"Behind the Scenes"

Ananda Yoga for Higher Awareness

by Swami Kriyananda

(Original Title: Yoga Postures for Higher Awareness)

The yoga science my Guru introduced to the West was the meditative science of Raja Yoga. The physical postures, or asanas, are an aspect of that science, but a subsidiary one. Although Paramhansa Yogananda didn't actually teach the asanas, he did highly recommend them. Often he had me demonstrate them, too, for his luncheon guests. Photos of me in various Hatha Yoga asanas were often featured in articles on them in Self-Realization Magazine during the nineteen-fifties.

I began to teach Hatha Yoga in and around San Francisco in 1965. Soon thereafter I developed a new approach to the asanas, one that I felt was more in tune with the true meaning of yoga than most explanations of them. For the supreme goal of that ancient science is union with God; it has nothing to do with the trendy "this-will-slim-your-hips, girls" approach. Hatha Yoga is not a system of physical culture, except insofar as it teaches the importance of keeping the body fit—as my Guru once put it to me—"for God- Realization." The system I developed is compatible with the high spiritual truths taught in Raja Yoga, and championed by Paramhansa Yogananda.

My Guru never explained the yoga postures specifically to me. Nevertheless, I think (hope might be a better word) that I learned something spiritually from him when I was performing them in his presence for his guests. At any rate, I know that the system I evolved is in tune with everything he taught, and I feel secure about presenting them as his system, not my own.

Today, Ananda Yoga has become widely known in many countries.

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