Yoga is about freedom.
The ancient yogis sought freedom from future re-birth.
Some seek “peace” meaning freedom from unending, mind chatter.
Others want freedom from physical pain.
Generally, doing yoga, everyone discovers a bit of bliss or a moment of freedom from their lifetime of suffering or fear.
“Vinyasa Krama yoga strictly follows the most complete definition of classical yoga. Yoga is typically defined in two ways: In one definition it is defined as union, or yukti in Sanskrit; in the other, it is mental peace, or samadhana (samadhi).
By using the breath as a harness, vinyasa karma yoga integrates body and mind and so is the yoga of union. And because the mind follows the breath, the mind is made part of the whole process and achieves an elevated level of mental peace (samadhana). Thus the undercurrent of peace and joy is established permanently.”
– Ramaswami, The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga.
Yoga is a practice which is applicable to youth, the middle aged and the elderly.
“From practicing only asana, one gains strength of the body; from the practice of only the yama, one develops compassion towards all living beings; from practicing only pranayama, it is possible to achieve long life and good health.”
– Krishnamacharya, The Yoga Makaranda.
Yoga helps anyone, from any religion, find a comfortable position to practice their devotions.
“sthira-sukha-masanam” Steadiness and comfort characterize a yogic posture.
– Yoga Sutras II.46.
Vinyasa Krama yoga has room for anyone – the atheist, the storyteller or the contemplative; anyone who likes music or quiet; people who like words, books and debate; the athlete; the bedridden; those who like the comforts of home or those who choose to roam in the mountains. Vinyasa Krama yoga is as diverse and beautiful as the number of living beings.
Forty is the number for waiting, preparation, testing or punishment.
For nearly, but not quite, forty days, I sat on the floor absorbing Srivatsa Ramaswami’s words, practicing Vinyasa Krama yoga under his guidance. As my body and breath became more balanced, my mind became more peaceful and ready to delve deeper into my interior Universe.
The great Flood lasted forty days. Christ meditated in the wilderness for forty days. Moses, Buddha and the Prophet Mohammed began their missions at age forty. A baby lives in its mother’s womb for forty weeks. And finally, many cultures believe that after death, it takes forty days for a corpse to become completely devoid of life. Thus, whether a baby or a corpse, when the cycle of forty ends, one does not return to the place where we started.
Practice Vinyasa Krama yoga with me for forty days then tell me how you feel.
About Srivatasa Ramaswami
“I teach what my guru taught me, not what he wrote.”
Author, teacher, father, engineer, Sanskrit scholar, Vedic chanter, and Sri T Krishnamacharya’s devotee, Srivatsa Ramaswami continues to inspire yoga practitioners around the globe.
Ramaswami was nine-years old when his Tamil father performed his thread ceremony in the south Indian, Tirumala hill temple. His grandfather became his first Vedic scripture and Sanskrit teacher while his formal schooling took place in the Ramakrishna Mission under the guidance of principal and author, Anna Subramania Iyer.
It was at the Vivekananda College where Ramaswami first laid eyes on Krishnamacharya who looked nothing like the yogis he had ever seen before. The college had employed Krishnamacharya to teach yoga to interested students.
A few days later, the fifteen-year old Ramaswami met the yogi in person when his father asked the renowned scholar to come to their home on a daily basis to instruct the entire family. That auspicious day began their thirty-three year, guru-teacher relationship that lasted until 1988, the year before 101-year old Krishnamacharya passed away.
For twenty years, while he worked as an engineer and studied under his guru, Ramaswami taught yoga at the Kalaksetra College of Arts, the Yoga Brotherhood and the Public Health Centre. Additionally as a trustee for the Krishnamacharya Yoga Midrum and afterward, he contributed yoga articles, written in both Tamil and English, to Indian journals. With his guru’s blessing, Ramaswami chanted for a radio program and released over 40 albums of nearly all the Vedic chants Krishnamacharya taught him.
Ramaswami, ERYT-500, now lives in the USA and continues to conduct teacher trainings and workshops at Loyola Marymount University, the Himalaya Institute and other yoga schools. He connects with his students via his website, YouTUBE channel and FaceBook page. His website includes links to his published writing from India and his albums of chants. His three books are available on Amazon.
Ramaswami completed his Master’s Degree in Engineering at Oklahoma State University. He said the best decision of his life was turning down Harvard, instead choosing to remain in India studying under his guru.