Some factors which a Sādhaka and a living master will take……

sadhaka

“Some factors which a Sādhaka (efficient or skilful person) and
a living master will take into consideration when giving a transmission:
The teacher must recognise whether the student is Bhāva Sādhaka or Abhāva Sādhaka.

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According to Patañjali an object which can be understood by the mind

pramana

“So how do you find out these important facts?
According to Patañjali an object which can be understood by the mind
can be perceived in three ways PratyakṣaAnumānaĀgamā:

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We must respect the practice involving the body…….

bheda

“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.
  • Liṅga Bheda
    The body of a man or a woman. Masculine or feminine.
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One important thing is food……

annam

“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

The Ācārya has to examine the Sat viniyoga or Asat viniyoga……

sat

“The Ācārya has to examine the Sat viniyoga or Asat viniyoga,
the right offering or the wrong offering.
If the teacher is able to solve this problem
and establish that the students are serious,
then this is Sat viniyoga.”
TKV Desikachar France 1983

People come to study Yoga for many reasons……

TKV_France_1999

“People come to study Yoga for many reasons,
however it comes into two groups.
1. They come to learn or study (Śikṣaṇa).
2. They come to us for support rather than to study (Rakṣaṇa).
So the Yoga we offer to the person who is inquiring
is not the Yoga we offer to the person seeking protection.
Therefore one can give the wrong advice (Asat viniyoga) to the right person
and vice versa (Asat viniyoga).
This can do more harm than if the person had not come.
The intention must be right as must be the execution.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

It dissolves defects like the Mahā Kleśa…….

maha_mudra_UB

mahākleśādayo doṣaḥ kṣīyante maraṇādayaḥ |
mahāmudrāṃ ca tenaiva vadanti vibudhottamāḥ ||

“It dissolves defects like the Mahā Kleśa such as the fear of Death.
For this reason the wise call it the Mahā Mudrā
– Commentary on Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā Chapter 3 verse 14

Āsana practice should take into account……

asana_56

Āsana practice should take into account:
– Where we are – Where am I?
– Where are we going – What is my goal?
– What happens afterwards – How do I continue with my life?
There needs to be steps in the sequence to lead to the goal and counter postures
to prepare for life after the Yoga practice, a Vinyāsa.
The postures need to be visualised prior to being executed, Bhāva.
It is important to prepare for life after a Yoga practice
so that a student is fully prepared for life outside the Yoga room.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar in England 1992

Yoga  is often attributed to Āsana practice alone……

yoga

Yoga  is often attributed to Āsana practice alone,
which is only the part of Yoga focusing on the physical body or servicing the body.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Principles behind why Krishnamacharya only taught adults 121……

tkv_tk_3_1980

“There is another practical thing, it is like what we call Vinyāsa.

At different times, he (Krishnamacharya) has said that any teaching must have the following conditions:

First, from where is the student coming? What is called Deśa. Is he from America, or is he from North India? Teaching must consider whether the person is from one country or another.

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Inhale from top to bottom makes sure that the spine is erect.

puraka

“Inhale (Pūraka) from top to bottom makes sure that the spine is erect.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Moving into the posture after the exhale is an adaptation.

asana_55

“Moving into the posture after the exhale (Bāhya Kumbhaka) is an adaptation.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

The Doṣa and the Guṇa are related, we need to be able to……

dosa

“The Doṣa and the Guṇa are related,
we need to be able to understand the Guṇa to be able to understand the Doṣa.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

We can recognise which of our Guṇa is dominant by observation in Āsana practice.

guna

“We can recognise which of our Guṇa is dominant by observation in Āsana practice.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

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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The position of a particular posture in an Āsana practice will change……

Āsana_24

“The position of a particular posture in an Āsana practice will change its effect
and will influence a particular part of the body.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

The practice of Yoga is like a mirror……

Āsana_31

“The practice of Yoga is like a mirror,
it helps us to know something about ourselves on a particular day,”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

By observing how the breath responds in Āsana……

“By observing how the breath responds in Āsana i.e.
Forward Bends.
Backward Bends.
Lying Postures.
Inverted Postures.
Twist Poses.
As to whether there is a better quality in either inhalation or exhalation,
one can decide how to proceed in Prāṇāyāma.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

There are some forms within the postural resources developed by……


There are some forms within the postural resources developed by Krishnamacharya that can function as either an Āsana or as a Mudrā. The choice of outcome can be realised according to the specific Bhāvana associated with the intention of the practitioner and the style of performance.

