Category Archives: Paul Harvey

Our relationship with Food can be too little, too much, or wrong……

“Our relationship with Food can be too little, too much, or wrong.
According to Āyurveda, even the best food eaten in the wrong amount,
or at the wrong time, or with the wrong attitude
will fail to nourish and even disturb the system.
The same could be said for Yoga Practice.”
Paul Harvey

What is the nature of distraction?

itaratra

“What is the nature of distraction?”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 4
Shared from 
Paul Harvey’s Yoga Journal

Yoga Practice is about a re-turning towards our inner life……

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“Yoga Practice is about a re-turning towards our inner life. However, even without outer obstacles, we can encounter inner feelings that arise and manifest as obstacles to that re-turning.

Here it might be helpful to reflect on the four pillars of MaitrīKaruṇāMuditā and Upekṣā and the role they can have in helping to transform the unhelpful aspects of these inner feelings.

Bhāvana is a beneficial attitude that is consciously cultivated
despite tendencies to the contrary”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 33

With the spirit of Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 33 in mind, the cultivation of the four pillars is a practice that can support a stepping, rather than stalling, onto our mat or seat through:

  1. Maitrī –
    Cultivating a feeling of friendliness towards our own attempts,
    let alone other’s demands, to distract ourselves.
  2. Karuṇā –
    Cultivating a feeling of compassion towards our bodies and minds,
    whatever state we find them in.
  3. Muditā –
    Cultivating a feeling of looking for the positive spot in ourselves
    and what we can do well and now, rather than what we can’t do well or now.
  4. Upekṣā –
    Cultivating a feeling of keeping distance from the self-deprecation that can so often accompany our attempts to improve the quality of our inner life and old responses to inner tensions and memories.”

– Paul Harvey’s personal commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 33

Yoga is a process that evolves……

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“Yoga is a process that evolves,
from an enquiry into our limitations,
towards an inquiry that expands our potentials.”
Paul Harvey
Shared from Paul’s Yoga Journal

Begin your practice from where your are…..

TKV_Hindu_Oct_2000

“Begin your practice from where you are,
finish your practice where you are going.”
– TKV Desikachar 1978

Shared from Paul Harvey’s Yoga Journal

Our Practice…..

young-woman-picking-the-fruit-of-knowledge-1892.jpg!Blog

From: WikiArt

“Our practice needs to become a celebration of what we have.
Rather than what we have, becoming a reason not to practice.”
shared from Paul Harvey’s Yoga Journal 

Why have the breath envelop the movement…..

 

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Image: Paul Harvey’s Yogastudies.org

Q: Why have the breath envelop the movement?

A: “Mastery of the Āsana is about mastery of the breath in the form not just the form itself.
The best reference for observing that there is a quality of grace, as well as power within the achievement of the form, is a long smooth breath.
In t
erms of movement this notion means that you can be sure these qualities are embedded by keeping the breath longer than the movement.
This also offers an experience of stillness and an observation point for any stresses arising from the performance of the Āsana.
As mentioned in the original article around this topic there are also other levels beyond the four I discussed.”

The above is a question raised in response to the post ‘Keeping the Breath Longer than the Movement” together with Paul Harvey’s answer.

Progress must be seen as the distance from…..

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”Progress must be seen as the distance from the starting point,
rather than the more usual reference of the distance from the finishing point.”

– Notes from Paul Harvey’s first seminar with TKV Desikachar in Cambridge in 1976
Shared from Paul’s Yoga Studies Blog

The breath can be a key to unlocking the mystery of the relationship…..

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“In looking at how to deepen (rather than broaden) our personal practice choosing to focus on exploring the breath can be a key to unlocking the mystery of the relationship between body, breath, mind and beyond.

Here we can think of the deepening into our practice arising through progressively slowing the patterning of our breathing. To do this we have to reconsider our practice, not in terms of what we do with our body but what we do with the breath within our body.

This means firstly knowing what is our basic practice breath rate per minute and then progressively slowing that rate as we progress from Āsana, through to Mudrā and then to Prāṇāyāma.

