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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Hatha Yoga or the Yogi Philosophy of Physical Being by W. W. Atkinson

I have completed the reading of this book on March 12, 2017. I would have completed the reading yesterday but for a number of hurdles. One of the hurdles was that it for the first time, I have felt tired while reading the works of W. W. Atkinson. Surprise.

It is a large book because it contains 32 chapters. However, it is a small book because many chapters contain merely two to three pages.

One may ask that if you have read the book then tell us about Hatha Yoga.

 Ok, Explain, What is Hatha Yoga?

My answer will be that I have not learned anything about Hatha Yoga.


Ok, Let me explain. I believe that I have a preconceived notion about Hatha Yoga without exactly knowing the real meaning of Hatha Yoga. Yoga, as generally perceived is a practice of a set of some postures which are not generally acquired or followed in day to day life. You have to learn about them in order to recognise that you can put your body in a particular posture. Some may say that they are a set of peculiar exercises.

A person who may like to flaunt his eruditeness may say it includes doing pranayama, anoloma and pratiloma, sheersh Asana, Makar Asana, Surya Namaskar, Kpal Bhatti, pavan mukta asana, pachimuttan asana, vakra asana, padam asana, gumukha asana, vajra asana and many more.

He may say that it is a high level learning. You may have to be a blessed one in order to fully understand the Yoga. Then, he would utter some sounds, which you may not comprehend.

You may say, "What was that? Are you a human mockingbird? If so, then Charles Darwin study is incomplete."

He would reply that this is what I have told you that you are not a blessed one. Baby, it is Sanskrit.

Now, W. W. Atkinson had tried to explain it in a very simple English.

What has he told?

I believe that it is about the Deep Breathing and Complete Breathing. It is about a suggestion that one should do regular exercise.

If I quote him from his last chapter then, read the following quotations borrowed from the chapter 32.

"The whole theory and practice of Hatha Yogi is based upon this idea of return to nature—" (Atkinson, William Walker. The Complete Works of William Walker Atkinson (Unabridged)

One of the chapters attracted my attention. I was highly amused to read into the actual nature of the content. It is chapter number 30 titled Regeneration. I did not know that the western world observe restraint in talking about this subject in print in 1910. I had a different impression of the western world on this aspect. One can learn about the actual cultural attitude of the Indians about this topic by reading the Autobiography of a Yogi.

It is also amusing to learn about the features of the culture of the America as it was prevailing there in 1910. The author has tried to address some of the cultural habits of the Americans by writing chapters on exercise, bathing and general hygiene.

'The actual contents are same as I have commented on in my other post on Raja Yoga. I reproduce the comment here.

"यहाँ'तक पहुँच कर एक रूप और स्पष्ट होता है । कथन के दो हिस्से रहते है। योगी पद्धतियों से एक सम्मिकरण उठाया जाता है। उन पर चन्द शब्दों का प्रयोग किया जाता है। यह एक हिस्सा बनता है।

दुसरे हिस्से में एक व्याख्या होती है जिस की रचना पश्चमी समाज के बुद्धिजीविओं के कथनों के संग्रह से की जाती है। His selection of the western scholars is quite specific. The explanation can be termed as a motivational and psychological counselling.'

However, in the case of this book, he has discussed the anatomy and physiology in more detail without referring to any Yogic thought.

Among all the books written by W. W. Atkinson, which I have read, this book is not all that gripping. In the case of other books, I yearned to return back to his writing. In the case of this book, I just glided through it. If I was able to read the whole, it is only because of the attractiveness of the writing of the author.

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