When less Āsana time than you would like…..

“When less Āsana time than you would like,
better to reduce the number of Āsana,
or the number of repetitions,
or the length of the stays,
rather than, reducing the length of the breath.
Or….. even considering lengthening the breath,
thus even fewer Āsana, all with a longer breath than usual.
Here the Bhāvana could be to observe the effect
of a more spacious than usual Āsana breathing
on a more cramped than usual daily mindset.”
Paul Harvey

The mind is part of a team…..

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Books in the bookcase leading me to read. Apt quote around my Yoga group this evening.
” The mind is part of a team, along with the body, the breath and the senses. Everything that we do is a product of that team, but the mind is generally the boss……..We know that the state of the mind affects the breath and, luckily for us, the opposite is also true”
What are we Seeking – TKV Desikachar

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

…..it is the purpose of Yoga to unify their movement

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“While it is theoretically possible for the body, the breath, and the mind to work independently, it is the purpose of Yoga to unify their movement. In our very first practice classes, we will experience this unification. What appears as Yoga to an outsider is mainly the physical aspects of our practice. They will not be aware of how we breathe, how we feel the breath, and how we coordinate breathing with physical movement.”

TKV Desikachar – Religiousness in Yoga, ch2, p13

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.

Duḥkha is a disturbance of the mind…..

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“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

Yoga for You


Yoga Journey

Yoga, practiced regularly, offers tools for
– maintaining stability
– supporting development
– coping with change.
Yoga is a practice that you can learn ‘for you’.
It is a practice that can be personalised for where you are now
and constantly adapted for creatively meeting what is to come.

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

The person who taught me how to vary postures is Krishnamacharya……

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The person who taught me how to vary postures, to bend the legs, to turn the neck, all the simple and complicated variations, as necessary, is Krishnamacharya. It is important to vary each posture according to the individuals requirements.

Further, he also introduced the use of other aids or supports, so that the person gets the benefit of a posture through other means when he is not able to do the posture itself. This can involve sitting on a chair, using a roll, using supports, etc., the use of other means to help a person achieve certain results.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’, given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Shared from Paul Harvey’s Yoga Studies Blog