Svabhāva (innate disposition) – Nature of a person……

svabhava

Svabhāva (innate disposition) – Nature of a person.
For example tendency to put on weight, liver problem,
muscular pains for no reason, changes in temperature.
This is why Āyurveda divides humans into 3 types.
Approximately PittaSattva, KaphaTamas, VātaRajas Guṇa.
We not only look at the physical structure,
but also how food affects the individual.
Heavy in the morning, etc.
For example different children in the family affected by the same food differently.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

Emphasis on the inhale brings attention to the upper chest….

puraka

“Emphasis on the inhale brings attention to the upper chest,
with the retention of the breath after the inhale the spine will stretch and create heat.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Meditation must elevate the mind.

dhyana

Meditation must elevate the mind.
That is its basic purpose, to be where I was not.
This involves an ascent of the individual’s mind.”
TKV Desikachar Madras 1988

According to Patañjali even when you have something in front of you……

uparaga

“According to Patañjali,
even when you have something in front of you,
you may not see it.
Even when you don’t have something in front of you,
but you want to see it,
you will see it.
Everything depends on YOU.”
TKV Desikachar Madras 1988

Students need to be aware of which parts of the body to……

tkv_6a

“Students need to be aware of which parts of the body to bring attention to,
without the teachers hands to remind them;
so by reminding them in another posture,
they will be aware of which part to move.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

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

read more

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

Āsana_20

“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 request for learning must come from the aspirant……

Desikachar_PH_2

“The request for learning must come from the aspirant.
Only then can be the process be step by step.
First one question which is understood, then the next.
For example Annam is Brahma,
then Prāṇa is Brahma.
This was the traditional approach by the aspirant.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

The body can be underused, overused and abused……

asana

“The body can be underused, overused and abused,
we need to be aware of what is happening with the body,
but we also need to do something for the mind.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

If we direct the mind onto one part of the breath, then the mind……

prana

“If we direct the mind onto one part of the breath,
then the mind affects the other parts of the breath.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

If we relate to part of the breath we are related to all of the breath.

“If we relate to part of the breath,
we are related to all of the breath.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

The breath makes it possible to find ways to achieve access to……

jathara_parivrtti

“The breath makes it possible to find ways to achieve access to the posture,
it is possible to adapt a posture through the breath.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Any posture far removed from the normal posture is a problem and……

Āsana_12

“Any posture far removed from the normal posture is a problem
and therefore risky if there is any problem with the body.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

The hands should be upwards for counting and breathing….

pranayama hands

“The hands should be upwards for counting and breathing,
with elbows slightly bent to keep the shoulders relaxed.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

It is possible to be aware of the state of the mind by observing……

Āsana_35

“It is possible to be aware of the state of the mind
by observing the body during an Āsana practice.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Breathing should be done to have maximum effect on the spine……

puraka

“Breathing should be done to have maximum effect on the spine;
so start the inhale at the top of the lungs down,
with contracted abdomen to hold spine erect, offering from top to bottom.
Inhale from top to bottom makes sure that the spine is erect.
It was believed that breathing from the bottom to the top
would send the internal organs further down, which wasn’t considered healthy,
whereas breathing from the top to the bottom lifted the organs.
It also helps to work on the upper portion of the spine, which is a very sluggish area,
this type of breathing helps to create movement.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

The breath becomes very short using Bandha……

maha_mudra_UB

“The breath becomes very short using Bandha.
It is necessary to have a very long exhale
before it is possible to work with them effectively.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Even Yogis have some reaction to what is Yoga.

yoga

“Even Yogis have some reaction to what is Yoga.”
TKV Desikachar France 1983

Has the word Yoga lost its meaning?

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“Has the word Yoga lost its meaning?”
Question posed by TKV Desikachar August 1983
(over 33 years ago!)

All models for meditation have a preliminary step, Pūrva Aṅga……

dhyana
“All models for meditation have a preliminary step, Pūrva Aṅga,
in which one does things which lead to a situation where Dhyāna may be possible.
Dhyāna, then, the ability to pursue and fix a question,
also requires Pūrva Aṅga, preparation.”

“Proper preparation can involve eliminating divisive forces and
making certain the person is ready for the work.”

“Not everyone needs Pūrva Aṅga.

read more

We need to hold knowledge back to see something fresh.

samskara

“We need to hold knowledge back to see something fresh.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Any model for Meditation presented in this Tradition will have…..

dhyana

“Any model for Meditation presented in this Tradition will have:
1. Preliminaries.
2. Peak.
3. Descent.”

“The preliminaries are very important,
especially in isolating one object for meditation.”

“How ineffective one’s meditation will be if one thinks he or she can start at the peak.”

“In Meditation, one needs time for the preliminaries;
then the actual meditation may be short because the mind is ready.”

“From Pūrva Aṅga,
one goes into a state of Dhyāna,
and then must come out.
One must have the means to come out of that state.”

“The length of time for each step of the meditation model is variable.
However, the preparation is linked to the exact character and evolution of Dhyāna.”

TKV Desikachar Madras December 19th 1988

Patañjali does not mention this once…….

isvara

Patañjali does not mention this once.
He also says that if a person thinks about Īśvara and its presence and omnipotence
he will avoid problems and not get sick.
It sounds odd that such a practice will make you avoid sickness.
It means you will not suffer like others with the Antarāya.
You will reduce the obstacles, the suffering that accompany sickness.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983