The Art and Science of Raja Yoga contains fourteen lessons in which the original yoga science emerges in all its glory—a proven system for realizing one’s spiritual destiny. This is the most comprehensive course on yoga and meditation available today, giving you a profound and intimate understanding of how to apply these age-old teachings, on a practical, as well as spiritual, day-to-day level in this modern age.
Over 450 pages of text and photos give you a complete and detailed presentation of hatha yoga (yoga postures), yoga philosophy, affirmations, meditation instruction, and breathing techniques.
Also included are suggestions for daily yoga routines, helpful information on diet, and alternative healing techniques.
Apply these teachings and techniques in your daily life and you will attain your highest soul potential: true happiness, inner peace, and the dynamic joy of your soul.
To purchase the online version of this course click here.
Once you’ve purchased the book, be sure to check page 8 for information on how to download the following free inspiration by the author, Swami Kriyananda.
– a talk titled “Meditation: The Great Problem Solver”
– a guided yoga postures session
– a guided meditation on the Light
These recordings are a wonderful companion to the book, and will help you deepen your understanding and practice of meditation and yoga.
Suggestions for Study
Author’s Prefatory Note
Step One: The History of Yoga
I. Philosophy: The History of Yoga
II. Yoga Postures: Special Guidelines
Sasamgasana, Bhujangasana, Utkatasana
III. Breathing: Savasana
V. Healing: Insomnia, Part One
VI. Diet: Insomnia, Part Two
Step Two: The Paths of Yoga
I. Philosophy: The Paths of Yoga
II. Yoga Postures: Basic Principles and Practices
Vrikasana, Chandrasana, Trikonasana, Paschimotanasana, Halasana
V. Healing: IntegrationVs. Disintegration
Step Three: Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga
I. Philosophy: Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga: The Eightfold Path
II. Yoga Postures
III. Breathing: The Full Yogic Breath
V. Healing: Hypertension and Nervousness
Step Four: Yama
I. Philosophy: Yama
II. Yoga Postures
Vrikasana, Padahastasana, the Backward Bend, Janushirasana, Dhanurasana
III. Breathing: Sitkari
V. Healing: Chronic Fatigue
Step Five: Niyama
I. Philosophy: Niyama
II. Yoga Postures
Ardha-Dhanurasana, the “V” Pose, Karnapirasana
III. Breathing: The Alternate Breath
V. Healing: Respiration Troubles
VI. Diet: Fasting
VII. Meditation: Superconsciousness
Step Six: Life is a Battlefield
I. Philosophy: Life is A Battlefield
II. Yoga Postures
Pavanamuktasana, Uddiyana Bandha, Ardha-Mayurasana, Vajrasana
V. Healing: Stomach Disorders
VII. Meditation: Raising the Inner Energy
Step Seven: Affirmations, Part 1
I. Philosophy: Affirmations, Part 1
II. Yoga Postures
Sasamgasana, Supta-Vajrasana, Viparita Karani
V. Healing: Weight Problems
VII. Meditation: Meditation on the Elements
Step Eight: Affirmations, Part 2
I. Philosophy: Affirmations, Part 2
II. Yoga Postures: Sitting Poses
Siddhasana, Padmasana, Ardha-Padmasana, Sukhasana
VII. Meditation: Prayer, Chanting, Japa, and Mantra
Step Nine: Energy and Energization
I. Philosophy: Energy and Energization
II. Yoga Postures
Supta-Vajrasana, Ardha-Salabhasana, Ardha-Matsyendrasana, Akarshana Dhanurasana, Garudasana
III. Breathing: Kapalabhati Pranayama
V. Healing: Circulation and the Blood
VI. Diet: SimplicityIn all Things
VII. Meditation: Concentration
Step Ten: Magnetism
I. Philosophy: Magnetism
II. Yoga Postures
Parvatasana, Salabhasana, Matsyasana, Yoga Mudra, Dharnuasana
V. Healing: Sex Problems
VII. Meditation: A. Hong-Sau Outline
VII. Meditation: B. Magnetism
Step Eleven: Guru
I. Philosophy: Guru
II. Yoga Postures: The Inverted Poses
Sarvangasana, Sethu Bandhasana, Sirshasana
III. Breathing: Sitali Pranayama
V. Healing: Headaches
Step Twelve: The Anatomy of Yoga, Part 1
I. Philosophy: The Anatomy of Yoga, Part 1
II. Yoga Postures: Advanced Poses
III. Breathing: Surya Bedha Pranayama
V. Healing : The Eyes, Ears and Teeth
VII. Meditation: Attitude
Step Thirteen: The Anatomy of Yoga, Part 2
I. Philosophy: The Anatomy of Yoga, Part 2
II. Yoga Postures: Advanced Poses
