this is a rant.
my grandfather learnt exercises from T. Krishnamacharya for over 15 years.
Krishnamacharya stands for the k, in the krishnamacharya yoga mandiram. bks iyengar, pattabi jois and many of the nouveau experts have followed the acharya teachings and methods
krishnamacharya was the man who used taught and tailor-made asanas to heal and strengthen the body. He taught my grandfather pranayama and breath control. grandfather was able to HAPPILY live with psoriasis, epilepsy and weak lungs — because he practised twice a day the techniques taught by his teacher.
next is ma. also a student of krishnamacharya. she had polio when she was a baby; when she was an adult she learned asanas from the acharya to tone her feet and hands an body — and she was able to safely deliver one baby girl in 1978 — namely me.
a grateful ma, requested Krishnamacharya to give the baby a name- and so he did– and i get my offline name from the acharya.
so with all this background whirling — we are a little clued in about patanjali and his thoughts.
[ i can sit in padmasana for half an hour. ma does pranayama twice a day and rarely gets colds. grandfather used to be doing the headstand [sheershasana] when i dropped into visit him ]
i remember that grandfather used to froth at the mouth when anyone said ‘are you doing yoga’.
NO, he used to thunder, it’s an asana. it’s only one eighth of what is really yoga …
and he would launch into an explanation – of the other 7 parts of yoga…
yama, he said, which had ethical standards like truthfulness and non-covetousness
niyama, he said, which included cleanliness and surrender to God
asana, which he thundered, is being mistaken for yoga. the battery of exercises like padmasana, vajrasana, sarvangasana
pranayama or breath control
pratyahara or cultivating a sense of detachment
dharana or concentration
dhyana – meditation
and samadhi — a stage of transcending the self
all these yoked together make yoga, he would say.
a person who was learning yoga would necessarily have to follow all the limbs of what it means to do yoga
cut to 2013
one eager mum asked the principal of firstborn’s school to have ‘yoga’ included in the curriculum. the principal declined saying there were injuries from the last time when it was not taught correctly. and without a great and watchful instructor there is no point going ahead…
[awesome. i thought to myself quietly. but it’s not yoga … it’s asana]
my niece has a thigh swelling everytime after her school yoga class. her mum was thinking of bringing it up to the yoga teacher. [not yoga teacher, i thought to myself quietly — asana teacher]
and my friend b, was telling me that her health took a beating after a yoga retreat for 10 days in south india. instead of making her stronger it did the very opposite… she confided in me. she later found herself vulnerable to a serious health issue when she resumed work after the retreat. [an asana teacher isnt a yoga teacher, i thought quietly]
only when i heard an ‘expert’ pronoucing it as ‘yoha’ on the radio did i really sit down and key this 500 word long piece. read it at leisure… and be careful where you sign up to learn asanas.
yoga is a different plane of thought, transcending thought. asanas are exercises for the body.