and lots of use of variations to be engaged with within each Āsana.

“The Āsana are presented in Vinyāsa Krama, the way it was taught to children in the Yogasāla.
This should not create the impression that T Krishnamacharya taught in this manner to everyone.”
– TKV Desikachar Introduction to Yoga Makaranda

In the adult there were no such limitations for the breath and the work with variations of the Āsana was re-prioritised to working with a fewer Āsana and fewer variations within each Āsana, but with the challenge of a greater range of breathing patterns both in length and combinations.

Certainly Antar Kumbhaka or Bahya Kumbhaka of 10″ was commonplace in the adult practice and here the ‘perfection’ of the Āsana was measured by mastery of all aspects of the breath rather than for the youngster, where ‘perfection’ of the Āsana was measured by mastery of all aspects of the form. This was consistent with Krishnamacharya’s teaching in his Yoga Rahasya on Yoga Sādhana and Stages of Life.

Furthermore my understanding is that if we use a particular Āsana with all its permutations of form and thus less focus on the variations of the breath it operates more as an Āsana. If we use a specific primary Āsana with the focus on all its permutations of breath and thus less priority around the variations of the form it operates more as a Mudrā.

Sarvaṅgāsana is such an example with its 32 variations devised by Krishnamacharya emphasising its role as an Āsana and its static solo form with its focus on extensive breath ratios involving all four aspects of the breath, perhaps augmented by the Tri Bandha, emphasising its role as a Mudrā.

For more on introduction to Yoga Makaranda read……
Introduction to the Yoga Makaranda by TKV Desikachar

For more on Sarvaṅgāsana as a Mudrā read….
Saravāṅgāsana as a Mudrā – Part One

An example practice from 2002 from TKV Desikachar……

Practice_2002

Following on from the post two days ago and yesterdays post I wanted to offer a further sample practice given to me by my teacher, TKV Desikachar. It evolved from within our one to one lessons in Chennai, from 12 years ago, in 2002 and is based around:

Kapālabhāti Kriyā 48 breaths
Sūrya Bhedana Prāṇāyāma 12 breaths 1.1.1.1. with 10″ Antar Kumbhaka and 10″ Bahya Kumbhaka
Kapālabhāti Kriyā 48 breaths
Sūrya Bhedana Prāṇāyāma 12 breaths 1.2.1.0. with 20″ Antar Kumbhaka
Bhāradvājāsana – Stay 12 breaths each side with 10″ Bahya Kumbhaka
Apānāsana and Ūrdhva Prasṛta Pādāsana
– Aṅga Laghava Dynamic combination 12 times with 10″ Antar Kumbhaka and 10″ Bahya Kumbhaka
Candra Bhedana Prāṇāyāma 24 breaths 1.0.2.0

Though obviously relevant to my personal situation as a mid fifties bloke, at that time and place, it is a further illustration of how Antar Kumbhaka (AK) and Bahya Kumbhaka (BK) can be employed whatever the Āsana or techniques chosen.

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An example personal practice from 1980 from TKV Desikachar……

TKV_Practice_1980

Following on from yesterdays post on Kumbhaka quoted below:

“According to Krishnamacharya,
one who has not mastered the Bāhya Kumbhaka,
has not mastered the breath.”
– TKV Desikachar 1988

I thought it might be helpful to republish a post from early 2014. Here I wanted to offer a example of a personal practice given to me by TKV Desikachar. It evolved from within our one to one lessons in Chennai, from over 35 years ago, in 1980 and is based around:

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According to Krishnamacharya, one who has not mastered the Bāhya Kumbhaka……

bahya kumbhaka

“According to Krishnamacharya,
one who has not mastered the Bāhya Kumbhaka,
has not mastered the breath.”
– TKV Desikachar 1988

Kumbhaka is the continuation of a specific movement that……

kumbhaka

Kumbhaka is the continuation of a specific movement that preceded it.”
– TKV Desikachar December 1987

A person who does not have a conscious feeling of the Recaka and……

kumbhaka

“A person who does not have a conscious feeling of the Recaka and Pūraka
should not go into Kumbhaka.”
– TKV Desikachar December 1987

The lower abdomen is the dullest part of the spine……

apana

“The lower abdomen is the dullest part of the spine,
it is the starting point for the exhalation.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

So much happens in the spine with the breath……

maha_mudra

“So much happens in the spine with the breath,
we need to be aware of our breathing to have a maximum effect on the spine.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Your mind is a product of your food, memory is linked to food……

smrti

“Your mind is a product of your food, memory is linked to food.
My stability, my confidence is linked to food.
All these facts are mentioned in the texts.
For these reasons I said that food is very important and becomes me.
Not just the muscles, but the whole me, the whole personality.”
– TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

Krishnamacharya would introduce the Sūtra philosophy when……

sutra

Krishnamacharya would introduce the Sūtra philosophy
when students were resting during an Āsana practice,
because he felt that this was the only time they had available to them.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

What interests you most in Āsana?……

TKV_5

Three questions given by Desikachar in a retreat in 1978

“1. What interests you most in Āsana?
2. What distinguishes Āsana from Prāṇāyāma?
3. What is hard to teach? Āsana and/or Prāṇāyāma, or something else?”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

A teacher needs to know a students body and state of mind…….

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“A teacher needs to know a students body and state of mind
to prepare a suitable practice,
take into account the particular students problems,
be they physical or psychological.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Where do Āsana lead us?……

Āsana_47

“Where do Āsana lead us?
1. For seated practices. (Adhyātmika – Concerning our essence)
To stay in a stable position with the spine erect for Dhyāna or preparation for Dhyāna.
2.  For health. (Cikitsā – Therapeutics)
They do something for the energy flow of the body.
3. Ability to master the body. (Śakti – Power)
Not necessarily to promote health but to show that we can master the body.
Often these are good for health, though many are only useful as challenges.”
– From my study notes with TKV Desikachar.

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