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Hatha Yoga Pradipika, The [Paperback]

Svatmarama , Brian Dana Akers
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2002

The classic manual on Hatha Yoga. This affordable, definitive edition of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika contains the original Sanskrit, a new English translation, and full-page photographs of all the asanas.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: YogaVidya.com (1 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971646619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971646612
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Book Description

The classic manual on Hatha Yoga. This affordable, definitive edition of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika contains the original Sanskrit, a new English translation, and full-page photographs of all the asanas.

From the Publisher

From the Introduction

Over the last half millennium, one book has established itself as the classic work on Hatha Yoga--the book you are holding in your hands. An Indian yogi named Svatmarama wrote the Hatha Yoga Pradipika in the fifteenth century C.E. Drawing on his own experience and older works now lost, he wrote this book for the student of Yoga. He wrote this book for you.

Reviews

"A new, crisp, no-nonsense translation of this great classic on the practice of Hatha Yoga. . . . If one, like me, holds that the work of the translator is to be as discreet as possible, then this very faithful translation is probably the best available. . . . The publisher, YogaVidya.com, also produces a version of the Gheranda Samhita, and, I am told, is working on the Shiva Samhita. Serious Yoga students watch out--these are serious translations of serious classics."

--Christophe Mouze Online Yoga Magazine

"This lively and lucid translation includes the original Sanskrit. It is a must-have for any serious student or teacher."

--Yoga Site

"Beautifully printed and translated. Wonderful pictures, too."

--Dominik Wujastyk Indology

"There is a certain magic at work here--it is as if an Indian yogi named Svatmarama has projected himself through time, expressing himself through Akers. . . . Part of the charm of Akers's translation is that he breathes life into the ancient text by retaining its esoteric barriers and anachronisms, while at the same time clearly and simply presenting useful postures for students of Yoga. The book is well illustrated with photographs that depict a model demonstrating the postures. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is a must for serious students of Yoga, and for those of us not so serious, it is informative and entertainingly readable."

--Michael Perkins Woodstock Times

"Written over five hundred years ago by Svatmarama, an Indian yogi, the text is considered by many a seminal work on the practice of, and theory behind, Hatha Yoga."

--Chris Meehan Kalamazoo Gazette

"Accurate and accompanied by clear pictures, this translation of an informative Sanskrit text is a very useful addition to the growing literature on Yoga in Western languages."

--Ashok Aklujkar University of British Columbia


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Salutations to Shiva, who taught the science of Hatha Yoga. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and clear translation 11 Jan 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This translation of the HYP is a simple translation of the text without commentary. Brian Dana Akers has translated this text direct from the Sanskrit with integrity and purpose. His intention to make this ancient text neutral and accessible to a modern audience while being as faithful to the original text as possible. The HYP (and particularly this version) should not be read without a knowledgeable yoga teacher's guidance.

The HYP is considered to be the seminal Hatha Yoga text, but you will not be able to perform the postures by simply reading the translations. It requires commentary and instruction. As an alternative to the widely used Bihar School version, this edition offers an interesting comparison. The photographs of the postures are scattered in the asana section so do not appear on the same page as the description, but this being a translation with no commentary, you realise how short and concise the text actually is!

My biggest criticism is that I would have liked the sanskrit (in all its visual beauty) to be followed by a readable/pronouncable version of the sanskrit for the westerner. I like to be able to make some connection with the translation and the sanskrit words.

For my purposes (which was to find an alternative to the Bihar version) I would have given it a 3 star, but for his own intentions with the text I have given Brian Dana Akers' version a 4 star.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
96 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Closest thing to a "source code" that we have 30 Oct 2002
By Dennis Littrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The two best known English translations of Svatmarama's classical text on yoga from the Fifteenth Century are by Pancham Singh and Elsy Becherer. The former is 87 years old and the latter is a translation (with commentary by Hans-Ulrich Rieker) from the German, and is therefore twice removed from the original Sanskrit. Both books are out of print. Surprisingly there is virtually nothing else in English despite the fact that the hatha yoga teachings found in popular works, including B.K.S. Iyengar's celebrated Light on Yoga, are in no small part based on Svatmarama's text.

Brian Dana Akers brings us a new translation set with the English following the Sanskrit verse by verse. His style is straightforward, clear and elegant. He does not make the mistake of trying to translate yogic terms that are really not translatable, e.g., "nadi," "prana," "bandha," "mudra," etc. Instead he invites us to use a dictionary of yoga. He also makes the sly suggestion in his brief but graceful Introduction that "the scientifically minded do some empirical research. In a peaceful country, in a quiet place, free of all anxieties..." (p. xii)

Well, I have done some small research and I can tell you that Svatmarama knows whereof he speaks. I can also say along with Akers that I do not recommend some of Svatmarama's practices, (some of the "cleansing" mudras are unnecessary today; indeed they are dangerous) and clearly the old master exaggerates. However, his intention was not hyperbole. He spoke instead in what is called an "intentional language" that would guide teachers and advanced practitioners without confusing or revealing too much to beginners. This way of speaking is also called samdhya-bhasha ("twilight language") according to Georg Feuerstein. Thus a practice that allows one to become "young, even if old" may be distinguished from another practice that "destroys death," which in turn may be distinguished from one which leads to the place where "time is not."

