An Introduction
to Yoga

by Annie Besant

The Meaning of the Universe

  • The Unfolding of Consciousness
  • The Oneness of the Self
  • The Quickening of the Process of Self-Unfoldment
  • Yoga is a Science
  • Man a Duality
  • States of Mind
  • Samadhi

The Literature of Yoga

  • Some Definitions
  • God Without and God  Within
  • Changes of Consciousness and Vibrations of Matter
  • Stages of Mind
  • Inward and Outward-turned Consciousness
  • The Cloud

Relation to Indian Philosophies

  • Mind
  • The Mental Body

Mind and Self

  • Methods of Yoga
  • To the Self by the Self
  • To the Self through the Not-Self

  • Yoga and Morality
  • Composition of States of the Mind

Pleasure and Pain

  • Inhibition of States of Mind
  • Meditation with and without Seed
  • The Use of Mantras


  • Obstacles to Yoga
  • Capacities for Yoga
  • Forthgoing and Returning
  • Purification of Bodies
  • Dwellers on the Threshold
  • Preparation for Yoga
  • The End
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The Doctrine and Practice of Yoga
by Swami Mukerji
The Doctrine and Practice of Yoga
by Swami Mukerji

It has been proved conclusively even on the physical plane that a
"a Man thinketh in his heart so is he." The great thing to avoid is Fear
and Worry thoughts. These and all other undesirable thoughts are due
to bad health partially but it is even a greater truth that physical
degeneration is due to bad thinking. Fear affects the heart.

During epidemics such as plague, cholera, etc., you generally first project the deadly germs of Fear-Thoughts upon yourself and thus by weakening your mind you weaken your body and expose yourself to disease influence.

Again, if you have some hereditary disease and if you accept adverse
suggestions from ignorant people and keep telling yourself that such and
such a disease has taken shelter in you and your body as its "fixed
abode" you simply hasten your own end. The body and mind are
interrelated. Thoughts materialize themselves in your body. You should
get as far away from the idea of disease and old age and weaknesses as
possible and hold the health-thoughts steadily before your mind. The only
way in which to be quite immune from Disease is to Deny the Power of
Disease on yourself. Say "I cannot be ill," "I will not admit disease."
Health and strength are in the unyielding will. De-hypnotise yourself
of that superstition that God sends disease. Your body is yours to
control and keep healthy. God will give you--(He has already given you
rather)--the Power to control your body. Remember always; you alone can save yourself.

All Power and Wisdom are potentially resident in you.
Have confidence and set that thing in motion, exercise it constantly and
persistently and it shall grow and unfold. God is in you and you are in
God. When you pray you are simply, although often unconsciously, helping that Latent Power to uncoil itself. Remember again: God will grant you the opportunity, the means, the wisdom, the ability to accomplish a thing, but You Shall Have to do the work yourself. Hence, you see, the illumined mind is quite necessary for perfect health. Get rid of all weak thoughts. Have a strong mind. Remember lastly:


Make your mind positive to your body. I have told you how to do so.
Physical exercise plus Mental Exercise will put you on the road to
Power and Poise. And side by side with this follow health-laws. But
bear in mind that if you assert your power on your mind and body
confidentially, they cannot but obey your commands. The body has an
intelligence of its own. This intelligence knows its work perfectly. It
is what you call Instinct. It digests your meals; assimilates and
eliminates; repairs wastes; works the heart and controls the circulation;
heals wounds and presides over all other natural and involuntary
processes in the body. This Instinctive mind knows its work perfectly.
But, mark you, this intelligence in the cells and nerve-centres of your
body is negative to the Central Intelligence in the brain--the
controlling centre--the "I Am" and is affected by suggestions, beliefs
and thoughts in your brain. All you have got to do is to avoid projecting
negative thoughts from your mind and let it alone. But suppose you have
by violation of the Laws of Nature disturbed the action of the
Instinctive Mind, disease results.

