What Is The Hatha Yoga Pradipika About?
This might completely sound like a foreign language to you, and don’t worry- because it absolutely is! The Pradipika is a fifteenth-century Sanskrit manual on Hatha Yoga. It’s actually one of the most influential surviving texts on Hatha! Especially with it being Sanskrit, that’s an incredibly difficult status to have. In short, the manual is based on asana and pranayama, which is the physical practice of yoga and the practice of mindful breathing exercises. The whole idea of this yogic lifestyle, which is the original form of asana that all others follow, is simply the purification of the physical body that practices for higher meditation and understanding on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the Eight Limbs.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika labels around thirty-five earlier Haṭha Yogi masters, including Ādi Nātha, Matsyendranātha, and Gorakṣanātha. The work consists of four chapters that include information about purification journey that we go through. It breaks down the posture, breath control, energy centers in the body (also known as the chakras), coiled power, force postures, kriya, power, subtle bodily connections, and symbolic gestures such as mudras, and more. A lot of what you read about in this manual is broken down over the course of a teacher training program, especially in India. It all depends on the teachers and their educations but it’s all something you’ll be asked to physically practice as well as study up on.
With these texts being so ancient, they do come with their doubts, but as someone who has practiced the Pradipika over the past few years, I can promise you that the purification and things listed above truly do help you on your journey through the Limbs and meditation. Everything has a purpose!
What To Know
About this text, along with any other, such as the Gita, Sutras, Vedas, etc — they came from an ancient time of teaching. Clearly, a lot of time and years have passed but as a practitioner from this day and age, I can promise you that this ancient text is the basis of everything and it is worth it to study up on it. Yin, restorative, vinyasa, barre, etc — all of it stems from this specific yogic practice. The original pose in this practice is called ‘comfortable seated pose’ or ‘easy pose’ and in Sanskrit, Sukhasana. It later then advanced and compiled a total of seven poses, which lead to thirteen, and then so on. In this physical practice, you move slowly into the pose with steadiness and ease — holding each pose for five to ten deep breaths. It’s a great way to gain strength within your body and breath while ago purifying the body. Every single asana you move through has a deep purpose in your body. In other physical practices, like vinyasa, you kind of magically flow through each asana, but the challenge lies in actually staying in the pose. Hatha is challenging but incredibly gratifying. If you’re new to yoga, this is a fantastic practice for beginners because you will receive a deep understanding as to what you’re actually doing! So grab a friend and find a studio and release anything that you’re carrying!