The Hatha Yoga Pradipika • Yoga Basics (2022)

What has commonly considered Yoga in the West is in actuality just one of the many paths of Yoga, and is technically called Hatha Yoga. The oldest and most widely used ancient text on the physical practices of Hatha Yoga is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. As with all ancient spiritual texts, the writing is terse and often mystical, mysterious, and a bit cryptic. As a foundational scripture for yoga, it is important to understand the text’s historical context and how it’s content has informed and influence the modern practice and understanding of yoga. Many of these teachings and practices are now esoteric and strange, but they are still considered to be powerful techniques that need to be explored if one wishes to find enlightenment through hatha yoga.

What is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika?

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (HYP) is one of the three primary ancient texts on hatha yoga. The other foundational texts are the Gheranda Samhita and Shiva Samhita, which both predate the HYP.

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(Video) 15 Yoga Asanas | Hatha Yoga Pradipika

The original name of the text is Hatha Pradipika. Subsequent commentaries and translations began to refer to it as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and this is the name it is commonly known as.Pradipika translates as “light” or “to illuminate,” so the title is usually translatedto “The Light on Hatha Yoga.” The Sanskrit prefix “Ha”translates as “sun”, “Tha” as “moon,” and “yoga” means “union” so the title could also be translated as “The Light on Uniting the Energies of the Sun and the Moon.”

This book was composed in 15th century CE by Swami Swatamarama and is derived from older Sanskrit texts, the teachings from well-known teachers, and from Swatamarama’s own yogic experiences. The first version translated into English was in 1915 by Pancham Sinh.

Primary goals

The main goal of this text is to illuminate the physical disciplines and practices of Hatha Yoga and integrate these with the higher spiritual goals of Raja Yoga (meditation).

(Video) What is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika?

Swatamarama begins by explaining the relationship between Hatha Yoga and Raja yoga, informing us that Hatha is a preliminary practice for Raja Yoga. He tells us that obtaining self-control and self-discipline is much easier when we start with the physical and energetic body, versus trying to directly control the mind as in Raja Yoga. Through the mastery of the prana, or energy of the body, we can then easily master the control of the mind and obtain success with Raja Yoga. In verse 1:41 he tells us that when the flow of prana is stabilized through the practices of Hatha Yoga, the breath stops spontaneously and a mindless state naturally arises.

Guidelines for practice

Although Swatamarama’s instructions on how to practice this yoga are quite detailed and a bit dated, Westerners can still apply the most important and relevant points to their practice. Swatamarama tells us that the room where one practices yoga in should be clean, pleasant, comfortable, and free from insects and animals. He also details the qualities that bring success in yoga, that cause failure, and also supplies ten rules of conduct and ten personal observances for the beginning yogi to follow. In brief, he tells us that to be successful in the practice of Hatha Yoga we must live a quiet, pure, honest, and moderate lifestyle and avoid any excessive behaviors.

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika • Yoga Basics (1)

Yoga 101: The Basics

Hatha Yoga: The Physical Path

Hatha Yoga attains the union of mind-body-spirit through a practice of asanas, pranayama, mudra, bandha and shatkarma. These body-centered practices are used to strengthen and purify the physical body, and cultivate prana (life-force energy) and activate kundalini (dormant spiritual energy).

Explore the Practices of Hatha Yoga ➞

(Video) Hatha Yoga Pradipika- Brief introduction( UGC Net/Yoga Exams)

The main practices in theHatha Yoga Pradipika

The bulk of this text details the techniques of the main practices of Hatha Yoga: Asana (postures), Pranayama (breathing exercises), Shatkarma (internal cleansings), mudra (energy seal), and Bandha (energy locks).

(Video) Hatha Yoga Pradipika made Easy- Part 1

After some basic preliminary requirements in the first chapter, Swatamarama makes clear the first stage of Hatha Yoga is asana, the physical postures that we are most familiar in the West. Asana creates firmness of the body and mind and disease-lessness and flexibility of the body. It is here where we first learn to control and discipline the body.

Swatamarama tells us that once a practice of Asana has been established then pranayama can be begun. The goal of these breathing exercises is to control the prana and the subtle energies of the body, which in turn can be used to control the mind.

In the second chapter, Swatamarama tells us that if there is excessive mucus in the body, this will need to be removed using the six purification techniques of shatkarma. These purifying techniques as well as the pranayama help to purify the energy channels of the body and allow the prana to move more efficiently through these nadis.

