This blog is essentially 'sleeping'.

I've deleted or returned to draft 80% of the blog, gone are most, if not all, of the videos I posted of Pattabhi Jois, gone are most of the posts regarding my own practice as well as most of my practice videos in YouTube, other than those linked to my Vinyasa Yoga Practice Book).

Mostly I've just retained the 'Research' posts, those relating to Krishnamacharya in particular.

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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Updated : Questions to Krishnamacharya from his students

from Questions to Krishnamacharya from his students in 
Yogacarya Krishnamacharya - The Purnacarya. Edited by Mala Srivatsan.

The 68 questions and answers below are also available in Spanish from

Patricia Aballay's Conciencia Yoga Blog

Conciencia Yoga


Prof. T. Krishnamacharya from

1. What is Yogasana?

a.   For those who have faith, yogasana is a posture which is both comfortable and firm (sthira and sukha). The asana-s done to realise the link between the jivatma and the paramatma

b.   For those who do not have faith in God but accept jiva, yogasana is a particular position of the body which aids in the discipline of the senses and prana

c. For those who do not accept jiva, yogasana is a particular posture that aids in the discipline of the senses and the prana.

Whether a person is interested in bhakti or in ahangraha upasana or in mamas santi he/she has to develop the ability to remain in a state of dhyana.

Dhyana must be done in a seated position.

2. What is the role of the mantra in asana practice?

For the Indians who have faith in mantra, which is timeless, and which has been received through a teacher, the mantra has to be included in the asana practice. This is known as samantraka asanabhysa. However, this ability is left only in a few families because of the great changes and turmoils that have taken place in bharata

3. What should the duration of pranava be during recitation?

The time for pranava should be six seconds during the practice of pranayama

4. What is the first step in dhyana for a beginner?

For a beginner it is desirable to use a very beautiful murti (idol).

5. At what age can one start practicing yogasanas?

A person is fit to practice when they can eat by themselves.

6. How many asanas are there?

There are as many as the number of species.

7. Can everybody do all of the asana's?

Taking into account the structure of the body and the distortions in the body one should do the appropriate asana. only experts can guide the student. However at least some student must become completely competent in the practice of asana-s.

8. Should asana vary according to age?

Yoga sadhana can be divided into three krama-s

1.   Sesti krama - This is up to the twenty-fifth year coinciding with the brahmacarya asramam. At this stage there is a need for cikista, as the sadhana is done to develop the strength of the body, the senses and the mind. The body should never become weak. However, if a person is sick at that age, one has to follow a combination of srsti and sthiti krama. In the ancient times up to the age of twenty-five a person would be in gurukulam. Under the guru's care there is not much need for sthiti krama. Patanjali has shown many ways for which each sadhana according to the requirements of the individual. It is the responsibility of the instructor to guide the individual.

2.   Sthiti krama - is from the age of twenty-five, when most of the people are grhasthas. For the married person, prevention of illness is desirable. however, in reality there is great scope for sickness. the power of the body, the senses and the mind get reduced, the life span is curtailed and unexpected death is likely. We should make sure that the yoga sadhana will avoid or correct this for, under no circumstances should one be deprived of good health.

3.   Samara  krama -  Practices from the age of seventy-five to one hundred. Only that yoga sadhana that will promote para, a para vaigram, jnanam and bhakti must be practiced. Moreover, if one practices yogasana-s, without respecting proper inhalation and exhalation, failure both in terms of immediate and long term benefits will result. the person may also suffer from some ailments.

9. Can a person practice yogasana using photographs?

Yoga, music, medicine and dance should be learned through a guru. Otherwise it is dangerous.

10. How many times should one practice yogasana's?

It should be practised for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening before meals.

11. How long should a person stay in an asana every day?

A person should stay in any one asana for at least fifteen minutes.

12. How long were the sages practicing yoga?

Nine hours a day. they included the performance of sandhyavandanam three times a day

13. What must form an essential part of a person's daily practice?

A minimum of ten minutes in antah-tratakam, sanmukhi mudra or mahamudra is essential.

14. What should be done when there is limited time available for practice?

When time is limited one can reduce the time taken to practice sirsasana and sarvangasana.

15. When can one see the results of practice?

After three months of continuous practice.

16. What should be the ratio of practice between asana, pranayama and dhyana?

The time spent in pranayama should at the very least be equal to the time spent in asana. The time spent in dhyana should be equal to the time spent in pranayama. Jada yoga is the practice done without a mantra or without the attitude of Ishvara pranidhana.

17. Should the asana practice be done fast and why not?

Fast movements will distort both blood circulation and the respiration. This results in crookedness of the body and injury to the different parts of the body. Slow practice of asana-s with proper respiration will not only remove the defects in the body but result in cotta ckagrata. However, I must insist that this practice should be done from the direct instruction of a teacher.

18. What does jitasana (asana jay am) mean?

Jitsana is the capacity of the person to stay in an asana for a length of time without experiencing pain. In ancient times the sages were able to stay in an asana for more than three hours during their pranayama and shyana practice.

19. What is meant by jitasvasam?

When a person is capable of doing any length of bhya kumbhaka (hold after exhalation) and anta kumbhaka (hold after inhalation) without getting tired, such a person is called a jitasvasi

20. How long should one stay in Sirsasana and Sarvangasana?

The time spent in each asana should be the same. The number of breaths taken in Sirsasana should be equal to the the number of breaths taken in sarvangasana. The length of each breath should also be equal. The postures are like the eyes of yoga. They strengthen the senses and the respiratory organs. A person with a heart problem should approach the practice of these asana-s with the utmost care. Only when a student is capable of doing sarvangasana should the teacher think of teaching him Sirsasana. people with asthma will have problems in practicing these postures. In the beginning these people should stay for two or three breaths only

21. Is there a difference in the practice for men and women?

The practice for unmarried women is the same as that for men except during their menstrual cycle.

22. How should very obese people and pregnant women be taught?

They should not be allowed to practice on their own without a teacher. When obese people practice on their own they may experience chest pain, vomiting and giddiness, due to the changes in the breathing pattern there could be a displacement in the womb.

23. What about the practice for women after child birth?

They can begin to practice three days after the childs birth, if they do not have any illness. They should begin with ujjayi pranayama, without kumbhaka, twenty-four breaths three times a day, for one week. They can then proceed to lie on their backs, legs bent, in desk pose and move their arms with breathing. Still later, they can raise their legs to touch the toes. After 15 days they can do dandasana. After a month they can do parvatasana and nadisodhana pranayama. After two months they can do sarvangasana. However, during pregnancy they should not do sirsasana and sarvangasana after the 5th month. They should not do paschimottanasana and similar postures. they may do mahamudra.

24. What is yoga?

One should work towards the knowledge and proper functioning of the sarira (body), the indriya-s (senses), the prana (breath) and the mamas (mind. Only while maintaining good health, alertness, longevity, comprehension and dharana sakti ( one pointedness), can one experience the jivatma, paramatma and the universe. the pratices leading to this experience is called yoga. The sastras (sacred teaching) that teaches this is called yoga sastra and has been in existence from unknown times.

25. How many kinds of Yoga are there?

There are four kinds of yoga. Sarira yoga (concerning the body) indriyaki yoga (the senses), manasika yoga ( the mind) and the adhyatmika yoga (the atma). The yoga that brings strength to the body by removing illness is known as sarira yoga. The yoga that promotes and sharpens the senses is known as indriyaki yoga. The yoga where the mind becomes stable and free from worries and which leads to a state of ekagrata ( one pointedness ) is known as manasika yoga. When a person is able to practice long and smooth inhalation and exhalation without becoming breathless, illness is removed. Such a person becomes stronger, has a longer life and can do better sadhana. This leads to the actual experience of the jivatma, paramatma and the universe. This is know as adhyatma yoga.

26. Who is competent to the practice the yogabhyasa?

Any person who aspires to experience the joy of sarira, indriya, mamas and adyatmika yoga, is eligible to practice yoga. there is no restriction of sati (caste), kulam (clan), gotta (lineage), stir (women), purusa (man), age, wealth, position or ashram (stage of life).

27. What is yogabyasa krama?

There has to be a krama (order of practice) for yogabhyasa. In the yoga sutra, niyamas (disciplines) are proscribed according to the individuals capacity. These niyamas form the yogana-s that are mentioned in the sastra-s. the yoganga-s are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and smadhi.

a) Yama: This comprises 

(1) Ahimsa - not to cause any himsa (injury) to others. 
(2) Satya - to be truthful in thought speech and action. 
(3) Asteya - not to aspire for another persons wealth. 
(4) Brahmacarya - to observe jitendriyam ( mastery over the senses) and pativram (fidelity to ones wife/husband). 
(5) Aparigraha - to have only what one actually needs and not possess in excess.

b) Niyama: This comprises. 

