Millions of yoga students around the world attend class regularly to reap the physical benefits of yoga, assuming the different poses and frequently calling them by their sanskrit names. While many probably know that hanumanasa is named for the Hindu deity Hanuman, fewer know why this is the case. Behind each asana and its corresponding movements is an ancient story about a god, a sage, or sacred animal, much like Aesop's fables or European folktales. Myths of the Asanas is the first book to compile and re-tell these ancient stories.The myths of yoga's spiritual tradition have the power to bring about a change of heart, helping readers and students realize their full potential. Meditating on the tolerance of trees while standing in tree pose can help one become more tolerant. Learning how the disfigured sage Astavakra came to be the teacher of a king can liberate us from our anxieties about external appearance and our self-imposed limitations. Marveling at the devotion of Hanuman to his lord Rama can serve as a source of spiritual strength and determination.Through discovering mythic tales such as these in Myths of the Asanas, readers will add a new dimension to their practice and study of yoga. As Eknath Easwaran, the founder of passage meditation, put it, "yogic myth has a genius to clothe the infinite in human form."
The mantra and kirtan (call-and-response devotional chants) of yoga practice sometimes get short shrift in the West because they aren't well understood. These chants are an integral part of most every Eastern spiritual practice because they are designed to provide access into the psyche while their underlying mythology helps us understand how our psychology affects daily life. Sacred Sound shares the myths behind the mantras, illuminating their meaning and putting their power and practicality within reach of every practitioner. Each mantra and kirtan includes the Sanskrit, the transliteration, and the translation. Clear retellings of the pertinent myths highlight modern-day applications so that readers discover their own personal connection to the practice. Alanna Kaivalya has refined her teaching over a decade with tens of thousands of diverse audience members. Her unique and popular approach to human connection and self-knowledge turns a time-tested tradition into a versatile and potent tool.
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