Kechari Mudra, Aswini Mudra, Jalandhara Bandha, Jivha Bandha
III. Breathing: Jalandhara Bandha, Ujjayi Pranayama
V. Healing: The Legs and Feet
VII. Meditation: Attitude (continued)
Step Fourteen: The Yogic Scheme of Life
I. Philosophy: The Yogic Scheme of Life
II. Yoga Postures
VI. Diet: Diet for Meditation
VII. Meditation: Signs of Spiritual Progress
A Farewell to the Student
An Overview by Subject Matter
by Sheila Rush
In The Art and Science of Raja Yoga, the original yoga science emerges in all of its glory—a proven system for realizing our spiritual destiny. The practice of raja yoga awakens us to our deepest reality of oneness with the Infinite. The key word here is practice. As a spiritual science, yoga is unique in that it encourages us to test the truth of its principles, not simply to believe. Using the many tools yoga gives us, we can determine firsthand whether it does in fact live up to its glorious promise. The “proof” comes in our growing experience of the love, joy, calmness, and courage of our soul nature. Yoga is thus empowering. It gives us the teachings, the tools, and the validation of our own deepening experience of the Divine to speed us on our inner journey to God.
The Art and Science of Raja Yoga was my first systematic introduction to yoga. Twenty-one years later, I am deeply grateful for this course and the opportunity to recommend it to others. Swami Kriyananda is a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi. Yogananda, the first yoga master to live and teach in the West, brought with him the authentic, original yoga science of ancient India. For more than 50 years, Kriyananda has devoted his life to sharing these same teachings. The joyful enthusiasm with which he does so is a compelling invitation to yoga’s inner journey.
The Art and Science of Raja Yoga gives us the balanced, comprehensive approach of raja yoga, which is also known as the “royal” yoga. The course is organized around seven topics—Philosophy, Meditation, Postures, Breathing, Routines, Healing, and Diet. It also includes in-depth discussions of the paths of karma, bhakti, and gyana yoga. Kriyananda excels in showing the interdependence of these seemingly separate areas and how all of them, when correctly approached, further our spiritual progress.
The main purpose of yoga postures, for example, sometimes thought to bestow only physical benefits, is to prepare the body and mind for meditation. Affirmations, visualizations, breathing exercises, healing techniques, the different paths of yoga, and, to a certain extent, diet are similarly helpful. What unites these various areas is raja yoga’s inward, spiritual focus, which achieves its fullest expression in the practice of meditation. Meditation, as taught in The Art and Science of Raja Yoga, gives us direct access to the inner world of Spirit. In the truest possible sense, meditation is yoga’s laboratory and the primary means by which we test the truth of its teachings.
To prepare for the practice of meditation, the course offers numerous preliminary exercises that help us make the transition from the outer world of activity to the inner world of stillness. We learn how to let go of worries, physical and mental tension, and to focus the mind—skills that are helpful not only for meditation but equally in our daily lives. The meditation techniques of ancient India, presented by Kriyananda in step-by-step detail, turn out to be indispensable for quieting the mind, drawing it inward, and redirecting our awareness to the centers of spiritual awakening in the brain. Proper meditation, one soon discovers, is neither mechanical nor passive, but requires deep concentration and sustained, dynamic energy.
Meditation requires also what Kriyananda calls a “complete revolution” in “what are commonly looked upon as normal human attitudes.” He explains: “The competitive drive, for instance, implies an assumption that success must always be exclusive, even to the extent of being determined by other people’s failures. . . . Such an attitude will thwart the most earnest of efforts to progress in meditation, for it will pit one against the universe instead of harmonizing him with it. Right attitude is essential to right meditation.”
