Remembering dear friends within the passage of life and death…

This morning heralded a poignant marker with the passing of one of my dearest friends, long term student and host for my many visits to Israel over the past 25 years.

It was in 1996 when our paths crossed, whilst I was teaching at the European Union of Yoga annual conference in Switzerland. Ziva was there as part of her role as chair of the Israeli Yoga Teachers Association. A chance meeting which quickly forged a friendship, leading to my visiting Israel to teach a retreat around ‘Prāṇa, Practice & Patañjali’, curiously beginning on what is known in England as Boxing Day.

Such was my initiation into the culture, customs and practices within both Israeli and Jewish lifestyles. This beginning extended and deepened over the next two decades with over 20 teaching visits, during which I was hosted in Ziva’s home and shared personal time with her and her children, eventually growing through the generations to include their children.

Here, my fondest wishes and condolences reach across the world to her family in these difficult moments.

Our last years of contact have been spent studying the Bhagavad Gītā together verse by verse, chapter by chapter and having recently reached the final chapter, I would like to offer a verse which reminds me of Ziva’s qualities.

“Absorbed in the highest,
one whose soul is serene
does not mourn, nor do they desire.
The same amongst all beings,
one attains the highest devotion.”
– Bhagavad Gītā 18.54

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 121 – Pratyāhāra is the ability of the Manas…

pratyahara

Pratyāhāra is the ability of the Manas
to resist the dance of the senses.”
– Paul Harvey on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 54

Paul’s Yoga Mālā – A Thread of Pearls from Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra

108 Yoga Practice Pointers – 81 – The exhalation is the foundation from which we explore…

The exhalation is the foundation from which
we explore the three other facets of the breath.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Practice Pointers

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 120 – When working with the Breath in Āsana its perhaps less appealing initially…

When working with the Breath in Āsana,
it’s perhaps less appealing initially,
but ultimately more attractive, satisfactory
and effective, to integrate a Bhāvana on
the Samāpatti of Śaithilya and Ananta,
within a developmental Prāṇāyāma Sādhana,
focused towards the Siddhi of Dīrgha or Length,
supported by its counterpoint, Sūkṣma or Subtlety.
– Paul Harvey on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 50

Paul’s Yoga Mālā – A Thread of Pearls from Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 119 – From Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 47 Krishnamacharya taught that…

From Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 47
Krishnamacharya taught that the
common denominator for successfully uniting
both aspects of relaxation and the infinite
within the practice of Āsana is the breath.
He saw it as continued effort
and synonymous with giving life.
The continued effort of the breath is that which gives life.
– Paul Harvey on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 47

Paul’s Yoga Mālā – A Thread of Pearls from Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra

Trying to hold onto the fleeting presence of awareness can be likened to a bird…

cit devanagari

Trying to hold onto the fleeting presence of awareness can be likened to a bird choosing to land in the open palm of your hand. We desire to hold onto it because of our attraction towards continuing to enjoy the experience of its delicacy, beauty and gift of presence.

Thus when the bird of awareness alights in your palm the temptation is to close the fingers around the experience, however gently, in order to hold on to it, albeit to protect it or to continue to experience this unique moment of relationship with something that is usually elusive, or out of sight or reach.

However I feel, as with a bird you need to keep your hand open, so with awareness, you need to keep your hand open, as in resisting the desire to cling onto the experience. The bird of awareness might be happy to rest awhile, that is fine and then it flies off, that is also fine.

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108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 118 – Awareness doesn’t change…

Awareness doesn’t change,
however our awareness of our
experience of awareness does.”
– Paul Harvey on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 20

Paul’s Yoga Mālā – A Thread of Pearls from Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra

Discuss the different aspects of Vinyāsa Krama in Prāṇāyāma…

Discuss the different aspects of Vinyāsa Krama
involved in the Viniyoga of Prāṇāyāma.

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

Yoga Practice Planning and Theory Questions – Collected & Collated

108 Teaching Path Pointers – 42 – The principles of Cikitsā, Rakṣaṇa and Śikṣaṇa Krama…

The principles of CikitsāRakṣaṇa and Śikṣaṇa Krama
are more applicable to the ‘mindset’ of a person,
rather than looking through the ‘fitness’ of their body.

Link to Series: 108 Teaching Path Pointers

108 Dhāraṇā Practice Pointers – 8 – Yoga Dhyānam is the art of settling the mind within the heartspace.

“Yoga Dhyānam is the art
of settling the mind
within the heart space.”

Link to Series: 108 Dhāraṇā Practice Pointers

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 117 – What is it that you are ready to give up?

“What is it you are ready to give up?”
– Paul Harvey on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 35

Paul’s Yoga Mālā – A Thread of Pearls from Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra

From this, the role of senses and sense objects in causing a ground for disease becomes evident…

“From this, the role of senses and sense objects
in causing a ground for disease becomes evident.
They are chiefly responsible for creating disturbance in the mind.
Hence the value of Vairāgya insisted as an aid to help the student.
Otherwise the whole system is sure to reach a state of chaos
because of the erratic movement of vital energy all over the body.
To put it another way, disease results from excess of contact
with objects not conducive to the individual system.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 34

T Krishnamacharya Yoga Sūtra Study Quotes Collected and Collated

Depending on whether the mind is in a state of Samādhi or not…

samadhi

“Depending on whether the mind is in a state of Samādhi or not,
the person enjoys permanent happiness or
successive chains of unhappiness and happiness.
Those who accept nothing short of Samādhi,
freedom from the suffering of disease is realised.
After all, the root cause of disease is the disturbed mind,
when we cannot distinguish right from wrong or good from bad.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 34

T Krishnamacharya Yoga Sūtra Study Quotes Collected and Collated

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 116 – In introducing the various Upāya offered within…

“In introducing the various Upāya offered within
verses 20 to 39 in Yoga Sūtra Chapter One,
Krishnamacharya talks about Das Upāya,
of which two are Śodhanam Sādhana
and eight are Śamanam Sādhana.”
– Paul Harvey on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verses 20-39

Paul’s Yoga Mālā – A Thread of Pearls from Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra

108 Yoga Practice Pointers – 80 – Prāṇāyāma is regarded as a Tapas…

Prāṇāyāma is regarded as a Tapas,
a Kriyā, which cleanses the Nāḍī.
It is a Sādhana which sharpens Agni
and helps to dissolve obstacles, thus
making the mind fit for attention.