Even though I first encountered the text almost 25 years ago and have read it several times, I did indeed find a dictionary helpful. I used Georg Feuerstein's definitive The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga (1997), but could have also used an English-Sanskrit dictionary to explore the more secular meanings of some words, which might have given me a better feel for some of the nuances of expression used by Svatmarama. To really appreciate Svatmarama's text perhaps this from Feuerstein might be helpful: "Language has the curious capacity to both disclose and veil the truth, and since ancient times the masters of India's spirituality have been especially sensitive to the possibilities and the limitations of linguistic communication." (Opus cited, p. 167) Rather than throw himself into the briar patch of Svatmarama's expression, Akers has wisely stepped to the side and let the text speak for (and against) itself.

But what is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika? It is simply a course in how to obtain samadhi, or liberation or freedom from the pairs of opposites that dominate our lives. It begins with asana and pranayama and ends with transcendence. All of the postures so familiar to us, and all of the breathing exercises have but one purpose: meditation leading to pushing aside the veil of ignorance that characterizes ordinary existence. It takes a long time to get there. The "empirical research" that Akers recommends will be a project of years (unless of course one is particularly gifted).

What is not mentioned in Svatmarama's delineation are the ethical and spiritual considerations called the yamas and niyamas that we find in Patanjali. I recommend that the Hatha Yoga Pradipika be studied in conjunction with Patanjali's celebrated sutras as aids to your practice. They have much in common, but there are some significant differences. Svatmarama makes no concessions to political correctness nor to social or religious considerations. His text is indeed striking in its terse and single-minded, even profane, ambition. Quite simply there is a problem: bondage to samsara. And there is a solution: hatha yoga leading to raja yoga leading to liberation.

Brian Dana Akers and the people at YogaVidya are to be complimented for bringing this text to the general public and for doing so in a most attractive manner. This is the book you want after you have finished with the popular texts.

--Dennis Littrell, author of "Yoga: Sacred and Profane (Beyond Hatha Yoga)"
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The classical Hatha Yoga Manual with Sanskrit & English 19 Oct 2004
By Joanna Daneman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a unique translation of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Sometime in the 15th Century, Yogi Svatmarama put down his principals of the practice of Yoga. Many of these include the mysteries of Kundalini --the coiled center of energy close to the base of the spine. But there is a lot more here for the student of yoga, including photos of the various "asanas" or positions, health, diet and mental hygiene. If you read Sanskrit, this would be a treasure. If you don't, you still have a line-by-line translation of this ancient and honored work. It's like listening to the yogi himself as he lectures his disciples. Fascinating reading--and if you are a practicing yogi or yogini, you'll find this insightful.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and lucid translation 7 Feb 2010
By Ashwini Aragam - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you have ever glimpsed at an ancient Indian writing, you are bound to be stuck with the interpretation of the author - whether you agree or disagree. With his translation of the 'Hatha Yoga Pradipika', Brian Dan Akers does a wonderful job of keeping his aim of interpretation to the reader. The translation is simple and clear; loyal to the original text. The English translation juxtapositioned with the Sanskrit text provides clear insight into what Svatmarama had in mind. You can see a lot of thought has gone into making this text clutter-free and simple.

As with many aged Indian texts, you will find the verses often flowery or redundant, but that is the way it was. Brian manages to stick to his objective of passing this ancient text to the reader in its original sense as you can read from his acknowledgement. What I like about this text is that I can go back to the 'source' and quickly read up on an asanas or a mudra as it was taught by the teacher. This gives me the freedom to mould my yoga experience with the ancient teachings. As with other publications from the publisher - [...] - you will find many clear contextual photographs that aid your interpretation. Now I can rest assured when I travel I can take a whole set of Yogic teachings - Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Shiva Samhita, Gherand Samhita and Bhagavad Gita - along with me without burdening the baggage. These books are a must have in your Yoga libraray for their original content and conciseness.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Translation of a Yoga Classic! 31 Oct 2012
By W. H. McDonald Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Anyone who can translate into basic understandable English this classic of hatha yoga has my fullest admiration. Brian Dana Akers has taken the original Sanskrit writings of Svatmarama and opened the door to many western readers to see the beauty of what he was giving humanity back in the fifteenth century. The fundamental truths and wisdom of that time are still as valuable to society today as they ever were. Thank God that people have not lost this opportunity to gain this knowledge today.

I liked the Introduction that the author has placed in the book; it blends history with some of the author's personal observations and comments - it is a nice balance for the western mind and heart.

If the seeker is looking for a book on hatha yoga this is a good one to have. The author keeps his translation faithful and yet, allows the western reader to navigate successfully through this classic. Good photos illustrate the yoga postures and the text is laid out with great intention for the reader to more easily focus on - or at least that was the way I saw it. The book is thoughtfully laid out.

This translation gets "The American Authors Association's" highest book rating of FIVE STARS! It also gets my personal endorsement.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very clear presentation 25 Oct 2012
By Donna Miesbach - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Whether one intends to follow an ancient tradition or not, there is always something to be gained from studying it. Such is the case with "The Hatha Yoga Pradipika." This 15th Century manuscript gives a clear description of the austerities the ancient yogis observed in their search for wisdom. While many of their practices would not be done today, the text is worth reading, even to those who have studied Ayurveda and are somewhat adept in practicing its principles. Brian Akers' translation from the original Sanskrit is concise and easy to follow, a real plus when the subject is so far from today's norm. If you'd like to know what the ancient yogi's life and practices really were like, then this would be an interesting read for you.
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