Hatha Yoga Pradipika – Sharing the Reading Experience

Christine Weise teaches and practices Ashtanga Yoga in Gainesville, Florida.  She is also the author of the Blog, Ashtanga Yoga in Gainesville, which I have read over the last few years.  I love the way that the practice of yoga connects people.  To me the wider Ashtanga Yoga Community is like a big family of people who do the same practice and as such go through similar experiences.  The internet enables us to connect and share our experiences with people who we may not otherwise meet.   Christine has decided to take this medium and use it so that we can share with her and her community, as they study the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

 

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is thought to have been written in the fifteenth century C.E by and the Indian yogi Svatmara.  It is considered one of the classic texts of yoga.  I first read the Hatha Yoga Pradipika during my yoga teacher training course.  The version I read was translated by Brian Dana Akers, he original text is in Sanskrit.  At the time I liked this version  because it is a does not contain a commentary, just a translation, leaving me to think about the text in my own terms.   The text has four chapters asanas (physical yoga positions),  pranayama (control of prana/ energy), mudras (symbolic gestures) and samadhi (state of oneness).  It explores the spiritual and practical aspects of the practice of hatha yoga, some of the practices explained are extreme and if I remember correctly some of the benefits of the poses are  far out if taken literally.  As much as I like to explore these texts I always like to do so from the point of view of my own experience.  As the Buddha said

“Don’t blindly believe what I say. Don’t believe me because others convince you of my words. Don’t believe anything you see, read, or hear from others, whether of authority, religious teachers or texts. Don’t rely on logic alone, nor speculation. Don’t infer or be deceived by appearances.”

Picture of the book the Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Christine is doing a shared read of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika with her students and she opened this up to the wider yoga community via her blog.  The idea is that we all read a section of the book and then discuss it on Facebook.  I love to read books and the idea of sharing the experience with others appeals to me. Christine is reading a version of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swarmi Muktibodhananda. This version contains a commentary as well as a translation. I decided to buy Swarmi Muktibodhananda’s version, so that I could delve into this text a little deeper and join in their discussions, I am also re-reading Brain Dana Akers version so that I can compare the translations. If you are interested in joining in that would be great, I intend to write about my journey with the book here on this blog as well as joining in the discussion on Ashtanga Yoga in Gainesville’s Facebook Page. There is no need to have any prior experience of yoga philosophy to join in, just an interest.

Have you read or are you interested in reading The Hatha Yoga Pradipika?

 

About Helen Aldred

Helen Aldred practices and teaches ashtanga yoga in Liverpool. She loves to share and discuss yoga, as well as health and wellbeing. Follow her on twitter and join Ashtanga yoga Liverpool’s Facebook community .

Comments

  1. I put the book title into google, and have got a free PDF download of the Akers version.

  2. Ah, ok – its a preview of 10% of it, on asanas.

    • Hi Lindsey, it is fairly expensive to buy isn’t it, especially the Akers version which is only tiny. I wonder if the library have a copy? If not and you don’t want to buy your own you can borrow my Akers version if you like.

  3. Thanks for sharing this Helen! 🙂

  4. Hi! This is Brian Dana Akers.

    I just discovered the Pradipika reading project at Ashtanga Yoga Liverpool and Ashtanga Yoga Gainesville. Pretty cool! I’m going to post this in the comments section on both sites (and email it). Here is some basic information re questions that have already come up in the comments.

    1) Reading a copy in the library. If they don’t have a copy already, we have a form that you can fill out and give to your librarian:

    http://www.yogavidya.com/Yoga/LibraryForm.pdf

    2) The current retail price of the book is 14.95 USD and 9.99 GBP. For some reason, Amazon.com is selling it for $11.95. If you go to our web site, you can buy six copies for 40% off and a carton of 36 for 55% off. Great for teacher training courses.

    http://www.YogaVidya.com/hyp.html

    3) Hello (ovo) in Ann Arbor! The University of Michigan is where I learned Sanskrit, along with a year in South India.

    4) I’m working intensely on getting our next book out the door, so I’m not going to follow the discussion. (I also don’t want to inhibit people.) But if someone wants to email me questions and then post my answers to the blogs, that’s fine with me. For instance, I notice that people seem quite interested in comparing translations, so I’d be happy to explain why I translated certain verses the way I did.

    All the best,

    Brian

    ——————————————–
    Facebook.com/YogaVidya.com
    YogaVidya.com

    • Thanks Brian, I was actually thinking that it might be nice to contact the authors, so thank you for beating me to it. Thanks for your offer of help, I am sure we will be in touch. I have posted your message on my blog for all to see.

      As for my comment re the price of your book, I hope no offense was taken. I appreciate a lot of work must go into translating not just in terms of the translation itself but the initial study of Sanskrit. My comment was in response to my student who is studying at University and may have to spend a great deal on books. I have already bought and read your book once so for me it was clearly a good purchase! Your book is now retailing at £9.99 on amazon.uk, which is great. I thought it was around £15 when I looked at the weekend but perhaps that’s my mistake. Great idea regarding the library, I only did not suggest ordering a copy for the library because it can take a while and we have already started the discussion. Of course someone could order a copy and catch up or read the discussion as they read the book at their own pace. People can of course, order any book from the library which is a great thing and help to keep reading affordable and accessible for everyone.

      Thanks for offering to answer our questions. I will be in touch.

      Best Wishes,
      Helen

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