What has generally thought of Yoga within the West is genuinely simply one of many many paths of Yoga, and is technically referred to as Hatha Yoga. The oldest and most generally used historic textual content on the bodily practices of Hatha Yoga is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. As with all historic non secular texts, the writing is terse and infrequently mystical, mysterious, and a bit cryptic. As a foundational scripture for yoga, you will need to perceive the textual content’s historic context and the way it’s content material has knowledgeable and affect the fashionable observe and understanding of yoga. Many of those teachings and practices are actually esoteric and unusual, however they’re nonetheless thought of to be highly effective strategies that must be explored if one needs to search out enlightenment by hatha yoga.
What’s the Hatha Yoga Pradipika?
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (HYP) is likely one of the three main historic texts on hatha yoga. The opposite foundational texts are the Gheranda Samhita and Shiva Samhita, which each predate the HYP.
The unique title of the textual content is Hatha Pradipika. Subsequent commentaries and translations started to seek advice from it because the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and that is the title it’s generally often known as. Pradipika interprets as “gentle” or “to light up,” so the title is often translated to “The Mild on Hatha Yoga.” The Sanskrit prefix “Ha” interprets as “solar”, “Tha” as “moon,” and “yoga” means “union” so the title is also translated as “The Mild on Uniting the Energies of the Solar and the Moon.”
This e-book was composed in fifteenth century CE by Swami Swatamarama and is derived from older Sanskrit texts, the teachings from well-known lecturers, and from Swatamarama’s personal yogic experiences. The primary model translated into English was in 1915 by Pancham Sinh.
The principle purpose of this textual content is to light up the bodily disciplines and practices of Hatha Yoga and combine these with the upper non secular targets of Raja Yoga (meditation).
Swatamarama begins by explaining the connection between Hatha Yoga and Raja yoga, informing us that Hatha is a preliminary observe for Raja Yoga. He tells us that getting self-control and self-discipline is far simpler after we begin with the bodily and energetic physique, versus making an attempt to straight management the thoughts as in Raja Yoga. By way of the mastery of the prana, or power of the physique, we will then simply grasp the management of the thoughts and acquire success with Raja Yoga. In verse 1:41 he tells us that when the stream of prana is stabilized by the practices of Hatha Yoga, the breath stops spontaneously and a senseless state naturally arises.
Tips for observe
Though Swatamarama’s directions on methods to observe this yoga are fairly detailed and a bit dated, Westerners can nonetheless apply an important and related factors to their observe. Swatamarama tells us that the room the place one practices yoga in ought to be clear, nice, comfy, and free from bugs and animals. He additionally particulars the qualities that deliver success in yoga, that trigger failure, and in addition provides ten guidelines of conduct and ten private observances for the start yogi to observe. In short, he tells us that to achieve success within the observe of Hatha Yoga we should reside a quiet, pure, trustworthy, and reasonable way of life and keep away from any extreme behaviors.
The principle practices within the Hatha Yoga Pradipika
The majority of this textual content particulars the strategies of the principle practices of Hatha Yoga: Asana (postures), Pranayama (breathing exercises), Shatkarma (inner cleansings), mudra (power seal), and Bandha (power locks).
After some primary preliminary necessities within the first chapter, Swatamarama makes clear the primary stage of Hatha Yoga is asana, the physical postures that we’re most acquainted within the West. Asana creates firmness of the physique and thoughts and disease-lessness and adaptability of the physique. It’s right here the place we first study to manage and self-discipline the physique.
Swatamarama tells us that when a observe of Asana has been established then pranayama will be begun. The purpose of those respiration workout routines is to manage the prana and the refined energies of the physique, which in flip can be utilized to manage the thoughts.
Within the second chapter, Swatamarama tells us that if there’s extreme mucus within the physique, it will must be eliminated utilizing the six purification techniques of shatkarma. These purifying strategies in addition to the pranayama assist to purify the power channels of the physique and permit the prana to maneuver extra effectively by these nadis.
