Many thousands of Yoga practitioners yearn to explore the spiritual dimensions of the poses they practice every week. Spiritual Yoga fills a gap left by most modern Yoga manuals, which tell everything about bodily alignment and physical benefits, but leave out Yoga's higher dimensions: subtle energy control, meditation, and inner enlightenment.
In this book, Nayaswami Gyandev McCord shares these spiritual teachings as originally taught by the great Yoga master, Paramhansa Yogananda (author of the classic Autobiography of a Yogi) and Yogananda's direct disciple (and Nayaswami Gyandev's teacher), Swami Kriyananda. These teachings include: the mind-energy-body connection; the art of meditation; dozens of techniques for spiritualizing one's Yoga postures practice; spiritual Yoga routines; affirmations and energy control suggestions for standing, seated, relaxation, and inverted postures; mastering pranayama (energy control), and breathing exercises for specific results (greater energy, calmness, concentration, etc.); and Yoga as a way of life.
As Nayaswami Gyandev writes in his introduction: "Imagine that you've hired Michelangelo to repaint your kitchen cabinets. Plain white. No doubt he would do a great job, but might you be missing out on something much better?
"It's the same with Hatha Yoga, the physical branch of the greater science of (Raja) Yoga. If you practice only for its physical and psychological benefits ― increased flexibility, strength, and vitality, reduced pain or stress, and so on ― you'll receive some of those benefits, but you're likely to miss out on something much better! For Hatha Yoga is above all a tool for spiritual growth. Its highest purpose is to help you raise your consciousness and achieve ever-greater happiness.
"Can mere bodily positions and breathing exercises do that for you? A little bit, yes, but much more is possible if you know how to amplify the effects of these practices through the hidden powers of your mind and heart. This book shows you how. If you're new to Hatha Yoga, you'll find here instructions to begin a safe, enjoyable practice that will raise your consciousness. If you're experienced, you'll find many ways to deepen your practice by working more directly with energy and consciousness."
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Nayaswami Gyandev McCord is the director of Ananda Yoga Teacher Training, which he teaches at The Expanding Light Retreat in Northern California. For more than 30 years he has taught Ananda Yoga® around the world. Gyandev has worked closely with Swami Kriyananda (founder of Ananda Yoga, and a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda) to fine-tune the teachings and practice of Ananda Yoga.
Gyandev is also a lecturer and minister, and a founding board member of Yoga Alliance, the non-profit organization that sets professional training standards for yoga teachers in the U.S. In addition to Spiritual Yoga: Higher Awareness Through Ananda Yoga, he has coauthored two books (with Dr. Peter Van Houten)—Yoga Therapy for Headache Relief and Yoga Therapy for Overcoming Insomnia—and has produced two videos: Yoga for Busy People and Yoga to Awaken the Chakras, as well as the 12-volume video set, The Ananda Yoga Series.
Prior to embarking on the yogic path, Gyandev received a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Stanford University. After deeply contemplating the purpose of life, he decided to relinquish the outer science of mathematics to explore the inner science of yoga. Since 1984 Gyandev has lived at Ananda Village in Northern California.
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