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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Here is some sensible advice from a leading thinker and teacher:

To be a perfect Bramhacharin (a regenerate).

1. You must have a clean, healthy body;

2. Good breathing capacity and some control over same;

3. A strong will such as can move body and mind;

4. Assiduous cultivation of the intellectual side;

5. Control over emotions;

6. A fearless mind;

7. Great determination;

8. and abstemious living and high thinking.

The Yogis possess great knowledge regarding the use and abuse of
the reproductive principle in both sexes. Some hints of this esoteric
knowledge have filtered out and have been used by Western writers on
the subject, and much good has been accomplished in this way.

In this little book we cannot do more than touch upon the subject, and omitting all except a bare mention of theory, we will give a practical breathing exercise whereby the student will be enabled to transmute the
re-productive energy into vitality for the entire system, instead of
dissipating and wasting it in lustful indulgence in or out of the
marriage relations.

The reproductive energy is creative energy, and may be taken up by the system and transmuted into strength and vitality, thus serving the purpose of regeneration instead of generation. If the young
men of the Western world understood these underlying principles they
would be saved much misery and unhappiness in after years, and would be stronger mentally, morally and physically.

This transmutation of the reproductive energy gives more vitality to
those practising it. They will be filled with great vital force, which
will radiate from them and will manifest in what has been called
"personal magnetism."

The energy thus transmuted may be turned into new channels and used to great advantage. Nature has condensed one of its most powerful manifestations of prana into productive energy, as its purpose is to create. The greatest amount of vital force is concentrated in the smallest area. The re-productive organism is the most powerful storage factory in animal life, and its force can be drawn upward and used, as well as expended in the ordinary functions of reproduction, or wasted in vicious lust.

The majority of our students know something of the theories of regeneration, and we can do little more than to state the above facts, without attempting to prove them.

The Yogi exercise for transmuting re-productive energy is simple. It is
coupled with rhythmic breathing, and can be easily performed. It may be
practised at any time, but is especially recommended when one feels the
instinct more strongly, at which time the re-productive energy is
manifesting and may be most easily transmuted for regenerative purpose.
The exercise is as follows:--

Keep the mind fixed on the idea of energy, and away from ordinary
sexual thoughts and imaginings. If these thoughts come into the mind
do not be discouraged, but regard them as manifestations of a force which you intend using for the purpose of strengthening the body and mind.

Lie passively or sit erect, and fix your mind on the idea of drawing the
re-productive energy upward to the Solar Plexus, where it will be
transmuted and stored away as a reserve force of vital energy.

Then breathe rhythmically, forming the mental image of drawing up the
re-productive energy with each inhalation. With each inhalation make a
command of the Will that the energy be drawn upward from the
re-productive organisation to the Solar Plexus. If the rhythm is fairly
established and the mental image is clear, you will be conscious of the
upward passage of the energy, and will feel its stimulating effect. If
you desire an increase in mental force, you may draw it up to the brain
instead of to the Solar Plexus, by giving the mental command and holding the mental image of the transmission to the brain.

The man or woman doing mental creative work, or bodily creative work will be able to use this creative energy in their work by following the above exercise, drawing up the energy with the inhalation and sending it forth with the exhalation. In this last form of exercise only such portions as are needed in the work will pass into the work being done, the balance remaining stored up in the Solar Plexus.

You will understand, of course, that it is not the reproductive fluids
which are drawn up and used, but the etheric prana energy which animates the latter, the soul of the reproductive organism, as it were. It is
usual to allow the head to bend forward easily and naturally during the
transmuting exercise.

Practise this Breathing Exercise sturdily. Be heroic. Learn to make 100
Pranayams at a sitting, but do not rush things. Deep breathing exercise,
Will-Culture, regular Meditation and a clean normal mode of living when
combined with much thinking will surely awaken your Latent Powers. Be not worried if progress be a bit slow at first. Keep up cheerful and work

Things cannot but come your way if you don't give up but
preserve to the last. Have infinite and unbounded faith in yourself. And,
lastly, if you want to grow space in Wisdom and Power, persevere in deep breathing.

Pranayam is the key to all spiritual success. "Spirituality is fullness of Breath." Almost all forms or Mental and physical weakness are due to imperfect and shallow breathing. Of all these instructions you
practise nothing but the Breathing Exercise, your gain shall be great but
in order to get all the results you must practise all the instructions
regularly and methodically.

Your sex-force is under the direction of your sub-conscious mind which is quite amenable to your authoritative suggestions. Get control through
your sub-consciousness. All you have to do is to let it to do its own
work without adverse and negative suggestions and fear-thoughts. Say "No" vigorously to all adverse thoughts and shake them off from you. All
health comes by letting nature alone.

The Doctrine and Practice of Yoga
by Swami Mukerji
The Doctrine and Practice of Yoga
by Swami Mukerji