n their book Le Yoga des Pharaons, Yogi Khane and his wife Geneviève Khane (Agrégée and Docteur es Lettres, graduate in Egyptology from the University of Montpellier) showed that ancient Egypt had known and practiced hatha-yoga, as well as a whole set of vertical postures. What we call today “Pharaonic Yoga” or “Egyptian Yoga” designates all the postures of Egypt which are characterized by their verticality.
Pharaonic Yoga and Asian Traditions
However, the pharaonic postures do not oppose the different forms of yoga practiced in India and the rest of Asia. Caitanya, a great master of bhakti-yoga, considered to be an incarnation of Krishna, is often depicted with raised arms, in an attitude close to the Egyptian posture of “lifting the sky”. In the garden of the temple of Wat-Po, in Bangkok, we find a yogi with his arms in the same posture. We also know of examples of statues of Buddha standing, arms in a candlestick. During the ceremony where they receive the sacred cord, the Brahmans also raise their arms in a candlestick.
Egypt is the source of many aspects of Western civilization: medicine, physiotherapy, mathematics, architecture, philosophy were largely inspired by the Egyptian heritage transmitted by Greece. Egypt is also at the origin of Christian symbolism and alchemy. The word “alchemy” also derives from the Egyptian word Kemet, a term which designated Egypt.
The vertical attitudes of pharaonic yoga are easy to access, and the dynamic sequences proposed by Yogi Khane from the paintings and bas-reliefs of Egyptian temples, are particularly suited to the West and to man today . They do not require any particular flexibility and can be used advantageously in the preparation for certain postures of hatha-yoga.
Yoga from ancient Pharaonic Egypt can be practiced at any age
Children particularly appreciate its dynamic side. Egyptian yoga helps them to become aware of their bodies and better coordinate their movements. He teaches them to channel their energy.
Teenagers find that this discipline improves their power of concentration and helps them in their school work: after a session of Egyptian yoga, they say that they work faster and more efficiently. They find it easier to fix their attention and memorize their lessons.
In the elderly, the practice of pharaonic yoga allows:
• a revival of vitality
• postural reeducation
• improvement and even recovery of locomotion
• an improvement of the brain functions: concentration, memorization, vigilance.
Women are particularly sensitive to the aesthetic dimension of Egyptian yoga. Men appreciate its dynamic side, its precision, its rigor.
Many physiotherapists integrate the practice of Pharaonic yoga in the rehabilitation sessions they offer their patients, because this discipline allows to re-educate the musculoskeletal system.
Egyptian yoga can be practiced in the attitudes of everyday life:
• in standing up position
• sitting on a chair, bench or stool as well as on a rug
• in supine position.
It does not require any special equipment. It has thus been introduced as gymnastics break in factories and offices in Algeria.