Page 4 - ScienceOfBreath
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The Western student is apt to be somewhat confused in his ideas regarding the 

Yogis and their philosophy and practice. Travelers to India have written great tales 

about the hordes of fakirs, mendicants and mountebanks who infest the great 

roads of India and the streets of its cities, and who impudently claim the title 

"Yogi." The Western student is scarcely to be blamed for thinking of the typical 

Yogi as an emaciated, fanatical, dirty, ignorant Hindu, who either sits in a fixed 

posture until his body becomes ossified, or else holds his arm up in the air until it 

becomes stiff and withered and for ever after remains in that position or perhaps 

clenches his fist and holds it tight until his fingernails grow through the palms of 

his hands. That these people exist is true, but their claim to the title " Yogi " seems 

as absurd to the true Yogi as does the claim to the title "Doctor" on the part of the 

man who pares one's corns seem to the eminent surgeon, or as does the title of 

"Professor," as assumed by the street corner vendor of worm medicine, seem to the 

President of Harvard or Yale.

There have been for ages past in India and other Oriental countries men who 
devoted their time and attention to the development of Man, physically, mentally 

and spiritually. The experience of generations of earnest seekers has been handed 

down for centuries from teacher to pupil, and gradually a definite Yogi science was 

built up. To these investigations and teachings was finally applied the term "Yogi," 

from the Sanscrit word " Yug," meaning "to join." From the same source comes the 

English Word "yoke," with a similar meaning. Its use in connection with these 

teachings is difficult to trace, different authorities giving different explanations, 

but probably the most ingenious is that which holds that it is intended as the 

Hindu equivalent for the idea conveyed by the English phrase, "getting into 

harness," or "yoking up," as the Yogi undoubtedly "gets into harness" in his work 

of controlling the body and mind by the Will.

Yoga is divided into several branches, ranging from that which teaches the control 

of the body, to that which teaches the attainment of the highest spiritual 

development. In the work we will not go into the higher phases of the subject, 

except when the "Science of Breath" touches upon the same. The "Science of 

Breath" touches Yoga at many points, and although chiefly concerned with the 

development and control of the physical, has also its psychic side, and even enters 

the field of spiritual development.

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