“It is possible to be aware of the state of the mind
by observing the body during an Āsana practice.”
“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
“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.
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:
- Maitrī –
Cultivating a feeling of friendliness towards our own attempts,
let alone other’s demands, to distract ourselves.
- Karuṇā –
Cultivating a feeling of compassion towards our bodies and minds,
whatever state we find them in.
- 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.
- 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
“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 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
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 terms 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 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
“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.”
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……”
“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
‘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
“Some are satisfied with what Āsana brings them.
Others are curious as to where Āsana can take them.”
Paul Harvey (yogastudies.org)
“To give the right thing to the right person at the right time is Satviniyoga.
Don’t look at the file, look at the student!”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983 – Paul Harvey