In this thoroughly enjoyable book, I was delighted in how Mr. Desikachar, the son of the great Sri T. Krishnamacharya, wrote. The language he uses to explain the not-so-broad-strokes of yoga philosophy and practice could be considered digestible for any person, regardless of yoga level. His down to earth way of writing seems to flow with ease and makes what he shares very accessible, and inspired me to continue reading.
I appreciate Mr. Desikachar's references to Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, and other great texts, throughout the book. The text is rich with commentary found throughout the entire book, along with Krishnamacharya's outlook. I also found it helpful having the written texts available with transliterations, along with Mr. Desikachar's commentary in the back of the book.
Following are some points I instantly resonated with when I first read his book:
- I teach Prana Flow®: Energetic Vinyasa, cultivated by Shiva Rea in my private lessons and public group classes. I also teach private group classes in workplace environments where some tend to think that Prana Flow may be too creative, spiritually based, or heart-felt to be appropriate for the workplace. One passage from this book that I've been excited to share with my students is the additional meaning of yoga; "to attain what was previously unattainable." Supporting the idea of expansion in all places, one simple application of this is offering the vinyasa kramas (sequences/stages) in the asana practice to open and strengthen my student's physical bodies more than some ever had thought possible. But even more applicable, I always introduced drawing focus to the breath to help quiet their citta vritti (whiling mind) during the opening movement meditation and throughout the class, chanting the pranava (OM) to help them feel themselves as vibratory beings, creating time for a sankalpa (dedication) at the start of class, circling back to reflect on that sankalpa at the end of class, and leading them through short meditations. As a result, I find most of my student come to show more interest beyond the physical benefits of yoga asana, as they gain an appreciation for nurturing their minds and spirits in expansion through additional spiritual studies.
- Another point that has been especially helpful in both classes and my own personal life is an additional explanation of yoga. To paraphrase, "yoga is accessible to every human being, as states or qualities of the mind are universal to us all." This helps reinforce my own belief and has helped me relate and communicate with potential students who may have a dissimilar backgrounds to my own. For instance, conservative-Christians that have struggled relating to the concepts within yoga in my workplace classes, have been able to focus on those common "mind qualities" and use that as a basis on which to relate. By finding common ground based on universal truths that we can all agree upon, they have been both educated and relieved with the intention and purpose this wonderful practice can provide to us all.
- Challenging my students to focus on the quality of their breath, as Mr. Desikachar explains, has also been helpful in teaching both me and my students how to know if we are in the correct vinyasa krama (stage or sequence) for our physical bodies that day. Noticing if we are able to maintain a consistent length of inhalation and exhalation throughout our practices, or if we need to speed up breath cycles in order to be in a higher vinyasa karma, has been invaluable. Sharing that each asana, and the movements between asanas, should be led by the breath and should feel balanced in the qualities of sthira (effort) and sukha (ease) also has me and my students connect with the correct modifications or variations for our bodies that day.
Above are only a small sampling of what I took away from this wonderful book. This text has left me with a very sweet love and respect for T.K.V. Desikachar and I hope you'll enjoy this book as much as I have.
300RYT & Certified Prana Flow Instructor | Om Voyage Yoga & Retreats Owner