Practical Lessons in Yoga 118 Pages - Swami Sivananda, @Yoga

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Sri Swami Sivananda
Founder of
The Divine Life Society
So Says
Sri Swami Sivananda
Eighth Edition: 1997
(Copies 6,000)
World Wide Web (WWW) Edition: 2001
This WWW reprint is for free distribution
© The Divine Life Trust Society
ISBN 81-7052-010-X
Published By
P.O. S

249 192
Distt. Tehri-Garhwal, Uttaranchal,
Himalayas, India.
His Holiness Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati is, as it were, an ornament of not only the
glorious Himalayas and India but of the entire world. From the cool heights of his Himalayan
Ashram, “Ananda Kutir,” the great Yogi stood as a mighty dynamo radiating Divine Love, Joy and
Peace to millions upon millions of bleeding hearts all over the world, a Yogi, who shines as a
brilliant pole-star in the spiritual firmament of the universe, guiding the tired and restless traveller
towards the haven of Peace, Bliss and Knowledge.
As a great saint and philosopher, his spotless purity, saintliness of life, magnetic and
voluminous writings were unparalleled in record; he was not only an eminent and popular author of
Hindu religious and philosophical subjects, but is an authority on those subjects. He was not only a
man of letters and vast erudition, but also one who had in a full measure realised the incalculable
benefits of Yogic practices in the course of a strenuous struggle of over fifteen years of intense
dispassion and rigorous austerities in the holy regions of the Himalayas. Moreover, his priceless
writings through the medium of some of the well-known and influential newspapers, magazines
and journals not only in India but also abroad and in America coupled with his own unique and
powerful personality and realisation have won for him an enviable place of honour in every
spiritually, religiously and philosophically inclined home in India. In fact, if the political India of
the present day can be proud of at least one Gandhi, the spiritual India can be reasonably proud of at
least one Sivananda!
The object with which this book is published is twofold. Year in and year out large numbers
of Europeans and Americans, men and women, came out to India to learn Yoga under an Adept and
practice the same in India itself. In the course of their endless wanderings and searches for such
Adepts in Yoga, these people had no other alternative but to resort to the Himalayan Ashram of
Swami Sivananda. But unfortunately owing to several causes these travellers could not remain long
in this country. They went back home learning something here and something there, in bits, but
nothing from one Yogi only, which alone could be said to be of some solid and practical utility to
The Westerners, interested in Yogic practices, had naturally to take resort to books and
other literature on the subject, which were either unintelligible to them or, as was more often than
not, had been written by persons whose aim in writing books was, in ninety-nine cases out of every
hundred, to show off their learning rather than to teach Yoga and make the subject intelligible and
interesting to the public. This is the difference between books written by most writers and those by
Swami Sivananda. Moreover, unlike several others, Swami Sivananda Saraswati was a practical
Yogi, who fully realised the fruits of Yoga and was therefore best suited to write books on the
subject from his own practical experience. The present book has been specially designed by the
author keeping in mind the needs of the students of Yoga in Europe and America, who need a
practical but non-technical presentation of the subject in a language which is accessible to the
beginner in the path. We hope the book will amply serve this most sacred purpose in view.
May the unfailing blessings of Swami Sivananda pour forth in profusion over the heads of
all the readers in the West and East, nay, North and South, and lead them on to Satchidananda which
every one is seeking at heart!
This book entitled “Practical Lessons in Yoga” consists of twelve easy and interesting
Lessons. The First Lesson deals with Yoga and Its Objects. The Second Lesson treats of Yoga
Sadhana or the practice of Yoga and contains a clear and lucid description of the four important
paths viz., Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga. One can easily choose for
himself a path according to his particular taste, temperament and capacity by a close study of this
Lesson. I firmly hold that no one wishing to become a perfect Yogi can realise his wish, if he does
not begin his Yogic practices with Karma Yoga or doing actions for actions’ sake, without the idea
of agency and without expectation of the fruits of his actions. I have also made passing references to
the various other forms of Yoga such as Hatha Yoga, Mantra Yoga and Kundalini Yoga.
In the Third Lesson on Yogic Discipline I have clearly and expressly stated that the practice
of Yoga is rooted in the cultivation of virtues and the eradication of negative qualities, and have also
stated in detail what virtues should of necessity be cultivated and what vices are to be eradicated,
and through what means.
Yogic Diet forms the subject-matter of the Fourth Lesson. It should be distinctly borne in
mind that mind is made up of the fine particles of food that we take, and we are what we eat. If the
student of Yoga who is a neophyte desires to lay a firm, sure and sound foundation in his practices,
he should take care to eat only such foods that are conducive to his spiritual advancement and
progress, and avoid all others. A list of the various articles of diet, prescribed and prohibited, is also
In the Fifth Lesson I have taken all care to collect the various stumbling blocks in the way of
the aspirant and the various means of overcoming them. I strongly advise the student to read and
re-read this Lesson a number of times in order that he may be cautious in moments of temptation.
Then in the Sixth Lesson I have dealt with Yogasanas or Yogic postures. It is very necessary
for the would-be Yogi to maintain a sound and vigorous body and mind to achieve success in his
undertaking, and in order that he might achieve this end, a number of simple and easy exercises,
physical and consequently mental, have been prescribed. These exercises were practiced by Yogins
and Rishis of yore and are still being practiced in India and other countries with astonishing results.
The Seventh Lesson treats of Pranayama or regulation of breath. Simple and practical
exercises have been prescribed for the regulation and control of breath. which will ultimately result
in the control of the mind. These exercises in breath-control are not merely for enhancing the
soundness and control of the mind, but they also play a vital part in ensuring a sound body. The
student of Pranayama who attains perfection in it will have various psychic powers.
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