For example if we look at the possibilities around inverted postures interpreted as Āsana through forms known as Śīrṣāsana or Sarvāṅgāsana, we can cultivate the external intensity of Āsana or the internal intensity of a Mudrā through choosing either of two practice directions.

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My understanding on the context and content of Yoga Makaranda

yoga makaranda

My understanding from my discussions over the years with TKV Desikachar regarding the context and content of Yoga Makaranda, is that when teaching youngsters the length of the breath was minimised to a relatively short fixed length and use of Kumbhaka was limited to a few seconds Antar Kumbhaka and Bahya Kumbhaka.

However there were no limitations on the range or intensity of Āsana and lots of use of variations to be engaged with within each Āsana.

“The Āsana are presented in Vinyāsa Krama, the way it was taught to children in the Yogasāla.
This should not create the impression that T Krishnamacharya taught in this manner to everyone.”
– TKV Desikachar Introduction to Yoga Makaranda

In the adult there were no such limitations for the breath and the work with variations of the Āsana was re-prioritised to working with a fewer Āsana and fewer variations within each Āsana, but with the challenge of a greater range of breathing patterns both in length and combinations.

Certainly Antar Kumbhaka or Bahya Kumbhaka of 10″ was commonplace in the adult practice and here the ‘perfection’ of the Āsana was measured by mastery of all aspects of the breath rather than for the youngster, where ‘perfection’ of the Āsana was measured by mastery of all aspects of the form. This was consistent with Krishnamacharya’s teaching in his Yoga Rahasya on Yoga Sādhana and Stages of Life.

Furthermore my understanding is that if we use a particular Āsana with all its permutations of form and thus less focus on the variations of the breath it operates more as an Āsana. If we use a specific primary Āsana with the focus on all its permutations of breath and thus less priority around the variations of the form it operates more as a Mudrā.

Sarvaṅgāsana is such an example with its 32 variations devised by Krishnamacharya emphasising its role as an Āsana and its static solo form with its focus on extensive breath ratios involving all four aspects of the breath, perhaps augmented by the Tri Bandha, emphasising its role as a Mudrā.

For more on introduction to Yoga Makaranda read……
Introduction to the Yoga Makaranda by TKV Desikachar

For more on Sarvaṅgāsana as a Mudrā read….
Saravāṅgāsana as a Mudrā – Part One

Associated Yoga Texts Searchable Saṃskṛta Word Index Database

sanskrta

A lesser known facet of the Yoga Texts and Freenotes section of the Yoga Studies Website is the Yoga Texts Saṃskṛta Word Index. It started life as word by word linked index for the online Yoga Sūtra verses offering a meaning for each word and a cross Sūtra reference resource when exploring related contexts.

However as more Yoga Related Texts were added to the online Database it was obvious that the glossary needed to expand beyond the Yoga Sūtra to include Yoga related terms from other textual sources that matched or correlated with those in the Yoga Sūtra. So the glossary has expanded to include terms from Yoga related sources such as the Sāṃkhya Kārikā, the Bhagavad Gītā, the Gītārtha Saṃgraha and Haṭha Yoga Texts, though inevitably these will expand further over time.

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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

We must discover why we practice.

TKV_5

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

Yoga Postures in Practice – A series on Āsana by Paul Part 4 Utkaṭāsana

Part Four – Building our Support with Utkaṭāsana

This is the fourth in a series of articles presenting the core principles for Āsana practice as taught to me through many years of personal lessons in India with my teacher TKV Desikachar.

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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