The “right attitudes” referred to by Kriyananda are the universal moral principles of yoga, the yamas (the don’ts) and niyamas (the do’s). One of the best known of these is ahimsa, or non-injury, popularized by the protest movements of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Ahimsa’s proscriptions are directed not only against harmful actions, but also the harm caused by negative thoughts. The reasons go the heart of yoga. Kriyananda writes:
“The first step in the development of right attitude is to learn to see others not as rivals, but as friends. . . . The goal of yoga is to realize the oneness of all life. If I am willing to hurt the life in me as it is expressed in another human being, then I am affirming an error that is diametrically opposed to the realization I am seeking to attain. It is necessary if I would truly realize the oneness of all things, for me to live also in a way as constantly to affirm this oneness—by my kindness toward all beings, by compassion, by universal love.”
To experience the deeper states of meditation where Spirit resides, we must first put ourselves on its wavelength. Kriyananda advises that at the start of each meditation, we send out waves of forgiveness from the heart to those we may need to forgive. This helps us to resolve conscious and subconscious feelings of anger that draw the mind outward, and to relate to the people involved with more kindness and understanding. By affirming love for all beings, we open ourselves to the gentle vibrations of divine love. Increasingly, as we practice the yamas and niyamas, in our daily lives and as part of our meditation, our journey to the Divine becomes not only a search for love but also its expression.
We are encouraged, also, to view yoga’s moral principles as directional, their perfection as the end not the beginning of the journey. We can gain considerably in peace of mind and inner strength long before we actually perfect our attitudes. India’s great scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, offers the comforting reassurance that “even a little practice of this inward religion will save you from dire fears and colossal suffering.”
Another subject thoroughly covered in this comprehensive course and equally basic to an understanding of yoga is energy. Matter in its essence is energy. Even the human body is not what it seems. Though superficially composed of flesh and bones, on a deeper level of reality it is composed of energy. Western scientists uncovered this truth only in the last century, but it has been known to the yoga tradition for thousands of years. According to Indian scriptures, the Earth repeatedly goes through cycles of higher and lower levels of spiritual understanding. Yoga originated in a higher age when ordinary people could grasp truths that modern science is only now discovering.
Countless vortices of energy make up our deeper reality. When these vortices work together in harmony we are healthy, happy, and life affirming. If we are unwell, depressed, or life negating, it is primarily because our energy is low, or because these vortices are out of sync with one another. The Art and Science of Raja Yoga gives us many ways to strengthen this energy and bring it into harmony—breathing exercises, healing techniques, yoga postures, affirmations, visualizations. Meditation, however, is the most powerful. Through meditation we become more sensitively aware of the body’s subtle energies and increasingly able to harmonize and redirect this energy.
Until we are well along on yoga’s inner journey, Kriyananda advises that we be careful about our “energy environment.” As Paramhansa Yogananda said, “Environment is stronger than will power.” Everything we do influences our energy. An environment of positive people, uplifting music, inspiring books and wholesome movies can greatly aid our spiritual efforts. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true.
Yoga’s more esoteric subjects, such as the chakras, the role of a guru, and astrology (which evolved as an extension of yoga) are also clarified in The Art and Science of Raja Yoga. The chakras are simply the body’s energy centers, whirling spheres that distribute energy to various bodily areas. When our energy is uplifted, we tap into the spiritualizing influence of the higher chakras. Contrary to popular opinion, the influence of a guru is inward, not outward. The guru’s energy (and that of any highly advanced spiritual teacher) is concentrated in the higher chakras. Just as a strong magnet can strengthen a weak one, so also does the guru magnetically strengthen and uplift the energy of those who are receptive. Astrology’s stars and planets are best understood as outer symbols of the shifting patterns of our inner energy. Through the practice of yoga, we can lessen the impact of the heavenly bodies by redirecting the inner energy that relates to their movements. We can, that is, outwit the stars!