(1) Sauca - to have both internal and external cleanliness. External cleanliness deals with snanam (bath), panam ( what you drink), vastradharanam (clothing) and bhojanam ( the quality of food you eat). Internal cleanliness refers to the mamas (mind). The mind must not pursue bad thoughts. If this is not checked, it leads to apavitram (impurity) which will result in the decline of health and would not bring the benefits of yoga. 
(2) Santosha - To accept gracefully whatever happens as the will of the Lord. 
(3) Tapas - to have one meal once in eight days and to fast for an entire day, once in fifteen days. To follow the sastra-s. To undergo physical discipline and live in austerity exposing oneself to the forces of nature. 
(4) Svadhyaya - to study the vedas according to ones sakha (branch) and to do japam according to the upadasa of his acarya. 
(5) Ishvarpranidharna - to offer to lord Narayana, with love, all the benefits of the nitya (daily) karma-s. One must aspire to this and work towards it's growth day by day. These disciplines must be developed step by step without deluding oneself. T

These niyama-s make the yogabhyasa krama

28. What is the procedure one follows for yoga?

Asana-s are the means of reducing illness and for promoting health. The practice of asana makes a person agile. The asana-s should be taught according to the individuals requirements and must be taught in vinyasa. There should be a niyama in the breathing while practicing asana-s. Inhalation and exhalation should be decided according to the movement of the body. The length of the recaka and puraka depends on the asana and this is what helps the healing of illness. If the correct breathing is not done the practice is a waste of time. It is important to learn from a guru. If a person learns from a book then there is no point blaming the sastra-s from not realising the benefits mentioned therein.

29. Why is there the division of hatha-yoga and raja-yoga?

In his work Hatha-Yoga-Pradipka, yogi Svatmarama says ha-tha yoga is the bringing together of the two vayu-s the prana and the apana which are moving in the two nadir the ida and pingala. To have this vayu enter and remain in the susumna is hatha. The word ha- means ida and the word tha- means pinga'a. They are symbolic. The Hatha Yoga Pradipka itself says, that Hatha yoga vidya is to prepare the person to Raja yoga. Raja yoga here means bringing together of the jivatma and paramatma through Asamprajnata Samadhi.

30. On what basis do we follow the practice of yogasana? 

The adharma for Yogasana-s are the four veda-s, the upa-veda-s, the eighteen Puranas, the sutras and the smrtis. They have been handed down to us through the upadesa and the anutsthana of the respective acaryas.

31. Is there any relation between the approach to sickness in Nathamuni's school and Ayurveda?

Nathamuni deals with disease and therapy in conformity with the teachings of Ayuraveda. However, Nathamuni-s emphasis is on Niskamaya karma, yoga-anga anusthana, sattvika ahara, maunam, ekanta-vasa, bhakti and prapatti. In Ayuraveda, however there is more emphasis on medicine and surgery. Except for this there is no difference between Nathamuni's school and Ayuraveda.

32. Is it possible to learn pratyahara and antaranga sadhana from a teacher?

Practices like pratyahara can be learnt from a teacher. However, this should be after the age of sixty. Until then pranayama is adequate to give healthy long life. there is no doubt about this.

33. How many kinds of vinyasa's are there?

The number of vinyasa-s vary from five to fifty

34. There seems to be identical verses in Sivasamhita, Gherenda Samhita and Hatha Yoga Pradipka. Does it mean they are all based on the same text or did they have a common teacher?

If yoga is still vogue it is because of these texts. The authors did not write anything new. They received these sloka-s from their teachers and have presented them in the sloka form. The original master for yoga was Brahma himself. This is what Siva has spoken in the Ahirbhudnya Samhita. In the beginning of Kali yuga the first teacher was Sathagopa maharani. He lived in Alvar Tirunagari and his decedent and decibel was nathamini of Viranarayanapuram. It is sad that some of my own students have given up on sampradaya and are instructing differently.

35. Which is the most important yoga text today?

What is most important is that the student and the teacher must begin and end their yoga practice with a prayer to Ananta Nagaraja and Ananta Pradmanabha.

36. Are the techniques like viloma pranayama, anuloma pranayama, pratiloma pranayama, the different asanas and vinyasas that we use mentioned in any adhara grant (text)? or does it follow a guru parampara?

The pranayama-s are mentioned in the Nathamuni's sampradaya.

37. How are the texts like Goraksa Samhita and the Hathayoga Pradipka compare with the approach of the Yoga Sutra?

Goraksa Samhita and Hatha Yoga Pradipka contain certain practices such as nauli, dhauti, basti, kundalini, calina etc. These are not consistent with the spirit of the yama and niyama of the Yoga Sutra. Besides the claims made in those texts about the benefits of Sad kriyas are contradicted in the Hatha Yoga Pradipka. The most important differences is that, in the Yoga Sutra the focus is in Citta Vritti Nirodha. However some of the practices in the Hatha Yoga Pradipka and Goraksa Samhita are useful. It is suggested that these texts prepare a person for Raja yoga. Raja yoga is another name for the Yoga Sutra.

38. Why should one do vaidika-sastriya karma?

For the present benefit and for the future (after death).

39. Why should there be upasana of the devata?

Istartha Siddhi - you attain what you desire.

40. But this becomes kamayam. Is it desirable?

Kamyam is possible but it is not desirable.

41. What is dharma? Please explain in simple terms.

That which prevents a persons fall.

42. There are many approaches to the word 'Yoga', Which of these have to be refuted?

Adharmika yoga is to be refuted.

43. What is Adarmika yoga?

Adharmika yoga is the yoga that has not been mentioned in the Yoga Sutra.

44. Where in the Yoga Sutra is the Sadanga yoga of Nathamuni mentioned?

Isvarapranidhanadva is the sadanga yoga. Sadanga yoga is surrender. The six steps that are involved in Bhakti are 

1) that God is ultimate. 
2) the ideas that are not in line with this are rejected 
3) to have confidence that 'HE' would protect us. 
4) one ought to praise him, like worship. 
5) that you are at the service of God. 
6) there are no compromises - i.e. you ask him only for his blessings and nothing else. 

This type of bhakti is called visvasam

45. What is the evidence that bhakti alone leads to mukti?

The same sutra is the answer. Yogasutra 1.23 to 1.30

46. What does the bhakti mean to a person who has no belief in Isvara?

Love is bhakti for them

47. What is the difference between prakrti and prapancam?

Prakrti and prapancam are the same

48. Prakrti that has guns-s is mentioned as acaitanyam. How is this?

That which changes is acaitanyam. That which doesn't fluctuate is caitanyam

49. How can there be a samyoga between the prakrti, paramatma and the jivatma?

Samyoga can only be through paramatma

50. What is Jnana yoga?

Jnana yoga is the understanding of the relationship between the paramatma, jivatma and prakrti

51. Are bhakti and prapatti the same?

No, In prapatti the Sadanga yoga is predominant.

52. What is Raja yoga?

Raja means paramatma. So raja Yoga is jnana yoga. Yoga here refers to the paramatma jnanam

53. Does Hatha yoga mean a forceful yoga?


54. Some people describe that the kundalini goes through the susumna to the sahasrara. is it correct?

No. It is the prana vayu that moves through the susumna.

55. What happens to the kundalini when the highest of hathayoga is mastered?

It is not explained in our sastras. It's position itself is disputed i.e. where and when it happens to to the kundalini is not clearly mentioned in the sastras.

56. Is dhyana, dharana, samadhi a sadhana or a siddhi?

Since it has been mentioned as a samyama it is attainable. So it has to be a sahana.

57. Should yama and niyama, precede the practice of asana and pranayama?

Yama, niyama, asana, and pranayama go together. Without the varnasrama dharma, yama and niyama are not possible.

58. Yoga means to join. It is like many grains together?

It's like sugar and water or salt and water.

59. When there is samyoga, how will there be viniyoga again? Is it also an activity? If so how does it happen?

When we are linked to the outside we are automatically delinked inside. If we are linked to the inside we are automatically delinked to the outside. This could happen either because of the gunas-s or the power of the visaya (object). When there is a link with a visaya it is samyoga with that, but viyoga with the others.

60. What does prapancam mean? is it sat yam?

Prapancam (universe) is the imagination: nor is it distorted.

61. Is there any significance attached to our dress and to the sati to which we belong?

Our dress indicates the culture to which we belong

62. Is brahmacarya practiced in grhasthasrama? What is the difference between a brahmacarya in grathasrama and a brahmacarya in a brahmacarya asrama?

In brahmacarya asrama, studies are most important, but the priority changes in grhasthasram.

