From the Jacket:
This book is the most comprehensive text ever published on yoga. It contains a complete course of 36 structured lessons on all the practices of integral yoga. The lessons were compiled from the teachings given by Swami Satyananda Saraswati and are useful as a practical and theoretical guide for all levels of yoga teachers and aspirants.
The book presents a synthesis of yoga in a scientific and systematic manner. The different branches of hatha yoga, raja yoga, mantra yoga, karma yoga, bhakti yoga, jnana yoga and kriya yoga are progressively introduced with special emphasis on practice, theory and application in daily life.
Includes line drawings, diagrams and colour plates.
About the Author:
Swami Satyananda was born at Almora, Uttar Pradesh, in 1923. in 1943 he met Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh and adopted the Dashnami sannyasa way of life. In 1955 he left his guru's ashram to live as a wandering mendicant and later founded the International Yoga Fellowship in 1956 and the Bihar School of Yoga in 1964. Over the next 20 years Swami Satyananda toured internationally and authored over 80 books. In 1987 he founded Sivananda Math, a charitable institute for aiding rural development, and the Yoga Research Foundation. In 1988 he renounced his mission, adopting kshetra sannyasa, and now lives as a paramahamsa sannyasin.
This book and the depth of knowledge it contains provides the link between you, the practitioner of yoga, and an experienced guide and teacher. This link is your sadhana (spiritual practice), the beginning of your inner trans-formation, spiritual awakening and realization of higher ideals in life.
The techniques covered in this book have their basis in the ancient Vedic (tantric and yogic) shastras and were handed down over the centuries from guru to disciple until they reached the late great Swami Sivananda Saraswati of Rishikesh, who further passed them on to his disciple, Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Now in an age when travel and communication have become almost instantaneous affairs and there are more efficient methods of disseminating wisdom than the human voice and ear, we wish to offer these transcendental instruments of grace to all who have eyes to read and ears to hear.
The original text was compiled from teachings given by Swami Satyananda to his closest disciples for the ultimate benefit of mankind. According to tradition many of the practices of yoga, especially the advanced practices of kriya yoga, were kept secret and passed on by word of mouth only between guru and disciple. However, modern man in his intense search for an underlying meaning in life has now come to a point of evolution where he is ready to integrate the practices of yoga both physically and spiritually. There is more guidance available also to help him understand and practice the more advanced techniques.
This book is our effort to keep this valuable tradition alive and to spread the message of yoga further into your homes and into your inner being. It is a complete work on yoga - a complete course in the practices of integral yoga. It presents a synthesis of the various paths of yoga in a scientific and systematic manner to ensure the harmonious development and unfoldment of every aspect of the individual. The different branche - hatha yoga, raja yoga, mantra yoga, karma yoga, bhakti yoga, jnana yoga and kriya yoga - are progressively introduced with special emphasis on practice and application in day to day life. Through the practice of integral yoga this book aims to develop in the aspirant a state of perfect body health, peace of mind and mental stability, perfect intellectual clarity and higher spiritual knowledge and awareness, a state where one is both useful to him elf and to mankind. It contain the essence of swami Satyananda's teachings and in this respect is an ideal single source of information for both teachers and students alike.
We have tried to present the book in such a way as to lead one gradually and progressively through the practices as if learning directly from a devoted teacher. If your approach is sincere and you follow your program regularly, the benefits will unfold themselves into all the different aspects of your life.
There are three main parts, divided into thirty-six lessons, containing various topic on both the theoretical and practical aspects of yoga, and eventually a full exposition of the ancient system of kriya yoga. The first book of practices for beginners is intended to systematically prepare the mind and body for the more advanced practices in Book II and eventually to the higher practices of kriya yoga in Book III. The ultimate aim is to progressively lead you step by step through the different techniques so that by the end of this sadhana course you will have an integrated approach and a full theoretical understanding of kriya yoga, as well as many other facets of yoga.
We are not interested in formulating a perfect philosophical system which bears no practical significance or relationship with daily life. In the form of discussions we have presented the theoretical side of the different paths of yoga to act as a guideline and inspiration to help you to change and improve your life at all levels. These discussions are intended to open your eyes to certain aspects that perhaps you were blind to before in this most incredible world around us, above us and beyond us. Words at best only serve as a guide; they can never give the experience by themselves. The means are the practical techniques of yoga, using words as a method of communication.
The integration of both the theory and practice of yoga is the means of developing a new and simpler outlook on life and its seemingly complex patterns, i.e. a new consciousness. Each person is a unit consisting of body, mind and consciousness. Most evolutionary systems tackle one of these aspects and ignore or deny the other aspects. It is with this in mind that this book, an integral approach to yoga and life in general, is presented to you - a sadhana from beginning to end, to enable you to travel the inner transcendental road towards union and harmony.
Your reason for wanting to practise yoga or your reason for currently practising yoga is not important. The important thing is that you have overcome previous prejudices and postponements to try yoga for yourself. You have overcome the biggest obstacle.
Perhaps you are doing yoga to develop a healthy body or a beautiful body. There is nothing wrong with this motive and the practices of yoga will help you to attain this. All we say to you is: "Be aware of your mind. Do you feel more peaceful? Have you developed greater concentration?" If so, then through personal experience you will know that yoga practices have a beneficial influence on the mind as well as the body.
Perhaps you have some illness or body ailment which you want to eliminate and have come to yoga as a last resort. Whether it is physical or mental, it does not matter, for yoga can help you. If it is mental peace you want or improved concentration or willpower, then definitely yoga can help, as the very essence of yoga is tied up with these faculties.
Many people have unsatisfactory relationships with wife or husband, friends or colleagues. The practice of yoga will help to put your relationship on a sure, positive basis. Remember, a relationship improves in depth of understanding according to the level of self- awareness. Yoga aims at enabling you to know yourself and to see your foibles and nature in others. In this way, understanding arises and through this your personal relationships will improve.
Perhaps you have heard that yoga can improve or rectify sexual relationships. Yes, this is true and is a perfectly good reason for starting yoga, especially since inadequate sexual relations are often the cause of much unhappiness and frustration. A body that is perfectly healthy and efficient and a mind that is tuned to a high point of sensitivity and calmness, as they are through yoga practices, increase one's ability to enjoy sexual union or remove the obstacles that at present make it impossible.
Maybe you have religious beliefs, but without any spiritual experience. Or maybe you have no religious beliefs and you seek spiritual experience. Or perhaps you have no belief in the existence of spiritual experience, but have come to yoga merely to see what it is all about. It does not matter - you have come. That is the main thing.
What we are trying to say is that whatever your situation in life, whatever you believe or do not believe, whatever you want from life, yoga will help you because it changes your whole being and hence your relationship with and attitude to life itself.
The ultimate point of yoga and this book, however, is to expand your consciousness, to open your eyes to the vast number of things around you, of which at present you are unaware. It was Shakespeare who said: "There are more things in heaven and earth ... than are dreamt of in your philosophy." We must keep our minds open to new possibilities. It is yoga that shows us a way.
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