Hatha Yoga and Energization
I once read "somewhere" that Master said that you could get the same energy flow from Hatha Yoga as you can from the energization exercises, but you would have to be a master of the postures and know exactly which ones to do and in what order. That it is probably wiser to simply do the energization exercises. Could you expound upon this, and also if you know where that was written would you please be kind enough to give me the source.
Thank you, Namaste,
Thanks for your question. Paramhansa Yogananda thought well of both Energization and Hatha Yoga. Although I am not aware of his having made a statement such as you mention, either orally or in print, I can offer a few facts:
- The only comparison I know that he made is in a recording, in which he says, "The tension [Energization] exercises are better than the asanas." (He emphasized "better.")
- Energization is a cornerstone of his teachings, and he urged all his disciples to practice it. He left it to his disciples to practice Hatha Yoga if they felt benefitted by it, but he didn't urge them to practice it.
- In The Essence of Self-Realization, Swami Kriyananda quotes the Master as having said: "Hatha Yoga is a wonderful system. The body, moreover, is a part of our human nature, and must be kept fit lest it obstruct our spiritual efforts. Devotees, however, who are bent on finding God give less importance to the yoga postures. Nor is it strictly necessary that they practice them."
One clarification: Energization is not so much about achieving a particular energy flow as it is about drawing into the body a lot of energy, gaining an ever-clearer, ever-deeper awareness of energy, and bringing that energy under your direct control. Certainly Hatha Yoga practice can do much of that as well.
Who knows: it might come down to a question of which system does it more efficiently, or for a greater percentage of the God-seeking population. And for anyone who is a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, it would certainly come down to which system he recommended: Energization.
In any case, Master gave meditation a higher priority than either system.
Blessings on your practice,
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