September always gets me excited. The turn of the season and start of the school year always stimulates my enthusiasm for setting new goals. I crave a fresh start in all corners of my life – personal, family, work, and … Continue reading
A Brief History of Yoga: From it’s Tantric Roots to the Modern Yoga Studio
Yoga is growing in popularity all over the world today, yet misconceptions about its original purpose and ancient roots abound. In this refreshing tale of the history of yoga, the author unveils the true heart of the tradition and introduces us to its most influential teachers.
Most writers on yoga have claimed that the practice originated in the ancient Vedas. An increasing number of scholars, however, find this view problematic, both historically and philosophically. According to this fascinating book, yoga did not originate in Vedic society, rather it developed among the enigmatic teachers of Tantra.
Uncovering when and where this popular path to health and enlightenment originated and how it developed over thousands of years, A Brief History of Yoga is essential reading for all those who care about the past and future evolution of yoga.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the source of Yoga, but didn’t know where to start your journey of discovery, we’d recommend starting here. Here are two reviews to help you and should you want, download the Kindle edition for only $.99 for the next 48 hours! Click here to purchase.
About the Author:
Ramesh Bjonnes has traveled the world as a meditation teacher, Ayurvedic practitioner, author, and is currently the Director of the Prama Wellness Center, a retreat center teaching yoga, meditation, and juice rejuvenation. He studied yoga therapy in Nepal and India, Ayurvedic Medicine at California College of Ayurveda, and naturopathic detox therapy at the AM Wellness Center in Cebu, Philippines. He is the author of four books, and he lives with his wife Radhika and Juno, a sweet, gentle Great Pyrenees, in the mountains near Asheville, North Carlina. Connect with him via his website: prama.org and rameshbjonnes.com.
A Brief History of Yoga casts light on a very important issue i.e. the confusion of yoga with Hinduism, and Tantra with the Vedas.
I love the Hindu and Vedanta traditions for their rich philosophy, their music, their wisdom teachings and mythology. But they are also associated with some irrational or even harmful religious dogmas including the caste system, idol worship, the dowry practice (the main causal factor in the deaths of millions of girl fetuses and infants in India) and in some cases, animal sacrifice.
Ramesh’s book is a breath of fresh air for someone like me who loves the practices of yoga and tantra but does not want to be associated with the negative aspects of the historically related, but quite distinct, spiritual traditions of Hinduism.
Ramesh’s book is very well researched and written, I’ll be using this as a reference text for my meditation students.Close Your Eyes and Open Your Mind: A Practical Guide to Spiritual MeditationClose Your Eyes and Open Your Mind: A Practical Guide to Spiritual Meditation
– The Monk Dude, Amazon Verified Buyer
I have read other books by Ramesh Bjonnes and have found them to be well researched, full of very useful information and in some ways life changing. This latest book is no exception.
There is so much written about Tantra which just isn’t so. Ramesh provides the real history and practice of the true Tantra Yoga. He clears up all of the misleading information and supplies the reader with the true facts.
I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of Tantra Yoga and deepen there spiritual practice.
Ramesh has the real life experience and provides the tools for taking your practice to the next level.
A truly sacred experience.
– Jeffrey R. Donohew, Amazon Verified Buyer
By Richard Rosen
If you’re developing a dedicated yoga practice, you have probably heard of the yamas and niyamas of Patanjali’s classical yoga, which include such virtues as ahimsa (nonharming), satya (truthfulness), and samtosha (contentment). Lesser known are the “yoga vitamins,” as B.K.S. Iyengar named them in The Tree of Yoga. These five partner virtues, set forth in the Yoga Sutra (I.20), reinforce the classical practice of yoga and generate an abundance of good (or white) karma for the practitioner.
The first vitamin is sraddha (SHRAH-dah), usually translated as “faith.” But many interpreters of Patanjali have also translated it as many other things—”trust and confidence” (in the rightness of what you’re doing and in the sympathy of the divine), “firm conviction” (which is free of doubt), “positive attitude” (even in the face of momentary setbacks), “acceptance” (of traditional teachings and the words of your teacher), and “sweet hope” in the ultimate success of your practice.
In Sanskrit, sraddha is a feminine word, suggesting that faith is gentle and supportive. Indeed, the sage Vyasa, who is credited with writing the oldest surviving commentary on the Yoga Sutra, said that faith is “benevolent like a mother; she protects the yogi.” When the practitioner holds to faith, the mind becomes tranquil and, as Vyasa concluded, “strength gathers in him.”
Such strength is known as virya (VEER-yah), the second vitamin. Virya is usually translated as “energy” or “vitality,” the sort that comes from knowing you’re doing the right thing. But it’s also characterized as “courage,” “strong will,” “enthusiasm,” “stamina,” and “dedication.” As virya gathers in the practitioner, said Vyasa, “intentness attends upon him.”
“Intentness” is one interpretation of the Sanskrit word smrti (SMRIT-tee), the third vitamin. Usually, smrti is simply translated as “memory,” but in this context, it’s better understood as “mindfulness.” What are you supposed to be mindful of? Some commentators talk about the practice of constantly minding the more palpable aspects of your life experience: your body, the contents of your consciousness, your surroundings, your breath. Others interpret mindfulness as a diligent remembrance of and reflection on the true nature of the Self. Still others believe that memory also includes the recollection of what you’ve studied in yoga scripture. In any case, mindfulness focuses the energy of consciousness and so serves as a prelude to meditation. As Vyasa said, “At the presence of intentness, the mind, free of disturbance, becomes harmonized and established in samadhi.”
Samadhi (sah-MAH-dee), the fourth vitamin, is a highly technical term in classical yoga that literally means “putting together.” It ultimately allows the practitioner, said Vyasa, to “perceive things as they really are.”
This perception of things as they really are leads to the fifth and final vitamin, prajna (PRAHJ-nah), which is actually the goal of yoga practice. It roughly means “knowledge,” but Patanjali wasn’t talking about knowledge in a worldly sense, of course. The great 20th-century sage Sri Aurobindo defined the term prajna as the “knowledge that unites” all the loose ends of one’s self in the Self.