About YogaThe Practice of Yoga Now and In History
Traditionally the goal of yoga is to be able to sit with stillness, to contain the thoughts of the mind to a point of focus, rather than the usual merry dance the distracted mind plays.
Patañjali (an ancient Indian scholar) in the Yoga Sūtra speaks about yoga as a tool for refining the mind. He offers a systematic methodology of working with the body, the breath and the mind to nurture physical health and mental stability.
The goal of containment the movements in the mind is still as relevant in modern times as it was historically, however for many people yoga is thought of as physical exercise and little more.
Although the physical aspects of yoga are very important, in this tradition we focus on working with the breath and the mind whilst practicing āsana (postures).
We focus on deeply refining the structural form of primary āsana and developing the breath in the posture, to experience the maximum physical and energetic benefits available. You will develop a strong experience of a few key postures rather than briefly practicing many complicated forms. Through practicing āsana you are introduced to the more subtle aspects of yoga – working with the breath and mind.
As your journey with yoga progresses there is a tendency to shift your focus from solely working with āsana to incorporate working more with prāṇāyāma (seated breathing) and dhyāna (meditation). The foundation work you do in āsana and prāṇāyāma help to prepare your body and mind respectively to practice dhyāna.
Yoga Sūtra – Patañjali – Chapter 1 verse 2 yogaḥ citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ | Yoga is the containment of movement in the psyche – translation by Paul Harvey
“Only through yoga, yoga is known.
Only through yoga, yoga changes.
One who is patient at yoga, enjoys the fruit over a long time.”
From Vyāsa’s commentary on the Yoga Sūtra
Learning from Life by Paul Harvey
The Wisdom of the Yoga Sūtra Part 1 of 2
Paul Harvey has put together several articles and comments on how the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali can be applied to modern life.
I think these are a good introduction to the Yoga Sūtra and how the teachings are still so relevant. They give you an idea of where your journey with yoga could take you.
If you’d like to have your own a copy of Paul Harvey’s translation of the yoga sūtra you can download PDF’s from dharma downloads on his website. http://www.yogastudies.org/category/dharma-downloads/yoga-texts/yoga-sutra/
The full version is:
Patañjali Yoga Sūtra Translated Verse by Verse (v3.5 November 29th 2013)
Translation by Paul Harvey – From Paul Harvey’s study with TKV Desikachar.
Or for a workbook where you can make notes download the Yoga Sūtra Workbooks:
Chapter One Workbook with Saṃskṛta Roots
Patañjali Yoga Sūtra Book One Samādhi Pādaḥ – From Paul Harvey’s study with TKV Desikachar.
These links provide you with a list of social and useful sites for anyone wanting to link socially or to find out more about yoga practice. I have also provided some links to yoga practice in other areas for those of you wanting to practice.
UK Based Yoga Sites – Resources
Dharma Downloads – Free Yoga Resources for a Global Community