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The Hatha Yoga Pradipika: The Original Sanskrit and An English Translation Paperback – Illustrated, 1 September 2002
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"Beautifully printed and translated. Wonderful pictures, too."
--Dominik Wujastyk, Indology
"Accurate and accompanied by clear pictures, this translation of an informative Sanskrit text is a very useful addition to the growing literature on Yoga in Western languages."
--Ashok Aklujkar, University of British Columbia
"Written over five-hundred years ago, the text is considered by many a seminal work on the practice of Hatha Yoga."
--Chris Meehan, Kalamazoo Gazette
"His style is straightforward, clear, and elegant. . . . the people at YogaVidya.com are to be complimented for bringing this text to the general public and for doing so in a most attractive manner. This is the book you want after you have finished with the popular texts."
--Dennis Littrell, Amazon
"There is a certain magic at work here--it is as if an Indian yogi named Svatmarama has projected himself through time, expressing himself through Akers. . . . Part of the charm of Akers's translation is that he breathes life into the ancient text by retaining its esoteric barriers and anachronisms, while at the same time clearly and simply presenting useful postures for students of Yoga. The book is well illustrated with photographs that depict a model demonstrating the postures. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is a must for serious students of Yoga, and for those of us not so serious, it is informative and entertainingly readable."
--Michael Perkins, Woodstock Times
"Ably translated into English by Brian Dana Akers, The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is the classic source book on Hatha Yoga. . . . This faithful reproduction of the crucial text features the original Sanskrit side-by-side with the exacting English translation. . . . an impressive and highly recommended reference for students and devoted practitioners of Hatha Yoga."
--Midwest Book Review
"One of the key texts that we recommend to all of our students and graduates."
--Train Yoga Instructor Courses
"Your introduction and translation of the text is a delight to read. I'm eager to teach it."
--Christian Lee Novetzke, University of Washington
"One of the key texts of Yoga - I love this translation - it's so readable and simple."
--Sarah Raspin, Oak Tree Yoga
"A new, crisp, no-nonsense translation of this great classic on the practice of Hatha Yoga. . . . If one, like me, holds that the work of the translator is to be as discreet as possible, then this very faithful translation is probably the best available. . . . The publisher, YogaVidya.com, also produces a version of the Gheranda Samhita, and, I am told, is working on the Shiva Samhita. Serious Yoga students watch out--these are serious translations of serious classics."
--Christophe Mouze, Online Yoga Magazine
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I second another reviewer's comment that the writer's translation style is "straightforward, clear and elegant".
I will add, in this review, a comment about where this book fits into the overall study of yoga. This book is one of the basic reference texts. Not the only one, but its value is that it is short, and contains JUST the translation of the basic text by the same name (Hatha Yoga Pradipika) that was originally published in the fifteenth century, in Sanskrit.
I think it would be difficult for anyone to just take this book and start learning yoga from scratch. One could do that, but most people will probably want to work with an instructor, and/or use videos which can be downloaded from the internet. Anyone starting yoga would also be well advised to try several different instructors, if that is possible, and practice with the style that seems to resonate best.
I only started doing serious reading about yoga after I began to learn and practice Ashtanga Yoga, which -- unfortunately, I think -- wasn't until about three years into my own practice. Now, I consider this book to be a basic and indispensible reference source. Many other books might refer to its translations, but for what it is -- a simple and unadorned translation of the actual original text -- it is very useful. Kind of like having a "pocket" dictionary to walk around with when you are in a foreign country, compared to having a big, fat, huge comprehensive dictionary to use when you are at home with all of your other books when you are going into more detailed studies.
1) Asana, the physical practice of yoga postures, which are accompanied by helpful photos of an accomplished practitioner;
2) Pranayama, or energy control facilitated mainly by the breath;
3) Mudras or energy seals; and
4) Samadhi, the non-dualistic state of super-consciousness achieved through dedicated practice and meditation.
As such, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika concentrates and expands on three of the eight limbs of classical Raja Yoga (Ashtanga) described in the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali. The verses assume that the reader has a working knowledge of Yoga philosophy, practice, and terminology and Brian Akers acknowledges that the translation reflects an "esoteric work that is purposely oblique at times...."; one that will require some work from the reader. To me this adds a measure of mystique to the book that may entice the reader to further study. It would be nice if there were photos or diagrams to accompany the verses in Chapter Two - Pranayama and Chapter Three - Mudras to support and help to explain the narrative, but even still, I would recommend the book to any serious yoga student who seeks a fuller understanding of traditional Hatha Yoga.