The third chapter explores the subtle energy systems and the observe of mudras and bandhas. Using mudra and bandha additional prompts the power of the physique, concentrates it, and channels it into the principle power channel, the sushumna, that runs from the bottom of the backbone to the highest of the top and intersects all seven chakras. Mudras are advanced actions of the entire physique in a mixture of asana, pranayama, bandha, and visualization. Bandhas are engagements of particular teams of muscle tissue on the base of the pelvis, the stomach, and the throat to “lock” the prana power of the physique contained in the torso. Each of those strategies are difficult to grasp and will solely be tried after one is competent and expert in each Asana and pranayama.
Chapter 4 gives further strategies for the attainment of enlightenment or Samadhi. Swatamarama notes that growing a sound physique and a sound thoughts is essential for the attainment of Samadhi. When this last stage is reached, a yogi will expertise the unstruck sound, often known as pranava, the vibration of all the universe.
At one stage, the HYP particulars a really related yoga of what’s practiced within the West, whereas a really completely different yoga is proven by the intent of the deeper practices described inside. Historically, Hatha Yoga is uniquely targeted on remodeling the bodily physique by purification and the cultivation of the life power power of prana. And all the strategies of Hatha Yoga are seen as preliminary steps to reaching the deeper states of meditation and enlightenment discovered within the path of Raja Yoga. Contemplating this, we’re solely getting a small style of what yoga can supply us right here within the West. The HYP provides us a invaluable map to those deeper practices of yoga, in addition to offering the information and instruments to journey to those depths if we so select.
Essential quotes from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Chapter 1: Asana
- Overeating, exertion, talkativeness, adhering to guidelines, being within the firm of widespread individuals, and unsteadiness of thoughts are the six causes that destroy yoga.
- Enthusiasm, perseverance, discrimination, unshakable religion, braveness, avoiding the corporate of widespread individuals, are the six causes that deliver success in yoga.
- Paschimottanasana is the very best amongst asanas. By this asana, the pranic currents rise by the central power channel. The digestive hearth will increase, the stomach turns into flat, and the practitioner turns into free from illnesses.
Chapter 2: Shatkarma and Pranayama
- When the nadis are purified there are exterior signs—success is seen when the physique turns into skinny and glows.
Closing the mouth, inhale with management and focus by the ida and pingala nadis, in order that the breath is felt from the throat to the guts and produces a sonorous sound.
- When the breath is unsteady, the thoughts is unsteady. When the breath is regular, the thoughts is regular, and the yogi turns into steadfast.
- So long as the breath is retained within the physique, so long as the thoughts is calm, and so long as the sight is in the course of the brows, the place is the worry of dying?
- The perfection of hatha yoga is achieved when there’s leanness of the physique, tranquil countenance, manifestation of the interior sound, clear eyes, disease-lessness, management of bindu (semen/ova), lively digestive hearth, and purification of the nadis.
Chapter 3: Mudra and Bandha
- Due to this fact the knower of yoga conquers dying by preserving the bindu. Launch of the semen/ova means dying; conservation of bindu is life.
- She is verily a yogini who conserves her rajas by contracting and elevating it. She is aware of previous, current, and future and turns into fastened in khechari mudra.
- The bindu and that rajas in a single’s personal physique unite by the union by the observe of vajroli mudra, thus bestowing all perfections or siddhis.
- The yogi who strikes the shakti repeatedly enjoys perfection or siddhi. She simply conquers time and dying. What extra is there to say?
Chapter 4: Samadhi
- When the thoughts ceases to be fickle and is united by fixing it in nada, it turns into motionless like a wingless fowl.
- One who wishes full dominion of yoga ought to thus discover the nada with an attentive thoughts and abandon all ideas.
- The yogi in samadhi is neither eaten by time, nor certain by Karma, nor overpowered by anybody.
- The yogi in samadhi is aware of neither scent, nor style, nor kind, nor contact, nor sound, nor herself, nor others.
Free PDF downloads of HYP
Luckily, there are a number of completely different translations of the HYP, and with all older yogic texts, we suggest evaluating a minimum of two completely different translations to have a clearer understanding of the philosophy and practices they include. The one version accessible in print that we suggest is Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swami Muktibodhananda from the Bihar Faculty of Yoga. The next hyperlinks are to public area e book editions that we suggest: