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1. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika

1. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika
by Svatmarama
Paperback: 128 Pages (2002-09-01)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0971646619
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product 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. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Book To Read With Guidance
Utterly unbiased, straightforward, textual translation.I would strongly advise reading this with a teacher or along with a class, as there are many terms and concepts that require additional explanation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simple and lucid translation
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.

4-0 out of 5 stars On the Translation of the HathaYogaPradipika
Overall, this text is an excellent resource for the aspirant on the path of yoga.I highly recommend this text; along with an in depth study of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras.

I spent a few months reading the Sanskrit, the English, and discussing the content of this short text atthe Yoga Society of San Francisco with a world-renowned scholar of Sanskrit. We not only used Akers translation, but we also used 2 other translations. Of all the translations I have read, I have found that Akers translation is the most accurate. However, the only drawback of this text is that it doesn't have the transliteration.It goes from Devanâgarî to the English. Thus, folks who cannot read the Devanâgarî of Sanskrit will find it challenging. But if you have no interest in reading Sanskrit and just want to read the English you are fine. My only advice is that before you perform the exercises in Chapters 2, 3, and 4, I suggest you seek out a guru who is a master of these practices. Because like most exercise routines they may vary depending on one's unique constitution and where one is on their spiritual journey.

If you would like to learn more about this text feel free to contact me at anthony@urbanyogis.com.

Review by Nârâyaa (Anthony) Biduck, Co-Creator of Urban Yogis [...]

5-0 out of 5 stars The classical Hatha Yoga Manual with Sanskrit & English
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.

5-0 out of 5 stars Closest thing to a "source code" that we have
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. ... Read more


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