THE HATHA YOGA PRADIPIKA
1. Salutation to Âdinâtha (Siva) who expounded the knowledge of Hatha Yoga, which
like a staircase leads the aspirant to the high pinnacled Râja Yoga.
2. Yogin Swâtmârâma, after saluting his Gurû Srinâtha explains Hatha Yoga for the
attainment of Râja Yoga.
3. Owing to the darkness arising from the multiplicity of opinions people are unable to
know the Râja Yoga. Compassionate Swâtmârâma composes the Hatha Yoga Pradipikâ
like a torch to dispel it.
4. Matsyendra, Goraksa, etc., knew Hatha Vidyâ, and by their favor Yogi Swâtmârâma
also learnt it from them.
5. The following Siddhas (masters) are said to have existed in former times:--
Sri Adinâtha (Siva), Matsyendra, Nâtha, Sâbar, Anand, Bhairava, Chaurangi, Mina
Nâtha, Goraksanâtha, Virupâksa, Bilesaya.
6. Manthâna, Bhairava, Siddhi Buddha, Kanthadi, Karantaka, Surânanda, Siddhipâda,
7. Kâneri, Pujyapâda, Nityanâtha, Niranjana, Kapâli, Vindunâtha, Kâka Chandiswara.
8. Allâma, Prabhudeva, Ghodâ, Choli, Tintini, Bhânuki, Nardevâ, Khanda Kâpâlika, etc.
9. These Mahâsiddhas (great masters), breaking the sceptre of death, are roaming in the
10. Like a house protecting one from the heat of the sun, Hatha Yoga protects its
practisers from the burning heat of the three Tâpas; and, similarly, it is the supporting
tortoise, as it were, for those who are constantly devoted to the practice of Yoga.
11. A yogi desirous of success should keep the knowledge of Hatha Yoga secret; for it
becomes potent by concealing, and impotent by exposing.
12. 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.
13. 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 (chabootrâ), a well, and a compound. These
characteristics of a room for Hatha Yogis have been described by adepts in the practice of
14. Having seated in such a room and free from all anxieties, he should practice Yoga, as
instructed by his gurû .
15. Yoga is destroyed by the following six causes:-- Over-eating, exertion, talkativeness,
adhering to rules, i.e., cold bath in the morning, eating at night, or eating fruits only,
company of men, and unsteadiness.
16. The following six bring speedy success:-- Courage, daring, perseverance,
discriminative knowledge, faith, aloofness from company.
17. The ten rules of conduct are: ahimsâ (non-injuring), truth, non-stealing, continence,
forgiveness, endurance, compassion, meekness, sparing diet, and cleanliness.
18. The ten niyamas mentioned by those proficient in the knowledge of Yoga are: Tapa,
patience, belief in God, charity, adoration of God, hearing discourses on the principles of
religion, shame, intellect, Tapa and Yajna.
19. Being the first accessory of Hatha Yoga, âsana is described first. It should be
practiced for gaining steady posture, health and lightness of body.
20. I am going to describe certain âsanas which have been adopted by Munis like
Vasistha, etc., and Yogis like Matsyendra, etc.
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.
22. Placing the right ankle on the left side and the left ankle on the right side, makes
Gomukha-âsana, having the appearance of a cow.
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.
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.
25. Taking the posture of Padmâ-âsana and carrying the hands under the thighs, when the
Yogi raises himself above the ground, with his palms resting on the ground, it becomes
26. Having assumed the Kukkuta-âsana, when one grasps his neck by crossing his hands
behind his head, and lies in this posture with his back touching the ground, it becomes
Uttâna Kurma-âsana, from its appearance like that of a tortoise.
27. Having caught the toes of the foot with both hands and carried them to the ears by
drawing the body like a bow, it becomes Dhanura âsana.
28-29. Having placed with the right foot at the root of the left thigh, let the toe be grasped
with the right hand passing over the back, and having placed the left foot on the right
thigh at its root, let it be grasped with the left hand passing behind the back. This is the
âsana, as explained by Sri Matsyânatha. It increases appetite and is an instrument for
destroying the group of the most deadly diseases. Its practice awakens the Kundalini,
stops the nectar shedding from the moon in people.
