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Hatha Yoga Pradipika Postures - Part 1

How To be Healthy in Body, Happy in Heart, and Shining in Mind

Complete Yoga Breath
with Sound!

Postures Series

Pradipika
postures
in this series

 

Cowface Posture
Gomukhasana
Cowface Posture

 

The Bow
Dhanurasana
Bow Posture

 

Fish Pose
Matsyasana
Fish Pose

 

Padmasana
Padmasana
Bound Lotus

 

Kurmasana
Kurmasana
Tortoise

 

Twist
Matsyendrasana
Twist

 

Relaxation
Savasana
Relaxation
Yogi Maharishi Svatmarama wrote the classic book, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, in the 15th century CE. Much of what he wrote was already found in ancient Sanskrit texts, but he added his own experiences with Yoga. Many of the postures he described are included either in this series, or in the Postures to Open up Chakras series. For this reason, you might move from one series to another. You can always return to Postures (in the navigation menu, left) if you lose your path. I have edited the detailed instructions to make them easier to understand.

Hatha Yoga begins with asanas (Sanskrit = postures), which are practiced to attain harmony between mind, body and soul. The result is a stable and balanced posture, good health and lightness of body.

This book is one of the foundations of Hatha Yoga, even if Yoga is thousands of years old. I wrote earlier in the What is Yoga series that if you study Power, Ashtanga, Vinyassa, Iyengar, Bikram, or any other type of physical Yoga, it all stems from Hatha Yoga, from this book, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, and a lineage of wisdom teachers. According to this book, there are certain postures and lifestyle choices that go hand in hand with Yoga. Many of them would be impossible for most people to follow, even today, but there are some gems worth excerpting. Here are some of them.

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Indications of Success in the Practice of Hatha Yoga

When the body becomes lean, the face glows with joy, the inner heart sound manifests, the eyes are clear, the body is healthy, the mind is under control, and the appetite increases, then one should know that the spiritual energies are purified and success in Hatha Yoga is approaching. Postures (asanas), various breath techniques (kumbhakas), and other methods provided on this site should all be practiced in Hatha Yoga with the outcome of Raja Yoga being obtained (Raja Yoga = Mastery of body, mind and soul).

The following postures are some of my favorites from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (some of these are also featured in the Postures to Open Chakras series):

GomukhasanaGomukhasana Variation
(go=cow - mukha=face)

This is a wonderful posture to stretch the arms and chest, shoulders, and legs. There are many variations for this posture. This one is with shoulder and arm stretches.

Another variation has the same position with the legs, but instead of grasping the hands behind the back, the palms are placed flat on the floor beside each foot and then one lifts the body off the floor.

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DhanurasanaDhanurasana
(Dhanu=Bow)

This posture is shown on every page of this Web site as an ad for my DVD (above left). In this image, Eugenia does an advanced form of this posture with her feet crossed. This Bow series is devoted to the preliminary and final instructions for this wonderful posture. It is included for Hatha Yoga Pradipika and for opening the Chakras. There is a also quite an incredible story of how this posture was instrumental in healing someone of a life-long emotional and physical problem in My Story.

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Fish PoseMatsyasana
(Matsya = Fish)
Fish Incarnation of Vishnu

This is one of the postures cited for several Chakras because it is so powerful in lifting the energies of the Kundalini. There are preliminary exercises and stretches for this posture to help you learn how to do it properly. If you are not agile, this is not an easy posture. With time and practice, you will be able to do this posture.

 

Lotus PosturePadmasana
(Padma = Lotus)

This is the Lotus Posture. I am beginning the stretch in my DVD to music here, and will soon have my arms stretched out and above my head. The posture here is with the feet and legs. The Pradipika says this is the destroyer of diseases. It is difficult for everyone, except advanced students or a teacher, but can be attained through diligent practice.

There are several preliminary stretches and variations to help you finally attain the goal (shown in this illustration, left) of the full Padmasana posture. There are also warnings, because this position can do major injury to the knees and feet if done incorrectly from the start. Here (left) one is grasping the toes with the arms crossed behind the back while in Lotus.

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Kurmasana
(Kurma = Tortoise)

This is a very powerful posture for introspection. You cannot see anything while you are down here, hidden like a tortoise. Most people cannot even come close when they start with the preliminary stretches for this. Some people never get down the way Eugenia does here. What is most important is the intention and attempt to do so. Each stretch that brings you closer will be one more that changes your body in a positive way and make you stronger.

 

TwistMatsyendrasana
(Matsyendra = one founder of Yoga)

Matsyendra is mentioned in the Pradipika as one of the founders of Yoga. This is one of those classics that all Yoga students should learn. It is a bit convoluted, especially for anyone who has a hard time with knowing the difference between right and left! Once you understand it, you will always want to include it in your Yoga practice. It is one of those awesome postures that has a huge effect on every part of the body all at once. There are preliminary exercises given, and it is included in the Postures to Open the 2nd Chakra.

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The Corpse PoseSavasana
(Sava = corpse)

This is considered a posture when you do it correctly. This is a major part of the Relaxation series on this site. Lying down with every muscle in the body consciously relaxed through intention and breath removes fatigue and calms the mind. I call this the destroyer of stress.

NAVIGATION INFORMATION: Every effort is made on this site to make navigation easy and quick. Because there are so many Yoga Series on this site for Yoga Postures, the links above are extensive and will bring you to each of the Postures for Chakras and the Series for other Postures. I have also listed every posture in alphabetical order in All Yoga Postures on this Site (also in the above list).

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