For example when working with Āsana we can start with four breaths per minute, then with Mudrā slow it to three breaths per minute and finally with Prāṇāyāma, slow it again to two breaths per minute.

An accomplished practitioner may be working with three breaths a minute in Āsana, two breaths a minute in Mudrā and one breath a minute with Prāṇāyāma.

Whereas a less experienced practitioner may be working on five breaths a minute in Āsana, four breaths a minute in Mudrā and three breaths a minute in Prāṇāyāma.

The starting point does not matter and is something that is appropriate to the history, health and training of the student. What is more important is that no matter where we start from, the journey into the mystery of the breath and its relationship to the slowing of psychic activity, is through the progressive slowing of our breathing patterns.

This is realised within the long term developmental refinement of the practice limbs of Āsana, Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma within our journey into the evolution of Haṭha Sādhana towards Rāja Sādhana.”

Shared from Paul Harvey’s Yoga Studies blog

What is Yoga – Yoga as Meditation

“2.Yoga as Meditation
Now the concern is more with the mystery of life than the mastery of life.

Here Yoga is a means for meditation with self-inquiry as the primary focus.

“Who am I?” is the question that acts as a map for an inner journey into our psyche. It is a quest to touch and be touched by the “soulfull” quality of being that resides within.

In this approach Yoga is a tool for a movement towards a deeper relationship with our sense of soul, by searching both into and beyond what we experience as the everyday self.

It is a journey of discovery exploring and ultimately going beyond attitudes that, for better or for worse, have shaped our lives, work and relationships.

Now Yoga is a skill by which we seek to sustain awareness and clarity in spite of the vagaries of everyday life. The quality of this awareness engenders a freshness within which actions are less affected by our usual attitudes and habits. In other words we have more choice over how we respond or react. In those situations where our reaction would be automatic we now find we have different possibilities.

Here Yoga is a process by which we grow in our understanding of ourselves. From this we come to realise that we can change those aspects of ourselves that are unhelpful on our journey. This means firstly recognising the qualities that hinder our personal growth, an important, if not always comfortable stage in the journey. Secondly, having reflected on how we are rather than who we are, we go on to discover that there exists within us a resource with the potential to transform these undesirable aspects.

From this we can take steps towards living more creatively. Here again the help of a teacher is important as a guide for advice and suggestions on practices to support the process of growth into an understanding of how we are and ultimately who we are.

To quote another saying from the teachings on meditation:

“Before I can experience myself as nobody, I must first experience myself as somebody.”

This approach is known as the Yoga of Reflection and Discovery.

However, we all experience problems, poor health or illness from time to time.”

Paul Harvey (yogastudies.org)

What is Yoga – Yoga as Power

What is Yoga?

“1. Yoga as Power
Firstly Yoga can be explained as a means to attain a degree of power or control over our body and mind.

Here Yoga links the body and the mind through intense physical and mental effort.

For instance through rigorous physical practices we develop and maintain a state of concentration which is used to hold power over the body and the breath. Within this approach such control is often seen as a prerequisite to the body and mind becoming free of disturbances and distractions.

This power arises out of three areas of personal development:

i) Mastery of the body through physical postures.

ii) Control of the breath through breathing techniques.

iii) The ability to concentrate through mental techniques.

The consequences of this intense effort are energy and control that is available for whatever purpose suits our direction in life.

Many people could usefully enjoy more power over certain areas of their lives. The question is, are we prepared to put in some effort to reach this point.

In the words of a teacher from long ago:

“Yoga is the means by which that which was not attained earlier is now attained.”

This approach is known as the Yoga of Energy and Will.

As such, this aspect of Yoga is an art and offers a fascinating field. It is appealing to many people searching for power in and over their lives.

However this approach is only a means towards a more important goal……”

Paul Harvey (yogastudies.org)

Yoga is about recognising change…..

“Yoga is about recognising change and recognising that which recognises change.”

Paul Harvey (yogastudies.org)

The breath can be a key to unlocking the mystery of the relationship…..

