Whether or not I like it, I should know where I am……

Whether or not I like it, I should know where I am

“Whether or not I like it, I should know where I am.
Otherwise we try to draw the line from where we are not to where we want to be.
Therefore the first point must be understood and then we can go to the next point.”
– TKV Desikachar France August 1983

All these Kleśa are variable in their potency……

“All these Kleśa are variable in their potency.
They can be so weak, that they hardly matter.
Sometime they take a feeble form, when they can be easily contained.
If not they rise to dominance.  When in domination, only one takes over.
For example in the most evolved stage when Rāga is dominant,
other Kleśa such as Dveṣa are not apparent.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 4

Yoga as Exercise, Exercise as Yoga……

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The image that heads this article is one such example of a document that I accumulated from my early studies in Western anatomy, physiology and kinesiology in the 1980’s. It was from a Final Theory Examination for a Teacher Training Course within  the Woman’s League of Health and Beauty. Founded in the 1930’s it now operates under the title of the Fitness League.

Curiously, in researching the current incarnation of this organisation I looked at a promotional video of their ‘style’ on their website and have to comment I would find it quite difficult to distinguish from some of the current offerings around for Yoga Classes.

If you teach using background music, incorporate moving or dance style sequences, or use postures such as two foot support, or cobra, or half locust or seated forward bend, amidst a fitness based approach, then the differences between Yoga Āsana and Exercise Postures become increasingly blurred.

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Three Tools for the Application of Yoga 2016

Three Tools for the Application of Yoga
Āsana – Prāṇāyāma – Yoga Sūtra
For Body – Breath – Mind

Four Days of Yoga Training with Paul Harvey
January 13th – 16th 2016 in Herzliya, Israel

 

  • Theme 1. Planning Āsana Practices
  • Theme 2. Observing and Adapting Āsana
  • Theme 3. Planning Prāṇāyāma Practices
  • Theme 4. Chapter Two of the Yoga Sūtra

Our time together will explore the application of each of the above four themes.

We will spend our mornings focused on Yoga Sūtra Study and Planning Āsana Practices and our afternoons will be spent around Planning Prāṇāyāma Practices and Observation & Adaptation of Āsana.

We will immerse ourselves in the teachings of T Krishnamacharya on the application of Yoga as well as his study of Haṭha and Rāja texts drawn from my 23 years of study in Personal Lessons with TKV Desikachar.

Follow Link to Read or Download a PDF of the Course

Postscript:

Posting this travel and teaching news evoked a reflection and realisation that this visit marks a 20 year anniversary since my first teaching visit to Israel in 1996.

The theme for that 1996 visit was “Prāṇa, Patañjali and Practice”.

A continuing and developing thread it seems to this day except that over this time a community of committed students has evolved so I find myself not just introducing, but being able to expand and deepen the exploration of these three primary Yoga themes. That of Haṭha, Rāja and Sādhana.

It is also a welcome aspect not just to be able to return and deepen teachings but also to be able to leave knowing there are home resources in place for interested students to be able to follow up with and from.

My gratitude, thanks and love around this to Ziva Kinrot for a friendship and studentship that stretches back to 1995 when we first met, curiously enough, in Switzerland.

The confidence that I feel in being able to visit and share more teachings, from the wellspring that Krishnamacharya tapped into and left available, knowing that I am able to leave students in the capable and respectful hands of Ziva, along with those who trained with her, is what draws me back here again and again.

Thus I look forward to this visit and to returning in 2017 and 2018, with dates in the diary and teaching themes already in place as part of a three year project.

Sometimes we try to transmit what we cherish……

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“Sometimes we try to transmit what we cherish.
This is not viniyoga.”
– TKV Desikachar France August 1983

We never know when we are going to die……

We never know when we are going to die.

“We never know when we are going to die.
So we must prepare for death.
Because at the moment of death you become what you think.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

If we start from Kleśa our action will be faulty.

If we start from Kleśa our action will be faulty.

“If we start from Kleśa our action will be faulty.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

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

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

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 Maitrī, Karuṇā, Muditā 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.

– Personal commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 33

Manasika Sādhana – Mind has a part to play……

Manasika Sādhana – Mind has a part to play.

