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Hatha Yoga – An Introduction

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This article is primarily concerned with this Yoga of the physical body known as Hatha Yoga. While the body and the mind cannot be separated and the health of one affects the health of the other, I have laid stress on the day to day problems and ailments of the average person who wishes to improve his general health. Not everyone has the mystic vocation to achieve union with God, the Universal Spirit, which is the primary aim of all Yoga, but everyone would like to know how to improve his health.

Many Westerners, moving as they do in a world of hurry and stress, feel that Yoga holds nothing for them and that the whole philosophy is rather remote, vague, and impractical. In this book my aim is to show readers how the ancient system of Yoga provides an effective answer to the many problems of our modern life. You can take an active part in the hurly burly of everyday living and Yoga will act as a protection from the numerous stresses of your environment. While best results are obtained by exercising and practicing breathing and relaxation alone, nevertheless you need not become a hermit to achieve success and improved health through Hatha Yoga.
Recognizing then that you are not a mystic and you do not wish to spend years in meditation and mental discipline to find the true meaning of God and Life, how then can Yoga help you? Let us consider your problems. Are you overworked and tense and do you find it impossible to relax even in bed at night? Are you overweight yet lack the will-power to diet? Do you sometimes find yourself unable to cope with the dash and tumult of everyday life? Are you irritable, worried, nervous? Are you plagued by indigestion and other stress symptoms? Or simply do you seek something, you know not what, which goes above and beyond the superficial level of everyday living?

Yoga awaits your interest, your inspection, your first hesitant experiments. It is here, it has always been here, it is yours for the taking. Those who have delved into its profound philosophy and studied for years with patience and devotion to learn more and more have found something unique, priceless, and indestructible.

The uninformed often speak of Yoga as some dark, hidden practice of magical rites for attaining wondrous powers. While it is an indisputable fact that some advanced Yogis are indeed possessed of such powers, they reached their state of heightened consciousness, not by bell, book, and candle, but by the disciplining of the mind for which the first step is the perfecting of the physical body, through Hatha Yoga.

The inner power of Yoga becomes apparent when one realizes that it has something to offer every thinking person, here and now, yet it is an ancient Hindu philosophy, its beginnings shrouded in the mists of time. The idea may sound fanciful but the proof is manifold.

Hatha Yoga is the preparation for all the higher forms of Yoga and, because of its benefits to the body and the mind, it is the most popular form of Yoga and the most acceptable to Western habits of thought. At the same time it is the most misunderstood science on the face of the earth. Many well-meaning, but misguided individuals have a disparaging attitude towards Hatha

Yoga, because its special province is the physical body. But the sages who formulated the disciplinary science of Hatha Yoga recognized that the first thing man desires and needs is health, so they devised the best means of attaining and preserving it.

While Hatha Yoga is the cause of much apprehension among people who effect to despise things physical and concentrate on higher matters, it has always been a source of interest to me how anyone can meditate on Higher Things while doubled up with pain or suffering any kind of physical discomfort.

Article Extracted From “Be Healthy With Yoga” By Sonya Richmond

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