Chapter 4: Hatha Yoga and Hypnosis
The entire body mechanism works unconsciously. You are not conscious of it. Whenever something moves from the mind to the body, it moves from the conscious to the unconscious. The body is unconscious. If you are angry you are conscious of the anger but not conscious of the chemicals that are released into the body. How can you be conscious of it? Whether you express your anger or you do not express your anger, you do not know what happens to those chemicals that are released into the blood stream, or to the particular energy that creates aggression. If you have not used it, it must remain somewhere. You develop a complex: the aroused energy becomes a part of your muscular structure, it becomes a part of your body.
Wilhelm Reich had to arrange for two bodyguards when he was treating his patients because when he would push a particular point in the body, the patient would become wild. Many would become so violent that they would attack him without any reason. Reich would be just pushing a person’s teeth, and suddenly the person would become angry for no reason. The whole body has so many different points where so many emotions have been suppressed.
In England there was also a man whose techniques are worth reading about. If hatha yoga is to become a modern science now, then the techniques of Wilhelm Reich and this second man, Alexander, will have to be added to it.
Alexander worked with the postures of the body. He discovered that someone has a particular posture because he has a particular mind. If the posture is changed, the mind will change. Or if the mind is changed, the posture will change. The two have a deep association.
In the past, people in India never used chairs. Chairs change your body posture in particular ways. Hatha yoga has no posture to help you if you have been sitting on chairs. It has no techniques to deal with this because chairs were not used in former times. But when you sit in a chair, a certain posture is created and by and by it becomes a fixed part of you. This has to be changed, you have to become more natural, but hatha yoga has no technique to bring about the change.
Western bodies have to be studied in a different way. What you have been doing with your body has to be studied. People in a society that does not prohibit the expression of emotions will have different kinds of postures from people in a suppressive society. In a society where people can weep easily or laugh easily, without inhibitions, the people have a different type of body structure.
When you laugh, it is not simply a laugh, your whole body changes. If the society you have been brought up in has inhibited laughing, then your abdomen will have a different shape than it would have had if you had been brought up in a society that encourages laughter. People brought up in certain societies cannot really laugh because laughter has been inhibited. Their speech is affected by it; everything becomes unnatural, a mannerism. Then you cannot breathe deeply, because if you cannot laugh you cannot take a deep breath. And in the same way, if you cannot weep easily, you cannot breathe easily. Everything in the body is interconnected.
Alexander used to give his patients an exercise called the “Ah! exercise.” It was the first exercise he gave to every patient. First one has to relax. Then he has to say, “Ah Ah!” so many times. If you can say “Ah!” the whole system of breathing changes.