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Hatha Yoga

The three classical texts on Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is a classical manual on Hatha Yoga. It was written in Sanskrit by Swami Swatmarama, a disciple of Swami Goraknath, in the 15th century. It is considered to be the oldest surviving text on Hatha Yoga. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika contains instructions on the practice of postures (Asanas), breathing exercises (Pranayama) and purification techniques (Kriyas), as well as a description of the different energies in the body.

Gheranda Samhita

Gheranda Samhita, Sanskrit for ‘Gheranda’s compendium’, was written in the 17th century and is said to be the most encyclopaedic of the three classical texts on Hatha Yoga. This comprehensive work has its focus on the Shat Kriyas, exercises for cleansing the internal organs, or Ghatastha Yoga.

Siva Samhita

Siva Samhita, whose author is unknown, means ‘Siva's compendium’ and it is written in the form of a dialogue between the Hindu God Siva and his consort Parvati. Siva Samhita is considered the most comprehensive text on Hatha Yoga (postures). Among other topics, it covers the different philosophical standpoints, asanas, meditation, the energies in the body, the importance of the Guru, the four paths of yoga, various methods of liberation and how to overcome the obstacles to emancipation.

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