Sri Swami Satchidananda has been a prolific teacher on the philosophy and practice of Integral Yoga. Integral Yoga Magazine, founded by Sri Swami Satchidananda in 1970, is the official journal of Integral Yoga and Sri Swami Satchidananda's teachings. Published quarterly, subscriptions are available by going online to www.Yogaville.org or requesting a subscription form by calling Yogaville. Sri Swami Satchidananda's teachings on the philosophy and practice of Integral Yoga have been compiled into a large number of books. A complete listing of his titles in print can be obtained by contacting Integral Yoga Distribution. The following list of books is provided to help you get started in learning more about the fundamentals of Integral Yoga:
Sri Swami Satchidananda, Integral Yoga Hatha (Integral Yoga Publications, 1995). This clear and comprehensive, illustrated yoga manual remains a classic introduction to hatha yoga.
Sutras (Integral Yoga Publications, 1978). In this commentary on and translation of the classic treatise on yoga, Sri Swami Satchidananda offers practical advice based on his experience and the practice of Integral Yoga.
The following is an inspiring biography of Sri Swami Satchidananda: Sita Bordow, Swami Satchidananda: Apostle of Peace (Integral Yoga Publications, 1986). This richly illustrated biography chronicles Sri Swami Satchidananda's life, from his beginnings in South India to meetings with global leaders.
The following tapes are recommended for those individuals who would like to begin the practice of Integral Yoga:
Sri Swami Satchidananda, Integral Hatha Yoga (Integral Yoga Publications). In this 80-minute videotape, Sri Swami Satchidananda guides the viewer through a session of Integral Yoga, including 45 minutes of yoga postures and a guided deep relaxation.
Integral Yoga Hatha Tapes (Integral Yoga Publishers). An entire series of audiotapes are available to help guide you through many of the levels of practice of Integral Yoga. This selection includes a 30-minute tape for those with limited time and a tape on Extra Gentle Integral Yoga, among many other offerings available.
Swami Ramananda on yoga for men:
"While I think that yoga is certainly helpful for everyone, yoga is particularly beneficial for men because of the way it can counteract some unhealthy male tendencies and reeducate us as men. In so many ways, our educational system has conditioned us to value ourselves based on what we produce. Most men are identified with their jobs, valuing themselves according to what they earn, by their title, status, or possessions. Society trains us to value our image even over how we feel. As a result, men experience a deeply rooted but unspoken stress that they should be more or better than who they are. Yoga counteracts this conditioning because the goal of yoga is to be in touch with ourselves as spiritual beings, to appreciate deeper
aspects of our human experience such as being at peace, having loving relationships, and simply enjoying life. Yoga can teach us that these experiences ultimately are not dependent on things outside of ourselves such as having things go just right or winning the admiration of others.
"Many men approach yoga through the physical practices of hatha yoga. If a hatha class is taught in a traditional way, we perform the postures free of any need to accomplish something or live up to an image. We practice by learning to listen and accept the capacity of the body as it is. So rather than imposing on the body how it should be, hatha practice guides us to move according to our ability at each moment and to respond to what we encounter in ourselves with respect and compassion. This is a powerful antidote to the pressure of maintaining an image that tends to drive men's lives.
"In hatha yoga, we grow our practice by becoming truly aware of where we are in the present moment. In each asana, we learn to progress by coming mindfully in touch with our limits and holding each pose carefully without causing strain. Similarly, to grow out of bad habits, we need to look deeply at what forces are compelling us and know clearly where we are, so that we can see what new step to take and take it with awareness and care. The 'just do it' approach that our culture impresses upon men amounts to forcing ourselves to change and rarely produces lasting results.
"Our yoga practice also teaches us to achieve a balance of effort and ease—to act with a mind that is both energized and calm, focused yet free of anxiousness. This mental state is ideal for doing just about anything we undertake and is especially conducive to clarity and creativity.
"Integral Yoga hatha is a unique style that is grounded in the ultimate goal of realizing one's full potential. It may be less physically challenging than some other styles of yoga, but it is perhaps more psychologically challenging for men, because it asks of them to move free of concern for how they look, and instead to focus on what they feel. Thus, the goal of Integral Yoga hatha is to create ease in the body and peace in the mind versus achieving some ideal physical condition.
"Longer term, our yoga practice helps us remove the obstacles to experiencing our natural state of vitality and steadiness on the physical and mental levels. The ultimate benefits come when the body and the mind are able to be still enough to begin to experience the spiritual level of our being, giving rise to innate feelings of peace, fulfillment, and happiness that are not dependent on anything outside of us. As we become established in the awareness of our true nature, life becomes joyful and we are capable of giving and serving others in meaningful ways."
—Swami Ramananda, President of the Integral Yoga Institute of New York
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