Link to Series: 108 Yoga Practice Pointers

Use Āsana for problems of the body and Prāṇāyāma for problems of the mind.

‎”Use Āsana for problems of the body and
Prāṇāyāma for problems of the mind.”
– T Krishnamacharya

Navarātri or the Nine Nights of Durgā as a time for Mantra Sādhana……

tri_devi_470

The nine-night long Nava Rātri, an important occasion in India, is celebrated as a time to honour the Divine Feminine, especially the Goddess Durgā within the Indian tradition. It will commence today Tuesday 5th October 2021, the first day of the month of Aśvin, according to the Hindu calendar. During this time the primary focus is Durgā manifesting through three primary aspects of the Divine Feminine.

Thus for the first three nights the focus is around the Divine Feminine in her power-bestowing aspect known as Durgā. For the second three nights the focus is around the Divine Feminine in her prosperity-bestowing aspect known as Lakṣmī. For the third three nights the focus is around the Divine Feminine in her wisdom-bestowing aspect known as Sarasvatī.

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We must treat first the condition that bothers the mind.

“We must treat first the condition that bothers the mind.”
– TKV Desikachar

The mind is basically neutral……

“The mind is basically neutral.
It depends on what happens to us.”
TKV Desikachar on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

Reflections on TKV Desikachar’s Teaching and Svatantra……

As a student, my teacher worked at guiding me towards becoming increasingly independent in developing and refining more and more my personal practice skills so I became less and less dependent on him being the vehicle for if, when, where, what and how well I practice.

I have always respected this aspect of his 121 teaching, in that, like a parent with a child, he progressively facilitated my learning. This enabled me to evolve an intelligently consistent, situation adaptive and yet long term developmental self-practice, initially through and then much more than, just Āsana.

“TKV Desikachar did not teach different people different things.
Nor did he just teach the same thing to different people.
He taught different people the same thing in different ways.
The same could be said of T Krishnamacharya’s teaching.
Hence the context of the phrase the Viniyoga of Yoga.”

Especially as, like any art that we wish to become accomplished in, this self-skill was cultivated primarily within my home environment with all its hues and moods that inevitably influence, or are driven by deeper motivations within our current intentions and situation realities.

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108 Yoga Sūtra Study Question Pointers – 2 – What does the word Nirodha signify for you

Chapter One Samādhi Pādaḥ verse 2

yogaḥ citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ |

In Sūtra 1.2 what does the word Nirodha signify for you
in terms of choosing both what to keep in and to keep out?

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

Paul’s Yoga Sūtra Study Questions – Collected & Collated into Chapters

108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers – 12 – Controlling the Nostrils with Mṛgi Mudrā in Nāḍī Śodhana

seated_pranayama

Prāṇāyāma Pointer 12 – Bhāvana for the fingers within Mṛgi Mudrā in Nāḍī Śodhana

One aspect in the refinement of Nāḍī Śodhana
is an almost undetectable deftness within
the finger movement when using Mṛgi Mudrā,
whilst keeping them permanently on the nostrils.

Link to Posts Series: 108 Prāṇāyāma Practice Pointers

Draṣṭṛ is one who initiates and follows what is initiated.

Draṣṭṛ is one who initiates
and follows what is initiated.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 20

T Krishnamacharya Yoga Sūtra Study Quotes Collected and Collated

Design a Practice to experience the application of Sound in Āsana…

Design a Practice to experience the application of Sound in Āsana.
Present keynotes with your reasoning behind your choices.

The Vinyāsa Krama or planning steps in the practice will be for a total of 60 working breaths.

– It will be based primarily around Āsana, perhaps with Mudrā.
– In this instance, the practice will not include any sitting Prāṇāyāma or Dhyāna.
– In the planning structure, any link Āsana such as Samasthiti, Śavāsana, Vajrāsana, do not count in the breath tally.
– State the intended direction and outcome of the practice in terms of the goal or goals.
– Indicate the primary or crown you are choosing to build the practice around.
– Justify your choice of supporting or compensatory Āsana within the scheme.

To Download or View this Question as a PDF Study Sheet

Yoga Practice Planning and Theory Questions – Collected & Collated

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 115 – How to deal with the conundrum that we are thinking or feeling we are changing…

How to relate with the inner conundrum that we are
thinking or feeling we are changing every 5 minutes.
Yet, from within that seeming flux we can observe that
we are only appearing to be changing every 5 minutes.
This implies that there is something else, not obvious,
yet constantly abiding within our psychic fluctuations.
Yoga offers a journey towards a direct experience of that
which perceives within our coalesced sense of “I” Am-ness.
In other words, how to be with that we call awareness or
the observer within the seeming seduction of the observed,
given that both mind and senses are part of the observed?
– Paul Harvey on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 18

Paul’s Yoga Mālā – A Thread of Pearls from Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra