Interview with Kausthub Desikachar


What is yoga?
Why people need yoga?
Is spirituality related to mind?
What is spirituality?
What is beyond mind?
Yoga for everyone?
Yoga for enlightenment?

What kind of style you are teaching?
But still we see many styles in different clubs... ?
When yoga is so individual, how to do group classes?
Prerequisites for yoga, like flexibility?
Example of private class?
Why people are coming to you? Health? Muscles?
Yoga is not for bodybuilders ... ?!

How yoga defines health?
Is yoga a tool to get rid of diseases?
And this tool is called yoga cikitsa... where this concept comes from?

What is haṭhayoga?

Well, haṭhayoga is an ancient practice of yoga's techniques that probably originated at about 400-500 years ago. And basic idea behind the practice of haṭhayoga is that we are using tools such as āsanas, prāṇāyāma and mudrās to basically make the flow of prāṇa in the individual much more smooth so that we attain a situation where we are healthy, balanced and stable. It also is the platform for the higher states of yoga which are known as the rājayoga which is more like the states where we are almost enlightened.

Why did such a practice originate?

I think we have to look at this question from a historical perspective. The yoga school founded by Patañjali is probably few thousand years old. Many people say it's between 2000-2500 years old. However India has been under many influences and many of the old techniques that Patañjali talked about probably got lost in translation or they got lost in course of time maybe was only in the domain of certain exclusive yoga masters. However certain yogis such as Matsyendra, Gorakṣa, Svātmārama etc who are considered grand haṭhayoga masters felt that people could benefit very much from some of these practices of haṭhayoga so that they became ready for the higher states of yoga talked about in Patañjali's yoga text. So, they said: well, let us elevate the standard of health and wellbeing in our society through the use of certain techniques like asana, prāṇāyāma and mudrās, so that certain fundamental platforms were established at the level of body, at the level of breath, at the level of the mind, which made people fit for further states of yoga. That is possible.

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