Primary Prāṇāyāma Techniques as taught by Krishnamacharya and Desikachar

nadi_sodana

1. Primary Prāṇāyāma Techniques

Anuloma Ujjāyī
– Inhale or Pūraka both Nostrils with Ujjāyī Throat Control
– Alternate Nostril Exhale (Starting with Left)

Viloma Ujjāyī
– Alternate Nostril Inhale (Starting with Left)
– Exhale or Recaka both Nostrils with Ujjāyī Throat Control

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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

Without Āsana, Prāṇāyāma cannot become accomplished……

“Without Āsana,
Prāṇāyāma cannot become accomplished.
Without containing Prāna,
the mind cannot achieve steadiness.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
The Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 45

When the body is disordered………….

“When the body is disordered,
make use of the body to reduce.
When thought is agitated,
make use of Prāṇāyāma to reduce.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
The Yoga Rahasya Chapter Four verse 31

Uḍḍīyāna Bandha is a pre-requisite for the other two Bandha…….

Uḍḍīyāna Bandha is a pre-requisite for the other two Bandha, Jālandhara and Mūla.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition, The Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 67

Āsana is not just another form of exercise……

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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.

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If you are not in a hurry you will enjoy the process.

“If you are not in a hurry
you will enjoy the process.”
– TKV Desikachar

The Āsana in which you sit can alter the characteristics of the breath.

“The Āsana in which you sit can alter the characteristics of the breath.”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

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

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

Yoga is a simple system that does not require any equipment…..

“Many years ago my father said that Yoga is a simple system that does not require any equipment.
One only requires some floor space!”
– TKV Desikachar

Life is often divided into agendas, two of which are headed “chore” and “reward”……

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“Life is often divided into agendas,
two of which are headed “chore” and “reward”.
Try to keep some room on the latter list for your practice
in the same way that you would greet an old friend.
Take time in their company and return to your everyday life rejuvenated
and better able to embrace your surroundings.”

The purpose of Āsana and Prāṇāyāma are twofold….

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“The purpose of Āsana and Prāṇāyāma are twofold,
to reduce symptoms of ill-health or,
to prepare the mind towards fulfilling the main emphasis of Patañjali,
which is Meditation.
However according to the teaching I have received,
both of these roles can be fulfilled with
relatively few Āsana postures and Prāṇāyāma techniques.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras 1996

Some people say they practice Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Meditation….

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“Some people say they practice Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Meditation.
Among these things which is close to Sādhana and which is not close to Sādhana?”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

We can make a profession out of the myriad of ways we use Āsana….

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“We can make a profession out of the myriad of ways we find
to use Āsana to stay too busy to make time for Prāṇāyāma.”

It is not the number of hours in Meditation…..

dhyanam

“It is not the number of hours in Meditation,
the type of Ratio in Prāṇāyāma,
the number of times you turn the Mālā,
it is the intensity of the attempt.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 22

Prāṇa – Its origin, function and malfunction

PRANA

Prāṇa – Its origin, function and malfunction

The phenomena of body energies and their emanating energy field are found recorded within most Asiatic traditions. Both Chinese and Indian thought have a rich textual history of bio-energy, its function and effects of its malfunction.

In each of these traditions a system of medicine evolved aimed at enhancing and sustaining the flow of Ch’i or Prāṇa within the individual and much interest is now being shown in the West in Traditional Chinese and Indian medicine.

The previous article on the presence and actions of Prāṇa Śakti established links between the mind, breath, and Prāṇa but posed the problem of both Yoga and Āyurveda texts presuming knowledge of what Prāṇa is, how it functions within the individual, and what is the role of Yoga and Āyurveda in relation to sustaining the intensity of Prāṇa within an individual’s health, harmony and mental stability

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The force called Śakti or Kuṇḍalinī is indeed Prāṇa……

prana

“Then he has certain ideas also about Kuṇḍalinī.
The force is Prāṇa,
the force called Śakti or Kuṇḍalinī is indeed Prāṇa.
The only means that can have any effect is the use of Prāṇāyāma,
with emphasis on exhalation and the Bandha,
aided by devotional chantings.
And the evolution of Kuṇḍalinī is very much linked to the person’s state of mind and Vairāgya.”
TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

The presence and actions of Prāṇa Śakti……..

The presence and actions of Prāṇa Śakti

Generally the purpose of Yoga is to bring about a change within the prominence of awareness and its subsequent impact on the attitude and function of the individual.

Whether this change is explored as a yoking of two opposites, as in Prāṇa and Apāna, or an unyoking of two seemingly inseparable aspects, as in Puruṣa and Prakṛti, time and a process are involved. Also this notion of change may be initiated within an individual’s physical body, energetic processes, mental attitude and emotional responses.

However, within Indian thought there is a concept that is common to the different philosophies and to the different aspects of the individual. This concept is the presence, power and actions of Prāṇa.

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Then there are those Āsana that you learn solely for practices other than Āsana.

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Then there are those Āsana that you learn solely for practices other than Āsana.

We start our practice where we are and look toward a certain goal….

Desikachar_France_1999

“We start our practice where we are and look toward a certain goal.
Then we choose the steps that will lead us toward realising that goal
and will gradually bring us back into our everyday life,
but our daily practice does not return us to the exact place we started.
The practice has changed us.”
– TKV Desikachar

We can learn how we can fine tune our practice according to our basic nature…

 Āsana_16a

One of the potentials in the Haṭha Yoga teachings of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar is the understanding around the viniyoga or application of Bṛṃhaṇa Kriyā and Laṅghana Kriyā in terms of their potential to enhance sensory stimulation or to diminish sensory stimulation.

Both approaches can be used where appropriate to impact on how we are stimulated by the world through the senses and thus be more drawn to interact with it in a more extravert way, or how our sensory stimulation is quietened and thus we are more easily able to withdraw from the activities of the senses.

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Prāṇāyāma Practice as a Four Quadrant Tool for the Mind…..

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Prāṇāyāma as a Tool in the Morning,
– Can be a Means to Hone the Mind.

Prāṇāyāma as a Tool in the Afternoon,
– Can be a Means to Refresh the Mind.

Prāṇāyāma as a Tool in the Evening,
– Can be a Means to Clear the Mind.

Prāṇāyāma as a Tool in the Night,
– Can be a Means to Settle the Mind.

Prāṇa is the élan vital……

seated_pranayama

Prāṇa is the élan vital.
It is the mover and the sustainer of the body in all living beings.
Because of this all pervasive movement and irrepressible vitality,
it is also hard to keep reined in through the ten sensory horses.
When the personalised field of Prāṇa becomes unreined,
it transforms into Vāta and the system becomes disturbed.
The primary practice in Yoga to minimise the conversion of Prāṇa into Vāta is Prāṇāyāma.”