- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: YogaVidya.com (1 Sept. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0971646619
- ISBN-13: 978-0971646612
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.8 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Hatha Yoga Pradipika, The Paperback – 1 Sep 2002
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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.
"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."
"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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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)"
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.
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.
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