30. Having stretched the feet on the ground, like a stick, and having grasped the toes of
both feet with both hands, when one sits with his forehead resting on the thighs, it is
called Paschima Tâna.
31. This Paschima Tâna carries the air from the front to the back part of the body (i.e., to
the susumna). It kindles gastric fire, reduces obesity and cures all diseases of men.
32. Place the palms of both hands on the ground, and place the navel on both the elbows
and balancing thus, the body should be stretched backwards like a stick. This is called
33. This âsana soon destroyed all diseases, and removes abdominal disorders, and also
those arising from irregularities of phlegm, bile and wind, digests unwholesome food
taken in excess, increases appetite and destroys the most deadly poison.
34. Laying down on the ground, like a corpse, is called Sava-âsana. It removes fatigue
and gives rest to the mind.
35. Siva taught 84 âsanas. Of these the first four being essential ones, I am going to
explain them here.
36. These four are:-- The Siddha, Padma, Sinha and Bhadra. Even of these, the Siddha-
âsana, being very comfortable, one should always practice it.
37. Press firmly the heel of the left foot against the perineum, and the right heel above the
lingha. With the chin pressing on the chest, one
should sit calmly, having restrained the senses, and gaze steadily at the space between the
eyebrows. This is called the Siddha âsana, the opener of the door of salvation.
38. This Siddhâsana is performed also by placing the left heel on the Medhra (above the
penis), and placing the right one next to it.
39. Some call this Siddhâsana, some Vajrâsana. Others call it Mukta âsana or Gupta
40. Just as sparing food is among Yamas, and Ahimsâ among the Niyamas, so is
Siddhâsana called by adepts the chief of all the âsanas.
41. Out of the 84 âsanas Siddhâsana should always be practiced, because it cleanses the
impurities of 72,000 nâdis.
42. By contemplating on oneself, by eating sparingly, and by practicing Siddhâsana for
12 years, the Yogi obtains success.
43. Other postures are of no use, when success has been achieved in Siddhâsana, and
Prâna Vâyu becomes calm and restrained by Kevala Kumbhaka.
44. Success in one Siddhâsana alone becoming firmly established, one gets Unmani at
once, and the three bonds (Bandhas) are accomplished of themselves.
45. There is no âsana like the Siddhâsana and no Kumbhaka like the Kevala. There is no
mudrâ like the Khechari and no laya like the Nada (Anahâta Nâda).
46. Place the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh, and grasp the
toes with the hands crossed over the back. Press the chin against the chest and gaze on the
tip of the nose. This is called the Padmâsana, the destroyer of the diseases of the Yamis.
47. Place the feet on the thighs, with the soles upward, and place the hands on the thighs,
with the palms upwards.
48. Gaze on the tip of the nose, keeping the tongue pressed against the root of the teeth of
the upper jaw, and the chin against the chest, and raise the air up slowly, i.e., pull the
apâna-vâyu gently upwards.
49. This is called the Padmâsana, the destroyer of all diseases. It is difficult of attainment
by everybody, but can be learnt by intelligent people in this world.
50. Having kept both hands together in the lap, performing the Padmâsana firmly,
keeping the chin fixed to the chest and contemplating on Him in the mind, by drawing the
apâna-vâyu up (performing Mula Bandha) and pushing down the air after inhaling it,
joining thus the prana and apâna in the navel, one gets the highest intelligence by
awakening the sakti (kundalini) thus.
N.B.-- When Apâna Vâyu is drawn gently up and after filling the lungs with the air from
outside, the prana is forced down by and by so as to join both of them in the navel, they
both enter then the Kundalini and, reaching the Brahma randra (the great hole), they
make the mind calm. Then the mind can contemplate on the nature of the atmana and can
enjoy the highest bliss.)
51. The Yogi who, sitting with Padmâsana, can control breathing, there is no doubt, is
free from bondage.
52. Press the heels on both sides of the seam of the Perineum, in such a way that the left
heel touches the right side and the right heel touches the left side of it.
53. Place the hands on the thighs, with stretched fingers, and keeping the mouth open and
the mind collected, gaze on the tip of the nose.
