By John Pint
seems regrettable that so many of the world’s medical doctors spend
most of their time dealing with sickness and disease and not a whole
lot contemplating the benefits of the celebrated “apple a day.”
surpassed the age of 70 in good health, I feel I now have a right to
say something on the subject. I continue to enjoy hiking, cave
exploring and racquetball and, looking back over my shoulder, I realize
that during the last ten years I’ve enjoyed better health than ever
before in my entire life. I seem to have been doing something right and
I have an idea what it is.
exercises take about fifteen minutes to do and come from a Yogi who was
sent from India to the USA in 1920 to introduce Americans to Yoga. Now
some kinds of Yoga may require people to twist their bodies into
strange shapes, but these particular exercises from Kriya Yoga are
extremely simple and can be done by anyone of any age. They involve
tensing and relaxing muscles and some deep breathing. They definitely
energize your body.
Because these exercises were developed for
Americans, the Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, came up with the rather
novel idea of breaking down the instructions into small bits and
mailing them to recipients once a week, making it extremely easy for
anyone to learn the system. To my surprise, I recently discovered that
Yogananda’s organization (The Self-Realization Fellowship) continues to
follow exactly the same procedure today, even though you’d expect them
to be using email instead. They do have a website, though, making it
easy to sign up for the mailings.
The energizing exercises which
I recommend are all included in the first set of 19 lessons described
on their web page, which they will mail to interested parties in the
USA, Canada and Mexico for an enrollment fee of $8.00 plus $14.00 to
cover mailing costs. That’s about as non-profit as you can get.
the instructions for the energizing exercises, you’ll also get
Yogananda’s advice on meditation and other subjects. The web page is
www.yogananda-srf.org . By the way, the life story of the man behind
all this is told in a very interesting book called Autobiography of a
Yogi, also available at the SRF
exercises take only ten minutes a day and most decidedly improved my
health within a short time after I started doing them, about 12 years
ago. They are very
easy to do and are not really a form of exercise at all, as their aim
is to free up energy in our bodies which should be available to us but
which has become “encrusted” due to our physical and mental habits.
Here in Mexico, these exercises have been passed down over the
centuries from shaman to shaman and are described, with illustrations,
in the book Magical Passes by Carlos Castaneda (Harper 1998; ISBN
0-06-017584-2, 225 pages).
I have been doing only the first 21
of these “magical passes” for years and the good effects are so obvious
that I would never think of going to bed without doing them. I could
make a very long list of ailments I used to have, ranging from
headaches to knee pains, all of which soon disappeared after I started
doing these exercises.
Castaneda says his teacher, Don Juan,
claimed that the worries and stress of daily life result in our
“pushing energy away from the centers of vitality,” locking some of it
up. “Having energy that is not being redeployed, is as useless as not
having any energy at all,” he said. “It is a truly terrifying situation
to have a surplus of energy stashed away, inaccessible for all
practical purposes. It is like being in the desert, dying of
dehydration, while you carry a tank of water that you cannot open,
because you don’t have any tools.”
Well, Magical Passes 1-21 are
just the tools you need and you can order the book from
Incorporated and, of course, Amazon.
suppose any advice for maintaining good health ought to include
comments on diet, but all I have to suggest is don’t forget to eat a
lot of raw vegetables every day. As for exercising, I’ve already
mentioned that I enjoy hiking and playing racquetball and I suggest
that if you begin to liberate some of that locked up energy as
indicated above, you too will feel like getting up and moving around.