“Yoga is the least systematic of exercises.
If one practices postures without addressing needs,
no routine is established,
because needs change from day to day.
One should act on the present and the future
and not worry too much about the past.”
– From interviews with T Krishnamacharya by Sarah Dars,
published in Viniyoga Review no 24, December 1989
“Yoga is the least systematic of exercises.
We can approach these three concepts and the question of their relationship with practice from a chronological and within that, a psychological viewpoint. According to the Yoga teachings from T Krishnamacharya there are three chronological and accompanying psychological stages of life, or Tri Krama.
1. The first Krama is the stage of growth and expansion known as Sṛṣṭi Krama. Here, chronologically, the starting point is the age from which people traditionally began the Āsana aspect of Yoga practice.
Compare Dvipāda Pīṭham and Śalabhāsana in relation to their potential within the following situations:
1. In strengthening the leg muscles.
2. Potential stress on the sacroiliac joint.
3. Influencing the circulation.
4. Potential risk on the knees.
5. As a preparation for Dhanurāsana.
6. In helping with flat feet.
7. In improving the inhalation.
8. In decreasing lower back pain.
Our Yoga practice needs to evolve,
amongst other longer term unfoldings,
towards a live-in personalised relationship,
rather than just a go-out group class affair.
Postural Practice Pointer 12 – The Viniyoga of Daṇḍāsana
“The starting point determines the journey.”
- Legs are together unless some anatomical reason why this is not possible
- The sides of the feet are maintained together, stretch the back of the heels
- A key point here is having active hips, releasing the knees can activate the hips
- Someone who is stiff in spine and legs will certainly need to release the knees
- Release the knees as much as is required to extend the spine towards vertical
- Someone who is flexible may also need to release the knees so as to activate hips
- The mortar (hips/pelvis) must be strong for the pestle (spine) to work strongly
- Shoulder blades are back, feel the channel between the shoulder blades
- Back of the neck drawn up to help lift chest up
- Hands or fingers on the ground back by hips but not weight bearing
ISRAELI YOGA TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION
Tuesday January 9th 2018
Sound Health Workshop on
A Half Day of Yoga Chanting with Paul Harvey,
student of TKV Desikachar
A half day open to all Yoga students and teachers interested in Sound and Chanting,
irrespective of experience and ability.
We will explore Yoga Chanting focussed on the application of Sound
within Practice, with discussion and question time.
The emphasis will be the application of Yoga chanting in practice and
the role of sound as a tool for health, well being and awareness.
“Another important thing that he has understood is
that these Āsana should not be taken one by one,
they have to be taken as a group and as a composition.
This means you don’t do headstand on Monday,
shoulder stand on Tuesday,
you do your group of Āsana linked like words in a sentence.”
– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.
“Breathing techniques should support the Āsana whichever way it needs to be supported.
Sometimes you can de-emphasise the movement by the use of the breath.
This can be in a positive or a negative role.
In a negative role the breath is being abused and not supporting by overpowering the Āsana.
In a positive role the breath can shift the emphasis or attention away from the body.
This would be useful in the case of bodily tension or a particularly sensitive or painful area.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar
Also in the approach of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar to Yoga practice this idea is even more relevant as important information, that guides our initial and subsequent steps into Prāṇāyāma, is gleaned from certain factors only apparent from observation of how our respiratory system performs during Āsana practice.
“Contemplate the Source of the Breath.”
Postural Practice Pointer 11 – Vinyāsa for Jaṭhara Parivṛtti
This is a suggestion for a Vinyāsa for approaching and leaving Jaṭhara Parivṛtti.
When lowering from the upward raised legs position use one long exhale,
but through two distinct stages of movement.
The first part of the exhale is to lower the knees over the chest.
The second part of the exhale is used to rotate the trunk into the twist.
The exit is the exact counterpart with one inhale and two stages of movement.
The first part of the inhale brings the knees over the chest.
The second part of the inhale extends the legs upwards.
A suggestion for Bhāvana is to gradually increase the stay.
For example stay one breath each side the first time
and then increase the stay next time to two breaths each side
and finally stay three breaths each side.
As to breathing a suggested ratio of 184.108.40.206. during both movement and stay.
When considering what to practice, it can be helpful to consider our starting point. For example are we looking for the role of an Āsana practice to help in recovering from a situation where we are as if personally overdrawn. Also what is the nature of our ‘overdraft’?
Is its impact or origin physical, energetic, psychological or emotional, or even a combination of more than one. Here the concepts of too little, too much or wrong can also be helpful as a reference in that, as well as considering the nature of the ‘overdraft’ we need to consider the means we undertake to remedy this aspect of the situation. In other words our first priority is to reduce the negative aspect at least.
However sometimes we can try something that is as if a short term loan and at a high rate of interest in terms of time, effort, energy and committment. Thus whilst finding our situation temporarily improving a further depletion can possibly arise as we find ourselves unable to as if ‘keep up with the extra payments’ given the nature of the original depletion and its current impact on our potentials.
So having a clear reference point in terms of identifying the nature of the starting point and the short term or longer term potentials of our choice of an appropriate remedy is as important as the personal determination to clear the deficit we have created within us. Here a personal teacher can be helpful.
“My understanding of Prāṇāyāma is that the Kumbhaka should be an aid.
The aim is to get a feeling difficult to put into words, but different from normal states.
The question is how much does Kumbhaka play a part in this?
So Investigate the use of Kumbhaka and only use it when it helps you be with the breath.”
– TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978
In exploring the principles that underpin the practice of Āsana the first idea to consider is that our practice is not just another form of exercise. Yoga Āsana are more than just physical postures or exercises to stretch and tone the body, or enhance our sense of personalised well-being. From within its Haṭha roots the concern of Yoga is our relationship with the force which is behind our movements and its source that initiates our every action.
Further the different practice elements that constitute a mature Yoga practice are not separate compartments. They are linked through the principles underpinning them. For example a respiratory competence learnt through the practice of Āsana facilitates progress within the seated practice of Prāṇāyāma. An enduring stable posture learnt through the practice of Prāṇāyāma supports the cultivation the meditative attitude inherent in progress towards Dhyāna or meditation.
“If you are not in a hurry
you will enjoy the process.”
– TKV Desikachar
The Art of Yoga Sūtra Chanting Course Module Two
Yoga Sūtra Chanting Intensive over Two Weekends
January 27/28th 2018 and April 28/29th 2018
The 2018 Art of Yoga Sūtra Chanting Module Two Course is limited to a maximum of five students to allow for a personalised approach and in-depth transmission between teacher and student.
Based in the Cotswolds, it is intended for those students, having completed a Sounding and Chanting Module One Workshop, wish to explore in-depth the primary principles and teachings from T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar teachings on Yoga Sūtra Chanting and how it can inspire and guide our personal Chanting Sādhana or where relevant, our professional work in these areas for others.
Comprising two weekend workshops over three months, each meeting offers in-depth intensive Yoga Sūtra Chanting practice, building on the theory and practice principles taught within the Sounding and Chanting Module One Workshop.
The Art of Yoga Sūtra Chanting Module Two Course is offered for interested students from any walk of life, or Yoga teachers and trainee teachers from any Yoga background, wanting an in-depth training to learn the art of Yoga Sūtra Chanting, though prior completion of an Sounding and Chanting Module One Workshop is necessary.