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 transformation, 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 individual. The different branches - 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 himself and to mankind. It contains 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 topics on both the theoretical and practical aspects yoga, especially the advanced practices ofkriya ofyoga, and eventually a full exposition of the 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 practise 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 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.
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