Religiousness in Yoga with TKV Desikachar – Still the best book on Yoga

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‘Religiousness in Yoga: Lectures on Theory and Practice’ by the University Press of America, a transcript of a one month Yoga Programme in Colgate University in 1976, published in 1980. Currently available through Amazon US or Amazon UK, it still remains for me to this day in all but layout, one of the finest modern expositions on Yoga.

Also, for me, far superior to the later redacted version and re-published in 1995 under the title ‘The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice’ by Inner Traditions, with many family photographs being added within a more ‘visual friendly’ presentation and a simplified less complex ‘reader format’. Personally described to me by Desikachar as ‘old wine in new bottles’.

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There are certain things we do in Yoga which seem to aid Dhyāna

dhyana

“There are certain things we do in Yoga which seem to aid Dhyāna
because they remove something which is blocking it.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘The Antaraṅga Sādhana, Saṃyama and Kaivalya’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Thirteen Page 186

The problems we have in life come because of Saṃskāra…..

samskara

“The problems we have in life come because of Saṃskāra.
We are not able to distinguish the coloured image of the mind from the real object.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘The Antaraṅga Sādhana, Saṃyama and Kaivalya’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Thirteen Page 188

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Twelve Practice

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

‘Religiousness in Yoga: Lectures on Theory and Practice’ by the University Press of America,
a transcript of recordings of a one month Yoga Programme in Colgate University in 1976, published in 1980.

Unlike the later redacted edition, re-published in 1995 as the ‘Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice’, it captures the evolution of the retreat with the days lectures and Q & A dialogues as they alternated between ‘lectures on the principles and purposes of Yoga and discussions related to the practice of Yoga with special reference to the postures and the breathing techniques’.

TKV Desikachar, in his forward to the original version wrote:

“These lectures and discussions, printed words put before persons I might never meet,
are but reflections of that deeper result that grew out of a living face-to-face encounter.
Coming to learn of Yoga only through reading leaves much to be desired.
Yet, something worthwhile about Yoga might be shared through the medium of the printed word.”

A chapter by chapter Study guide is offered below with added verse and word cross-references where possible to support a a deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

Chapter Twelve Practice: Choosing a Ratio and the Proper Technique for Prāṇāyāma
– Pages 163-177

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A feeling of well-being is not just having flexible joints…….

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“A feeling of well-being is not just having flexible joints,
it is much more.’
– TKV Desikachar ‘Choosing a Ratio and the proper technique for Prāṇāyāma’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Twelve Page 173

What can be done can be easily established if we observe our breath in Āsana.

asana_15a

What can be done can be easily established if we observe our breath in Āsana.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘Choosing a Ratio and the proper technique for Prāṇāyāma’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Twelve Page 163

The choice of a proper ratio involves two things……

seated_pranayama_2

“The choice of a proper ratio involves two things,
what can be done and what should be done.
What can be done involves a given person’s capacity
to inhalehold the breath, exhale and hold the breath.
What should be done involves
our direction of movement, our aim, our need.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘Choosing a Ratio and the proper technique for Prāṇāyāma’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Twelve Page 163

The aim in Yoga is to train ourselves so that we can modify inhalation or exhalation……

seated_pranayama_2

“The aim in Yoga is to train ourselves so that we can modify
inhalation or exhalation and hold the breath to meet a demand.
That is why we develop different ratios.
If these things can be done,
and if we need a particular ratio,
it is in our pocket.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘Choosing a Ratio and the proper technique for Prāṇāyāma’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Twelve Page 173

Our goals are not always to strive for what we cannot do.

seated_pranayama_2

“Our goals are not always to strive for what we cannot do.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘Choosing a Ratio and the proper technique for Prāṇāyāma’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Twelve Page 171

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Eleven Theory

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

‘Religiousness in Yoga: Lectures on Theory and Practice’ by the University Press of America,
a transcript of recordings of a one month Yoga Programme in Colgate University in 1976, published in 1980.

Unlike the later redacted edition, re-published in 1995 as the ‘Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice’, it captures the evolution of the retreat with the days lectures and Q & A dialogues as they alternated between ‘lectures on the principles and purposes of Yoga and discussions related to the practice of Yoga with special reference to the postures and the breathing techniques’.

TKV Desikachar, in his forward to the original version wrote:

“These lectures and discussions, printed words put before persons I might never meet,
are but reflections of that deeper result that grew out of a living face-to-face encounter.
Coming to learn of Yoga only through reading leaves much to be desired.
Yet, something worthwhile about Yoga might be shared through the medium of the printed word.”

A chapter by chapter Study guide is offered below with added verse and word cross-references where possible to support a a deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

Chapter Eleven Theory: Antaraṅga Sādhana – An Introduction to the Last Four Aṅga
– Pages 145-162

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This is what I mean by having Prāṇa inside the body……

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“This is what I mean by having Prāṇa inside the body.
When this is the case,
a person is not affected by the whims and opinions of others.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 148

Dhāraṇā is the contact, Dhyāna is the communication, further….

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

Dhāraṇā is the contact.
Dhyāna is the communication. Further,
when we become so involved in an object that our mind completely merges with it,
that is called Samādhi.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 155

In Dhyāna, when we become involved with a particular thing….

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“In Dhyāna, when we become involved with a particular thing and we begin to investigate it,
there is a link between myself and this thing; that is,
there is a perception and continuous communication between my mind and the object.
If there is this communication it is called Dhyāna
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 155

Dhāraṇā is when we create a condition so that the mind is directed to one point

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

Dhāraṇā is when we create a condition so that the mind,
going in a hundred different directions,
is directed to one point.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 154

Pratyāhāra does not mean we look at an object and say….

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

Pratyāhāra does not mean we look at an object and say.
‘We are not going to look at that object’.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 153

Āsana and Prāṇāyāma can create a condition where the mind is fit for Dhāraṇā.

Āsana_19

Āsana and Prāṇāyāma can, according to the Yoga Sūtra,
create a condition where the mind is fit for Dhāraṇā.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 156

Being absorbed in the breath in Prāṇāyāma is Pratyāhāra.

seated_pranayama_2

“If we are completely absorbed in the breath in Prāṇāyāma,
automatically there is Pratyāhāra.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 153

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