Asana and Mudra
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Swami Kripalu was arguably the most accomplished kundalini yoga master in modern times. He revived an ancient form of yoga taught to him by his guru, whom he later discovered was Lakulisha, the 28th incarnation of Shiva. He called this yoga sahaja, or natural yoga, which is also known by many other names, including surrender yoga and kundalini yoga. Kripalu practiced natural yoga for over 30 years, 10 hours a day without fail. In the end, he achieved nirbija samadhi, the highest goal of yoga.
The hallmark of natural yoga is that it is spontaneous. Once the practitioner surrenders to the Divine and the life energy is awakened in the body, asanas and mudras, pranayama, sound and song, dance, thoughts and feelings all arise on their own. The practitioner merely observes what is happening. After the life energy has been awakened, the kundalini awakens by the grace of God or guru and travels up the spine, systematically piercing and evolving all the chakras. By this means, body and mind eventually become completely pure.
Kripalu believed that natural yoga is the source of all other yogas and should be accorded the highest place. In this book, he combines his own experiences with what he learned from his guru, scripture, Ayurveda, and the modern sciences. He believed both in God and in science. He saw yoga as a science which has its own rules as the modern sciences have theirs. For Kripalu, the spiritual and physical merge in yoga; the evolution of the mind and body is also the evolution of the soul.
This book is addressed to practitioners of both the surrendered and willful paths of yoga. It describes the asanas that occurred to Kripalu spontaneously and gives detailed instructions on how to practice them. It also includes chapters on mudra, pranayama, and all the other components of yoga practice, as well as chapters on anatomy and physiology, psychology, and ayurvedic prescriptions for the healing of thirty diseases. It is truly an encyclopedia of yoga.
Includes 227 color/b&w photos.
"To live near one of the greatest saints of India is an experience of profound grace. Rarely does such an evolved being exist on this plane. And here he was in the spring of 1977, Swami Kripalvanandji, lovingly known as Bapuji, living among us at the spiritual community named for him." —Yogi Amrit Desai
"Nothing could have prepared me for my first encounter with Swami Kripalu. As the 69 year old Kripalu walked into the room, my mind was catapulted into a state of focused awareness deeper than anything I'd ever experienced. My first startled thought was that he looked surprisingly like my grandfather, who was also bald and pencil thin. But the similarities stopped there. Swami Kripalu was a lightening bolt wrapped in an orange robe." —Rick Faulds, author of Kripalu Yoga: A Guide to Practice On and Off the Mat
"His Holiness Swami Shri Kripalvanada was the greatest yogacharya of the 20th Century. He meditated 10 hours a day for 30 years, a stunning feat, in pursuit of the Divine Body. He is revered in India as one of our greatest saints." —T.R. Patel, Doctor of Ayurveda, author and yoga instructor, Ahmedabad, India
From the Publisher