The third chapter explores the subtle energy systems and the practice of mudras and bandhas. Utilizing mudra and bandha further activates the energy of the body, concentrates it, and channels it into the main energy channel, the sushumna, that runs from the base of the spine to the top of the head and intersects all seven chakras. Mudras are complex movements of the whole body in a combination of asana, pranayama, bandha, and visualization. Bandhas are engagements of specific groups of muscles at the base of the pelvis, the abdomen, and the throat to “lock” the prana energy of the body inside the torso. Both of these techniques are challenging to master and should only be attempted after one is competent and skilled in both Asana and pranayama.

(Video) Introduction to Hatha Yoga

Chapter Four provides additional techniques for the attainment of enlightenment or Samadhi. Swatamarama notes that developing a sound body and a sound mind is crucial for the attainment of Samadhi. When this final stage is reached, a yogi will experience the unstruck sound, known as pranava, the vibration of the entire universe.

At one level, the HYP details a very similar yoga of what is practiced in the West, while a very different yoga is shown by the intent of the deeper practices described within. Traditionally, Hatha Yoga is uniquely focused on transforming the physical body through purification and the cultivation of the life force energy of prana. And all of the techniques of Hatha Yoga are seen as preliminary steps to achieving the deeper states of meditation and enlightenment found in the path of Raja Yoga. Considering this, we are only getting a small taste of what yoga can offer us here in the West. The HYP gives us a valuable map to these deeper practices of yoga, as well as providing the knowledge and tools to travel to these depths if we so choose.

Important quotes fromthe Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Chapter 1: Asana

  • Overeating, exertion, talkativeness, adhering to rules, being in the company of common people, and unsteadiness of mind are the six causes that destroy yoga.
  • Enthusiasm, perseverance, discrimination, unshakable faith, courage, avoiding the company of common people, are the six causes that bring success in yoga.
  • Paschimottanasana is the best among asanas. By this asana, the pranic currents rise through the central energy channel. The digestive fire increases, the abdomen becomes flat, and the practitioner becomes free from diseases.

Chapter 2: Shatkarma and Pranayama

  • When the nadis are purified there are external symptoms—success is visible when the body becomes thin and glows.
    Closing the mouth, inhale with control and concentration through the ida and pingala nadis, so that the breath is felt from the throat to the heart and produces a sonorous sound.
  • When the breath is unsteady, the mind is unsteady. When the breath is steady, the mind is steady, and the yogi becomes steadfast.
  • As long as the breath is retained in the body, as long as the mind is calm, and as long as the sight is in the middle of the brows, where is the fear of death?
  • The perfection of hatha yoga is achieved when there is leanness of the body, tranquil countenance, manifestation of the inner sound, clear eyes, disease-lessness, control of bindu (semen/ova), active digestive fire, and purification of the nadis.

Chapter 3: Mudra and Bandha

  • Therefore the knower of yoga conquers death by preserving the bindu. Release of the semen/ova means death; conservation of bindu is life.
  • She is verily a yogini who conserves her rajas by contracting and raising it. She knows past, present, and future and becomes fixed in khechari mudra.
  • The bindu and that rajas in one’s own body unite through the union by the practice of vajroli mudra, thus bestowing all perfections or siddhis.
  • The yogi who moves the shakti regularly enjoys perfection or siddhi. She easily conquers time and death. What more is there to say?

Chapter 4: Samadhi

  • When the mind ceases to be fickle and is united by fixing it in nada, it becomes immobile like a wingless bird.
  • One who desires complete dominion of yoga should thus explore the nada with an attentive mind and abandon all thoughts.
  • The yogi in samadhi is neither eaten by time, nor bound by Karma, nor overpowered by anyone.
  • The yogi in samadhi knows neither smell, nor taste, nor form, nor touch, nor sound, nor herself, nor others.

Free PDF downloads of HYP

Fortunately, there are several different translations of the HYP, and with all older yogic texts, we recommend comparing at least two different translations to have a clearer understanding of the philosophy and practices they contain. The only edition available in print that we recommend is Hatha Yoga Pradipikaby Swami Muktibodhananda from the Bihar School of Yoga. The following links are to public domain ebook editions that we recommend:The Hatha Yoga Pradipika • Yoga Basics (2)


What is yoga according to Hatha pradipika? ›

The meaning of pradipika is to cast light. So Hatha Yoga Pradipika can be thought of as a guiding light to the mystic world of hatha yoga. This branch of yoga purifies the body by way of asana, bandha, concentration, mudra, pranayama, and shatkarma. It forms the basis to learn Raja yoga and samadhi.

