Hatha Yoga Pradipika - why are the asanas so mixed up?

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Hatha Yoga Pradipika - why are the asanas so mixed up?

Post by Muloc7253 »

"21. Having kept both the hands under both the thighs, with the body straight, when one
sits calmly in this posture, it is called Swastika."

Yet when I search for images of this position, every other source shows a cross-legged position with the feet on the opposite thigh/calf (the "stereotypical" meditation position as seen in popular media)

"23. One foot is to be placed on the thigh of the opposite side; and so also the other foot on the opposite thigh. This is called Virâsana."

Looking up Virasana in a multitude of other sources shows the practioner kneeling, buttocks resting on their heels. There is absolutely no "left-to-right" crossover with the feet and thighs at all. I can't find a single example besides the Pradipika that describes Virasana in such a way.

"24. Placing the right ankle on the left side of the anus, and the left ankle on the right side
of it, makes what the Yogis call Kurma-âsana."

Again, not placing right anything on left anything according to every other teacher/source I can find. What I instead see is someone sprawled out symmetrically with their feet beneath their arms. I cannot find a single image linked with Kurma-asana where the right ankle is on the left side of the anus.

Am I missing something here? Because if Pradipika is one of the (if not THE) foundational source book on Hatha Yoga, it seems like absolutely everybody after him completely changed the positions to totally different things. Either that or the translation I'm reading is seriously bad.

Can someone explain whats going on here?
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Re: Hatha Yoga Pradipika - why are the asanas so mixed up?

Post by Ramscha »

Hmpf, there are many different versions and ways how to practice it, at least from the german sources I read.

Important is to keep the principle of asana, the way how you do it depends on you.
Here some examples depending on your own moving ability:

1) For older or invalid people the emperor seat:
Sit on a chair with a straight backrest. Keep your own back straight, Neck to and keep your eyes in a 90° angle to your spine. Your legs are in a right angle to the floor, the knees also in a right angle, the legs slightly put apart for a stable stand.

2) Common position (I am using it too): Half lotus:
You sit on the floor similar to the common cross legged position (also possible one for asana practice), one foot resting on the upper tight of the other leg. Choose your favourite side, you can also vary, one time right, one time left, how ever you feel comfy. Back is straight, eyes in right angle to the spine.

3) Lotus for people with good mobility
Similar to the cross legged postition but this time both foots rest on the tight of the opposite leg. Just do it of your body mobility allowes it, otherwise you can ruin your joints. Back is straight, eyes in right angle to the spine.

Generally be careful with practicing yoga, books are good and everything, but listen to your body and don´t overestimate you. Yoga can ruin your joints over long time if done wrong or if you are overdoing it.

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Re: Hatha Yoga Pradipika - why are the asanas so mixed up?

Post by Nahemah »

Timely post Ramscha,lol.

I have just been reading my Georg Feurerstein so I could help answer Muloc's question. [thumbup]

I find his Encyclopaedic Dictionary very useful.

There are so many asanas and variations that its very difficult to work out which is which sometimes.

There are many competing schools in the West and the marketing of Yoga is big business and very profitable business at that.Different schools will vary what they do and what names are given to the postures and so on.

From my own limited understanding,the poses are like Ramscha describes above.The sitting postures called Swastika and Vira are variations on the Padma and can be used prior to or instead of full Lotus where fitness/health is an issue.

I'll quote some Georg here:
vira_asana: [heroic posture]Mentioned already in the Mahabharata {XII.292.8 }This posture is described somewhat inadequately in the Gheranda Samhita(II.17) "Placing one leg on the opposite thigh,one should turn the foot backward"
Modern manuals often describe this posture differently;kneeling down,one should sit between the thighs.
This shows the Virasana as being the one leg posture,originally,according to Georg.

Pradipika shows core techniques for Hatha which have been expanded upon and adapted/varied by those who came after,basically.

I learned from Sivananda vedanta,which is based around Pradipika,but how much is original to it,I'm not sure.


These are the basic forms I learned and out of curiosity ,are they similar/consistent with yours Muloc? [sun salution first of course,lol]

http://www.sivananda.org/teachings/five ... l#exercise
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