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Eileen Reviews: "The Hidden Language"

October 6, 2009 by Eileen


Eileen Pearkes, a regular contributor to Lightwaves and author of The Glass Seed, joins us to share her thoughts about Swami Radha’s Hatha Yoga, The Hidden Language. Yasodhara Ashram will be hosting a Hidden Language Hatha Yoga intensive with Swami Lalitananda October 20-25.  For more information see below this article.

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Just as there are many layers of muscle, ligament and bone in the body, so, too, are there multiple layers to our thoughts and emotions. Hatha Yoga, The Hidden Language by Swami Sivananda Radha is an elegant book that takes the physical practice of yoga to another level, tapping into a rich store of reflection and intuition that underlies the body’s movements.  Swami Radha once said: “Without reflection, yoga is just gymnastics.”  Her book guides its readers beyond the surface, to the deep water where yoga truly transforms lives.

While there are shelves full of books on how to perform asanas physically, there are so very few that unlock the potential meaning of the poses on the level of mind and heart.  This seminal and important book, re-issued in 2006 on its 20th anniversary, presents tools for accessing the symbolic value of 22 different asanas.  No matter our physical abilities, our age, or our strength, we can take great meaning from our practice.  We can allow the symbolic patterns they represent to influence our awareness.

As a writer, I work with symbols every day – in the metaphors and images I choose to express meaning, as well as in the actual stringing together of letters and words to form language. Symbols make my work possible, and so you can imagine the absolute delight I experienced when I first encountered Hatha Yoga The Hidden Language almost 15 years ago. It introduced me for the first time to the asanas I had begun to practice in a yoga class as a form of body-mind-language.  The writer and yogini was instantly hooked.

Lotus-103.hatha.lotus-taraEach asana discussed in Hatha Yoga contains a brief physical, “how to” description.  Quickly, though, the guide moves beneath the physical surface, contemplating the symbolic meaning of plow, lotus or eagle, and presenting questions to unlock intuitive wisdom.   What are the hard lumps I must break up? How are you like the lotus growing through the muddy waters into the Light? What are my aggressive qualities and how do they manifest?

With Hatha Yoga the Hidden Language as a guide, yoga becomes so much more than gymnastics. Thank you, Swami Sivananda Radha, for enriching the practice.

Swami Lalitananda will be hosting the Inner Life of Asanas Workshop at Yasodhara Ashram, from October 20-25. For more information call 1-800-661-8711, view our online course catalogue, or email yashram@yasodhara.org. To join the event on Facebook, click here. For printable posters, click here.

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