YOGI Science of Breath
(A Complete Manual of THE ORIENTAL BREATHING PHILOSOPHY of Physical, Mental, Psychic, and Spiritual Development.)
The Western student is apt to be somewhat confused in his
ideas regarding the Yogis and their philosophy and practice. Travelers to India
have written great tales about the hordes of fakirs, mendicants and mountebanks
who infest the great roads of India and the streets of its cities, and who
impudently claim the title “Yogi.” The Western student is scarcely to be
blamed for thinking of the typical Yogi as an emaciated, fanatical, dirty,
ignorant Hindu, who either sits in a fixed posture until his body becomes
ossified, or else holds his arm up in the air until it becomes stiff and
withered and forever after remains in that position, or perhaps clenches his
fist and holds it tight until his fingernails grow through the palms of his
hands. That these people exist is true, but their claim to the title “Yogi”
seems as absurd to the true Yogi as does the claim to the title “Doctor” on
the part of the man who pares one’s corns seem to the eminent surgeon, or as
does the title of “Professor,” as assumed by the street corner vendor of
worm medicine, seem to the President of Harvard or Yale.
There have been for ages past in India and other Oriental
countries men who devoted their time and attention to the development of Man,
physically, mentally and spiritually. The experience of generations of earnest
seekers has been handed down for centuries from teacher to pupil, and gradually
a definite Yogi science was built up. To these investigations and teachings was
finally applied the term “Yogi,” from the Sanscrit word “Yug,” meaning
“to join.” From the same source comes the English word “yoke,” with a
similar meaning. Its use in connection with these teachings is difficult to
trace, different authorities giving different explanations, but probably the
most ingenious is that which holds that it is intended as the Hindu equivalent
for the idea conveyed by the English phrase, “getting into harness,” or
“yoking up,” as the Yogi undoubtedly “gets into harness” in his work of
controlling the body and mind by the Will.
Yoga is divided into several branches, ranging from that
which teaches the control of the body, to that which teaches the attainment of
the highest spiritual development. In the work we will not go into the higher
phases of the subject, except when the “Science of Breath” touches upon the
same. The “Science of Breath” touches Yoga at many points, and although
chiefly concerned with the development and control of the physical, has also its
psychic side, and even enters the field of spiritual development.
In India there are great schools of Yoga, comprising
thousands of the leading minds of that great country. The Yoga philosophy is the
rule of life for many people. The pure Yogi teachings, however, are given only
to the few, the masses being satisfied with the crumbs which fall from the
tables of the educated classes, the Oriental custom in this respect being
opposed to that of the Western world. But Western ideas are beginning to have
their effect even in the Orient, and teachings which were once given only to the
few are now freely offered to any who are ready to receive them. The East and
the West are growing closer together, and both are profiting by the close
contact, each influencing the other.
The Hindu Yogis have always paid great attention to the
Science of Breath, for reasons which will be apparent to the student who reads
this book. Many Western writers have touched upon this phase of the Yogi
teachings, but we believe that it has been reserved for the writer of this work
to give to the Western student, in concise form and simple language, the
underlying principles of the Yogi Science of Breath, together with many of the
favorite Yogi breathing exercises and methods. We have given the Western idea as
well as the Oriental, showing how one dovetails into the other. We have used the
ordinary English terms, almost entirely, avoiding the Sanscrit terms, so
confusing to the average Western reader.
The first part of the book is devoted to the physical phase
of the Science of Breath; then the psychic and mental sides are considered, and
finally the spiritual side is touched upon.
We may be pardoned if we express ourselves as pleased with our success in condensing so much Yogi lore into so few pages, and by the use of words and terms which may be understood by anyone. Our only fear is that its very simplicity may cause some to pass it by as unworthy of attention, while they pass on their way searching for something “deep,” mysterious and non-understandable. However, the Western mind is eminently practical, and we know that it is only a question of a short time before it will recognize the practicability of this work.
We greet our students, with our most profound salaam, and
bid them be seated for their first lessons in the Yogi Science of Breath.
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