54. This is Simhâsana, held sacred by the best Yogis. This excellent âsana effects the
completion of the three Bandhas (the Mulabandha, Kantha or Jâlandhar Bandha and
55 and 56. Place the heels on either side of the seam of the Perineum, keeping the left
heel on the left side and the right one on the right side, holding the feet firmly joined to
one another with both the hands. This Bhadrâsana is the destroyer of all diseases.
57. The expert Yogis call this Goraksa âsana. By sitting with this âsana, the Yogi gets rid
58. The Nadis should be cleansed of their impurities by performing the mudrâs, etc.,
(which are the practices relating to the air) âsanas, Kumbhakas and various curious
59. By regular and close attention to Nâda (anâhata nâda) in Hatha Yoga, a Brahmachari,
sparing in diet, unattached to objects of enjoyment, and devoted to Yoga, gains success,
no doubt, within a year.
60. Abstemious feeding is that in which 3/4 of hunger is satisfied with food, well cooked
with ghee and sweets, and eaten with the offering of it to Siva.
Foods injurious to a Yogi.
61. Bitter, sour, saltish, green vegetables, fermented, oily, mixed with til seed, rape seed,
intoxicating liquors, fish, meat, curds, chhaasa pulses, plums, oil-cake, asafoetida (hinga),
garlic, onion, etc., should not be eaten.
62. Food heated again, dry, having too much salt, sour, minor grains, and vegetables that
cause burning sensation, should not be eaten. Fire, women, travelling, etc., should be
63. As said by Goraksa, one should keep aloof from the society of the evil-minded, fire,
women, travelling, early morning bath, fasting, and all kinds of bodily exertion.
64. Wheat, rice, barley, shâstik (a kind of rice), good corns, milk, ghee, sugar, butter,
sugarcandy, honey, dried ginger, Parwal (a vegetable), the five vegetables, moong, pure
water, these are very beneficial to those who practice Yoga.
65. A yogi should eat tonics (things giving strength), well sweetened, greasy (made with
ghee), milk butter, etc., which may increase humors of the body, according to his desire.
66. Whether young, old or too old, sick or lean, one who discards laziness, gets success if
he practices Yoga.
67. Success comes to him who is engaged in the practice. How can one get success
without practice; for by merely reading books on Yoga, one can never get success.
68. Success cannot be attained by adopting a particular dress (Vesa). It cannot be gained
by telling tales. Practice alone is the means to success. This is true, there is no doubt.
69. âsanas, various Kumbhakas, and other divine means, all should be practiced in the
practice of Hatha Yoga, till the fruit Râja Yoga is obtained.
End of the first chapter, on the method of forming the âsanas.
1. Posture becoming established, a Yogi, master of himself, eating salutary and moderate
food, should practice pranayama, as instructed by his guru.
2. Respiration being disturbed, the mind becomes disturbed. By restraining respiration,
the Yogi gets steadiness of mind.
3. So long as the (breathing) air stays in the body, it is called life. Death consists in the
passing out of the (breathing) air. It is, therefore, necessary to restrain the breath.
4. The breath does not pass through the middle channel (susumna), owing to the
impurities of the nadis. How can then success be attained, and how can there be the
5. When the whole system of the nadis which is full of impurities, is cleaned, then the
Yogi becomes able to control the Prana.
6. Therefore, Pranayama should be performed daily with satwika buddhi (intellect free
from raja and tama or activity and sloth), in order to drive out the impurities of the
Methods of performing Pranayama.
7. Sitting in the Padmâsana posture the Yogi should fill in the air through the left nostril
(closing the right one); and, keeping it confined according to one's ability, it should be
expelled slowly through the surya (right nostril).
8. Then, drawing in the air through the surya slowly, the belly should be filled, and after
performing Kumbhaka as before, it should be expelled slowly through the chandra (left
9. Inhaling thus through the one, through which it was expelled, and having restrained it
there, till possible, it should be exhaled through the other, slowly and not forcibly.
