A Student's Guide to the History and Philosophy of Yoga, by Peter Connolly

By Peter Connolly

The observe yoga evokes within the minds of many Westerners photographs of individuals acting routines and adopting strange, contortive postures. Such routines and postures do have a spot in the perform of yoga, however it is far greater than that. certainly, the early literature on yoga describes and defines it as a kind of psychological instead of actual self-discipline. Yoga is additionally linked to the Indian subcontinent and the religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. This revised version of a vintage textbook concentrates at the evolution of yoga within the context of Indian tradition, even though the ultimate chapters additionally discover its hyperlinks with non-Indian mystical traditions and its advancements outdoors India in the course of the sleek interval. The ebook is geared toward either collage scholars taking classes in comparative faith and philosophy and practitioners of yoga who search to head past the task and discover its non secular dimensions. It offers yoga within the context of its ancient evolution in India and explains the character of its institutions with a number of metaphysical doctrines. It additionally attracts on a few conceptual schemes designed to facilitate comparative examine. a few of these are hired during the e-book to hyperlink the cloth from every one bankruptcy inside of a typical framework. This version accommodates revisions and expansions to such a lot chapters and features a new bankruptcy at the way forward for smooth yoga within the West.

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Extra info for A Student's Guide to the History and Philosophy of Yoga, Revised Edition

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In other words, because the universe is organized in this way meditational experience can yield knowledge about the cosmos. It is this kind of correspondence that underpins claims to omniscience found in a number of yoga texts. Indeed, if the universe were not organized in this way it would be difficult to make sense of claims to knowledge about it made on the basis of yogic experience. In the bråhmanical tradition, these kinds of correspondences are pervasive. They are also linked with another kind of correspondence, that of the gods and other fundamental principles of existence.

Third is Åraƒyaka (technically ëforest booksí, for use by bråhmans who had retired to the forest and who wished to conduct alternative versions of the sacrificial ritual). The final group is Upani¶ad (literally ësitting down nearí the teacheró hence ësecret/esoteric teachings that are not to be overheard by eavesdroppersí). Some texts employ only a twofold division into Sa√hitå and Bråhmaƒa, the latter understood to contain not only the Bråhmaƒas but the Åraƒyakas and Upani¶ads as well. This is hardly surprising as the divisions between these types of text are far from sharp.

Most of us can only do it in short bursts. 11 informs us in the earliest formal definition of yoga, is ëthe firm holding back of the sensesí (indriya dhåraƒåm). This leads to the state of being undistracted (apramatta). By the time of the Maitr∂ Upani¶ad, different stages of mental concentration were being recognized. 18 outlines a sixfold yoga practice consisting of breath control (pråƒåyåma), sense withdrawal (pratyåhåra), concentration (dhyåna), deeper concentration (dhåraƒå), contemplation (tarka) and absorption (samådhi).

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