Online Education in the tradition of Yogacharya BKS Iyengar by SriPrashant IyengarLesson 1 on 8th

Hello, Namaskar all of you. This is Hanuman Jayanti and on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti, I intend to give a kind of Online Education about yoga, it is not an online class. The world is very familiar with online classes particularly with the advent of Coronavirus problem all over the world, teachers are going online to be teaching yoga. So, this is certainly not teaching, this is Education about yoga, a preliminary kind of Education. And let me make a declaration here: that this is opened to anyone who is practicing yoga at any level of it - could be a beginner, or might be considering oneselves a senior student - so this is for one and all. There will be a great advantage however to Iyengar clan practitioners. So, this is a kind of Education therefore I won’t be conducting the class as usual and as you are familiar with, where you are asked to do some asanas – unfortunately today yoga is doing asanas, perhaps maybe asanas and pranayama, and maybe asanas, pranayama and some meditation, this is what our notion of yoga is. However when it comes to Education, let me tell you here, that I will not stipulate any posture for you. You can get to any posture with which you commence your session. Those who are used to practising yoga you can settle to any position posture with which you start your practice session and then my instructions will be compatible to any position that you are in. Some youngsters who are bubbling with energy and might be wanting to go for physical workout they can be going for physical workout. Some of you might be very senior citizen kind of thing and you may be not looking for exercise, you might be looking just to wellness and wellbeing, whatever is the case you can be going for that. So in respect of any age group this Education should come good. This is what I feel.

Now, you can embark upon any of your asanas, could be a supine position, could be a standing position with which you usually start. Now, let’s try to understand, these are not postures that you are doing. So you are settled to the so called “postures”, you think it is a posture, but let me tell you that this is not just a posture, let’s see how yoga comes in there.

In the preliminary stage what you should be going to be doing is: become aware of your body, mind and breath, because in every position the breathing physiology changes. The way you breathe in different asanas is going to be different, so become aware of your breath and breathing and become aware of your mind, body, breath. Now you are settled into a body position, you have taken a body position. Merely being in a posture it doesn’t become yoga. Basically what has to be done is that you must start using whichever part of body you are able to use. In your position, if you are in standing position you can use your limbs and you can address the limbs, you can use the arms and you can address the arms. If you are in supine positions find out which parts of the body you can be using, so use those parts of the body and also address those parts of the body. For instance address your pelvic segment, address the abdominal segment, address the diaphragmatic segment, address the chest segment, address the upper back, address the lower back, and whichever parts of the body that you are able to address, address those parts of your body. Then use the various parts of the body and find out which part of the body can be used in your posture. How much you can use your legs, how much you can use your arms, how much you can use your trunk. So find out different parts of the body, how you can be using them. Asana it is not just “doing”. You are in a posture, now use any part of the body, every part of the body that is possible. Address any part of the body and every part of the body that is possible. Then use, address, apply the various parts of the body. Become connected between your limbs and trunk, so they will be able to co-opt. So find out in your position, connect your limbs with the trunk and find out the usages. So also try to understand that in the position you are going to exercise, you are going to go for exalted bio-mechanical actions, like if you want to exercise the body parts you are going to go for exalted actions that is tighten, straighten, stretch, elongate, extend, bend, rotate, pull, push, in, out, etcetera. So these biomechanics are going to be more exalted in case you are going for exercise. So it can be a scheleto-muscular exercise, so find out how far you can exercise your scheleto-muscular body, your scheleto-muscular frame in your given position. And now, why are you going to do that? You are also using your breath on those parts of the body, a mindful profound exhalation, a mindful profound inhalation, then a hyper-normal cycle, a sharper breathing, softer breathing, thicker breathing, thinner breathing. So make applications of your breath on your scheleto-muscular body and find out how you can be getting some benefits to corporal body. So also your mind, use your mind, intent, your disposed conditions that you are disposed to be doing what you are doing, and bring your mind to a focus to understand your body, how you are activating your body, how the body is activated and how the body is activating. So in your exercises you will be activating the body, the body will be activated. So start identifying those with your mind, read those things with your mind. Will, volition, resoluteness: in certain positions you’ll require to have will and volition quite in a pronounced way. So see that you are trying to bring in mind aspects: sensations, perceptions, cognition, thought process, deliberation and then will, volition, awareness, sensitivity, these are various functions of the mind. So see that the functions of the mind are also in place while you are in a position, what you call as a posture. Now if you are going for exercising organic body, find out any scope to exercise the organic body: pelvic organs, abdominal organs, thoracic organs. The trunk is the location where we have our organic body situated. So find out any way that you can be exercising your organic body: contractions, extensions, expansions, hardening, tightening, flexing, bending, rotating, whatever is in your position that you’ve taken in – find out all that you can be working to exercise even the physiological body, organic body. So, that’s the “body-set addressal”, that is called “body-set addressal”: with your body - limbs and trunk connectivity -, with your breath - exhalative, inhalative, normal to hyper-normal - and then mind awareness - mental functions of sensation, perception, cognition, memory, volition, will, resoluteness, intent, diligence, find out in what way the mind can be brought in on your corporeal body as well. So this is the body set addressal. Then in the same asana – in case if an asana is not a long duration asana – you can come up and if you need to change the sides, you can change the sides or you can repeat the posture once again. If some asanas are short duration asanas - like between Trikonasana and Sirsasana, Sirsasana is a long duration asana Trikonasana is a short duration asana – so, if you are in a short duration asana, you can repeat. You can change the sides on your own, and follow the directions that I’m giving to you. And perhaps you can repeat the same posture multiple times as well.


Now in your position just as we go for intense body activity such as biomechanics – straightening, stretching, elongating, extending, concaving, convexing, narrowing, widening, thickening, thinning, pulling, pushing, rotating, bending or whatever is in your position coming up. So this is how you address the body, as we exercise the body, we activate the body. Similarly, about the breath, see that you are trying to use a profound exhalation, rather than just a normal breathing. Find out how the profound inhalation can contribute, how the profound exhalation can contribute. So, hypernormal volume of breathing, then change in velocity of your breath - normal velocity pattern to hyponormal velocity pattern - that is disallineating the breath, making it thinner, making it slower and slower and slower. On the other hand making it hypernormal velocity of breath, that is little thicker, little sharper and little faster as well. So, find out how you can be addressing the breath. So you should try to exercise the breath and breathing phyisiology as well by using volume of breath and velocity of breath. Thirdly you can use confinement - the breathing of pelvic confinement, to abdominal confinement, to diaphragm confinement, to chest confinement, to even head, brain, face, skull. You can be breathing there also. Because now you are not in respiratory breathing, but you are in holistic breathing, so you can be using the breath, you can be exercising the breath, you can be conditioning the breath, you can be culturing the breath, even in various locations. So take avail of that as well. Then you can also exercise your mind in that position, you can exercise the will, rather than a merely investing will, why don’t you generate will also? Rather than having intent in your posture and position, why not generate intent? Or rather than just having investment of diligency, perception, cognition, why not try to generate those? So you will have those acts also to generate will, volition, intent, diligency, perception, cognition. So the mind also can be put into exercise while your body is being exercised in that posture. So this is called mind set addressal. So there is a body set addressal, where body mind breath work on body, there is a breath set addressal, where body mind breath work on breath. And then of course, breath has those aspects such as exhalating and inhlating.

Then in a mind set addressal, the mind is addressed by body mind breath, so it’s always a composite activity, it is a community activity, the body mind breath community comes together and is carrying on various activities. So this will be a kind of fabric of classical yoga getting into your postures, otherwise we are used just to doing the postures, learn the posture and practice the posture and perfect the posture. And we miss the yogic fabric, so this is how one of the very basic components of a yogic fabric in your practices. So, just as we can make exercising in our body mind and breath in a position. Now if it is difficult asanas, you will find difficulty in breath and breathing, in that case, you can exhalate to the breath, even if you try to breath very normally, in a difficult contortion, difficult intensity, hard intensity, then try to breath normal, itself is an exercise. So there is also exercise coming to breath aspects, mind aspects and body aspects. In yoga we need to have a prominence to purificatory process. So, in your asana, find out we need to go for purificatory’s processes. Exhalation is a very important instrument to be purifying the cellular body, corporeal body, epical mind, temporal mind, and perhaps, at a later stage, a deeper mind as well as a deeper body and an esoteric body. So, in every asana, make it a point to exhale more and more and more and more and more often. This will work on cellular plane, which you can testify yourself by exhaling more and more and more in the head segment, brain segment to pelvic segment. So try to experience, when you exhale, unusual volume of exhalation, it will be kind of internal excretio