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A Systematic Course In The Ancient Tantric Techniques Of Yoga & Kriya Hardcover – Dec 1 2004
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After practicing the first 7 lessons (7 months) of the book at home I decided to get serious about Satyananda Yoga and started looking for a teacher. As it turns out, there are only 4 fully accredited Satyananda teachers in North America (yes you read that correctly!) as it takes 3 to 5 years of intensive study to achieve that designation (as opposed to about 1 month to get a basic 200-hour yoga certificate elsewhere) and they have only started training Satyananda teachers in North America about 5 years ago. As all 4 of the teachers are in Cleveland Ohio, I took a flight out there to start my journey down this amazing path and hope to join the ranks of Satyananda teachers in a few years.
If you are a serious and disciplined aspirant and are interested in the practice of yoga for rapid spiritual evolution (as opposed to simply for health and fitness), then this is the path for YOU.
Hari Om Tat Sat,
The course also provides some bodily cleansing methods which may freak you out a little bit. Right off the bat they give you Jala Neti which requires you to pour salt water into one nostril and have it flow out the other one. This feels odd at first but you get used to it and even start to crave it after a few days.
You spend as long as it takes to fully assimilate each chapter before moving on to the next. Fantastic progress can be made in an hour a day, though it looks like as you reach the more advanced teachings that time will increase.
So don't be intimidated, begin this journey.
The course within this book outlines the essentials of the entire yoga lifestyle and therefore includes information not only on yoga postures, but also on some of the esoteric practices including yogic breathing, cleansing, diet, philosophy, and chakra meditations. However, it is one specific system (or path) to yoga and should not be mixed with other systems i.e. if you choose this path, stick to this one alone.
As some of the other reviewers have pointed out, this book is one of the most comprehensive, articulate and informative book I have found so far on meditation and yoga.
The book emphasizes that, 'There is no need to believe before hand that the techniques will work. Practice and you will know it to be true'.
The book starts with Hatha yoga, basic asanas and progresses through basic breathing techniques. Along the way it gives an in-depth analysis of various forms of yoga - Karma yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti yoga, etc.
It emphasizes that these different yogas complement each other and do not go against each other.
Some people might ask, well isn't there 'one god'. Shouldn't there be one path? This is a narrow way of looking at things. Sure there is one 'Mount Everest' but there are probably many different ways to get to the base-camp!
And each has its own scenic views and obstacles.
Same with the different yogas. Pick one that best suits your personality or better integrate a few of them - E.g. Karma yoga (This is easy to begin - If you work everyday!), Bhakti yoga (Prayer, devotion,etc) and Raja yoga (Breathing, Meditations,etc).
The book gives precise instructions especially in the breathing techniques and gives it to you in steps, so that you can measure your progress and move onto the next level.
The book moves onto advanced kriya techniques towards the end of the book (these require some level of mastery over postures and breathing techniques).
This is a book to keep for a lifetime and go through again and again to understand and integrate more knowledge as one progresses on the path.
It does not seek to indoctrinate anyone, but to present an Indian-based, yogic lifestyle with its claims and demands on your time.
And contrary to other books that sell by their title of "kriya yoga", this one gives you exact kriya methods, in a progressive program. It shows up from the book that there are many kriya yoga techniques, but also a core kriya method: it is a way of breathing that is called ujjayi.
There are others that propagate kriya yoga too, but some tie you for it, tie you to beliefs, guru worship, and tie your future by a harsh oath of unconditional loyalty that purports to extend even for life-times. Self-Realization Fellowship hands out kriya yoga in such a way. If you value the freedom you have got already, here is a better deal - kriya without ties.
The programs in the book are strenuous, but should be attainable by quite supple persons, all in all.
I am glad indeed I got this large (over 950 pages) repository of yoga teachings and methods, and thankful to the publishers too. It is a book I would not miss.
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