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WHAT IS YOGA? Part 4

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Complete Yoga Breath
with Sound!

What is Yoga
series

“Yoga begins with
Discipline
Introspection
Control of Prana
Meditation...”
Yoga Sutras
by Patanjali

Hatha Yoga
Path to Health

“Practice alone is the
means to success.
The ida and pingala nadis
before entering into
the base of the nostrils
cross each other
and are known as
gangliated cords.”
The Hatha Yoga
Pradipika

by Yogi Maharishi
Svatmarama

Bhakti Yoga
Path of Love

“Subduing their
senses,
viewing all
conditions of life
with the same eye,
and working
for the welfare
of all beings,
assuredly
they come to Me.”
The Bhagavad Gita
translated by
Shri Purohit Swami

Sri Krishna
in The Gita
:
“Let him
who would climb
In meditation
To heights
of the highest
Union with Brahman
Take for his path
The Yoga of Action.”
—Quote from The Gita
in Vedanta for
Modern Man

Edited by Christopher Isherwood

“In the beginning of
one's spiritual search,
it is wise to compare
various spiritual paths
and teachers. A
spiritually thirsty
person should not
go on indefinitely
drinking from a
new well; rather he
should go to the
best well and drink
daily of its
living waters.”
—Yogananda

Yogi Maharishi Svatmarama wrote this classic Yoga book in the 17th century. If you want to go directly to the postures from this book, they have been excerpted and placed in the Postures series. This should make it easier for you.

This book was written with one goal in mind—for the student to reach Samadhi (= a state of indescribable peace of mind) and to experience the joy of their life in the form of a body—which is the real purpose of Yoga. They live within a glorious temple, one to adore and treat with kindness. This is where Love truly begins—with Self.

The study of this magnificent body of work is a must for anyone who wants to become a Yoga teacher, or take the practice very seriously. It is an invaluable source to understand the science and philosophy of Yoga. Technical how-to's of Yoga are provided in depth, including: Hatha Yoga (= physical), Pranayama (= breath), Shatkarma (= purification), Mudra (= seal), Bandha (= lock), Meditation, Lay Yoga, Nada Yoga (= sound), Kundalini Yoga (= serpent power, root Chakra) and Yoga Nidra (= relaxation).

The excerpts used for this site were first published in 1915 by Apurnva Krishna Bose at the Indian Press. It is a translation by various Sanskrit scholars, edited by Major Basu, I.M.S. Translating Sanskrit into English is probably a difficult task even for scholars. It is sometimes difficult to translate a word into another language and have the same meaning. Anyone who is bilingual can relate to this. For this reason, Sanskrit names are used when necessary to define an asana (= a posture) or pranayama (= breath technique).

I don't speak or read Sanskrit (as my teacher Eugenia did fluently), so I appreciate the necessity for simplicity for most visitors to this site. Due to the difficulty in understanding the English used, I have taken the liberty of editing this content to make it easier for you. I have also deleted what is not appropriate for this online course.

My teacher, Eugenia, translated these ancient texts for me over a 12-year span. I made copious notes. I have removed all accents on the Sanskrit alphabet to make sure the words come through on all browsers, regardless of language. If you are inclined to do research on languages, there are many sites that are devoted to the Sanskrit language.

Some Sanskrit Language Sites

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Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Chapter 1 - Foundations for Yoga

Everything starts with a Salutation to Siva, who expounded the knowledge of Hatha Yoga, which like a staircase leads the aspirant to the high-pinnacled Raja Yoga. Like a house that protects us from the heat of the sun, Hatha Yoga protects us from self-limitations. It is also a supporting tortoise (shell of protection) for those who practice with discipline and passion.

The practice of Yoga is hampered by over-eating, exertion, talkativeness and unsteadiness. Speedy success comes with courage, daring, perseverance, discriminative knowledge, faith in one's progress and solitude. Certain rules of conduct apply: to not hurt another person, continence, forgiveness, endurance, compassion, meekness, healthy diet and cleanliness.

There is much written about beneficial foods and then foods to avoid. I am not including this, mainly because it was written in the 17th century in India. It does not apply to food today or the present lifestyle of most people. But one should keep in mind that if you go through the discipline of practicing Yoga, what you eat is also very important. Obviously, an organic, clean diet is healthy on a daily basis.

Miscellaneous Tips

Whether young, old, healthy or sick, one who is not lazy and practices Yoga will have success. But you can't be successful without practice. Merely reading books on Yoga will never bring what you desire. Practice alone is the only means to success.

Health Practices from the Pradipika

I am only providing information for the practices that I feel are easy to do.
  • Basti Colonics, California Colema board, enemas, see below.
  • Neti Nasal douche, snorting of water, see below.
  • Trataka Meditation series
  • Nauli Postures series
  • Kapala Bhati Pranayama series

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The Basti

(Cleansing of Bowels)

The following is equivalent to what most health-conscious people call Colonics or the Colema board (my preference) for home use today; used to be enemas (still are for a lot of people). Back then, a student was taught to squat in water up to their navel, and then insert a pipe, open at both ends, half inside the anus. They contracted the anus to draw up the water and then expelled everything. By practicing this - colic, enlarged spleen, and dropsy, arising from the disorders of Vata (air), pitta (bile) and kapha (phlegm), are all cured. (It is a known fact that a colonic or colema cleansing has a very beneficial effect on the body and mind.) It gives glow and tone to the body and increases the appetite. Many ailments disappear from the elimination of toxins that results.

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Neti

(Nasal cavity cleansing)

Perhaps you have seen photographs of Yogis performing Neti when they take “a cord made of threads about 6 inches long and put it through the passage of their nose and then pull it out through the opening in their throat.” This is something that I feel should only be done with a teacher who knows what s/he is doing. For this reason, I am not going to into the details here.

In my opinion, the following does the same thing. You can either snort water up one nostril at a time (or both) and spit it out through your mouth (something I really don't enjoy doing!), or buy a nasal douche at any drugstore. These are easy to use. There are many varieties. In Sweden they have some great designs for nasal douches.

Add a pinch of salt to warm water (fltered, of course), and fill the nasal douche with it. Lie down on a sofa or bed, and pour the water from the douche up one nostril. Let your head hang back on the edge to get it up there really deep. Wait a couple of minutes and then with a kleenex let it come out through your mouth. It is much easier this way. This will work in the same way as Neti to remove phlegm from this area of the head. “This cleans the brain and improves vision. It soon eliminates ailments of the cervical and scapular regions.”

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Hatha Yoga Pradipika Web Sites

To learn the Asanas (= Postures) from The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, please go to the Pradipika postures provided in the Postures series on this site.

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