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Excerpted FromThe Ananda Course in Self-Realization
About the Energization Exercises
By Swami Kriyananda
The Energization Exercises are a wonderful system of exercises originated by Paramhansa Yogananda, and are his unique contribution to the science of yoga. Yet they’re based on ancient teachings and eternal realities. One of these realities is that the whole physical universe, including man, is surrounded by cosmic energy, and is made of that energy. Scientists have now discovered that matter is energy. We can explore the atom and convert matter back into energy.
We live in a sea of energy and draw on it indirectly through the food we eat, as well as through oxygen and sunlight. Yet, as Paramhansa Yogananda explained, this indirect use of energy is more like the water you put into the battery of your car. When the battery runs down, no amount of water will make it work again. You have to recharge the battery from another source. Similarly, our bodies live only indirectly from food, but we live directly from the cosmic energy that flows into our bodies through the medulla oblongata at the base of the brain.
Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” The lips and tongue comprise the mouth of man, because this is where we eat in a physical way, but the mouth of God is the medulla oblongata, inside the hollow point at the base of the skull. This is where we receive the divine energy which truly sustains us, and it is this flow of cosmic energy which Jesus was referring to when he said “every word.”
Another important point is that we draw more or less energy according to our mental attitudes. You probably have found that when you feel reluctant to do something, you don’t have the energy to do it, even if you have eaten well. On the other hand, if you really want to do something, in spite of the fact that you may have been fasting, still you have all the energy you need to accomplish it.
Paramhansa Yogananda gave us an axiom, “The greater the will, the greater the flow of energy.” When the term “will” is used in the proper way, it doesn’t mean that kind of tense will that says, “I’m going to do it if it kills me.” Rather it means that kind of will which can be expressed as willingness, enthusiasm, and joy. When you have willingness, when you are happy, when you want to do things and are cheerful, you find that you have energy. You can even have energy to cure diseases. People who are happy are far less prone to be ill.
These Energization Exercises are a means of using the will, with awareness of energy, to consciously draw cosmic energy into the body. As you do the movements of the exercises, try to feel the flow of energy and be conscious of the that flow. Then, by the use of your will power, you can direct the flow of energy to specific parts of the body. The more you become aware of using your will power to direct that energy, the more you will be able to increase the flow.
At first what you’ll feel is just the tension inside of the muscles. Then you’ll experience the flow of energy which creates the tension in those muscles. Finally you’ll become aware of how you can direct that flow. This is only the first step, however.
We need to apply these principles on mental and spiritual levels as well. The more aware you are of the flow of energy, the more you can direct that energy by will power not only to the body, but toward anything that you do-toward your work, toward creative inspiration, toward God in meditation, and in every aspect of your life. All success depends ultimately on energy. Energy is really the differentiating factor between genius and mediocrity. So these exercises are much more than just physical. They’re the cornerstone of Yogananda’s whole system of teaching, and, in fact, of all spiritual progress.