What are the four stages in yoga according to Hatha Yoga Pradipika? ›

Excerpts from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika
  • Chapter 1: Asana. ...
  • Chapter 2: Shatkarma and Pranayama. ...
  • Chapter 3: Mudra and Bandha. ...
  • Chapter 4: Samadhi.

What are the four components of hatha yoga? ›

Summary. English: Four components of Hatha Yoga: Shatkarmas (purifications, here the start of Nauli with Uddiyana Bandha), Asanas (postures, here Mayurasana, Peacock Pose), Mudras (here, Viparita Karani), and Pranayama (breath control, here Kapalabhati).

What is the motto of hatha yoga? ›

It may be said that the motto of Hatha Yoga is, “Exercise to Exorcise.” Intelligent Hatha Yoga purifies body, mind and emotions of primordial reptilian/ animal instincts. A rule of the human organism is “Use it or lose it.” Hatha Yoga aids the practitioner to attain skill in right-use-ness of the body.

How many steps are there in hatha yoga? ›

It's a sequence of 24 poses connected to the flow of the breath. While many types of sun salutation exist, the sequence presented below is the basic Sun Salutation in Hatha yoga.

What is Hatha Yoga Pradipika and why is it important? ›

The meaning of pradipika is to cast light. So Hatha Yoga Pradipika can be thought of as a guiding light to the mystic world of hatha yoga. This branch of yoga purifies the body by way of asana, bandha, concentration, mudra, pranayama, and shatkarma. It forms the basis to learn Raja yoga and samadhi.

What are the two key hatha yoga texts? ›

It is among the most influential surviving texts on haṭha yoga, being one of the three classic texts alongside the Gheranda Samhita and the Shiva Samhita.

Who was the father of yoga? ›

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (18 November 1888 – 28 February 1989) was an Indian yoga teacher, ayurvedic healer and scholar. He is seen as one of the most important gurus of modern yoga, and is often called "the father of modern yoga" for his wide influence on the development of postural yoga.

What are the 7 limbs of hatha yoga? ›

They are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. Here is how they are defined: 1) Yamas focus on how we relate to others.

How many asanas are there in Hatha Yoga Pradipika? ›

The 10th or 11th century Goraksha Sataka and the 15th century Hatha Yoga Pradipika identify 84 asanas; the 17th century Hatha Ratnavali provides a different list of 84 asanas, describing some of them.

How many pranayama are there in Hatha pradipika? ›

Swatmarama Suri in HATHA PRADIPIKA states that there are Eight Pranayamas: Surya Bhedana, Ujjayi, Sitkari, Sitali, Bhastrika, Bhramari, Murch'cha and Plavini.

What are the six kriyas of Hatha Yoga? ›

There are six purification techniques that pertain to Hatha Yoga, called Shat Karma Kriyas or Shat Karmas: Neti, Dhauti, Nauli, Basti and Shanka Prakshalana, Kapala Bhati Pranayama, Trataka.

What are the 4 types of yoga? ›

Yoga manifests itself as four major paths, namely Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Rāja Yoga and Jñāna Yoga. These four paths are like the branches of a tree or tributaries of a river. They all have the same source and resting place. In essence, they are all the same.

What is the difference between yoga and Hatha Yoga? ›

Hatha yoga is practiced at a slower pace, with focus on the breath, controlled movements, and stretching. Vinyasa yoga focuses on connecting the breath to your movements, which tend to be set at a faster pace. In a vinyasa practice, you can expect to stay in a constant flow of movements.

What is the meaning of hatha? ›

The common meaning of the word hatha is to be stubborn or tenacious — to persist in something with effort. The commentaries on Hatha Yoga Pradipika explain hatha as “with strength.” Here, the strength needed is not only mental, in the form of willpower or persistence, but physical too.

How many types of Hatha Yoga are there? ›

Bikram and Kundalini

Bikram Choudhury is the creator of the 26 Hatha yoga posture sequence called Bikram yoga.

What is the best slogan for yoga? ›

100 Yoga Quotes
  • “ True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. ...
  • " Yoga is not about touching your toes, it's about what you learn on the way down." — Jigar Gor.
  • " Yoga is the ultimate practice. ...
  • " For many years I mistook discipline as ambition. ...
  • “ ...
  • " ...
  • " ...
  • "
25 Jul 2022

How many poses are there in a hatha class? ›

The average hatha yoga session includes between 20 and 30 asanas; about half of them should be dynamic.