63. It has been said that our mind is linked to the kind of food we eat. What about our other samaras and  sahavasam?

Whatever has been mentioned for the suddhi (clarity ) of the mamas (mind ) is important. That is why food has been given so much importance.

64. There are many texts on Yoga. Which of them are important and which are less important?

Any text that does not emphasise astanga yoga is not an authority.

65. Where is the evidence that Visnu is sattvika devam, siva rajasika devam and sakti tamasika devam?

The evidence is in the puranas.

66. How is it that we are able to understand the suksma visaya that has been mentioned in the sastras?

Due to the effect of the parinama. Some times the suksma visaya becomes sthulam and during such time there are people who can comprehend it. that is why some have the experience of the suksma visaya while others do not.

67. What is the difference between sa-guna and nir-guna?

Sa-guna has a predominance of the three tunas. In ni-guna the tunas are not predominant. It doesn't mean that there are no tunas but the attaributes of the Lord transcends the tunas.

68.  What is your message to humanity?



Works by Krishnamacharya 
unfortunately most of the articles mentioned have not been released
  1. Yoga Makaranda
  2. Yogaasanagalu
  3. Yoga Rahasya
  4. Yogavalli
Other works (essays and poetic compositions):
  1. “Yogaanjalisaaram”
  2. “Disciplines of Yoga”
  3. “Effect of Yoga Practice”
  4. “Importance of Food and Yoga in Maintaining Health”
  5. “Verses on Methods of Yoga Practice”
  6. “Essay on Asana and Pranayama”
  7. “Madhumeha (Diabetes)”
  8. “Why Yoga as a Therapy Is Not Rising”
  9. Bhagavad Gita as a Health Science”
  10. “Ayurveda and Yoga: An Introduction”
  11. “Questions and Answers on Yoga” (with students in July 1973)
  12. “Yoga: The Best Way to Remove Laziness”
  13. “Dhyana (Meditation) in Verses”
  14. “What Is a Sutra?”
  15. “Kundalini: Essay on What Kundalini Is and Kundalini Arousal (sakti calana) Based on Texts Like the Hatha Yoga PradipikaGheranda Samhita, and Yoga Yajnavalkya
  16. “Extracts from Raja Yoga Ratnakara”
  17. “Need for a Teacher”
  18. “Satvika Marga” (“The Sattvic Way”; philosophy/spiritual/yoga)
  19. “Reference in Vedas to Support Vedic Chanting for Women” (philosophy/technical)
  20. “Fourteen Important Dharmas” (philosophy)
  21. “Cit Acit Tatva Mimamsa” (philosophy)
  22. “Sandhya-saaram” (ritual)
  23. “Catushloki” (four verses on Sankaracharya)
  24. “Kumbhakonam Address” (catalog)
  25. “Sixteen Samskaras” (rituals)
  26. “Mantra Padartha Tatva Nirnaya” (rituals)
  27. “Ahnika Bhaskaram” (rituals)
  28. “Shastreeya Yajnam” (rituals)
  29. “Vivaaha” (marriage rituals)
  30. “Asparsha Pariharam” (rituals)
  31. “Videsavaasi Upakarma Nirnaya” (rituals)
  32. “Sudarshana Dundubhi” (devotional)
  33. “Bhagavat Prasadam” (devotional)
  34. “Narayana Paratva” (devotional)
  35. “About Madras” (miscellaneous)

The video below produced by AG Mohan

Krishnamacharya was unique in many ways — as a master of yoga, as a teacher, as an Ayurvedic physician and as a scholar.  
In the West, Krishnamacharya is mostly known for his contribution to the revival of the more physically oriented disciplines and practices of hatha yoga.  Therefore, he is often referred to as “the father of modern yoga.”  

The notion that Krishnamacharya practiced and taught yoga that was somehow “new” or “modern” is primarily due to the many distortions or misunderstandings about the link between the physical practices of hatha yoga and the meditational practices of raja yoga.   He was the conservator of the ancient teachings of raja yoga.

As a master of yoga and a great scholar, he practiced and linked the physical practices of hatha yoga with the mental states of samadhi described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.    Let us listen to the great master on what is yoga.  

Krishnamacharya:  Yoga is an awareness, a type of knowing.  Yoga will end in awareness. Yoga is arresting the fluctuations of the mind as said in the Yoga  Sutras (of Patanjali): citta vritti nirodha.  When the mind is without any movement, maybe for a quarter of an hour, or even quarter of a minute, you will realize that yoga is of the nature of infinite awareness, infinite knowing.  There is no other object there.”

During my interview of Krishnamacharya in 1988, he continued to expand on his personal experience of this yogic state of samadhi.  

This state of samadhi — the pinnacle of sustained mental focus and the goal of classical yoga — can be reached through pranayama.  Krishnamacharya used to say that pranayama is critical among the eight limbs of yoga.  The practice of pranayama is preceded by the practice of the mudras and the practice of asanas.  These are truly amazing photos of the great master.  

In addition to his mastery of asanas, Krishnamacharya was able to bring the involuntary functions of the body — like the heartbeat — under voluntary control.  

He was not only a master of yoga but also had titles equivalent to doctoral degrees in all the six Vedic darshanas.  

Krishnamacharya taught yoga for nearly seven decades.  He started teaching yoga under the patronage of the Maharaja of Mysore in the 1930s.  Indra Devi, B.K.S. Iyengar, and Pattabhi Jois studied with him during this period.  

What was Krishnamacharya teaching during the 1930s?  The silent film from 1938 contains the yoga practice of Krishnamacharya, his wife and children, and B.K.S. Iyengar, who was also the brother of his wife.  

An analysis of this 1938 video will reveal that Krishnamacharya’s teaching was based on this principle — “Teach what is appropriate for each individual.”

Video of Krishnamacharya’s children – 5 to 7 years old
He taught jumping asanas to his children, who were 5 to 7 years old. 

In an interview, B. K. S. Iyengar recalled that Krishnamacharya taught vigorous jumping movements to him.  

B.K.S. Iyengar:  “Well, you know it is very difficult for a boy of 14-15 years to analyze what my Guruji was teaching, what type of yoga was teaching, or something like that, you know?  Well, I can say it’s like a drill system to a very great extent… So, naturally my Guruji  must have thought that for these martial people, like martial art, yoga has to become a martial art to train them. So there were vigorous, rigorous movements what you call today ‘vinyasa,’ which is jumping movements from asana to asana which you have seen in my 1938 film.  So, that was the way he was teaching.”

Let’s see that. 
Video of Iyengar – 20 years old

Video of Krishnamacharya’s wife – 24 years old 
The Acharya taught differently to his wife to strengthen the organs in the lower abdomen.  Although his wife and Iyengar were almost the same age, Krishnamacharya taught them very differently.  He did not teach deep backbends to his wife.

Video of Krishnamacharya – 50 years old 
Now, watch the practice of Krishnamacharya when he was 50 years old.  Although it appears as if he is doing just head stand, he was actually practicing the viparita karani mudra, which involves long, deep breathing and suspension of breath and bandhas with mental focus.

Krishnamacharya wrote a book called Yoga Makaranda in 1934.  Part I of this book was published by the then-Maharaja of Mysore.  Part II was not published. This is the file cover of the original type written manuscript of Part II.  His son, Desikachar, and myself had classes together on some texts like the Yoga Sutras.  During the 1970s, we reflected on and attempted to edit this manuscript but its publication did not come to fruition.  

In Yoga Makaranda Part II, the Acharya not only details the methodology for each asana but also cautions against the use of force in the practice of asana.  

Currently, there are several misconceptions and confusions regarding the teaching of the Acharya.  There is a notion, for instance, that he was innovating his teachings over a period of time.  He did not.  He always taught what was appropriate for each individual.  The purpose and the capability of the person determined the practice.  He always designed the practice depending on the person and the purpose.

To a question on “Should the asana practice be done fast and why not?”, Krishnamacharya replied that fast movements, and in turn, fast breathing will disturb the flow of prana and will result in imbalances.  Slow movements with long inhale and exhale will help with proper prana flow and mental focus.  

His personal practice was always with long deep breathing and mental focus. Observe the position of his head, the lower abdomen and his mental focus.  He was always concentrated on the inner alignment through breath.

According to Krishnamacharya, practice and knowledge must always go together.  He used to say, practice without right knowledge of theory is blind.  This is also because without right knowledge, one can mindfully do a wrong practice. 

He also did not mix up yoga and religion.  As a Vaishnavite, he kept the wooden sandals of his religious guru.  He did not keep the sandals of his yoga guru, Ramamohana Brahmachari, and never asked his students to pay homage to his Vaishnavite lineage or the padukas.