Yoga means “union.” Through diligent practice, raja yoga helps us to achieve unity within ourselves on ever-deeper levels, first by bringing body, mind and soul into harmony, and then by expanding our sense of self to include all life and creation. “No man is an island,” wrote John Donne; life is an interconnected reality. But inner harmony and universal kinship are not the end of our journey. Life has given us one destiny only—union with God. Through yoga we gradually learn to see beyond our bodies and personalities to the underlying energy, and beyond that energy to the divine consciousness that produced us all. The faithful practice of raja yoga brings a deepening attunement with that consciousness and ultimately, the realization that we are, and always have been, one with the Infinite.
Nevada City, California
The Art and Science of Raja Yoga
Step One – Section II. Yoga Postures: Special Guidelines
The student is urged to study these lessons, and to practice at least a little bit from them, every day. He should not, however, “bolt his food.” My great guru cautioned me on this point: “Do not get excited or impatient. Proceed with slow speed.” Read the first section on philosophy first. It is important for a right understanding even of the yoga postures, lest one fall into the common mistake of seeking only the shallowest benefits from this great science—slim hips, or a glowing complexion. In a forest strewn with rubies, why fill one’s sack with pine needles?
Don’t overdo. A half an hour to an hour at a time is quite enough for most people. The beginner, especially, should start slowly and work up gradually. (How slowly and how gradually will depend upon his health, and upon the limberness and vitality of his body.) If you want to do two or three hours of yoga postures a day, get yourself a qualified personal teacher. All the yoga books are firm on this point. But don’t imagine in any case that long hours of postures are necessary for glowing health or even rapid spiritual progress. “Keep exercised and body fit for God realization,” my guru once wrote to me; yet he stressed the greater importance of mental and spiritual development even for lasting physical well-being.
Age is not in itself an obstacle to practicing these postures, except for the stiffness and other ailments that often accompany old age. Some of the stiffest people I have seen, however, have been young men in their twenties, and I have known old people who were remarkably supple. Interestingly, it has been my observation that physical stiffness often accompanies a certain mental inflexibility, a tendency toward dogmatism that is not necessarily limited to any age bracket.
A general precaution for everyone is simply to take stock of one’s own physical condition, and to proceed with common sense. When unwell, be extra cautious; it may be safest for the time being not to do the postures at all. There are people with extreme physical problems who ought never to do any but the simplest poses. If you have very high blood pressure, for example, or a weak heart, exercise great caution; Savasana (the restful “Corpse” Pose) may be all that you should attempt.
Women in menstruation should avoid the stomach poses (Uddiyana Bandha and Nauli), and the other poses, too, unless they are in sound health. Pregnant women, and women who have recently (within the past twelve weeks) given birth, would do best to avoid especially the forward-bending exercises (Janushirasana, the Jackknife Pose, etc.), and the stomach exercises. Many of the other yoga positions, however, may be practiced with benefit during pregnancy, and have been found to ease the difficulties of child birth.
If you experience pain (other than muscular) in the chest, abdomen, or brain while doing any posture, discontinue that pose until the cause of the pain has been ascertained. If you have any serious doubts about your fitness to do the yoga postures, please consult your physician (or, in the case of spinal problems, your osteopath or chiropractor) before attempting them.
Bear in mind, however, that hatha yoga is one of the best systems known to man for the relief of physical distress. Cautions must be borne in mind, but they ought certainly not to be viewed with alarm. The yoga science is safe for anyone who uses it with common sense. It is not a system of vigorous calisthenics, but of gentle, natural movements that place a minimum of strain on the bodily system, with a maximum of benefit to it.
Remember, it is important never to force oneself into a pose. The postures are a process of gradual discovery of the body’s potentials. Think of them as an adventure in awareness. Through growing awareness of tension, for example, one will be able to release that tension and thereby to perfect a pose. By perfect relaxation the whole yoga science can be mastered. This is as true for raja yoga as it is for hatha yoga, for relaxation must be taken into progressively subtle realms, through mental and emotional calmness to spiritual expansion and receptivity.
Stretch into a pose only a little bit, if at all, beyond the point of comfort. Be aware of the tensions that prevent you from stretching further. Relax them. (To relax, think space at the points of strain.)