How many poses are in a yoga flow? ›

With Bikram yoga, for example, every class is comprised of a sequence of 26 poses (asanas) that do not change. The principle is that this allows you to focus on your breathing and the quality of your asanas rather than navigating an ever-changing sequence of postures.

Does hatha yoga have a sequence? ›

These poses are usually linked into a series of hatha sequences, also known as a hatha flow. In this series of poses the movement passes from one pose into the next in a smooth flow without interruption. There are some common sequence flows that you'll know from one yoga class and teacher to another.

Which is the first limb of hatha yoga? ›

1. YAMA – Restraints, moral disciplines or moral vows. This first limb, Yama, refers to vows, disciplines or practices that are primarily concerned with the world around us, and our interaction with it.

How many mudras are there in hatha yoga? ›

The Hatha Yog Pradipika describes 10 Mudras whereas the Gheranda Samhita describes 25 Mudras.

What is one of the most important objectives during yoga? ›

Thus the aim of Yoga is Self-realization, to overcome all kinds of sufferings leading to 'the state of liberation' (Moksha) or 'freedom' (Kaivalya). Living with freedom in all walks of life, health and harmony shall be the main objectives of Yoga practice.

What is the birthplace of yoga? ›

Rishikesh is also the self-styled "yoga capital of the world," considered to be the birthplace of this widely popular practice that's said to benefit both mind and body.

How many types of yoga are there? ›

What are the eight styles of yoga? A. Eight popular styles of yoga are Ashtanga yoga, Hatha yoga, Hot yoga, Iyengar yoga, Kundalini yoga, Power yoga, Restorative yoga, Vinyasa yoga.

When was yoga first discovered? ›

Yoga's origins can be traced to northern India over 5,000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in ancient sacred texts called the Rig Veda. The Vedas are a set of four ancient sacred texts written in Sanskrit.

Who is the king of yoga? ›

It has been called the king of all asanas.
Urdhva Padmasana in ShirshasanaUpward Lotus in Headstand[11]
11 more rows

What are the 8 elements of yoga? ›

The eight limbs of yoga are yama (abstinences), niyama (observances), asana (yoga postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption)."

Why is it called hatha yoga? ›

Haṭha yoga is a branch of yoga which uses physical techniques to preserve and channel the vital force or energy. The Sanskrit word हठ haṭha literally means "force" thus alluding to a system of physical techniques.

What are the 15 asanas Hatha Yoga Pradipika? ›

The 15 asanas of Hatha yoga are; Swastikasana, Gomukhasana, Veerasana, Kurmasana, Kukkutasana, Uttanakoormasana, Dhanurasana, Matsyendrasana, Paschimottanasana, Mayurasana, Shavasana, Siddhasana, Padmasana, Simhasana, and Bhadrasana.

What are the five elements of yoga? ›

Getting Closer to the 5 Elements of Yoga
  • Air. This element involves lightness, movement, and expansion. ...
  • Water. Representing fluidity, adaptability, and connection. ...
  • Fire. The fire element summons intensity and abundance along with discipline and inspiration. ...
  • Earth. ...
  • Space.
6 Nov 2019

Which asana is the best as per Hathapradipika? ›

Hatha Yoga Pradipika – Four best asanas according to Shiva
  • Hatha Yoga Pradipika – Four best asanas according to Shiva.
  • Four best asanas among eighty four taught by Shiva.
  • (1). Siddhasana (Adept's Pose)
  • (2). Padmasana (lotus pose)
  • (3). Simhasana (lion's pose)
  • (4). Bhadrasana (gracious pose)
19 May 2017

What are the eight types of pranayama? ›

  • Viloma – Interrupted Breathing.
  • AnulomVilom – Alternate Nostril Breathing.
  • Cooling Breath - Sheetali, Sitkari, Kaki mudra.
  • Ujjayi – Victorious Breath.
  • Bhramari – Humming Bee Breath.
  • Bhastrika – Bellow's Breath.
  • Surya Bhedan – Right Nostril Breathing.

How many types of Kapalbhati are there in hatha yoga? ›

There are three types of Kapalbhati - Vatkrama, Vyutkrama and Sheetkram.

What is the 1st practice one should follow to begin hatha yoga *? ›

Tadasana (Mountain Pose): One of the easiest poses of hatha yoga for beginners, this is very effective for a good posture and stretching all your core muscles. Vrikshasana (Tree Pose): This standing pose promotes balance, makes your leg & hip muscles strong, and improves your concentration.