Disease is simply the effect of nature to throw off unnatural conditions and re-assert natural conditions.
In such a case all you have got to do is to re-establish natural states. You can do so by simply increasing the general vitality of the body and by changing your Mental Attitude. For instance, if you somehow or other have accepted the "belief" that your stomach is weak or your heart is weak or your liver is slow or your circulation is bad or your vitality is low,
etc., your instinctive Mind will take up your Beliefs and work them out
in no time physically. The Instinctive Mind--which is the same as the
sub-conscious Mind working in the body--never reasons. It is on the
plane of Automatism. Therefore, if you have done any such negative
thinking your first step is to wipe out these noxious mental weeds by the
Positive Denial. Say "No, No, No, my body is strong; my stomach is
strong, my heart is strong, etc." In this form of suggestion you use
positive Denial as well as Positive Affirmation. The former is
destructive of evil if rightly applied, the latter is constructive of
good. Belief and confident expectation are mighty forces. Be sure you
apply them wisely. The power of mind over matter is supreme and a Proven Reality.


Here I should like to draw your attention to the Reserve Power existing
in your body. Of course there are soul-powers existing potentially
within YOU which leap into brilliant expression as you succeed in
developing and expanding your brain to a state of perfect responsiveness
to the touch of your will. For really and truly your will, forming as it
does the divine part of yourself, is always strong and must unfold "as a
rose" by exercising itself, in the field of matter, force and mind;--all
of which are subordinate to YOU and the real aim of human evolution is
actually to place in your hands the wand of power.

What is within your body is sure to find its correspondent outside in
Nature. Control nature inside and you will move as a master out in this

Now without going into details let me tell you--if you do not know it
already--that mind is the finest form of matter, and matter the grossest
form of mind, and there is a constant interaction between the two poles.
But since mind represents the positive end and matter the negative, the
former can dominate the latter. You can evoke states of consciousness by applying stimulus to the periphery and again mental states evoke
corresponding vibrations in the cellular life of body and brain.

Hence you see your mind controls and forms your body. Also your body
reacts upon your brain and affects that part of your mind which has to
operate through the brain, which is matter pure and simple. So to keep
aright the polarities of your brain and body a constant adjustment of
forces is needed and thus you can establish POISE.

In order always to be in a state of perfect health two things are
necessary. Deny the power of disease over yourself. In the unyielding
will is health. In the weak, vacillating, fearful mind is disease and
death. At the same time always be in perfect magnetic trim with the
physical laws of health. A knowledge of the latter and the ascension of a
fearless mental attitude will open up hitherto unrecognised channels of
physical and mental expression. Physiological researches have led sincere investigators to the inevitable conclusion that there is subtle, refined, dynamic substance, a reality that binds up the reorganization, causes growth, vitality and motion; repairs injuries; makes up losses; overcomes and cures diseases.

Von Helment called it "Archeus"; Stahl called it "Anima;" Whytt called it the "sentiment principle;" Dr. Cullen called it "Caloric;" Dr. Darwin called it "Sensorial energy"; Rush called it "Occult cause;" and many other names such as "Vital Principle," "Living power," "Conservative Power," "Odic Force," etc.have been given to it. We of India have recognised it and devised Yoga methods for controlling it; we call it Prana and only in India do you come across men who possess pranic control or control over universal energy.

There exists in your physical organism reserve stores of vital energy
stored away for your use, particularly in that central ganglion of your
vital battery known as the Solar Plexus and generally in the chain of
ganglia or storage batteries along and up your spine and elsewhere in
other nerve-centres. The solar plexus is also known as the Abdominal
Brain and your brain depends and draws upon this vital centre for its
energies. You will find after the prolonged concentration and brain-work
that this part of your body--at the back of pit of stomach--becomes

Now when you engage in physical exercise, for instance, you must
have noticed how at first you soon get tired and all done up. But if you
wait a little and then start again, you will find how the sense of
fatigue has quite passed away and you can run your body under full
pressure for a very long time, and the more you exert yourself the
greater and more powerful the surging up of your vital energy. With each
new exertion you seem to acquire a fresh start. This has puzzled
physiologists. You will find a parallel phenomenon in mental work.