Don’t worry if it takes a long time to do a pose well. There is no such thing as failure in a pose, short of simply not doing it at all. Any stretch in the general direction indicated will be important for you. The stiffer you are, indeed, the more important it will be for you to make an effort—even if you can only reach your fingers as far down as your knees when the instructions clearly state that you should be holding your toes. There will always be someone better than you are. So also will there always be someone worse. Compare yourself only with yourself. Are you a littler freer in your body now than you were a few days or weeks ago? So long as you are progressing in the right direction, you have cause for nothing but self-congratulation.
One of the gratifying aspects of the yoga postures, however, is that the most beneficial of them are not always the most difficult. Some of the best of them, indeed, are among the easiest.
Here are three easy ones to begin with. Try them.
Sasamgasana (The Hare Pose—First Phase, also known as Balasana, the Child Pose)
“I relax from outer involvement into my inner haven of peace.”
Sit on your calves with your feet outstretched behind you, your right big toe over the left big toe. If you cannot sit down all the way, never mind for the purposes of this particular pose.
Lean forward gently, exhaling, until your head touches the floor in front of you, close to your knees. Put your hands backward and down by your side. Rest in that position, breathing normally, thirty seconds to one minute.
Benefits: The gentle inversion of your body will bring blood to your brain. It will benefit your sinuses. This position is refreshing to the brain; it helps to banish mental fatigue. If you can squat down completely on your calves, the gentle pressure of your weight on your legs, feet, and abdomen will help to relieve fatigue in the lower body.
In a later lesson a variant of this pose will be taught to relieve headaches and a feeling of pressure in the brain.
Bhujangasana (The Cobra Pose)
“I rise determinedly to meet all obstacles.”
Or: “I rise joyfully to meet each new opportunity.”
The reader who has any knowledge of the yoga postures will probably be familiar with this pose. The Cobra Pose is easy to assume; its benefits are great.
Lie face downward, with the palms flat against the ground at about the level of the shoulders. Keep the elbows close to the body. The forehead should rest against the ground.
First Phase: Slowly raise the forehead, feeling the tension at the back of the head. Concentrate not on the tension itself, but on the causal gathering of energy in the spine.
Second Phase: Draw the head slowly farther and farther back, until the shoulders become lifted off the ground. Now draw the back slowly upward, until you can raise it no farther by its own strength.
Third Phase: Then, with the arms, push yourself upward as far as your body will bend, without raising your navel from the ground. As you raise your back slowly, feel the gradual course of energy downward from the head through the spine with the tensing of each successive portion of the neck and back.
After attaining the final position, relax: You will find that you can bend farther still. Visualize yourself as rising bravely to meet the challenge of all obstacles in your life. Affirm mentally: “I rise determinedly to meet all obstacles,” or, “I rise joyfully to meet each new opportunity.”
After 5 or 10 seconds in this final phase (more, of course—up to 3 minutes—for adepts), return slowly to the prone position, reversing the sequence of tension and feeling the energy flow back up the spine gradually to the brain. Repeat this posture, if you like, 3 to 7 times, resting briefly after each practice.
Beginners may breathe naturally, but after proficiency is attained one should inhale slowly while bending upward, and exhale slowly while returning to the first position.
Benefits: The Cobra Pose is wonderfully relaxing to the spine. It refreshes the brain. It strengthens the back muscles, and exerts a gentle, beneficial pressure on the visceral organs. It helps one particularly to overcome flatulence after meals. The psychological and spiritual benefits are more important. Psychologically, the Cobra Pose increases one’s strength to overcome obstacles. Spiritually, it increases awareness of, and hence control over, the subtle energy in the spine.
Utkatasana (The Chair Pose)
“My body is no burden; it is light as air.”
First Phase: Stand up. Inhale, raising your arms straight out in front of you, palms upward, and rise up simultaneously on your toes as you raise your arms. Crouch down part way, as if you were sitting down, but were so light that you needed nothing but air to rest upon. Affirm mentally: “My body is no burden; it is light as air.”
Second Phase: For the second phase of this posture, squat down all the way, remaining on your toes. In this position, place your hands on your hips.
When you are ready to come up again, sweep your arms forward and upward, with the palms turned up; inhale as you come up, and raise your arms in a graceful sweeping motion over your head, backward, and down as you settle back onto your heels, exhaling.
