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.”
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?