the hatha yoga pradipika
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Over the last half millennium, one book has established itself as the classic work on Hatha Yoga--the book you are holding in your hands. An Indian yogi named Svatmarama wrote the Hatha Yoga Pradipika in the fifteenth century C.E. Drawing on his own experience and older works now lost, he wrote this book for the student of Yoga. He wrote this book for you.
A yogi desirous of success should keep the knowledge of Hatha Yoga secret; for it becomes potent by concealing, and impotent by exposing. The Yogi should practice Hatha Yoga in a small room, situated in a solitary place, being 4 cubits square, and free from stones, fire, water, disturbances of all kinds, and in a country where justice is properly administered, where good people live, and food can be obtained easily and plentifully. The room should have a small door, be free from holes, hollows, neither too high nor too low, well plastered with cow-dung and free from dirt, filth and insects. On its outside there should be bowers, raised platform (chabootra), a well, and a compound. These characteristics of a room for Hatha Yogis have been described by adepts in the practice of Hatha.
This is perhaps the most detailed commentary, most English-expressed translation of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika with profuse illustrations of what happens in the subtle body of a yogi who is proficient in kundalini manipulation for subtle body transformation. Some diagrams show what happens in the subtle body of a yogi who masters this process. The tantric aspects of controlled psyche-arresting sexual intercourse is plainly discusses just as Swatmarama Mahayogin did in the Sanskrit original but with more details in the commentary of exactly how that is done. This is the theory. A reader is responsible for the practice but there is sufficient exposition. Any ascetic can use this information to develop a kundalini yoga practice. The raja yoga integration of remaining introverted while being externally occupied is explained. Kundalini yoga as it is described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika is a complicated mix of ascetic practices, but if the student learns each of the aspects from a competent teacher, it can be mastered. This book is the syllabus for such education and gives the theoretical platform for this.