Benefits: Some of the yoga postures are beneficial primarily for their psychological and spiritual effects. This pose is one such exercise. Its physical benefits are simply that it tones up the leg muscles and helps (in the second phase) to relieve tired feet. Psychologically, the Chair Pose is far more valuable. It suggests to the mind a sense of lightness and vitality, a freedom from bondage to the heavy, downward pull of earth.
After I started a community at Ananda, I saw the need for supporting enterprises. This book was written first as a home study course under the name, Fourteen Steps to Perfect Joy. It was my first step in the direction of creating those enterprises. Many years later, it was published in book form with the above title.
The lessons were designed originally with a desire not to compete with SRF’s lessons. I based them, therefore, on the science of Hatha Yoga.
Because I was still giving classes in the city in order to meet our mortgage payments, the only time I had available for actually writing the course was on Friday evenings at Ananda. Weekday evenings I taught classes in the cities. Friday evenings I would drive up to Ananda Village and dictate a lesson late into the night. Saturday mornings I gave classes for retreatants, and then offered personal interviews that covered a few hours in the afternoon. Saturday evenings I would give a concert of my songs, which I usually followed by a short talk. Sunday mornings I performed a fire ceremony, then conducted a two-hour worship service. After that we had lunch, then I gave one or two more private interviews. Sunday afternoons I drove down to the city to begin the weekly process all over again.
It was a grueling schedule.
The lessons I wrote were helpful in building our work—though less so, financially, than I’d have liked. Some years later I decided I had to be true to what I really believed. The yoga postures are a subordinate part of the Raja Yoga science. Ever anxious never to place myself in competition with SRF, I took a different approach to my Guru’s teachings, one which he himself had initiated in classes on the ancient teachings of Patanjali. Thus, my Raja Yoga teachings were based on his explanation of the Eightfold Path of Patanjali.
The lessons received high praise from many people, who said this was the clearest and most complete material available anywhere on the subject. Later, I decided that this material should be given its present book format.
“I’ve studied many books in hopes of finding one that would change my life, showing me how to be a happy, contented person. This book has been the one. It has taught me how to access peace from within my Self. It is a manual I will study again and again for its depthless teachings.”
—P.B., Dallas, TX
“The lessons themselves are so rich that I learn something new every time I read them.”
—K.M., Ojai, CA
“I must say the results are more that I expected. My friends say I’m glowing. I seem to have almost limitless energy.”
—P.O., Dundee, FL
“The depth of knowledge I’ve gained is exactly what I was seeking. Since I started the teachings, I have noticed a significant difference in the quality of my life. I feel more relaxed, more at peace, and sometimes find myself smiling with a joy that bubbles from inside.”
—P.R., Jersey City, NJ
“With yoga much in vogue these days, the prolific Walters, a longtime teacher and disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda and founder of Ananda Village, offers an ambitious package of instruction in the discipline. Intended as a 14-week home-study course, the book’s 14 chapters cover teaching, postures and routines, meditation and breathing techniques, health and healing topics and diet. It’s tough to do a good yoga book, because a number of variables have to converge: substantive integrity, clarity in how-to explanations and quality visuals.
“By those measures, this book succeeds. Walters’ long teaching record shows his ability to discuss key yogic concepts and practices in simple terms. B&W photos illustrate form, and each explanation includes a helpful statement of the benefits of each pose. This comprehensive guide has an extra medium to distinguish it on the crowded yoga bookshelf: an accompanying audio CD that contains a vague lecture as well as more helpful sections of guided meditation and posture instruction. All things considered, it’s superior to books that reduce yoga to a series of physical exercises taught by this year’s guru.”
“Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters) was a close disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the classic Autobiography of a Yogi. Each lesson contains sections on yoga philosophy, yoga postures, breathing, routines that present sequences of postures, healing, diet (including recipes!), and meditation. The guides to yoga postures include illustrations, specific tips and a variety of general advice, but above all, the book explores the whole yogic understanding of life. As Swami Kriyananda puts it, this ‘science of yoga was born in an age when mankind as a whole was more enlightened, and could easily grasp truths for which our most advanced thinkers are still grasping . . . . It is because the groping for these truths has begun again that great yogis have reintroduced this ancient science to humanity at large.’
