In modern times, yoganidrā is generally understood to be a specific type of guided meditation performed in a supine position. This common interpretation is largely due to the success of the Satyananda Yoga Nidra technique that has been trademarked and taught by the Bihar School of Yoga. In Swāmī Satyānanda Saraswati’s book Yoga Nidra, first published 1976, he claims to have constructed this seven part guided meditation technique from ‘important but little known practices’ (2009 edition: p. 3), which he found in various Tantras.
The more we learn about other civilizations, the more anomalous the West seems. If we resist the presumption that Western culture is the growing tip of social evolution, to be contrasted with the stagnation of non-Western ones, what becomes highlighted is its dynamism, for better and worse. Rather than trying to account for the “undevelopment” of non-Western societies — why they did not evolve further along our path — it is the apparently self-generated and future-driven “progress” of the West that needs to be explained. What caused it?
Delving into the ancient yogic texts requires having a strong sense of imagination and a splash—if not more—of suspended disbelief. More than mere philosophy, these texts introduce the reader to a symbolic work in which hangs the delicate veil that separates reality from myth. In fact, many ancient yogic texts and their study depend on the very question of the existence of reality.
Individual human beings are at war with themselves for one simple reason: they are internally divided, and these divisions are not compatible. They do not cohere.
If the grand story of the Mahabharata is the Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet, then the Bhagavad Gita is “Street Fighting Man.” It gets all the ubiquitous radio play; maybe you’ve even heard it in a commercial, definitely in a Martin Scorsese movie. You likely know the words, even the harmonies, without having had to try at all to memorize them.
Matthew is a cultural critic and journalist.
To be a true yoga master, you need to master the art of negation. That’s Patanjali’s idea, from the Yoga Sutras: 2.33 Vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam. The practice of pratipaksha bhanavam prescribes that, when disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite thoughts should be brought into awareness.
Phil is the award-winning author of “American Veda.”
Siddhartha Gautama’s story, across its many forms and translations, is remarkably consistent in the details. Like all stories of great teachers, some details have become mythologized as they cross cultures. Stories change to fit cultures, times, and populations as quickly as they arrive. But when trying to weave together the historical and mythological elements of Siddhartha Gautama (more familiarly known as the Buddha)’s story, we quickly learn that truth (that which is historically verifiable) and reality (living and lived traditions) are different; yet at the same time, completely inseparable.
Bob is a modern yoga culture critic and writer in NYC.
Many assume that even a bit of mastery of this “state training” would then cause all practitioners to see the world politic through one common lens, one that would be the same for all beings striving to train and focus their minds. But this is where we can see what yoga is not.
When you say, “I love you unconditionally,” even the syntax betrays you. You are using love here as an active verb, one with a direct object, and establishing yourself as the agent in the exchange