10. If the air be inhaled through the left nostril, it should be expelled again through the
other, and filling it through the right nostril, confining it there, it should be expelled
through the left nostril. By practicing in this way, through the right and the left nostrils
alternately, the whole of the collection of the nadis of the yamis (practisers) becomes
clean, i.e., free from impurities, after 3 months and over.
11. Kumbhakas should be performed gradually four times during day and night (i.e.,
morning, noon, evening and midnight), till the number of Kumbhakas for one time is 80
and for day and night together it is 320.
12. In the beginning there is perspiration, in the middle stage there is quivering, and in
the last or third stage, one obtains steadiness; and then the breath should be made steady
13. The perspiration exuding from exertion of practice should be rubbed into the body
(and not wiped), as by so doing the body becomes strong.
14. During the first stage of practice the food consisting of milk and ghee is wholesome.
When the practice becomes established, no such restriction is necessary.
15. Just as lions, elephants and tigers are controlled by and by, so the breath is controlled
by slow degrees, otherwise (i.e., by being hasty or using too much force) it kills the
16. When Pranayama, etc., are performed properly, they eradicate all diseases; but an
improper practice generates diseases.
17. Hiccough, asthma, cough, pain in the head, the ears, and the eyes; these and other
various kinds of diseases are generated by the disturbance of the breath.
18. The air should be expelled with proper tact and should be filled in skillfully; and
when it has been kept confined properly it brings success.
N.B.--The above caution is necessary to warn the aspirants against omitting any
instruction; and in their zeal to gain success or siddhis early, to begin the practice, either
by using too much force in filling in, confining and expelling the air, or by omitting any
instructions, it may cause unnecessary pressure on their ears, eyes, &c., and cause pain.
Every word in the instructions is full of meaning and is necessarily used in the slokas,
and should be followed very carefully and with due attention. Thus there will be nothing
to fear whatsoever. We are inhaling and exhaling the air throughout our lives without any
sort of danger, and Pranayama being only a regular form of it, there should be no cause to
19. When the nadis become free from impurities, and there appear the outward signs of
success, such as lean body and glowing color, then one should feel certain of success.
20. By removing the impurities, the air can be restrained, according to one's wish and the
appetite is increased, the divine sound is awakened, and the body becomes healthy.
21. If there be excess of fat or phlegm in the body, the six kinds of kriyas (duties) should
be performed first. But others, not suffering from the excess of these, should not perform
22. The six kinds of duties are: Dhauti, Basti, Neti, Trataka, Nauti and Kapala Bhati.
These are called the six actions.
23. These six kinds of actions which cleanse the body should be kept secret. They
produce extraordinary attributes and are performed with earnestness by the best Yogis.
24. A strip of cloth, about 3 inches wide and 15 cubits long, is pushed in (swallowed),
when moist with warm water, through the passage shown by the guru, and is taken out
again. This is called Dhauti Karma.
N.B.-- The strip should be moistened with a little warm water, and the end should be held
with the teeth. It is swallowed slowly, little by little: thus, first day 1 cubit, 2nd day 2
cubits, 3rd day 3 cubits, and so on. After swallowing it the stomach should be given a
good, round motion from left to right, and then it should be taken out slowly and gently.)
25. There is no doubt, that cough, asthma, enlargement of the spleen, leprosy, and 20
kinds of diseases born of phlegm, disappear by the practice of Dhauti Karma.
26. Squatting in navel deep water, and intoducing a six inches long, smooth piece of 1/2
an inch diameter pipe, open at both ends, half inside the anus; it (anus) should be drawn
up (contracted) and then expelled. This washing is called Basti Karma.
27. By practicing this Basti Karma, colic, enlarged spleen, and dropsy, arising from the
disorders of Vata (air), pitta (bile) and kapha (phlegm), are all cured.
28. By practicing Basti with water, the Dhatus, the Indriyas and the mind become calm. It
gives glow and tone to the body and increases the appetite. All the disorders disappear.
29. A cord made of threads and about six inches long, should be passed through the
passage of the nose and the end taken out in the mouth. This is called by adepts the Neti
30. The Neti is the cleaner of the brain and giver of divine sight. It soon destroys all the
diseases of the cervical and scapular regions.