There is only one yoga, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This is also known as raja yoga.  Hatha yoga, laya yoga, and mantra yoga each have four steps.   They involve the practice of some of the eight limbs of the Yoga Sutras, like the yamas and niyamas.  They merge into the sixth limb of yoga, dharana, which leads to samadhi. Krishnamacharya with his depth of knowledge and practice was clear about these connections.

In the 1930s, Krishnamacharya tried to resolve the prevailing confusions among the then-yoga luminaries. He later recalled: 

“In 1933 through 1937, some people were talking about different varieties of yoga, like hatha yoga, raja yoga, and kundalini yoga.  Some said that the kriyas were the most important, and that that was (true) yoga.  I was in the yoga school in Mysore, under the patronage of the king.  I wrote letters to well-known yoga teachers like Paramahamsa Yogananda, Kuvalayananda, and Yogindra, saying that we should have a meeting and resolve such confusion.  Eventually, however, no meeting took place and nothing came out of the correspondence.”
Currently, the confusions have become manifold with the addition of brands, labels, traditions, and lineages.  

The goal of the physical practices of hatha yoga is to lead to the mental states of samadhi described in the Yoga Sutras.  Absence of knowledge of the connections and the practice has resulted in many confusions and distortions. The discernment that Krishnamacharya spoke of so many decades ago is even more important now.

On November 18th, we celebrate his 125th birth anniversary.  I vividly remember this day, 25 years ago on his 100th birthday, as I was the convener of his centenary celebrations.  Krishnamacharya would have been extremely happy that his tireless perseverance in propagating yoga has resulted in millions of people now practicing yoga around the world.  He would want all of us to carry on the ancient and authentic teachings of yoga as they have been conveyed to us by the sages.  
Let the message not be lost.  

To download Yoga Makaranda (Part II), click here.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Krishnamacharya's Mysore HOUSE RECOMMENDATIONS (practice guidelines) from Yoga Makaranda and Yogasanagalu

I was looking through my copy of the AYA2 (Ashtanga) House Recommendations this week, crowdsourced and curated by Angela Jamison  and designed by Laura Shaw Feit of Small Blue Pearls blog and

Got me thinking, what would be Krishnamacharya's 'House Recommendations' be like?

Here's what I could find from his texts, Yoga Makaranda (1934), 'Yoga Makaranda Part II' (released by AG Mohan) and Yogasanagalu (1941)

Free pdf downloads of Yoga Makaranda I and II are available from my download page (Yogasangalu coming soon, ongoing translation here

Unfortunately I don't have Laura's classy layout. 

Perhaps sometime in the future I'll re edit this into the AYA2 chapter headings.

I was going to post this tomorrow as for some reason there's more traffic during the week than at the weekend (do Ashtangi's take a day off blogs as well as practice Saturdays?), but it's long and might be perfect for a quiet Sunday so let your friends know about it perhaps, there are some jewels here.


UPDATE: Just turned these notes into a pdf to make them more reader friendly as this blog can be so slow to load at times. I've stored them on googledocs and they can be downloaded freely here

No photo's but just checked and it looks good, and more importantly reads nicely, in ibooks.

The idea here is to encourage everyone to read more Krishnamacharya and to make him as accessible as possible

I've also added the file to my free download page

Currently typing up something extra to add to the Yogasanagalu and Yoga Makaranda sections, new pdf file should be up on google docs in a couple of days, check back.


from Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu (1941) 

  • 11.  3rd Limb and Authority (to practice asana)

    Third step is the asana.  People who make sincere efforts to practice the first and second steps (limbs) as much as possible, no matter what the conditions  are will have the authority to go into the 3rd step that is “Asana.” 

    Depending on how strong one practices detailed aspects of the 2nd and 3rd limbs, so fast will they experience the corresponding benefits. In yoganga, no practice will go to waste.  However, one should practice daily at an appropriate time with devotion, sincerity and respect and without going against how it was taught by the guru. 

    12.  Caution

    Especially those who want to start practicing the two yoganga’s “Asana” and “Pranayama” without following the aforementioned niyamas, following drawing charts and practicing on  their own freewill will not receive benefits but may also be responsible for tarnishing the name and bringing disrepute.  Unlike other practices, yoganga sadhana not only nourishes muscles.  It benefits body, musculature, and mind and according to the age of the practitioner improves the active energy, extends life, eliminates diseases, provides stability of the mind, comprehension of subtle reality and self knowledge.

    13.  Review

    Body exercises can be divided into two types: Sarvanga Sadhana and Anga Sadhana.
    The system which provides vigorous motion to one section of limbs while providing limited or no activities to other section is called Angabhaga Sadhaka.  I haven’t expanded on this since the current generation of youth may well imagine the examples that I am referring to.

    Examples of well known body exercises that are classified under the Sarvanga Sadhaka are: Talinkhana, Garudi, etc. From these body exercises one can achieve more than necessary strong and bulky muscles resulting in impaired brain function and in these individuals respiration (inhalation and exhalation) will be irregular, but never even. 


    1. In yoganga sadhana we don’t see these (above mentioned) irregularities and with regular practice all organs will become strong.  How is that?  When practicing asanas, we need to maintain deep inhalation and exhalation to normalise the uneven respiration through nasal pasages.

     2. In yoga positions where eyes, head and forehead are raised, inhalation must be performed slowly through the nostrils until the lungs are filled.  Then the chest is pushed forward and puffed up, abdomen tightly tucked in, focusing the eyes on the tip of the nose, and straighten the back bones tightly as much as possible.  This type of inhalation which fills the lungs signifies Puraka.

    3. In yoga positions where eyes, head, forehead, chest and the hip are lowered, we have to slowly exhale the filled air.  Tucking in tightly the upper abdomen, the eyes must be closed.  This type of exhalation is called Rechaka.

    4. Holding the breath is called Kumbhaka.

    5. We have to discontinue laughter and shouting hard.  Reason?  Lungs become weak and you will start losing prana shakti.
    Do not hold the urge to urinate or defecate before, during or after practice.  Holding will lead to putrefacation of excreta internally therefore leading to diseases.

    6. Before practice and immediately afterwards no type of food must be taken.

    7. Foods that are very hot, sour, salty, bitter and smelling bad must be given up.

    8. Liquor, smoking, women (outside of marriage), eating fire must be rejected by the practitioner.

    9. Private parts must be held with appropriate attire during practice.

    10. It is said that these Niyamas must be followed by the yoganga practitioners in Patanjali yogashastra, Hathayoga pradipika and many other texts is mainly for our benefit and not for our misery. By practicing these Niyamas, our ancestors used to live without too much worry and have brought enormous fame and glory to the country of Bharata.

  • ***********

  • The art of yoga which had been in hibernation for some reason, has seen a resurrection due to encouragement by some very important people and it is the responsibility of the young boys and girls to make it a success.  Unlike other practices, yoga practice does not require spending money on various apparatus. Unnecesssary food or drinks are not required.  Expensive clothing and attire are not needed.  Big buildings are not necessary.  Differences in caste, creed, young-old, men-women do not matter.  However, deep desire, faith, courage, perseverence, Satvic (pure) and limited food - these are required.  There is simply no reason why this yoganga sadhana which provides so much benefits and is so simple must be given up by us, impoverished Indians. 
    While Foreigners have come to the growing yoga shala supported by Sri Maharaja, taken photos of the drawing charts and displaying it in their countries, it is not right that we sit still and do nothing.

  • Bharata, which is the home of all philosophical/spiritual sciences, we have it our hand to ensure that others don’t become teachers of our youth.  
  • This amazing system is not being practiced along with spiritual sciences with the help of a Guru, but is being abused by some of us is very unfortunate.
    The number of yogasanas are countless. Although the quote “Asanani cha tavanti yavanto Jeevarashayah” from Dhyanabindupanishat has been widely known, people who keep on saying that there are only eighty four (postures), must be under delusion. Whoever practices yogasanas with appropriate breathing technique will not be bothered by diseases.  Yogasanas that are suitable for obese body, lean body and underweight body have been listed in the yoga shastra texts ( listed in the table coming up).  Some people are saying “yoga practice will lead to a very lean body and pranayama practice can cause madness.”  Respectable people who make such statements, did they get mad by practicing and then got cured by some treatment?  Our youth must ask this question. Some others bring up the dangers to sensationalize the issue. Without proper training and understanding there is danger in everything.  We have to assume that the reason some doctors have an unfavourable view of yoga is that the practice is not currently in vogue.

    Yogasanas must be only practiced with vinyasas and never without it. Vinyasas from 1 to 7 are equal in all asanas.  Vinyasas create movement in the kosha (sheath), nerve, arteries, muscles and spaces between bones and helps eliminate impurities in these areas.  In addition, muscle tissue develops and becomes strong.

