Yoga is not an escape from life but an approach to living.

Yoga is not an escape from life but an approach to living.

‎”Yoga is not an escape from life but an approach to living.”
TKV Desikachar England 1976

We cannot say that this Āsana or this Prāṇāyāma can be given……

janu_sirsasana

“We cannot say that this Āsana or this Prāṇāyāma can be given for this disease.”
– T Krishnamacharya 1984

If a person can’t exhale from the lower abdomen then you can be sure……

baddha_konasana

‎”If a person can’t exhale from the lower abdomen
then you can be sure their Mūla is gone.”
– T Krishnamacharya

Reflections on TKV Desikachar’s Teaching and Svatantra……

As his pupil my teacher worked at guiding me towards becoming increasingly independent in developing and refining more and more my personal practice skills so I became less and less dependent on him being the vehicle for if, when, where, what and how well I practice.

I have always respected this aspect of his 121 teaching in that, like a parent with a child, he progressively facilitated my learning to enable me to grow into an intelligently consistent, situation adaptive and yet long term developmental self-practice, initially through, then much more than just Āsana.

Especially as, like any art that we wish to become accomplished in, this self-skill was cultivated primarily within my home environment with all its hues and moods that inevitably influence, or are driven by deeper motivations within our current intentions and situation realities.

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The target of Yoga is ‘svatantra’……

svatantra

“The target of Yoga is ‘Svatantra’ 
which means to discover our own technique.
Sva’ means self and ‘Tantra’ means technique.
The techniques are in oneself and we must discover them;
if not we will depend on others.
This is ‘Svatantra’.”
– TKV Desikachar

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

Yoga Postures in Practice – A series on Āsana by Paul Part 1 Samasthiti

Part One – Moving into our Bodies with Samasthiti.

This is the first in a series of articles presenting the core principles for āsana practice as taught to me over many years of personal lessons in India with my teacher TKV Desikachar.

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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

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 a process that evolves…..

Yoga is a process that evolves

Yoga is a process that evolves,
from an enquiry into our limitations,
towards an inquiry that expands our potentials.

Yoga is when the mind is completely absorbed in the great force within.

oga is when the mind is completely absorbed in the great force within

“Yoga is when the mind is completely absorbed in the great force within.”
– TKV Desikachar France August 1983

Sometimes we try to transmit what we cherish……

Āsana_5_web

“Sometimes we try to transmit what we cherish.
This is not viniyoga.”
– TKV Desikachar France August 1983

We never know when we are going to die……

We never know when we are going to die.

“We never know when we are going to die.
So we must prepare for death.
Because at the moment of death you become what you think.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

Manasika Sādhana – Mind has a part to play……

Manasika Sādhana – Mind has a part to play.

Manasika Sādhana
Mind has a part to play.
We can either direct or restrain.
Mind mentioned a lot in Yoga texts.
i.e. Attitude of Saṃtoṣa – mental contentment also a Sādhana.

Also Bhāvana.
Also Yama and Niyama.
When Yama and Niyama accomplished they become Siddhi.

Svādhyāya example of Sādhana – Study to know something about oneself or others.
Adhyayayana – To repeat exactly what is said by your teacher.
Based on three steps:

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Aindriyika Sādhana – Concerning the Senses……

Aindriyika Sādhana – Concerning the Senses

Aindriyika Sādhana – Concerning the Senses.
FoodDiet – Temptation – Restraining the tongue.
Many things concerning senses of smell, taste, sight, touch, hearing.”
TKV Desikachar France 1983

Śarīrika Sādhana – Keeping the body fit and well……

Śarīrika Sādhana – Keeping the body fit and well.
In the language of Patañjali Āsana is mostly Śarīrika Sādhana.”
TKV Desikachar France 1983

There are categories of Sādhana relating to Body, Breath, Senses and Mind.

There are categories of Sādhana

“There are categories of Sādhana relating to Body, Breath, Senses and Mind.”
– TKV Desikachar France August 1983

Yoga Cikitsā is about Respecting the Problem and Treating the Person

Yoga Cikitsā is about Respecting the Problem and Treating the Person

Yoga Cikitsā is about
Respecting the Problem and Treating the Person
Rather than
Respecting the Person and Treating the Problem

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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

If anybody can breathe, they can do Yoga.

If anybody can breathe

“If anybody can breathe,
they can do Yoga.”
– T Krishnamacharya

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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