Even Duḥkha is a great teacher……

duhkha_3

“The way to better oneself is not to ponder over the past but to look ahead.
Even Duḥkha is a great teacher.
In fact it is the first and important step in the ladder of Viveka or clarity.
The greatness of Patañjali is to look at Duḥkha as the stepping stone to success.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 16

The witness cannot be witnessed.

cit devanagari

“The witness cannot be witnessed.”
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 18

When dominated by Kleśa, Citta is not a friend.

srimad_bhagavad_gita

“When dominated by Kleśa,
Citta is not a friend.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Six verse 6

The practice of Āsana without breathing and without remembering Ananta has no value.

bhujangasana

“The practice of Āsana without breathing and without remembering Ananta has no value.”
– Śrī T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 47

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Yoga is a Saṃskāra in that it equips us to realise our greatest potential.

tk5_1980

‎”Yoga is a Saṃskāra in that it equips us to realise our greatest potential.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

Impurities in the heart cause mental agitation……

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Impurities in the heart cause mental agitation
– anxiety, lack of direction, anger.
This agitation, in turn, affects the body,
sometimes making it impossible to sit still even for a few minutes.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 31

Āsana and Prāṇāyāma can create a condition where the mind is fit for Dhāraṇā.

Āsana_19

Āsana and Prāṇāyāma can, according to the Yoga Sūtra,
create a condition where the mind is fit for Dhāraṇā.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 156

Pratyāhāra means withdrawing from that on which we are feeding.

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

Pratyāhāra means withdrawing from that on which we are feeding.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Eleven Page 152

It is a mistaken concept that certain Āsana are only postures for meditation.

Āsana_20

“It is a mistaken concept that certain Āsana are only postures for meditation.
If we look at the commentary of Vyāsa, we see that the postures
he elucidates are so complicated that we can’t be in Dhyāna.
We can feel these different postures and we can’t stay in them.
Two of these are Uṣṭrāsana and Krauñcāsana,
These are very difficult postures in which to remain.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 133

Prāṇāyāma reduces Avidyā and clarity arises in the mind

jalandhara_bandha

“The Yoga Sūtra says that as we practice Prāṇāyāma,
more and more of the covering of the mind,
Avidyā, is removed and there is clarity.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 137

Chief among preparations for Dhyānam are proper diet and Prāṇāyāma

dhyana

“The ideal Dhyānam, which becomes easier with practice,
requires certain preparations to reduce the tendency of the mind to be distracted,
either by being jumpy and agitated, or dull and inert.
Chief among these preparations are proper diet and Prāṇāyāma.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

Śrī Kṛṣṇavāgīśa – A Prayer to Śrī Krishnamacharya with Translation

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

śrī kṛṣṇavāgīśa yatīśvarābhyām saṃprāpta cakrāṅkaṇa bhyāṣyasāram |

śrī nūtnaraṅgendra yatau samarpitsvam śrī kṛṣṇamāryaṃ guruvaryamīḍe |

virodhe kārtike māse śatatārā kṛtodayam yogācāryaṃ kṛṣṇamāryaṃ guruvaryamahaṃ bhaje ||

“I offer praise to one who is disciplined, Guru Śrī Krishnamacharya, whose great teachers were
Śrī Kṛṣṇa who taught him mantra and initiated him into Cakrāṅkaṇam
(the ritual of prostrating and receiving Śaṅkha, right side and Cakra left side, on the shoulders).
Śrī Vāgīśa who taught him the essence of Śrī Bhyāṣyam (Vedānta) and
Śrī Raṅganātha (Raṅgendra) who initiated him into Bharaṇyāsam
(to place at the Lord’s feet or how to surrender to God).
Born in the year Virodha, during the month of Kṛtika, under the star Śatatāra,
this teacher of Yoga, Guru Krishnamacharya I salute.”

The convention is to speak about the guruparamparā and not describe or or speak about the teacher’s contributions.

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In order to experience Dhyānam, the sixth step, Dhāraṇā……

dhyanam

Dhyānam is the seventh Aṅga of the Aṣṭāṅga Yoga.
In order to experience Dhyānam, the sixth step,
Dhāraṇā, should have been practiced thoroughly.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Dhyānam

Asmitā – To confuse memory and wisdom……

asmita

Asmitā – To confuse memory and wisdom.”
– TKV Desikachar Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 6

Eight steps in the process of learning the teachings……

eight_processes_of_learning

Desikachar taught me that there were eight steps in the process of learning the teachings.

