Thank you to Satya for the translation of the Forward to Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu below. The Forward was written by T. Singaravelu Mudaliar, Vince chancellor of Mysore University, 1944–1946.
Yogasana exercise system has been practiced by Hindus for thousands of years. This practice is based on the scientific knowledge of the human anatomy and physiology. In recent years, people of Europe and America are also beginning to understand its benefits. In addition, the youth in these countries are incorporating yoga into their exercise regimen.
This yoga system does more than making the muscles strong and the body to become an efficient machine. However, far from this and much more spiritual, yogis discovered that this system can be used to stimulate the dormant kundalini. It is said that by elevating this secret kundalini, one can achieve god realization. That is, merging with the divine. Yoga means the same thing - union. Union with what? Paramatma or Almighty; hence rishis used to practice yogasana. However, that does not mean that the yoga sadhana is meant for rishis only. People can also obtain strong body and mind to help in their respective material world objectives.
The currently popular exercise regimens definitely make the muscles big and strong. However, they don’t pay attention to the spinal and abdominal muscles. Dr. V.G. Reel who is a master of western medicine and yoga has said “ by doing these yogasana practice, abdominal muscles get stronger”. Since we press and massage the inside of the abdomen, it helps to restore the abdominal organs and eliminates constipation. It also reduces blood pressure, helps remove fat and other byproducts and restores normal body function. In addition, yogis who practice yogasana along with pranayama also achieve long lives.
From this yogasana practice, digestive power will improve. While we are young, our daily routine/activities provide enough exercise for the internal organs to keep us healthy. However, during adult life, without sufficient exercise, abdominal muscles become loose, weak and fatty leading to diseases associated with gas and constipation. Yoga practitioners claim that yogasanas have the ability to eliminate and prevent many of these diseases.
By the practice of pranayama which is part of the yoga tradition, inhalation and exhalation from the lungs will become more controlled. The body will be supplied with essential oxygen while eliminating carbon dioxide and other impurities.
Yogasana practice provides great benefits not only to men, but also to women.
My humble request is that please don’t dismiss these claims without carefully practicing and testing on your own. For those who are interested, I recommend reading Dr. Reel’s book “Yogic Asanas”.
After realizing the great benefits of yogasana and pranayama, in order to provide an opportunity for both students and teachers to learn yogasanas under the supervision of expert practitioners and wishing that it provides them both physical and mental stimulation, we are opening an Yoga school under the auspices of Mysore University. I want to say one more thing here. No other form of body exercises provides the complete benefits that you get from yogasana practice. Because this practice not only refines a person’s physical body but also prepares one for a complete spiritual reawakening and expansion, which is the ultimate reward. Therefore, my humble request to all the youth is to start yoga practice and you will never regret this decision. These yoga classes opened at the university have already become popular. I’m already happy to hear from students who are benefiting from these classes.
T. Singaravelu Modaliyar