You may experience a sense of weariness and fatigue in some brain-work which demands close thinking and attention, but if you attack your work a little later after the first effort you will do your work a surprising
degree of freshness, vigour, and enthusiasm far surpassing the original
attempt. Again everyone can and does put forth universal energy under
pressure of some urgent necessity, which will startle even himself. No
matter who you are and what your physical condition, there is an enormous amount of power in your body that has never been drawn upon at all and impatiently waiting for up-call. We go on in ordinary dog trot pace, resting, limping, "taking care of our health," and then we think we are doing our best.

Do not permit your mind to be self-hypnotised into a
false sense of being "exhausted" and "old." Neither of them is a fact
except in your thought of yourself. All your powers are lying dormant.
All your latent energies are lying unused. Back of your conscious
mentality are tremendous energies awaiting the pull of your will. When
your brain conceives of being something unusually great, at least so it
may appear from your view-point, do not question your strength but go
ahead unhesitatingly, fearlessly and steadily. Assert your life-force.
Feel that you are young, strong and healthy and fit. Live in mental
consciousness of power and never think of weakness.

Keep your grip and run right along. Nature is sure to honor your draft. Nature is sure to give you strength, energy and vim, in boundless measure. Just try this my friends, you, who write me of "there being a serious lack of vitality" in your system and hence your inability to grapple with the occult. No such thing. Fact is you lack courage and initiative, pluck and "go" and you are labouring under the hypnotism of weakening thoughts. Just change your thoughts, and your reserve forces will rush out into activity and you will be a changed man in no time.


In exercising aim at rhythm of motion. Let your movements be easy,
regular, rhythmic and graceful. Take an interest in your work. Do pay
attention. Put Will-Power and Mind into your work. Think of all it means.
Do not fatigue yourself unduly. After exercise towelling or a spray-bath
is advisable. Wet your towel, pass it over your body, rubbing thoroughly.
Raise the towel and repeat. After exercise and towelling, you should be
in a splendid glow. Be sure to keep the windows open when exercising.
Fresh air is an absolute necessity. Never mind about cold and so forth.
Remember the Positive Denial will fill you with Power of Resistance. Say
"Cold cannot affect my body" and believe what you say. You can face
anything in this way and remain untouched.


The student should bathe daily, using plenty of water, rubbing and
cleaning the body from top to toe. I myself bathe very early in the
morning, in all seasons, in cold water. Cold water stimulates circulation
and is a wonderful tonic internally and externally. Warm water is
soothing and relaxing in its effect. If you can bathe in the flowing
water of a river, so much the better. Swimming is a wonderful bracer,
besides being an enjoyment in itself. There is Prana in water and your
body extracts this Prana from air, water and food. I cannot give you
instructions as to different forms of bathing, as this is not a "doctor"
book. As far as possible bathe twice a day, mornings and evenings; if
not, once in the morning, using the towel at other times. Bathing is not
merely pouring water on body but cleansing it out and out with water
rubbing and scrubbing with hands and towels. Aim at perfect cleanliness.
Cleanliness is Godliness and Health is Holiness.

Then again while bathing if you let the water flow over your body
and try to "appreciate the sensation" and dwell on the idea of
Prana-absorption from water, you shall get double benefit.

About linen--Be neat, for God's sake. I have seen orthodox people
who bathe twice and wash their hands hundreds of times in the day, but
whose clothes are sticky with dirt, sweat and oil. Whatever else it may
mean, Religion does not mean squalor, offensive odours in body and
clothes and general neglect of external clean linen and dirt. The Yogi
is a man of supreme REFINEMENT. Read that word and understand all it
means. The clothes you wear in day-time should not be worn at night. Be
clean internally as well externally. Be clean. Be clean. Be clean, within
as well as without.

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