American edition edited by Swami Nikhilananda
- 287 pages, Indian paperback ISBN 81-85301-16-6
- 327 pages, US paperback ISBN 0-911206-23-X
An important title on the practice of raja yoga. From Vivekananda's original lectures in the United States.
Includes the author's translation of the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali. ---
We sell both the Indian edition and the American edition. The Indian edition is of course cheaper with adequate quality, the American edition is larger, better quality paper, and the type is larger and easier to read. The actual copy is mostly the same, but the American edition was edited by Swami Nikhilananda and is easier to read than the Indian edition.
The following is an excerpt on the practice of breath control, pranayama:
We now come to the exercises in Pranayama. Sit upright; the body must be kept straight. The spinal cord, although not attached to the vertebral column, is yet inside of it. If you sit crookedly you disturb this spinal cord, so let it be free. Any time that you sit crookedly and try to meditate you do yourself an injury. The three parts of the body, the chest, the neck, and the head, must be always held straight in one line. You will find that by a little practice this will come to you as easy as breathing. The second thing is to get control of the nerves. We have said that the nerve centre that controls the respiratory organs has a sort of controlling effect on the other nerves, and rhythmical breathing is, therefore, necessary. The breathing that we generally use should not be called breathing at all. It is very irregular. Then there are some natural differences of breathing between men and women.
The first lesson is just to breathe in a measured way, in and out. That will harmonise the system. When you have practiced this for some time, you will do well to join to it the repetition of some word as "Om," or any other sacred word. In India we use certain symbolical words instead of counting one, two, three, four. That is why I advise you to join the mental repetition of the "Om," or some other sacred word to the Pranayama. Let the word flow in and out with the breath, rhythmically, harmoniously, and you will find the whole body is becoming rhythmical. Then you will learn what rest is. Compared with it, sleep is not rest. Once this rest comes the most tired nerves will be calmed down, and you will find that you have never before really rested.
The first effect of this practice is perceived in the change of expression of one's face; harsh lines disappear; with calm thought calmness comes over the face. Next comes a beautiful voice. I never saw a Yogi with a croaking voice. These signs come after a few months' practice.