    Practicing  yogasanas without vinyasa will make the body lean and emaciated.  Some people who did not learn yoga through a guru and practice without vinyasa have brought bad reputation to yoga  which is very unfortunate.

    Therefore, how many vinysas for asanas? Asana position comes at which vinyasa count?  When do you perform rechanka and puraka?  When to do antah kumbhaka and bahya kumbhaka?  What are its benefits?  For yoga practitioners information, it is listed in the table below.

    Yoga practitioners must perform pranayama on an individual basis. However, yogasanas can be performed individually or as a group.  When teaching yoga in a group, it is advised to separate people with obese, lean, and short body types.  Otherwise, they will not get their desired results.  People with obese body naturally want to get lean. Drill and other exercises also follow this rule. All can not perform all types of practices (sadhanas).  Can an obese person run like a lean man?  Can he raise and bend hands and legs (in the same fashion)?.  For instance, if he runs hard due to drill masters orders, he could be put in danger due to elevated heart rate.

    In yoganga practice, asanas that are possible for a lean person are impossible for an obese person. However, we don’t need to increase the number of yoga instructors.  Yoga practitioners may be divided approximately on the basis of body type and the same instructor can teach them. In the same way, practitioners with common disease types may be divided and treated (with yoga). Yoga sadhana is without risk compared to many of the body exercises that require equipment.  Yoganga sadhana must be done standing, sitting, sideways and upside down.

    All these types of asanas are given in this edition.  Interested practitioners and instructors must study carefully, practice and teach. Many asanas are also printed for ladies.  From this, we can get an idea of our ancestors behaviour.


  • Lazy people can not make progress in any work while energetic will not be left behind. India’s cultural and spiritual wealth was not only permeated by speech. The courageous overcome obstacles and practiced.  In this edition, it is once again suggested that yoga sadhana is for people of all ages. 


  • from Krishnamacharya's Yogas Makaranda (1934)

  • Investigations of the Yoganga

    A man can live in his body for as long as he wishes, not just one hundred years. But for that, prana vayu suddhi is essential. Prana vayu suddhi means to keep prana vayu under one’s control. If prana vayu is to be kept under our control, pranayama is the most important tool. Our ancestors followed these useful in- structions and so lived as long as they wished and served as a support for the people of this world and even today exist as famous and enlightenened souls. But now, day by day, we keep destroying the techniques of pranayama. We mistrust our history and the great people who came before us and undertake physical ex- ercises and movements that are dangerous to our lives. As a result, we age within a few years of birth, struggle and stagger to a corner and fall down.

    I have described the methods and rules for following pranayama in the chapter on pranayama. It is important to first learn that through the practice of asana and pranayama we keep our body, mind, prana, indriyas, and atma in a proper state — this is yoga.

    There are many types of this yoga — 1. hatha yoga, 2. mantra yoga, 3. laya yoga, 4. raja yoga.
    Hatha yoga focusses mainly on descriptions of the methods for doing asanas.
    Raja yoga teaches the means to improve the skills and talents of the mind through the processes of dharana and dhyana. It also explains how to bring the eleven indriyas under control and stop their activities in the third eye (the eye of wisdom), the ajn ̃a cakra, or the thousand-petalled lotus position (that is turn their attention inward and not outward) and describes how to see the jivatma, the paramatma and all the states of the universe. But even here it is mentioned that to clean the nadis it is necessary to follow the pranayama kramas.
    Asana and pranayama are initially extremely important. But if one wants to master asana and pranayama, it is essential to bring the indriyas under one’s control.
    Yoga consists of eight angas which are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.

    2.1 Yama and Niyama

    Ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya, kshama, dhrthi, daya, arjavam, mitahara and sauca — these ten are called yama.

    1. To never harm anybody through mind, speech or action is ahimsa.
    2. To always speak the truth with good intentions and through that be of use
      to all living beings is satya.
    3. To not usurp other people’s wealth through mind, speech or action is called
    4. To not waste your viryam by any means is called brahmacharyam.
    5. To not change the state of your mind irrespective of whether you get the expected benefits of your actions or not is kshama (equanimity).
    6. Whatever hurdles arise to your happiness or welfare, to continue to under- take with mental steadfastness and courage whatever work that has to be done is dhrthi.
    7. Be it enemy, friend, stranger (an alien or somebody you are unconnected to or indierent to) or relative, to behave towards all with the same good intentions without dierentiation is daya.
    8. To keep the state of mind honest (on the straight path) is arjavam.
    9. To use half the stomach for food and to keep the other half in equal parts
      for water and for air flow (vayu sancharam) is mitahara.
    10. To maintain cleanliness internally and externally is sauca.

    To not hoard money is called asanchayam and this is also a yama. To perform good deeds without fear is a yama.

    Tapas, santosha, asthikya, daana, isvara puja, siddhanta vakya sravana, hri, mathi, japa, homam — these ten are called niyama.


    1. Cold and hot, joy and sorrow, adoration and aversion — to maintain a steady state of mind when encountering these and to follow the dharma of your caste is tapas.
    2. The sorrows and pleasure that result from any occurrences due to variations of time and place — to accept these with a peaceful, contented mind is santosha.
    3. To have definite belief that for all the fourteen worlds, there is one para- matma who protects these worlds and to be sure that without him, this diverse universe could not have come into existence, and to make up your mind to find and know (realize) this paramatma is asthikya.
    4. To give away your earnings (earned honestly) to good causes without any reason and without expecting any returns is daana.
    5. To worship one’s chosen deity in the proper manner according to the vedas is isvara puja.
    6. For the purpose of establishing sanatana dharma, to study the vedas, the vedanta, smrti, the puranas and ithihasas, to do vedic study and recitation of these, to understand the functioning of various dharmas, and to listen to the discourses of great sages is siddhanta vakya sravana.
    7. If you have strayed with one of the three — your body, possessions or spirit — out of ignorance, to inform the elders about this without hiding it, to feel remorse and promise never to repeat it, and to be humble in one’s mind is hri (modesty).
    8. Following one’s path as specified by the sastras and while doing this to visualize with one-pointed mind the divine auspicious form of one’s chosen deity and to perform dhyana on this deity is mathi.
    9. To properly chant the great mantras learned under the guidance of one’s guru with correct intonation, metre and rhythm and with understanding of their meaning is japa.
    10. Nitya naimitika kaamya are the three types of srouta smarta karmas (pre- scribed or recorded vedic rites and rituals). Leaving aside the kaamya karma (action or rite performed with a self-interested motive or with a view to- wards desired results), to perform the nitya naimitika karmas (nitya karmas a constant or continuous rite or action, naimitika is a regularly recur- ring or periodic rite or action) at the proper time in order to please the devatas, and after reciting all the mantras to put the havis (rice) in the fire as described in the sastras is homam.

    These ten yama and niyama should be carefully practised as far as possible. This will have many benefits. The third part of yoga is asana.

    One should practise asana in a superior, very clean place, clean all the nadis in our body and master the vayus to bring them under our control.

    To begin practising yoga, the two seasons, spring (the months of chittirai and vaigasi) (Apr. 15 — Jun. 15) or autumn (the months of aipasi and karthikai) (Oct. 15 — Dec. 15) are superior.
    If a yogabhyasi eats when the vayu sancharam is equal in both nostrils and sleeps when the air flow is in the surya nadi (right side) he will have superior health. 

    2.3 Warning

    The obstacles to becoming an adept yogi are sleep, laziness and disease. One has to remove these by the root and throw them away in order to keep the body under one’s control, to conquer the senses, and to make the prana vayu appear directly in the susumna nadi. Asana siddhi will help all this. To acquire this skill in asana quickly, recite the following slokam every day before practising yoga:

    Jivamani Bhrajatphana sahasra vidhdhrt vishvam Bharamandalaya anantaya nagarajaya namaha

    Repeat this prayer, do namaskaram to adisesha, perform the relevant puja, meditate on adisesha and then begin the practice. When I explain the rules of yogasana, if the position of the head has not been specified, then keep the head in jalandara bandha. Similarly, if it does not specify where to place the gaze, then the gaze should be directed towards the midbrow. If the position of the hands has not been specified, then the hands should be kept as in siddhasana. Whenever there is a krama where some part of the body has to be held with the hand, and the placement of the hand has not been described, hold the relevant part of the body with the first three fingers of the hand (including the thumb). Make sure to remember this.

    When practising the asanas, it is important to do both the right and left sides. First practise the right side and then the left side. If you don’t do this, the strength of yoga will not reach all parts of the body.

