Yoga is a science as well as a method that allows man to live a harmonious life while favouring his spiritual progress through the control of mind and body. The Asanas (Yogic postures) and Pranayama (breath control), better known as Hatha-Yoga, are a practice which not only help one acquire perfect health, stay young and live longer, but is designed to develop the inner force that enables us to overcome our failings and withstand stressful situations with serenity. It prepares the body for higher stages of yogic practice — such as concentration and meditation. Hatha-Yoga thus complements Raja-Yoga, whose supreme goal is the attainment of the state of Super-consciousness.
The great yogis tell us that those who know how to combine yogic postures (Asanas), breathing exercises (Pranayama), and the control of the mind or concentration (Dharana) may attain a state of perfection. The object of the Asanas and Pranayamas is the improvement of the physical body, while the control of the mind, i.e., the constructive power of the consciousness, is beneficial to the inner force, developing a positive, optimistic outlook on life; it eliminates the fear of premature old-age and death, bringing with it a state of serenity.
The object of Yoga is to enable us to reach a better knowledge of ourselves. It lays the foundations for a higher level of self-development and a deeper self-awareness. Above all, Yoga teaches us self-discipline, for very little can be achieved without it. Sometimes, however, discipline thus acquired can become extremely unbending and one-sided, leading to fanaticism and preventing future progress. Hence, the true way of obtaining the desired results lies in a self-discipline that is balanced.
Yoga is not a religion; it is the search for the inner development of the consciousness, going directly to the very heart of reality. It does not involve blindly obeying traditional rules; it is a way of progressively realizing one’s full potential, thus arriving at the complete emancipation of the mind.
This book provides an explanation of what Yoga is and indications to the method and practice of Asanas and Pranayama. It is based on the practical experience of the great Indian Yogis and Sages, plus original Sanskrit writings on therapeutic yogic practices.
Sri Ananda belongs to a distinguished family of Uttar Pradesh in India. From his earliest youth, he was attracted by Yogis and by the simplicity and purity of their lives. While at college he spent his spare time reading books on Yoga. His first guru was his mathematics teacher, an eminent man, highly versed in the knowledge of Yoga. Sri Ananda has travelled all over India to find spiritual teachers and sages, such as Ramana Maharshi, Swami Ramdas, Sri Aurobindo, Ma Anandamoyi and others. He has spent a great deal of time with them and learnt much from their enlightened teachings. He then came into contact with Swami Kuvalayananda, a medical doctor and founder of the famous institute of Yoga Research, Lonavla, India. Under his guidance he carried out research into the therapeutic aspects of Hatha-Yoga. For many years Sri Ananda guided and managed the Indian Yoga Centre in Paris. His two excellent books on Yoga in French, have gone into several editions, and is the co-author of highly acclaimed Yoga: For easier Pregnancy & Natural Childbirth.
"An unusual book...we must pay tribute to its first rate qualities." – Combat, Paris
"...an answer to those who feel stifled by modern life... a handbook for everyday life, to be read and re-read." – L'alasace, Paris
"(This) book (has) all that is indispensable to know... to understand and practice yoga." – Elle, Paris