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Philosophy

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

by Swami Muktibodhananda

Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swami Muktibodhananda

At one time or another every serious yogi will want to spend time exploring this hard to find book. After the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (various versions of each are found elsewhere on this site), the Hatha Yoga Pradipika is a foundational text of yoga. The author, Svatmarama, set down in text an outline of the physical postures, breathing exercises, mudras and various other practices that composed the Hatha Yoga of his time. This is the first surviving book to do so, so in some sense, all asana primers that have followed are based on this book.
     This particular translation is a gem. It is the most complete translation of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika that I have encountered. The original text is skimpy on details of the practices outlined. Most translators flesh out the material a bit and the resulting volume is still slim, but Swami Mukhtibodhananda has delved deep into each of the practices and describes them and their multiple variations at some length. As a result, the book is quite long. For the avid practitioner of Hatha Yoga, each word is like another drop of precious nectar and the reading is easy.
     This translation includes the original Sanskrit text compiled by Maharshi Swatmarama with a translation and thorough commentary in English by Swami Muktibodhananda. This text elucidates the entire science of hatha Yoga (asana, pranayama, shatkarma, mudra and bandha) as it was conceived and practiced not only for health and fitness but for awakening the vital energies: pranas, chakras and kundalini shakti. It points out that hatha yoga is not just a physical practice but a process of cellular transmutation from gross to subtle to divine. Thus, hatha yoga was considered to be the foundation of all higher yogas. Line drawings and diagrams illustrate the text.

Swami Muktibodhananda was born 8 December 1959, in Melbourne, Australia. From childhood she was drawn to the disciplines of yogic sadhana and ashram life. At the age of seventeen, she moved to India and became a worthy disciple of Swami Satyananda Sarawati.


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