    2.4 Important Observations

    From ancient times, while doing veda adhyayanam, the svaras (the notes udatta (elevated), anudatta (grave) and svarita (middle/articulated)) in the aksharas (syllables) of the vedas are observed and mastered without fail; in music, the rules of sruti (division of octave), layam (metre or time), thrtam and anuthrtam are followed; in pathyatmaha (verses of 4 lines each) poems the rules for chandas, yati, and parasam have been established and are carefully followed; in mantra upasana, the anganyasa, karanyasa, sariranyasa, kalaanyasa, matrukanyasa, ji- vanyasa, tattvanyasa are experienced and understood. Similarly in yogasana, pranayama and the mudras, the vinyasas handed down from ancient times should be followed.

    But nowadays, in many places, these great practitioners of yogabhyasa ignore vinyasa krama and just move and bend and shake their arms and legs and claim that they are practising asana abhyasa. This is being done not only in yogabhyasa but also in veda adhyayanam and in mantra upasanas where the rules are being ignored and people shamefully practise this as though it were part of their worldly aairs. If this behaviour continues for some time, even the vedas will be ruined.

    Everybody knows that anything that is done without following the prescribed rules will not give any benefits. When we know that this is true, is there any need to reiterate this for the great traditions of yogabhyasa, veda adhyayanam and mantra upasana which provide the best benefits? Some people, who are involved in sahavasa dosha and interested only in worldly benefits, say that they do not see any point in following sanatana dharma or karma yoga. There are reasons for their saying this. I would like to briefly mention one or two points addressing this.

    1. They are not following the rules such as vinyasa.

    2. Their guru is not teaching them using the secrets and techniques that are

    in his experience.

    3. The guru has not instructed them properly about the place and time of practice, the appropriate diet and drink and activities for the practitioner. As a result of many people teaching yogabhyasa in this fashion, many leave the path of yoga saying that they do not see the benefits in yogabhyasa and fall into the traps of various diseases. They do not exercise the body properly and spend money unnecessarily. Instead of following the system properly, they lose their way and waste time on unnecessary pursuits and have started saying that these times are not appropriate for sanatana dharma and karma. Some others, in order to hide the mistakes and bad actions that they have committed, keep saying that doing yogabhyasa makes one go mad and intentionally deceive great people in this manner. In spite of this terrible situation, some young men and women collect some yoga texts from here and there and eagerly begin to practise in either a correct or incorrect way. For these people, god will reveal the secrets of yoga without fail. The modern age belongs to the youth. Let the god of yoga bless them to have good health, long life and body strength.

    Following the path that my guru has recommended for me, I am writing down the secrets of yoga.

    Yogasana and pranayama are of two types: samantraka and amantraka. Only those who have the right to study the vedas have the authority to practise the yoga that is samantraka. All people have the right to practise the amantraka type. For each asana, there are 3 to 48 vinyasas. None has fewer than 3 vinyasas.

    When practising asana, the breath that is inhaled into the body and the breath that is exhaled out must be kept equal. Moreover, practise the asana with their vinyasas by breathing only through the nose.

    Just as music without sruti and laya will not give any pleasure, similarly asana practice done without vinyasa krama will not give good health. When that is so, what more is there to say about long life and strength in this context?

    In yogabhyasa, there are two types of kriyas langhana kriya and brah- mana kriya. One who is obese should practise langhana kriya. One who is thin should practise brahmana kriya and one who is neither fat nor thin should practise yogabhyasa in both.

    Brahmana kriya means to take in the outside air through the nose, pull it inside, and hold it in firmly. This is called puraka kumbhaka.

    Langhana kriya means to exhale the air that is inside the body out through the nose and to hold the breath firmly without allowing any air from outside into the body. This is called recaka kumbhaka.

    In vaidya sastra, they describe brahmana kriya as meaning a prescribed diet and langhana kriya as meaning to fast. But in yoga sastra it does not have this meaning. Without understanding these intricacies and secrets of yoga, some people look at the books and try to do yogabhyasa (like looking for Ganesa and ending up with a monkey). They get disastrous results and bring a bad name for yoga sastra. We need not pay any attention to their words.

    If one practises yogabhyasa in the presence of a guru for a few years, following vinyasa and associated kriyas, the dierent aspects and qualities of yoga will be revealed. Instead, for those who practise an asana for only one day, and then ridicule it the next day asking what has been gained by this, the correct answer can be given by a farmer. If a person sows some seeds and then complains the next day that no seedlings have grown, no farmer will tolerate such a ridiculous statement.

    Some people say that yogabhyasa is only for men and not for women. Some others say that yoga is only for brahmins, kshatriyas, and vaishyas and not for others.

    One can immediately state that these people have never read the yoga sastras.
    Some other great people scare people by saying that yogabhyasa will drive one mad, and have proceeded to completely destroy the jitendriya tattvam (doctrine of conquering the senses) and other such vairagyam in this world. There seems to be no limit to this kind of hilarious statements.

    Those who have minutely examined the Upanishads, the Brihadaranyaka, and Yoga Yajnavalkya Samhita, and who have carefully studied and compared the yoga texts will not utter such foul sentences.

    In each section for each particular asana, we have included a description and an enumeration of its vinyasas. The vinyasas in which the head is raised are to be done with puraka kumbhaka and the ones in which the head is lowered must be done with recaka kumbhaka. Uthpluthi (raising the body from the floor with only the support of both hands on the floor is called uthpluthi) should be done on recaka kumbhaka for a fat person and on puraka kumbhaka for a thin person.

    Those who ignore these rules and only do yogabhyasa according to their wishes, by following picture books, will be unhappy as a result because they will obtain absolutely no benefits from this. These people then ridicule yogavidya and their sanatana dharma, and start doing physical exercises that are contrary to our country’s ahara guna (diet), jala guna (water) and vayu guna (climate) and waste a lot of money on this. Who is at fault? 

    Ordinarily, any physical activity will initially cause the body pain. Similarly, yogabhyasa will also initially cause some physical pain. But in a few days, the pain will subside on its own. When we do physical exercises, there are two types: exercising some parts of the body and exercising the entire body. Nowadays, we follow Western exercises and methodology, think that this is easy, spend a lot of money on it, procure expensive equipment from abroad and exercise with no consistency or routine. This is not an achievement of the body but a bodiless eort or a body destroying eort. We did not make up these names. We realize this from the kinds of kriyas that are being followed by the practitioner of these exercises. Moreover, such exercises will give proper blood circulation to some parts of the body while reducing the blood flow in others. This will result in poor strength, and eventually will cause paralysis and lead to an early, untimely death.

    To make things worse, when we observe the practitioners of the kinds of physical exercises that exist nowadays, they make loud noises while practising and we notice that they breathe through their mouths. This is very dangerous. It is a danger to our lives. We have life only as long as prana vayu exists in our body. Therefore, such exercises are not suitable for people in our country. It is more intelligent to spend the money nourishing the body than to spend the money on such physical exercises.

    There are only three forms of physical exercises that give equal strength to the joints and blood vessels in our bodies: yogabhyasa, karadi sadhana (fencing or fighting with weapons) and archery. I don’t know why people have given up the skill of archery in the present day.
    Karadi sadhana can be found to exist here and there but it must be stated that even this does not follow the proper krama nowadays. Through no fault of anybody’s, everybody starts dividing into camps, competing with one another and eventually end up fighting. Moreover, fencing is an eort only for achievement in this world and is not the way to get any permanent results. The greatest fault in karadi sadhana is that many do not achieve the subtle benefits of strength of mind and balance in the body. Good health, longevity, happiness, strong mind and strong body are the five aspects that are essential for a man. If these five parts are not functioning properly, one cannot understand the essence of the universe. With no understanding of this, even acquiring a good life has no meaning. In modern times, many types of strange phenomenan are occurring. Among these, using the skill of discernment to examine the good and the bad, the time has come to carefully choose only the good. This skill to discern exists only in human beings and in no other living beings. If one wants to develop such a skill, it is essential to have complete physical strength, strength of mind, and similarly one needs to conquer each of the five aspects mentioned earlier. The secret of the five aspects is what we call yoga.

    For such achievements in yoga, we do not need to send our country’s money elsewhere to procure any items. Whatever money we get, there is plenty of place in our country to store it. The foreigners have stolen all the skills and knowledge and treasures of mother India, either right in front of us or in a hidden way. They pretend that they have discovered all this by themselves, bundle it together, and then bring it back here as though doing us a favour and in exchange take all the money and things we have saved up for our family’s welfare. After some time passes, they will try and do the same thing with yogavidya. We can clearly state that the blame for this is that while we have read the books required for the knowledge of yoga to shine, we have not understood or studied the concepts or brought them into our experience. If we still sleep and keep our eyes closed, then the foreigners will become our gurus in yogavidya.