“Swami Kriyananda writes in a friendly, conversational style and includes anecdotes from his own training and practice. He also points out how the inner, holistic approach of yoga differs from modern western attitudes such as competitiveness, analysis, and unrestrained emotional expression (as opposed to sublimation). At the same time, he insists that yoga is a science in its own right that proves its findings to any dedicated practitioner, and offers much greater joy than materialistic or sensual pursuits. It is all the same energy, says Kriyananda; the question is whether we squander it, or cultivate it and direct it towards higher and more lasting goals. In addition, he rules out the idea that the Eastern spiritual path is essentially passive, since it aims at the goal of self-mastery, and success depends upon both will power and effort.
“You will also find discussions of more esoteric topics such as personal magnetism, chanting of mantras, yogic anatomy, and kundalini.”
—Bodhi Tree Review
“Imagine being renowned worldwide as a lecturer, author, teacher, composer, singer, philosopher, artist, scientist, and businessman. Swami Kriyananda embodies this renaissance description. Walters was formally educated at Haverford College and Brown University. He is perhaps best known as the disciple of the revered yoga master, Paramhansa Yogananda, and the founder/spiritual director of Ananda Village, a successful alternate-lifestyle community. He has composed over 400 musical works, and is the author of over 80 books.
“Besides philosophical truths, the physical aspects of hatha yoga postures are learned through descriptions and images. Visualization techniques, healing methods, chakras, prayers, recipes, breathing exercises, and meditation, are also taught in the lessons.
“The author succeeds in enlightening the Western mind and practice with the ancient Indian system of yoga. If the reader can comprehend energy (prana) as a ‘fundamental reality of physical matter’ then the science of yoga makes perfect sense. Kriyananda’s gentle, but firm language (‘to relax, think space at the points of strain’) keeps the various methods, paths, and philosophies interconnected for an individual spiritual training. This course acts as a lifetime guide in the ‘neutralization of the waves of feeling’ and helps to harmonize the body, mind, and spirit.
“Kriyananda includes an extensive index, overview of subject matter, suggestions for study, and other resources. Overall, the guide has an organized presentation and is written by a familiar, master’s voice. This book contains essential understanding and definition for an often generalized term, yoga.”
“The Art and Science of Raja Yoga by Swami Kriyananda is an exhaustive, ‘user friendly,’ self-tutorial featuring black-and-white photographs of yoga postures, detailed descriptions of yoga philosophy and affirmations, instruction in the art of meditation and breathing techniques, chakras, chanting, prayer, fasting, energy, magnetism, and more. Of special note is the accompanying full-length audio CD providing a complete accompaniment to the text. . . . easy-to-understand instructions for a better exercise regimen, improved health, and greater tranquility of the mind, The Art and Science of Raja Yoga is strongly recommended.”
—The Midwest Book Review
“The Art and Science of Raja Yoga is much more than a book, it is a comprehensive course in yoga and meditation as taught to us by Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, the first yoga master to permanently live and teach in the West. Its fourteen lessons slowly lead us into an involvement with this ‘royal yoga,’ as it is known, through an intensely lucid and detailed presentation of postures, meditative practices and a comprehension of the precepts and principles of yoga practice. Touted as the most ancient science known to man, yoga’s purpose is ‘to open the windows of the mind, and to awaken every cell of the body and brain to reflect and magnify the energy that comes to it from the surrounding universe.’ Combining the physical discipline of hatha yoga, practicing postures aimed at harmonizing the body with natural law, and practicing meditation, are the main tools of raja (royal) yoga.
“Building upon one another, each successive lesson in the book offers information on philosophy, breathing, healing, and diet as it pertains to the yoga. Step one begins with a history of this ‘path to enlightenment,’ and introduces three postures with special guidelines for the process of gradual discovery of the body’s potentials. Breathing is explained as the means of taking in prana, translated as both ‘energy’ and ‘life.’ Suggestions about establishing a routine are followed by sections on healing, diet and the importance of meditation practice, with instructions on a simple exercise for beginning to still our thoughts. Certainly a marvelous primer for anyone interested in seriously pursuing the path, The Art and Science of Raja Yoga also provides a great resource for those already so engaged to sharpen the details of their knowledge and practice.”
—Spirit of Change Magazine