Manasika Sādhana
Mind has a part to play.
We can either direct or restrain.
Mind mentioned a lot in Yoga texts.
i.e. Attitude of Saṃtoṣa – mental contentment also a Sādhana.

Also Bhāvana.
Also Yama and Niyama.
When Yama and Niyama accomplished they become Siddhi.

Svādhyāya example of Sādhana – Study to know something about oneself or others.
Adhyayayana – To repeat exactly what is said by your teacher.
Based on three steps:

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Aindriyika Sādhana – Concerning the Senses……

Aindriyika Sādhana – Concerning the Senses

Aindriyika Sādhana – Concerning the Senses.
FoodDiet – Temptation – Restraining the tongue.
Many things concerning senses of smell, taste, sight, touch, hearing.”
TKV Desikachar France 1983

Śarīrika Sādhana – Keeping the body fit and well……

Śarīrika Sādhana – Keeping the body fit and well.
In the language of Patañjali Āsana is mostly Śarīrika Sādhana.”
TKV Desikachar France 1983

There are categories of Sādhana relating to Body, Breath, Senses and Mind.

There are categories of Sādhana

“There are categories of Sādhana relating to Body, Breath, Senses and mind.”
– TKV Desikachar France August 1983

108 Teaching Path Pointers – 11 – Yoga Cikitsā is about Respecting the Problem and Treating the Person

Yoga Cikitsā is about Respecting the Problem and Treating the Person

Yoga Cikitsā is about
Respecting the Problem and Treating the Person.
Rather than
Respecting the Person and Treating the Problem.

Link to Series: 108 Teaching Path Pointers

Yoga is trying to do something for oneself.

Yoga is trying to do something for oneself

‎”Yoga is trying to do something for oneself.”
TKV Desikachar England 1976

The Art of Setting Priorities for Āsana and the Yoga Body

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ISRAELI YOGA TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION
Two Day Yoga Intensive January 8/9th 2016

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The Art of Setting Priorities for Āsana and the Yoga Body

This two day intensive will explore how to set priorities when establishing a core Āsana practice.

We will look at short and long term goals in choosing postures to focus and develop within our practice.

It is for all interested in the structural and energetic principles that underpin the selection, application and practice of Āsana respecting the principles of Haṭha Yoga and their importance within Modern Postural Yoga.

We will explore Krishnamacharya and Desikachar’s teachings on Yoga and its relationship to and links with modern Kinesiological processes, as well as to its roots within the energetic principles underpinning Haṭha.

It is offered for all Yoga students, teachers and trainee teachers from any background interested in the core principles in the teachings of Haṭha Yoga that support refining and developing the body in our Āsana practice.

Each session will help us to develop, through presentation, textual contexting, and kinesiological examination, along with practical demonstration, small group interaction and personal practice experience, how we can:

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Krishnamacharya also decided that you could be in one posture and do a number of variations.

Krishnamacharya also decided that you could be in one posture and do a number of variations

“Krishnamacharya also decided that you could be in one posture
and do a number of variations.”
– TKV Desikachar England 1992

The traditional model, Śikṣaṇa, for Yoga was to stay in a posture……

The traditional model, Śikṣaṇa, for Yoga was to stay in a posture

“The traditional model, Śikṣaṇa, for Yoga was to stay in a posture,
Krishnamacharya introduced movement in the postures.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

If anybody can breathe, they can do Yoga.

If anybody can breathe

“If anybody can breathe,
they can do Yoga.”
– T Krishnamacharya

The true purpose of Krishnamacharya’s teaching was to bring Man into contact with something beyond himself

The true purpose of Krishnamacharya’s teaching
“The true purpose of Krishnamacharya’s teaching was
to bring Man into contact with something beyond himself,
and far greater.”
– TKV Desikachar: Health, Healing and Beyond C1 p17

In Āyurveda, it gives certain behaviour by which we can stay well……

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“In Āyurveda, it gives certain behaviour by which we can stay well.
If a person follows the following he will freer of sickness.
Regularly, systematically he eats, rests and exercises adequately.
Both in amount and quality.
Food or Āhāra, along with Vihāra – recreation, rest, exercise, other activities.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983