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Ashtanga Yoga News Letter n°2

Good evening, Here is to nourish your inner fire with this new Newsletter on just before Christmas. With good resolutions of firmness, stability and endurance taken for the new year, you will get going again to implement your Sādhana Om Shanti and good reading! Jean Claude Garnier

How a word ĀSANA brings a global reflection on yoga

Āsana आसन
Āsanam = meditation posture
The verb root ĀS– means: “sit down”
The suffix “ana” means: “doing”
Āsana literally means “the fact of sitting or sitting”

“It is this belief in a cosmic order, for which the role of art was to capture, to render visible the principles, that formed the basis of the establishment of the theory of all arts in ancient India.”
Alain Daniélou (Approche de l’hindouisme)

As Sri T. Krishnamacharya put it, yoga is India’s gift to the world. If one looks attentively, all the physical disciplines (gymnastics, aerobics, physical culture, dance, therapeutics of the body and the soul like psychoanalysis, etc.) borrowed something from this science, known for millennia in India. Yet classical Yoga is misunderstood and many false ideas circulate on this subject.

For many Westerners, yoga is only hatha-yoga (Haṭhayoga हठयोग), in other words, physical exercises, postures or “āsana”.
Deepening yoga is not learning yet a new posture, nor practicing meditation for one more hour every day …
The aim is to broaden the field of consciousness by the yoga of knowledge: jnānayoga; the relational field through the yoga of adoration: Bhaktiyoga; the field of ecological action through the yoga of action: Karmayoga.

Yoga is not an esoteric mystical-smoky discipline perfumed with incense. Yoga is an exact science of the body in static and in movement based on knowledge of anatomy and physiology, prāṇāyāma is a science of respiration based on knowledge of fluid dynamics and circulation of nervous fluxes, these are extremely Cartesian sciences that have been observed and documented for millennia.

With globalization, yoga is diluted
Today Yoga is known all over the world, unfortunately it’s traditional context has been stripped off, also by many Indian masters to make it more accessible to Westerners (Desikachar, BKS Iyengar etc …). It has lost its substance, its authenticity …
Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya studied a little more than 3000 Yoga postures taught by his master Ramamohan Brahmachari in a cave near Manas Sarovar in Tibet. In his book “Light on Yoga”, BKS Iyengar describes only 602 postures; Sri K Pattabhi Jois taught almost as many if the six series are practiced… The Yoga Bikram consists of 26 postures, André van Lysebeth in his series called “Rishikesh” taught only 12 basic postures …                                      It is obvious that Yoga has diluted …

The definition of Yoga :
The word “Yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root “Yug”, which means to link, to unite or to direct and concentrate one’s attention. It is thus a practice that gradually leads the practitioner to integrate into the most material body (the coarse body) the different internal bodies or subtle bodies, thus reaching the soul. For this, we use postures (āsana), respiratory techniques (prāṇāyāma), concentration (dhāraṇā), inner listening (pratyāhāra) and meditation (dhyāna).

Patañjali, in his book on Rāja Yoga, the Yogasūtra (196 sūtra) describes the principles and techniques of psychophysical reintegration, it is a manual explaining clearly how to practice, how to go from the alpha point to the omega point. It is a kind of mapping, a “GPS” on the way to Samādhi.

Patañjali, in the 196 aphorisms, uses only three times the word “āsana” … he does not speak of “posture” of the dog, the cat, nor the pig nor the raven perched on its tree …, he speaks of righteousness, of being well adjusted to one’s plate, to one’s physical and mental balance, he is therefore talking about  searching for the right balance and inner mental attitude in the many possibilities of the field of consciousness

The Yogasūtrāṇi are composed of four chapters

  1. Samādhi-Pāda (समाधि)
  2. Sādhana pāda  साधन
  3. Vibhūti pāda  विभूतिपाद
  4. Kaivalya pāda कैवल्य

In the first chapter of Samādhi-Pāda (धाधि), Patañjali describes Yoga and the means to achieve this goal: it is not about being well with oneself, but about BEING. This quest for Unity, which passes through the Unity with one’s Self, then with the Absolute, with the Universe…

In the second chapter, the Sādhana pāda, Patañjali describes the spiritual practice, the purification of the body and the mind by the practice of kriyā yoga, that is purification through self-analysis and development of awareness of self; and aṣṭāṅgayoga, the eight parts of Yoga.

YS 2.29 (Sādhana pāda, chapter of spiritual practice), in this sūtra, Patañjali describes the path to reach the samādhi:

The practice of postures or āsana(s) constitutes the third, of the eight stages of yoga. The postures put an end to the bodily agitation and bring together the scattered energies. They are intended to remedy the weaknesses of the body and to improve the metabolic system and thus the overall health. The awakening of consciousness leads to the awakening of sensory, emotional intelligence and to the light of the soul.
After speaking of the yama and niyama (YS 2.30-2.45), Patañjali approaches posture and prāṇāyāma. This sūtra contains only 3 words but it reveals to us the essence of the postures of yoga.
YS 2.46 (Sādhana pāda, chapter of spiritual practice)
Sthira sukham āsanam
It can be translated by: The posture (āsana) must be stable and immobile, as well as comfortable.


Om Shanti,
JC Garnier

Ashtanga Yoga News Letter 3 : march 2019

Yoga « way to fullness » … 

The "Hindu Trinity", Brahma, Vishnū, Ćiva.

The “Hindu Trinity”, Brahma, Vishnū, Ćiva.

On the way to the intuition of “non-duality”, we try to be coherent yet if we are honest with ourselves we know how hard it is. For example, you are asked to stand up straight, we think and feel that we are vertical, but if we look in a mirror, we will see that this is an illusion, we have a shoulder higher than the other, the head inclined to one side, the pelvis rotated, a knee bent, the belly forward or backward, more support on one foot, etc.. In short, we are twisted. It is the same in postural yoga practice “asana” (Devanāgarī: आसन). We need an outside perspective to straighten, untwist and align ourselves, in order to go vertical.

During his first meeting with Guruji (Sri K. Pattabhi Jois), Anne expressed “it’s strange, but for the first time in my life I experienced a person other than myself you knew better than me what was good for me … and I trusted … “him.

Transmission of Yoga exists in this relational quality. It is a relationship of love, without love there is nothing of value, we cannot achieve the “Kingdom of Heaven” for a Christian, or what we call “Deep Reality” in Yoga.

The practice of Yoga Mala is a precision work (from the Latin praecisus), i.e. “no split” without division of breathing, movement, concentration, rhythm etc.. It is a work of unification. Hindus, like Christians might say  to live a relationship state of “Trinity.”

Three not two, two is not  one… The Trinity is not a duality and non-duality “advaïta” (Devanāgarī: अ त) is not unity. This is articulated One between “I” and “you” of ourselves, a … A relational One 

«Oh yoguin, ne pratique pas le Yoga sans vinyāsa…»
Vāmana Ṛṣi (devanāgarī : वामन ऋषि)
Yoga Korunta

Forth yoga Korunta  śloka express :

« Trī stanam avalokayé

Āsanam prānāyāma dristhihi »


The three key points of the method are: posture, breathing and concentration of the gaze.

Shri K. Pattabhi Jois’s comment

The method of yoga Korunta consists of three simultaneously performed points, that are:

a. Posture Āsana : to lengthen and stretch the spine back to ensure good blood circulation;

b. Breathing Pranayama : The wide opened rib cage so that breathing is good, long and soft;

c. Dristhihi : The head in alignment and directed towards one of the nine focus points so that the mind is concentrated. In this way, in your practice, you will not be troubled by what is happening around you and within you.

Guruji (Sri K. Pattabhi Jois), Laksmi Puram, Mysore

Om Shanti,

JC Garnier