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

It is usual to start a lesson be it, Chanting, Sūtra, Āsana with a prayer……

tkv_tk_3_1980

“It is usual to start a lesson be it, ChantingSūtra, Āsana, with a prayer.
A prayer is recited and repeated according to the study or purpose of the lesson,
to show respect for the subject.
When the student is familiar with the prayer they repeat it along with the teacher.
Focusing the study with a prayer helps to recall earlier study, lineage of repetition.
The student is given the meaning later.
After the lesson another prayer is said to offer thanks for the learning and for everybody.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

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

How do we know that the Āsana has served its purpose?……

Āsana_24b

“How do we know that the Āsana  has served its purpose?”
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

The attention is within the posture if we concentrate on the breath.

Āsana_14a

“The attention is within the posture if we concentrate on the breath.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

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

One should practice and inquire into the effects of the practice…….

One should practice and inquire into the effects

“One should practice and
inquire into the effects of the practice
as well as the practice.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

We must discover why we practice.

TKV_5

“We must discover why we practice.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

The test for intelligent effort is the response of the breath.

prana

“The test for intelligent effort is the response of the breath.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

We have also to ask ourselves the question……

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“We have also to ask ourselves the question:
What do we want our (teacher training) students to be equipped to do?
– Personal Practice.
– Training Work.
– Supervision.”
TKV Desikachar speaking with his senior Western students London 1998

We need to find a balance between the demand and the capacity……

“We need to find a balance between the demand and the capacity.
It needs careful reflection if we want this great teaching to continue.
If we don’t want it to become another museum we have to check our work and care for the future.
Many organisations with a vertical structure have collapsed.
Our structure must not be vertical.”
TKV Desikachar speaking with his senior Western students London 1998

I don’t think any system, even though it has all the possibilities……

TKV_France_1999

“I don’t think any system, even though it has all the possibilities,
has all the answers, for all of the people, for all of the time.”
TKV Desikachar speaking with his senior Western students London 1998

However first we should know where we are……

TKV_5

“However first we should know where we are.
We must examine ideas like we must start from where we actually are,
not where we want to be.
We must first recognise our actual state of mind.”
TKV Desikachar France 1983

Pain and suffering are linked……

duhkha_5

“Pain and suffering are linked,
but no more pain does not necessarily mean no more suffering.
There are people who have a little pain and a lot of suffering.
However, there are others who, despite a lot of pain, suffer very little.
What is it that can do this? ”
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

Whether Yoga is Sādhana or Siddhi?

sadhana

“Whether Yoga is Sādhana or Siddhi?
Sādhana is the means to achieve something.
Siddhi is where something has happened.
For Siddhi to happen there has to be Sādhana, some preparation, some effort.
So how is it possible for something to be both Sādhana and Siddhi?
Each gain we make is a Siddhi.
Each Siddhi helps us to go further with Sādhana.”
TKV Desikachar France 1983

Any technique that can help to pacify suffering is wonderful……

“Any technique that can help to pacify suffering is wonderful,
but unfortunately only temporary.
Any technique that will develop clarity is precious,
since it contributes to resolving the cause of suffering .”
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

Clarity is the ability to see clearly three things and to understand them….

Clarity is the ability to see clearly three things and to understand them:
the cause, the effect and that which knows both the cause and the effect.”
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

Duḥkha is the expression of a problem……

duhkha_5

Duḥkha is the expression of a problem.
Duḥkha is an emotion,
it could be an illusion.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

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

There are three responses to suffering……

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“There are three responses to suffering:
– to pacify
– to resolve
– to dissolve
It is the level of suffering that will determine the response.”
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

A good deal of suffering stems from the fact that we often take one moment for the whole story……

duhkha_5

“A good deal of suffering stems from the fact that we often take one moment for the whole story. A particular action done by someone at a particular moment should not be confused with the whole person. The person may have made a mistake and done some wrong, but there were surely other moments, other actions which brought some good.

We should never try to ignore suffering, but we can try to relativize it, see it in a wider context. If the shoe pinches, we should try to find out where it pinches, but also look at the good points. We don’t have to throw it away….”

– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

How can we evolve in order to change our relationship with suffering?

pratipaksa bhavana

“How can we evolve in order to change our relationship with suffering?

One important factor is replacement. The capacity to replace something within ourselves by something else will affect our relationship with suffering. If we are incapable of this then our relationship with suffering will not evolve.

For example, if we had a bad relationship with our mother in childhood this may dominate our feelings and thoughts concerning her. Every time we are reminded of this relationship the bad things come to the surface – the way she treated us, what we had to endure and so on. This is the way it happens naturally.

But we can also consider the positive things that must have come out of the relationship, the most important, for instance – the gift of life by the mother to the child. We cannot change the bad childhood experiences, but, if we can replace one way of looking at it by some new way, there may be a change in our suffering.”

– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

We need to evolve……

TKV_France_1999

“We need to evolve.
Evolution is like a river.
When we see the river at the source the water is so clean, so pure, almost blue.
As it comes closer and closer to the ocean it becomes a different river,
we don’t want to go near it because it is so dirty.
This is the natural flow, from up to down.
But where does this river get its water from?
It comes from the snow up in the mountains.
Where does the snow come from?
From the clouds. Where do these clouds come from?
From the ocean where all the dirty water goes.
There is some magic which is done in the ocean.
It can absorb all this dirt and gives such fresh water.
In our tradition, they say that when things get too dirty,
when disorder comes to a limit, when suffering is too widespread,
something will happen.”
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

Attachment comes through pleasure……

panca klesa

Attachment comes through pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with pleasure, but when we no longer have what gave us pleasure, or if there is some threat of losing it, attachment often appears.

            Negation is a tendency to resist or reject after something bad has happened. It could be a fact, an idea or whatever, but if we were not comfortable with it, we resist. There is a strong relationship between attachment and negation, like heads and tails of a coin. Strangely, the more we are attached to something the more there is a likelihood to reject it later – when what we were expecting is not forthcoming heads becomes tails!

            Fear is a very fundamental emotion which seems to have some special energy that can make it survive on its own. Fear exists independently of objects, they just give it something to fix on, like the wolf in Western fairy tales. There are two types of fear : fear of something, an earthquake, an illness, a wolf etc., and fear of losing something, a job, a loved one, prestige etc.

            Fear, negation, attachment and association either alone or together create the conditions for suffering to erupt again and again. Suffering appears, disappears and re-appears forcing us to admit that something is missing and this pushes us to seek how to find it.”

– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’