    We have already given the gold vessels we had to them and bought vessels from them made from bad-smelling skin and have started using these. This is a very sad state. Our descendents do not need these sorts of bad habits.

    The physical exercise that is yoga, this asana kriya that is with us is more than enough for us. The hut that we live in is enough. We don’t need excessive amounts of money for that. What yoga mata wishes for us is that we eat only the sattvic food that Bharatmata can give us. The ability that our youngsters have to follow outsiders can also be used to follow the knowledge and skills of our country. I have complete faith in this. In schools, it is very important to have this yoga vidya in the curriculum. I do not need to emphasize this specifically to the great scholars who know the secrets of vidya.

    For the achievement of all the five angas, the means is yoga. That which gives us good health and good fortune is yoga. That which gives us long life is yoga. That which gives us power of intellect is yoga. That which makes us wealthy is yoga. That which makes us human is yoga. That which makes our Bharatmata virtuous and faithful is yoga. That which gives us the power of discernment to know what we should do and what we should not is yoga. The knowledge that helps us understand why we have taken on this life is yoga. That which gives us the answer to the question — where is our god? — is yoga and not anything else. We can say this confidently.

    “Yoga is the foundation

    for both siddhi and liberation" 

    On analysis, yoga alone paves the way for complete ultimate knowledge of everything. A systematic pristine practice of yoga is a perfect tool for understanding one’s true nature Yoga is a state of oneness of jivatma and paramatma

    That which was said then is also a proof of this. 
  • ********

Chapter on Yogabhyasa

After continuing to practise the first two angas — the yama and niyama — the relevant and important concepts required for the practice of the third and fourth angas asana and pranayama — will be described in this section: the place and time to practise, dietary rules and restrictions, understanding nadi sodhana, vayu sodhana (that is, examination of the breath, determining what we are aware of and not aware of about our breath, and the correction of breath).
Yoga should not be practised in a country where there is no faith in yogab- hyasa, or in a dangerous forest where you cannot look after your person, or in overcrowded cities, or in houses where there is no peace.

3.1 Places to practise Yoga

The following places are superior: a place with plenty of water, a fertile place, a place where there is a bank of a holy river, where there are no crowds, a clean solitary place — such places are superior. In such a place, yoga can be practised. In such a place find a region where there is a well or a pond or a lake. Build a fence around this area and in a flat region in the middle of this build a beautiful ashram. In this location, make arrangements so that insects like ants, mosquitoes, and bed bugs and insects that can draw blood cannot enter. Moreover, it is necessary to clean the space with cowdung daily. Inside the building, put up pictures on the four walls to encourage the growth of vairagya (detachment), jitendriya (control of the senses), and yoga vidya abhyasa.

In the yogabhyasa sala decorated as described above, spread a seat of grass on the ground in a clean space not facing the front door. Over that spread a tiger skin or deer skin and over that put a white blanket or a clean white cloth.  

Prepare such a place for sitting. To make sure no bad smell enters this place, burn sambrani or incense. After completing their yoga practice consisting of asana and pranayama, the yoga practitioner must rest for fifteen minutes keeping the body on the floor before coming outside. If you come outdoors soon after completing yogabhyasa, the breeze will enter the body through the minute pores on the skin and cause many kinds of disease. Therefore, one should stay inside until the sweat subsides, rub the body nicely and sit contentedly and rest for a short period.

3.2 Discussion of when to begin Yogabhyasa

In the spring, the months of chittirai and vaigasi (Apr. 15 — Jun. 15), in autumn, the months of aipasi and karthikai (Oct. 15 — Dec. 15), and in winter, the month of margazhi (Dec. 15 — Jan. 15) — if you start the practice of yoga at these times, it will not cause any diseases in your body and you will be able to become an adept in yoga. The other months are mediocre.

3.3 Dietary Restrictions for the Yogabhyasi

Food must be eaten in measured quantities. It must be very pure. The food should not be overly hot, it should not have cooled down too much (very cold food should be avoided). Savouring the taste, fill the stomach with such food until it is half full. After this, leave a quarter of the stomach for water and leave the rest empty to allow for movement of air. For example, one who normally has the capacity to eat 1/4 measure of food, should eat 1/8 measure of food and leave the rest of the stomach as mentioned above.

For whom there is neither excess nor less of sleep, food and activity

For him alone it is possible

to attain the state of yoga

The reader should keep these great words from the Gita Saram in their mind. 

More importantly, before explaining the various details of yogabhyasa and the benefits rendered, the reader should note one warning. That is, if anyone asks what the meaning of the phrase “anda pinda caracaram” (“what is the relationship between the microcosm and macrocosm”), they give the easy answer “the complete universe”.

This is definitely accurate! But they don’t understand the real meaning of its philosophy. There will be no haste to understand the real meaning since one already has the correct answer. There is an urgency to explain this here in order to have faith in this statement.

Andam (Macrocosm) means the entire world. Pindam (microcosm) consists of all the mobile and immobile beings and objects in this world. Caram is that prana which is between the andam and pindam uniting and dierentiating the two and causing them to function. That is, Svasam (breath) is vayu (air). Acaram is the state of compressing the vayu and bringing together andam and pindam in a state of unity, that is, uniting the jivatma and paramatma together. To get to the state where the prana vayu can help the jivatma and paramatma unite, we need to practise recaka puraka kumbhaka according to the krama of yoga in order to regularly be able to bring this vayu under our control. This is similar to a man taming wild animals in the forest and slowly bringing them under his control. The yoga practitioner should similarly gradually bring the vayu under his control.

Otherwise, like the man who can get killed by the wild animals, vayu will also kill the practitioner. Therefore, the practitioner must proceed with minute attention and extreme caution and must make a habit of observing the rules given here.

3.3.1 Food that can be eaten

Old thin cooked rice, wheat roti or poori, halwa, white or green corn roti, moong dal, urad dal, green plaintain, plantain flower, banana stem, tender eggplant, spices and herbs, edible roots, ghee, milk, sweet fruits, gooseberry, things made out of wheat flour, cardomom, bay leaf, cinnamon and such fragrant spices and foods can be eaten.

3.3.2 Food that should be avoided

Bitter, sour, salty, hot (overly spicy), yoghurt, vegetables that cannot be di- gested easily, alcohol, addictive narcotics, jack fruit, wood apple, pumpkin, onion, asafoetida, butter, curdled milk, too much sweet, dry coconut, mangoes and other foods that increase the heat in the body and oily, fried foods should be avoided.

Section on recommended activities and activities to avoid

The following activities should be given up: long journeys requiring one to stay in a village at night; having a bath after sunrise; fasting; stressful physical exertion other than asana pranayama; to eat once a day; not eating or fasting; to sleep after eating during the day; talking too much; too much sex; to dry yourself by a fireplace; to be too close to a fire; to bathe after oiling yourself with bad-smelling oil.

3.4.2 Activities that should be done

These activities must be practised: Get up early in the morning at 4:00 am every day and have a bath in a great river. If that is not possible, have a bath in clean hot water. Eat in the afternoon and at night, both times as mentioned earlier. Eat measured quantities of soft sweet food. Place signs of one’s (religious) tradition on the body and put on clean clothes. Follow the rules of your caste and creed and work according to your dharma.

Worship the idols representing the deities. Have sincere heartfelt devotion to the guru and elderly. Tattvam and sastram — study and research these constantly. During times of war constantly practise asana and pranayama and the earlier yogangas. Bathe using good-smelling oil. In the night, eat food with milk and ghee. These activities must be carried out.

from Krishnamacharya's Yogas Makaranda Part II (19?)


All the ancient authors on Yoga are unanimous that everyone, be young or old, of either sex, in good health or not, is competent to practice Yoga, as far as it is aimed towards attainment of physical and mental benefits. There are as many asanas as there are living beings, says an ancient text. Thus, whatever be the state of the body, particular asanas and Yogic breathing exercises can be found and prescribed, by a competent Guru, which will be of benefit to the individual. The practices are so comprehensive as to cater for everyone.

Systematic course of Yoga practices has been given in a number of books written by the ancient rishis. These are the outcome of their rich experience. Similar practices are also found in books written by men of other religions.

Some ideas are prevalent that beginning of Yogic practices by the young, may stunt their growth and hence these should be practiced only after the age of sixteen. It is time that such erroneous notions are cleared.

No such age limit has been prescribed in any of the ancient treatises and my experience has shown that there is not only no deleterious effect but on the other hand there is considerable benefit. The other types of physical exercises, may make for showy muscles, but one should take into consideration also the fact, that in the enthusiasm parts of the body may be considerably strained and there may be no balanced development. The great benefit which Yogic exercises give of mental development and poise will be absent.

