Yoga For Your Health Pg-3
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.
Having declared then that Hatha Yoga can help you towards better health and calm your mind so that you can solve your personal problems, I do want to stress two facts. Firstly, that the aim of Hatha Yoga is not the acquisition of a superior muscular physique but the discipline and the purification of the body that we may forget our earthly shell enough to reach a state of heightened awareness through the control of the mind. Secondly, that Hatha Yoga is neither the easiest nor the fastest system of physical culture to show results.
- Why then Hatha Yoga for your health?
- Why not weight lifting, club swinging, athletics, or even dancing?
- All of these will improve the circulation, the figure, and strengthen the muscles. What has Hatha Yoga to offer in addition to this?
Simply that Hatha will provide an extraordinary control over the body and awaken the mind and spirit, the higher self if you like, as no purely physical culture system could possibly do. Also, the above-mentioned activities are beyond the capabilities of a large section of the community, the aged, the infirm, the lame, and the physically frail. Those activities involve violent movement whereas Hatha Yoga is essentially a static science. Basically one gets into a Yoga posture or asana and remains so for as long as possible. Stress is laid on pressure of certain organs, glands and muscles rather than on movement. When movement is necessary in Hatha Yoga it is always gentle and graceful, therefore anyone can benefit from Yoga regardless of age, sex, race, walk of life, or religious belief. It is a universal science. It can lead to more abundant living and a new awareness of higher things through ridding your body of the pains and diseases which drag your mind back into the earth when it wants to wing its way upwards towards the light.
It is reported that Lord Buddha, whose philosophy is based on the Veda from which Yoga was evolved, said that the first step on the way to spiritual freedom and salvation is perfect physical health. So if you are drawn towards Hatha Yoga do not be put off by others who might tell you that you will never reach a state of heightened consciousness by turning your body upside down or sitting in various leg-breaking postures. Tell them that if the blood is impure then the brain, the nerves, the psycho-spiritual life, yes even the thoughts, cannot but be affected. Tell them that a man cannot control his mind until his body is made pure and healthy. Even if you do not aim at mental discipline, and many of you I know do not, you can with persistent practice improve your general health beyond belief.
You will find that Yoga knowledge, once accumulated, will begin to influence and help you in your daily life, whoever you may be. It will gradually invade every part of your life, from your attitude towards your fellow men to the way you sleep, breathe, think, and even eat. Did I say eat? What has eating to do with Hatha Yoga? It has very much to do with it. It is a strange fact that Yoga’s doctrine of non-violence very soon influences even the most enthusiastic meat-eater to think again about a vegetarian diet. As the senses become more acute through the practice of Yoga, one begins to experience a distaste for al! forms of killing and violence. Meat becomes unpalatable because many devotees of
Yoga are actually able to see the astral bodies of the slaughtered animals as they tuck into a thick, juicy steak. Their senses gradually becoming awakened, they think on things that never occurred to them before and in the case of slaughtering helpless animals they begin to understand and revolt at the hideous practices that go on in abattoirs all over the world. So you have been warned! You, who are reading a book on Yoga for perhaps the first time in your life, you who have eaten and enjoyed meat and fish for many years and intend to go on doing so, you will suddenly discover, if you practice Yoga, that meat is not quite so delicious as you hitherto thought and that other foods, cheese and vegetables and fruits, taste much better.