from a 2005 interview with Prashant Iyengar, son of B.K.S. Iyengar, published in Namarupa magazine
That's not to say that whatever the above mentioned millions do practice, myself included, in all it's modern myriad forms is in anyway bad, but if we're going to make use of the term Yoga then it's good perhaps to reflect on it's wider context and possibilities.
Becoming very curious/fascinated by Prashant Iyengar and what he's up in his discussions of the possibilities of asana.
A friend recently, fondly referred to him as a mad scientist
I'm thinking more Heston Blumenthal
Get a taste of his work through this article from Alan Goode at Yoga-Mandir
Here's the intro to the paradigms idea from that article.
Prashant Iyengar has designated seven paradigms of practice to aid the sadhaka. Seven modes in which the sadhaka might act. He names these as
• Improving/Becoming profound
• Accomplishing Sadhana
A brief summary of each follows.
Learning. As a learner we adopt a mode of beginner when we practice. Fresh to the experience,
we should be free of expectation in the outcomes.
Studying. We study the asana when we move the focus from the attempt adopt the idealized
stance and apply the asana with a focus upon the dynamic relationship of body, mind, senses and breath.
Practicing. Prashant indicates that to practice is to replicate. When we practice we apply what has been taught in an attempt to recreate and verify experience.
Maturing. In which the sadhaka becomes independent of the environmental factors in practice. A stage in which there is clarity in the practice experience and a capacity to enter that experience at will.
Consolidating. Where the sadhaka diminishes the intensity of effort without diminishing the experience. ‘To lessen the efforts in a way that the effects will not be lessened’
Improving/Becoming profound. To study the subtle aspects within the practice. To develop intense stability in practice so that one observes the energetic aspects. ‘To do this the sadhaka would need to perform Trikonasana with various kriyas focusing on the five Pranas or the six Chakras.’
Accomplishing Sadhana. The transformation of the practice into a meditative process.
These categories are covered more fully in appendix A, where I have attached Prashant’s descriptions of each stage. I note however these should not be seen as progression from beginner to experienced sadhaka. Even the most experienced sadhaka will adopt a mode of learning when encountering a new asana or may return to learn or study something which he/she assumes is known. These are modes of practice that the sadhaka can adopt at any stage or time, with any asana.
Are paradigms a means to address the klesas?
When we look at the seven modes of practice what is seen is a way for the sadhaka to discipline their involvement with experience so that we can address the klesas. Ignorance, (avidya), pride (asmita), attachment (raga), aversion (dvesa), and fear of death (abhinivesa) all serve to entangle us and cloud perception. These, in turn, provoke the five modifications in the consciousness (vrtti). The consciousness
￼Are paradigms of practice necessary
can move between direct perception (pramana), mistaken identity -illusion (viparyaya), imagination (vikalpa), memory (smrti), and sleep (nidra). This sequence gives rise to the fluctuations in the citta.
By applying these paradigms of practice is it possible to consolidate experience on the level of the consciousness? Is this a system aiming to identify and replicate experiential states within practice to observe the citta? By consolidating the experiences through the paradigms, the sadhaka can then study the reflection of our actions in the citta. The klesas can be identified as they reflect in the citta. The klesas can be studied.
Prashant takes this work further by applying referentials, sequentials, hierarchies etc. His aim is to move from a doing mode to devise a means to systematically study experience.
Whether these paradigms of practice are essential or not will form ongoing discussion and disputation. It is clear however that from working with the paradigms of practice there is a direct and tangible effect in the citta. It is also possible to recreate the experiential modes.
The study of consciousness has begun!"
Allan Goode Pune Dec 07
Needless to say my Christmas reading is sorted.
Yoga - An Integrated Science
A class after Class. - Online version