That these practices were intended to be started at a fairly young age would be clear from the fact that Pranayama forms part of the daily sandhya to be done after Upanayanam and this samskara was prescribed at the age of seven.

In the young, if habits of food restrictions are not observed, the boys tend towards becoming fatty or by taking of improper food and at irregular times tend to become subject to stomach upsets. Yogic exercises act as a corrective. Muscles may not be showy, but better health and balanced development of mind and body takes place.

There are quite a number of authoritative texts in Yoga and Ayurvedic treatises that prescribe Yogic practices for pregnant ladies, both in good health and for those who are not.

My own experience shows that such a practice is of considerable benefit to the mother, the unborn child and the child when born.

When Yogic practices can be undertaken even by ladies is a delicate condition, there need be no apprehension at all that Yogic practice will harm the young.

from p76-77

All asanas are not necessary for a routine practice for everyone. Age, ailments, peculiarities and individual constitutions are to be considered to find out which asanas are to be practised and which should be avoided.

One important thing to be constantly kept in mind when doing the asanas is the regulation of breath. It should be slow thin, long and steady; breathing through both nostrils with rubbing sensation at the throat and through the esophagus inhaling when coming through the oesophagus inhaling when coming to the straight posture and exhaling when bending the body.

The asanas are best practised early in the morning on an empty stomach. Those who are weak may do asanas after lapse of an hour after taking light liquid diet like milk. The head down postures should be done only after the lapse of at least three hours after a meal and the CHURNING (NOULI) after the lapse of six hours.

We have already mentioned that all asanas are not necessary for each individual. But a few of us at least should learn all the asanas so that the art of Yoga may not be forgotten and lost. I can say with pardonable pride that people of all ages from young children up to adults 120 years old, men as well as women have practised Yoga under my instruction. Enthusiasts from foreign countries, English, French, Russian and American ladies have undergone systematic training under me and a few of them e.g. Mr. Evgenic Strakary (Indira Devi) of Russia, have published books giving a description of what they have learned. Mr. Therose Brosse of France, a heart specialist has made the following observations:
Health is the prime necessity for enjoyment of life in this world. There are many ways in which health can be secured and of all the ways, the Yogic way is the best. The Yogic way gives you the maximum health with the minimum of expenditure. Yoga can be practised in all seasons and by all the several castes of people. This Yoga was discovered by our ancestors who practised it with great discipline and the secrets have been handed over to us in treatises on the science of Yoga.

The Yoga Asanas are not new inventions of the modern days propagated among the masses. Our religious books say that these Yoga practises were discovered thousands of years ago. The Bhagavad Gita which is accepted as one of the greatest scriptures all over the world is alone sufficient to testify to the greatness of Yoga. The connection between Yoga Asanas and Health is described in Chapter I Sloka 17 of Hathayoga Pradipika.

from p83-84

It is common experience that if one goes out of the way, one meets with danger. Some are of the opinion that the practice of Yoganga Sadhana leads one to madness. But how we do account for those people who are mad without the practice of Yoga? So it is very improper for one to criticise the Sadhana that it is either good or bad without actually putting it into practice oneself. The practice of asanas eliminates excessive fat, unwanted tissues faeces and urine without the aid of any surgical instrument. Hence the Rishis of old called it operation without instruments.

The ugliness of fleshy bodies vanish by the reduction of the unwanted flesh and the bodies which are thin and emaciated pick up flesh and strength by the practice of asanas. They get a certain lustre after some time. On account of these great efficacies, the MUNIS of the old have sung of the as “ ”. The beauty that comes to the man, both to his internal organs and to the external, is described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika ch. II sloka 78:

1. Regular practice keeps the body away from becoming stout. 2. Lustre and peace are expressed in the face.

3. Speech is clear and heart is steady.

4. No diseases in the eyes.

5. Diseases of stomach are set right and stomach get normal.

6. Vital fluid is controlled.

7. Dyopepsia is cured and regular working of the liver is ensured.

8. The blood vessels are cleared every day.

For more particulars see Hatha Yoga Pradipika, ch. III slokas 45 to 48.

One who practices Yoganga Sadhana has no fear of disease and death. See SVETHASVARA UPANISHAD chapter II.
“He has no disease, does not become old, has no death, never feels lazy, has uniform health

throughout life, will never have bad desires, his body will have a certain KANTHI, will have powerful speech, there will be no odour in his perspirations and he will never have diabetes, dropsy and diarrhea.”

It is regrettable that the practice of Yoga Asanas with the help of the printed charts is on a large scale and it is dangerous. There is no doubt that for him who practices with the help of a proper Guru knowing its secrets, great benefits accrue. Propagandists of Yoga asanas are many nowadays and we have to choose one who is well-versed in the secrets of the science. The students of the modern medical science learn from direct contact with their masters. We want propagandists who can actually demonstrate what they teach and who know which asanas are good for which kind of ailments and how they are practised in relation to duration and breathing. We do require good demonstrations but without a knowledge of the secrets the people will not be benefitted and the science will not be revived. The secrets of Yoga, Raga, Sex and Statecraft are not easily communicated.


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A Reminder

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta


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Sribhashyam (2) Table of asana (1) TAN postures (1) tatakamudra (2) tattvas samkhya (1) ten breaths in each asana (1) The 'Original' Ashtanga yoga Syllabus given to Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams by Sri K Pattabhi Jois in 1974 Mysore (1) the asana before the asana (1) the breath (1) The breathing God (4) The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga : Subroutines page numbers (1) The Four Immeasurables (1) The Indian Review (1) THE KALAMA SUTRA (1) the Original gita (2) the Original Yoga Sutras (2) The Purnacarya (1) The Viniyoga letter (1) This is yoga 1941 (1) This is yoga life magazine (1) tibet (1) Tirieng Mukha Eka Pada Paschimattanasana (1) Tirumular Thirumandiram (1) tittibhasana (1) TK Shribhsyam (1) TKV Desikachar (1) tradition (1) Trataka (1) Trikonasana (1) TRS Sharma (2) uddiyana bandha (2) uddiyana kriya (1) uddiyana mudra Kino (1) ujjayi (1) unsupported headstands (2) urdhva dhanurasana (1) Urdhvamukhasvanasana (1) ushtrasana (1) utthita parsvakonasana (1) vajrasana (1) Veena (1) Vinay Kumar (1) Vinyasa (1) Vinyasa count (2) Vinyasa Krama (11) Vinyasa Krama 200HR TT program (1) Vinyasa Krama practice routine (1) Vinyasa Krama practice sheets (1) Vinyasa Krama Sister blog (1) Vinyasa Krama speeded up Ashtanga slowed down (1) Vinyasa Krama triangle subroutines (7) Vinyasa Yoga (1) Viparita Salabhasana (1) vipassana (1) vipraita salambhasana (1) Virasana (1) Vital points (1) VK Asymmetric seated sequence (8) VK Bow sequence (1) VK Inverted sequence (1) VK Lotus sequence (1) VK On one leg sequence (7) VK On your feet sequence (2) VK Seated Sequence (7) VK supine sequence (1) When I'm laid in the Earth. (1) Why meditation (1) why practice mudras. (1) Why practice yoga (1) Why Yoga (1) Wildyogi (1) Yamini Murthanna (1) Yoga (4) yoga and ageing (1) Yoga and pregnancy (3) Yoga and weight (1) Yoga Body (1) Yoga for Diabetes (1) Yoga for the three stages of life (4) Yoga for women (1) Yoga Gurandam (1) Yoga Korunta (3) yoga korunti (1) Yoga Makaranda (10) Yoga makaranda ( part II) (1) Yoga makaranda asana list (1) Yoga Makaranda part 2 (1) Yoga Makaranda Part II (2) Yoga makaranda translation. (1) yoga makaranda. (1) Yoga Meditation (1) yoga mudras (1) Yoga Nidrasana (1) yoga of action (1) yoga of motion (1) Yoga Philosophy (5) Yoga raading list (1) Yoga Rainbow festival (1) Yoga Science (1) Yoga sutra 1:33 (1) Yoga Sutras (3) Yoga Sutras II-49 (1) Yoga Sutras transliteration (1) Yoga therapy articles (1) Yoga Therapy for Children with Special Needs (1) Yoga tradition of the Mysore palace (1) Yoga Vinyasa yoga (1) Yoga yajnavalkya (1) Yogacarya Krishnamacharya - The Purnacarya (2) Yogacarya Krishnamacharya - The Purnacarya. Edited by Mala (1) Yogakriyas (1) Yogasanagalu (32) Yogasanagalu asana list (1) yogasanagalu translation (4) Yogasanagalua (1) Yogayajnavalkya (1) Yogeshwara Ramamohana Brahmachari (1) Yvonne Millerand (2) Yyvonne milerand (1)