In looking at how to deepen (rather than broaden) our personal practice choosing to focus on exploring the breath can be a key to unlocking the mystery of the relationship between body, breath, mind and beyond.

Here we can think of the deepening into our practice arising through progressively slowing the patterning of our breathing. To do this we have to reconsider our practice, not in terms of what we do with our body but what we do with the breath within our body.

This means firstly knowing what is our basic practice breath rate per minute and then progressively slowing that rate as we progress from Āsana, through to Mudrā and then to Prāṇāyāma.

For example when working with Āsana we can start with four breaths per minute, then with Mudrā slow it to three breaths per minute and finally with Prāṇāyāma, slow it again to two breaths per minute.

An accomplished practitioner may be working with three breaths a minute in Āsana, two breaths a minute in Mudrā and one breath a minute with Prāṇāyāma.

Whereas a less experienced practitioner may be working on five breaths a minute in Āsana, four breaths a minute in Mudrā and three breaths a minute in Prāṇāyāma.

The starting point does not matter and is something that is appropriate to the history, health and training of the student. What is more important is that no matter where we start from, the journey into the mystery of the breath and its relationship to the slowing of psychic activity, is through the progressive slowing of our breathing patterns.

This is realised within the long term developmental refinement of the practice limbs of Āsana, Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma within our journey into the evolution of Haṭha Sādhana towards Rāja Sādhana.

Paul Harvey (yogastudies.org)

If you don’t know yourself…..

“If you don’t know yourself how can you think of something which is more than you or higher than you?”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 29

Paul Harvey (yogastudies.org)

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’100 Years of Beatitude’ Sri T Krishnamacharya

“Downloadable film ’100 Years of Beatitude’ digitalised from a video of a 1989 documentary honouring Śrī T Krishnamacharya at the time of his centennial celebrations.” From Paul Harvey’s website yogastudies.org

Paul Harvey (yogastudies.org)

Faith

‘If we do not think of the positive in the most difficult situations, we panic. And once we panic we are lost.’
Read full article by TKV Desikachar

Paul Harvey (yogastudies.org)

The viniyoga of Yoga is about Relationship

The viniyoga of Yoga is about Relationship……

The viniyoga of Yoga is the application of the principles that link together to offer possibilities to enhance your relationship with yourself through your practice.

This opens the possibility that a deepening of your practice comes not from adding more difficult postures, but from refining your relationship with what you already have.

Life is already full of pressures to go for the newest model, to bring more in from the outside rather than concentrating on bringing more out from the inside.

So we need to take care that we do not become an avid consumer of a new posture or new technique purely for the sake of it.

Yoga is a relationship within which you commit yourself to depth of involvement rather than breadth of involvement.

In that sense, Yoga is no different from how any relationship with someone or something we care for and wish to spend time with should be.

From this relationship we can eventually start to experience the fruits that arise from the time, care, effort and attention.

Perhaps keeping the following words of a teacher from long ago in our mind as we adapt Yoga to suit our particular needs:

“Only through Yoga Yoga is known,
Only through Yoga Yoga changes.
One who is patient at Yoga,
enjoys the fruits over a long time.”

Extract first published in 1996 in ‘The Guide to Natural Therapies’

Paul Harvey (yogastudies.org)

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Sāṃkhya and Change

NatGeo11

Sāṃkhya is about living more within that which doesn’t change,
rather than living more within that which does change.

Paul Harvey (yogastudies.org)

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Meditation Must Elevate the Mind

meditation

 “Meditation must elevate the mind.
That is its basic purpose, to be where I was not.
This involves an ascent of the individual’s mind.”

– TKV Desikachar Madras December 19th 1988 in seminar on
‘Models for Meditation According to Indian Tradition’.
Paul Harvey (yogastudies.org)

Exploring the Art of Kumbhaka in Āsana and Prāṇāyāma

“Exploring the Art of Kumbhaka in Āsana and Prāṇāyāma
– Explore the Antar Kumbhaka with a soft holding.
– Explore the Bahya Kumbhaka with a firm surrender.”

Paul Harvey (yogastudies.org)