  • Upadeśa – To come near to the teachings and remain
  • Śravaṇa – To listen to the teachings with an open ear
  • Grahaṇa – To seize hold of or grasp onto the teachings
  • Dhāraṇā – To concentrate on memorising the teachings
  • Manana – To carefully reflect on the teachings
  • Anuṣṭhāna – To live with and put the teachings into practice
  • Anubhāvana – To have some experiences from following the teachings
  • Pracāra – To share and apply the teachings with others

Namely the process of coming near to, listening to, grasping, memorizing, reflecting, applying, experiencing and sharing the teachings.

However the body is only part of the problem……

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“However the body is only part of the problem,
you have to do something at a deeper level.
This comes back to the mind.”
– TKV Desikachar

Prāṇāyāma must be properly instructed……

nadi_sodana

“Prāṇāyāma must be properly instructed.
The posture used, seated erect for example, is also important.
The duration and regularity in terms of time is also as important as proper instructions.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 34

Another term for Citta Vṛtti Nirodha is Dhyānam……

svastikasana

”Another term for Citta Vṛtti Nirodha is Dhyānam,
the state of mind in which an individual focuses on,
visualises and remains with Īśvara.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

Citta Vṛtti Nirodha, the state of mind in which no distractions arise……

svastikasana

Citta Vṛtti Nirodha, the state of mind in which no distractions arise from undesirable external stimuli and the individual is able to choose an object of focus, ideally Īśvara.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

Food, eaten in moderation, at the right time and in the right environment……

TK_1980_aged_91

Food, eaten in moderation, at the right time and in the right environment,
is of prime importance to achieving and maintaining a healthy body.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 30

Yoga is stopping the mind……

patanjali-1
“Yoga is stopping the mind,
from becoming involved,
in activities that distract,
one from a chosen direction.”
– TKV Desikachar commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

Question Krishnamacharya – “Can you explain the concept of vinyāsa and pratikriyāsana?”

TK_1980_aged_91

Question to T Krishnamacharya:
“Can you explain the concept of vinyāsa and pratikriyāsana?”

“The question asked relates to Yoga and not to vidyābhyasa. There is no āsana without vinyāsa. Yoga is an experience, āsana is the third of the eight limbs of Yoga and it is also important to pay attention to first two limbs, namely yama and niyama.

One who wishes to enquire into and understand vinyāsa should first know what is āsana. According to Patañjali Yoga Sūtra, āsana is defined as “sthira sukham āsanam”.

sthira – Namely firm and without disease and sukha – pleasant and comfortable. To be in sukha state, all parts of the body should be in perfect harmony. This is true for all, whether one is a man, woman, deaf, mute, blind or even for animals. Any action that disturbs this state of harmony should be followed by a pratikriyā to restore the harmony. One cannot but accept this principle.

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Letting go of the desire to hold onto a moment of awareness allows……

cit devanagari

Trying to hold onto the fleeting presence of awareness can be likened to a bird choosing to land in the open palm of your hand. We desire to hold onto it because of our attraction towards continuing to enjoy the experience of its delicacy, beauty and gift of presence.

Thus when the bird of awareness alights in your palm the temptation is to close the fingers around the experience, however gently, in order to hold on to it, albeit to protect it or to continue to experience this unique moment of relationship with something that is usually elusive, or out of sight or reach.

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Yoga is the pursuit of the unpursuable.

cit devanagari

“Yoga is the pursuit of the unpursuable.”
– TKV Desikachar

Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Eight Theory

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

‘Religiousness in Yoga: Lectures on Theory and Practice’ by the University Press of America,
a transcript of recordings of a one month Yoga Programme in Colgate University in 1976, published in 1980.

Unlike the later redacted edition, re-published in 1995 as the ‘Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice’, it captures the evolution of the retreat with the days lectures and Q & A dialogues as they alternated between ‘lectures on the principles and purposes of Yoga and discussions related to the practice of Yoga with special reference to the postures and the breathing techniques’.

TKV Desikachar, in his forward to the original version wrote:

“These lectures and discussions, printed words put before persons I might never meet,
are but reflections of that deeper result that grew out of a living face-to-face encounter.
Coming to learn of Yoga only through reading leaves much to be desired.
Yet, something worthwhile about Yoga might be shared through the medium of the printed word.”

A chapter by chapter Study guide is offered below with added verse and word cross-references where possible to support a a deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

Chapter Eight Theory:
Yama, Niyama and Āsana – The First Three Aṅga of Yoga
– Pages 107-115

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