The Breath has its own developmental process within an Āsana.

Āsana_25a

General perceptions in Yoga are that performance progressions in any Āsana are usually around improvement or refinement in the choreography of the entry or exit, or in the extremity of the final form.

For example if we were to compare the performance of students in say Uttānasana, evaluations would tend to be made concerning how far one bends forward, or how near the head is towards the knees, or how straight the legs are, or how close to the ground the hands are, et cetera.

However from the viewpoint of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar, in terms of Āsana practice for adults, the breath has its own developmental path within the performance of any Āsana.

Furthermore, within an Āsana and alongside the Vinyāsa Krama of getting in and out of the Āsana and what would be the focus whilst at the crown of the sequence around that particular Āsana, there is also a Vinyāsa Krama around the development of the breath.

“The first step in the practice of Āsana is the linking of the mind to movement and breath.”
– TKV Desikachar

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My understanding of Prāṇāyāma is that the Kumbhaka should be an aid……

kumbhaka

“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

During the practice of Āsana one must constantly use Ujjāyī……

“During the practice of Āsana one must constantly engage
in regulating the exhale, inhale and retention.
Ujjāyī is to be smooth and slow,
according to the strength or capability of the student.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
The Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 33

Without mastering Āsana and regulating the inhale and exhale in Āsana……

“Without mastering Āsana and
regulating the inhale and exhale in Āsana,
the Āsana will not produce the desired fruits.”
From T Krishnamacharya’s composition, the Yoga Rahasya

An example of a Secondary Yoga Practice, primarily for early evening use.

An example of a Secondary Yoga Practice.

This 25′ practice is intended mainly for post-work early evening use. It was designed for a student as a secondary practice to complement their existing pre-work early morning practice.

The context within which it sits is that they have an early morning Āsana and Prāṇāyāma practice before leaving for work. Getting to work involves 10′ walking to catch a train, often standing during the train journey and then walking a further 10-15′ after getting off.

This framework also includes a demanding decision making and team management working environment, often involving many meetings during a typical day.

Hence this example of a secondary evening practice does not involve standing Āsana, nor emphasis on any demanding lying, inverted or back bend Āsana. Relevent aspects of these characteristics being accessed in the morning along with a Prāṇāyāma practice.

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108 Postural Practice Pointers – 10 – Forward Bends are Back Stretches

 

Postural Practice Pointer 10 – Forward bends are Paścimatāna Āsana or Back Stretches

Forward Bends are back stretching Āsana in terms of Bhāvana.
Thus in Paścimatāna Āsana one of the foci is on avoiding pushing
from the lower back as you bend forward.
Thus move forward from the abdominal area by drawing it back,
to encourage the lower back to respond by lengthening.
If we push from the lower back in forward bends,
such as Paścimatānāsana, it can tighten this area,
thus inhibiting the focus on the quality of the Apāna Lakṣaṇa,
as well as transferring stress to the sacrum, hips and hamstrings.

Example of a Vinyāsa Krama around Jaṭhara Parivṛtti

An example of a Vinyāsa Krama around Jaṭhara Parivṛtti exploring:

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The quality of our breath expresses our inner feelings.

“The quality of our breath expresses our inner feelings.”
– TKV Desikachar

Do not make a style or fashion out of Kumbhaka……

kumbhaka

“Do not make a style or fashion out of Kumbhaka.
Only use it if it helps you feel the breath and
what is happening inside the body.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

The ancient people introduced holding of the breath to stop…..

“The ancient people introduced holding of the breath
to stop, to quieten the mind,
considered as linked to the movement of Vāta.”
– TKV Desikachar December 1987

One should move the spine as you would inhale and exhale.

“One should move the spine as you would inhale and exhale.”
– TKV Desikachar

Once you lose the breath in Āsana……

Once you lose the breath in Āsana, effort becomes force.

If I had a student I would give more respect to the exhalation……

Of the Four Aspects of the Breath which is more important

“If I had a student I would give more respect to the exhalation.
The course would be based on the observation of the exhalation in Prāṇāyāma and Āsana.
This would give the type of Prāṇāyāma and for which Āsana.
One should see what is the response of the exhalation in the posture or when sitting.
When fixing Prāṇāyāma, even if you are reducing the length of the exhalation,
if any problem then the cycle should be completely changed.
One must give respect to the exhalation.
One can get an idea by the position of the stomach.
One should keep 2/3″ in hand on inhalation and exhalation.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

We are welcome to use Kumbhaka…..

“We are welcome to use Kumbhaka,
but if it in any way affects the quality of the inhale or exhale
and our own relation with this flow, then there is no meaning.
The tragedy of Kumbhaka is that we can use force,
as in Āsana, to achieve our aim.
But why and at what price?”
– TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

How you bring about the length of the breath affects Āsana…..

Āsana_26

“The difference in chest to stomach and stomach to chest
breathing is minimal in the length of the breath.
How you bring about the length of the breath affects Āsana differently.
Apart from medical restrictions,
to give respect to the chest, the spine and gravity
we need to breathe chest to stomach on the inhale.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar

Conscious breathing is one of the greatest tools to influence the effect of the postures…..

Āsana_24b

“Conscious breathing is one of the greatest tools to influence the effect of the postures
without changing the posture.”
– TKV Desikachar

Exhalation is the most important part of the breath……

asana_53
Exhalation is the most important part of the breath,
it encourages the inhalation.
By increasing the exhalation we bring attention to the lower abdomen.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

The breath makes Āsana part of Yoga.

Āsana_25b

“The breath makes Āsana part of Yoga.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

The focus during Āsana should be on…….

Āsana_66

“The focus should be on
the contraction of the abdomen or
the expansion of the chest during Āsana.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Know the Breath from the feelings in the Āsana……

seated_pranayama_2

1. Know the Breath from the feelings in the Āsana.
2. Choose a ratio close to that used in Āsana.
3. Choose a technique to suit the day.
4. Choose a proper posture for the spine.
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

The power of the breath……

prana

“The power of the breath,
the power of the senses and
physical strength of the body are each distinct properties.
They should not work against each other
but rather contribute to each others well being.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 30

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

One of the primary roles for Āsana is to make the spine a fit vehicle for Prāṇāyāma.

seated_pranayama_2

“One of the primary roles for Āsana
is to make the spine a fit vehicle for Prāṇāyāma.”

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

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.

prana

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

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