What is hatha yoga style? ›

Hatha simply refers to the practice of physical yoga postures, meaning your Ashtanga, vinyasa, Iyengar and Power Yoga classes are all Hatha Yoga. The word “hatha” can be translated two ways: as “willful” or “forceful,” or the yoga of activity, and as “sun” (ha) and “moon” (tha), the yoga of balance.

Where do I start with hatha yoga? ›

How to Start Your Hatha Yoga Practice
  • Breathe: Notice your breath. ...
  • Meditate: Once you feel completely present through the breath, you can begin to breathe naturally and allow the mind to be at ease. ...
  • Beginner Asanas: If you are familiar with any poses, work your way through a few and hold for at least five breaths.
2 Apr 2018

How many mudras are there in hatha yoga? ›

The Hatha Yog Pradipika describes 10 Mudras whereas the Gheranda Samhita describes 25 Mudras.

What is the sequence of 12 yoga poses called? ›

A sequence of yoga poses is also known as a vinyasa. This sequence is a flow of singular poses—or asanas—that flow from one to the next.

How do I remember my yoga sequence? ›

Here are the strategies I've found most helpful when memorizing yoga sequences:
  1. Write it out and use shorthand. ...
  2. Break the class up into mini-flows. ...
  3. Feel it in your body. ...
  4. Don't worry if you miss something. ...
  5. Don't be afraid to freestyle!
20 Apr 2020

Who is known as father of yoga? ›

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (18 November 1888 – 28 February 1989) was an Indian yoga teacher, ayurvedic healer and scholar. He is seen as one of the most important gurus of modern yoga, and is often called "the father of modern yoga" for his wide influence on the development of postural yoga.

What makes Hatha yoga unique? ›

Hatha yoga places special emphasis on controlled breathing and posture. Building core strength, which is key to good posture, is another important aspect of this type of yoga. Hatha has hundreds of poses, including well-known ones such as Downward-Facing Dog and Standing Forward Bend.

What makes Hatha yoga different? ›

Hatha yoga is practiced at a slower pace, with focus on the breath, controlled movements, and stretching. Vinyasa yoga focuses on connecting the breath to your movements, which tend to be set at a faster pace.

Who should not do yoga? ›

Yoga should not be performed in a state of exhaustion, illness, in a hurry or in an acute stress conditions. Women should refrain from regular yoga practice especially asanas during their menses. Relaxation techniques and pranayama can be done instead. Don't perform yoga immediately after meals.

How should a beginner start yoga? ›

Yoga Poses For Beginners - Where To Start? - YouTube

Which yoga is best for beginners? ›

Hatha Yoga

“It's a practice of the body, a physical practice that balances these two energies. So, in reality, it is all hatha yoga,” Vilella says. Best for: Beginners. Because of its slower pace, hatha is a great class if you're just starting your yoga practice.

Which mudra is best as per Hatha Yoga Pradipika? ›

Then the Kundalini becoming as it were dead, and, leaving both the Ida and the Pingala, enters the susumna (the middle passage). 13. It should be expelled then, slowly only and not violently. For this very reason, the best of wise men call it the Maha Mudra.

How many chakras are described in hatha yoga? ›

There are seven main energy centers of yogic subtle body called Chakras, situated at fixed places parallel to our spine. Each chakra has certain qualities and association. Just as the state of our physical health depends on our habits, so does the state of our chakra balance.

Which is the greatest mudra according to Hatha Yoga Pradipika? ›

According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, of all the bandhas, uddiyana is the best, for by the binding it firmly, liberation comes spontaneously. It is made by pressing perineum (Yoni) with the heel contracting up the anus and by drawing the Apana.


1. UGC NET YOGA | Hatha Yog Pradipika (Part-1)
(SSBYN Education)
2. Swami Paramananda invites you to: Light of Hatha Yoga: Teachings on the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Ch 1!
(Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Bahamas)
3. Hatha Yoga Complete Lesson In Detail l हठयोग क्या है ? संपूर्ण जानकारी l हठयोग का वास्तविक स्वरूप
(Onkar Chugh)
4. What is Hatha Yoga
5. Exploring the Roots of Yoga with the Hatha Yoga Pradipika
(Himalayan Institute)
6. Hathapradipika Ka Parichay | Introduction of Hatha Pradipika | Hathapradipika in Hindi
(Yoga And Ayurveda Science)

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