The primary object of this book is to impress on the reader how the vicissitudes of middle life react unfavorably on health and how the practice of asanas mentioned in the Yogic literature of India counteracts this tendency towards ill health. Asanas, as a means of physical culture, are growing in importance both in India and abroad, particularly amongst the cultured classes. The educated men and women, who always demand a rational explanation of things put before them, naturally show a sense of diffidence in accepting as gospel truth all the claims made for asanas by the ancient Yogic seers: they will be convinced only if the modus operandi is explained to them in a scientific and rational manner. In this volume it has been my endeavor to show the physiological importance of the asanas from my personal experience in the practice of them. I hope it will be acceptable to the highly scientific mind. It seems almost certain that the Yogic seers, who designed the asanas, knew the physiology of the body in all its aspects and though they knew hardly anything of modern methods of experimentation, yet they had their own bodies to experiment upon and succeeded in learning a good deal. The asanas must be rightly practiced to appreciate their true value and to realize the claims made out for them that “they rejuvenate the body, prevent premature ageing, maintain eternal youth and defy death.” However, ambitious the claims may seem to be at first thought; they are capable of full realization.
Though it is possible to practise asanas with the help of photographic illustrations and learn the correct technique and stages with the help of books, it is advisable – in the beginning at least – to practise them under the guidance of one who has gone through the whole course of poses himself. There is a nack of doing theses exercises correctly which can be better from an expert than from a book, however well it may describe them.