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

Duḥkha is a disturbance of the mind…..

Mind

“Duḥkha is a disturbance of the mind. While sometimes the words sorrow, misery, and disease are used to define duḥkha, it is best identified as a feeling of restriction.
Somehow something deeply disturbs us and we feel restricted.
This restriction is duḥkha…….
We all aim to remove duḥkha……..
That is what Yoga is trying to do.”

TKV Desikachar, Religiousness in Yoga

Śraddhā is essential for progress whether…..

“Śraddhā is essential for progress, whether in Yoga or any other endeavour. It is a feeling that cannot be expressed or intellectually discussed. It, however, is a feeling that is not always uncovered in every person.
When absent or weak, it is evident through the lack of stability and focus in a person. Where present and strong, it is evident through the commitment, perseverance and enthusiasm the person exhibits.
For such a person, life is meaningful.”

– TKV Desikachar

Paul Harvey (yogastudies.org)

Initially our efforts with practice…..

Posted by Michele Harney, Yoga Rathgar & Dundrum – Dublin

“Initially our efforts with practice are as a Sādhana towards finding the means to unveil the experience of the percipience of Cit.
Ultimately our efforts with practice are as a Yajña or oblation in gratitude for having found the means to unveil the experience of the percipience of Cit.”

Courtesy – Paul Harvey’s Daily Quotes – Centre for Yoga Studies

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Habits – Saṃskāra


IMG_3141“We become conditioned to certain habits or comfortable grooves. When we can’t continue in them because of change, we suffer. Even if the change is the right one and will lead to a better awareness we would rather stay in the comfortable groove even knowing it to be a negative pattern.

An example of this could be taking time to practice and the patterning of the psyche compelling us to find other activities or in-activities to fill the time. We can make a career out of finding a myriad of ways of staying too busy to make time for ourselves.”

Excerpt from article by Paul Harvey cYs on Āyurveda & Yoga

Yoga Sūtra Chapter 1 Verse 2

Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2
yogaḥ-citta-vṛitti-nirodaḥ |
Yoga is the containment of the movement of the psyche.

Courtesy Paul Harvey – Yoga Sūtra Translation

In addition to offering a greater understanding of the psyche, the Yoga Sūtra outline specific tools for creating change at the level of psyche. We can read, research, study, try to understand why things are the way we are and even after all of this, nothing fundamental may have changed in relation to how we feel and how we act.

Yoga provides practical tools for working at the level of both the physical and the psychological, to create physical and psychological change.

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Translations, Belief Frameworks & Modern Yoga Practice

Mark Singleton author Yoga Body, the Origins of Modern Posture Practice (Oxford University Press, 2010) in conversation with Susan Maier-Moul – The Magazine of Yoga. Mark’s “writing and teaching provide a bridge between the concerns of academia and those of practice.”

Part 1 of the conversation focuses on the difficulty with translation of Sanskrit texts, with particular reference to the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali and how it can be influenced by the prevailing belief framework.

“Words amplify and change their meaning according to the other words around them. Phrases amplify and change their meaning according to the other phrases around them. And paragraphs change their meaning according to the other paragraphs around them. A good translation is one that is aware of these contexts within and around the text in question, and self-critical with regard to the particular choices that are available to the translator.” Read part 1 of the conversation

To begin to appreciate the depth of knowledge contained within the Yoga Sūtra requires more than mere translation of the words, it requires intelligent interpretation with the guidance of a teacher.

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