“The act of establishing contact with the external world is called Yoga.
It is continuous, inevitable, swiftly changing.
Yoga is a basic fact of life.
However it is the quality of the relationship that leads to a healthy life and well being or otherwise.
The clarity and strength of the force involved in the contact and awareness of the contact
is reflected in the flow of what is called Prāṇa Śakti.
What is it that disturbs this flow?”
– TKV Desikachar
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
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.
Following on from yesterdays post on Bṛṃhaṇa Kriyā and Laṅghana Kriyā as expansive and contractive activities I felt it could be helpful to republish a post from last year developing the concept and application of Laṅghana Kriyā. There is little published information available on these important concepts that Krishnamacharya drew from Āyurveda and applied through his Yoga teaching. For more on this teaching relationship of Yoga and Āyurveda view ‘The Krishnamacharya methodology of melding the viniyoga of Āyurveda with that of Yoga‘.
Whilst reposting this piece on Laṅghana Kriyā and its application within the teaching concepts of Śamanam Kriyā and Śodhanam Kriyā, I have also added links so the reader can further reference the Saṃskṛta Words Compendium, with its now 750 Saṃskṛta word database cross linking concepts and texts.
Laṅghana Kriyā is the viniyoga methodology with its reducing, lightening or contractive potentials within the practice of Āsana, Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma. As a practice process it is actualised through an understanding of the primary principles that inform Haṭha Yoga and Āyurveda.
“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 Pitta–Sattva, Kapha–Tamas, Vāta–Rajas 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
It appears that Modern Therapeutic Yoga is increasingly angled
at looking at the problems in front of the person
in terms of Yoga for What,
rather than looking at the person behind the problems
in terms of Yoga for Who.
The aim is to reflect the fundamentals of Śrī Krishnamacharya’s teaching, namely, transmission occurs through the direct experience of the teacher with the students personal textual study Sādhana.
Online Modular Textual Study Programmes
Over time my online support work with Yoga practice or supervision has evolved following requests from students for online ongoing textual study, exploring specific topics or themes such as Sūtra Psychology, Haṭha Energetics, Gītā Scripture, Upaniṣat Mysticism, Sāṃkhya Philosophy and Āyurveda Lifestyle.
After much reflection as to the place of this medium as a means of Paramparā I chose to accept to work online individually with students in this area. With the support of the extensive study workbooks from my textual study group courses, this has become a means of working online 121 to facilitate access to studying texts accumulated from my decades long apprenticeship with TKV Desikachar.
Current Online Modular Textual Study Programmes on offer are:
“We must respect the practice involving the body.
- Deśa Bheda –
Latitude, longtitude, or place at which a person is practicing or thinking.
Deśa means climate, food.
“One important thing is food.
Different combinations have different effects on the body.
When we work with Āsana and Prāṇāyāma we need to consider which foods to take.
Your mind is according to your food.
The type of food you take influences your mind.
The subject is vast.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983
“Your mind is a product of your food, memory is linked to food.
My stability, my confidence is linked to food.
All these facts are mentioned in the texts.
For these reasons I said that food is very important and becomes me.
Not just the muscles, but the whole me, the whole personality.”
– TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.