The Yoga of the Hatha Pradipika

Tutor: Gitte Poulsen
Start date: 13 October 2019

£110

This course introduces yoga as presented in the Haṭhapradīpikā – an influential 15th century text. Haṭhapradīpikā is one of the most popular and influential works on yoga. It presents a range of practices derived from previous traditions. In this course we examine both the philosophical and practical aspects of yoga as described in the Haṭhapradīpikā. We will learn key concepts such as āsana, prāṇāyāma, and samādhi, and will gain a broad overview of the traditions and texts behind the Haṭhapradīpikā.

COURSE DETAILS

This course introduces yoga as presented in the Haṭhapradīpikā – an influential 15th century text. Haṭhapradīpikā is one of the most popular and influential works on yoga. It presents a range of practices derived from previous traditions. In this course we examine both the philosophical and practical aspects of yoga as described in the Haṭhapradīpikā. We will learn key concepts such as āsana, prāṇāyāma, and samādhi, and will gain a broad overview of the traditions and texts behind the Haṭhapradīpikā.

Session One: Context – Yoga, yogis, and Haṭhapradīpikā

We start with a look at the historical context for the Haṭhapradīpikā. We learn what the text says about yoga and yogis.

Key concepts: Śaivism, Śāktism, Vaiṣṇavism, Early and classical haṭhayoga. (Siddhas and Munis)

Session Two: Tantric yoga and the Nāth Sampradāya

In this session we examine the foundations of haṭhayoga in the Haṭhapradīpikā. We establish the influence of the early gurus of the Nāth Sampradāya. We then look at the tantric background for the Haṭhapradīpikā and the Nāth Sampradāya. We answer the questions: What is yoga? Who were the practitioners of haṭhayoga?

Key concepts: Nāth Sampradāya and the Siddhas, layayoga, mantrayoga, haṭhayoga, rājayoga, Right and left hand tantra.

Session Three: Chapter one – Āsana

In the first chapter Svātmārāma describes the general rules and lifestyle of a yogi along with various āsanas and their benefits.

Key concepts: Āsana, yama, niyama.

Session Four: Chapter two – Prāṇāyāma

In this chapter Svātmārāma focuses on prāṇāyāma and the effects of correct practice of prāṇāyāma.

Key concepts: prāṇa, kumbhaka, yogic physiology, karmans, bandhas.

Session Five: Chapter three – Yogic seals and the yogic body

The third chapter investigates the yogic physiology on a deeper level and is highly focused on esoteric techniques for awakening the kuṇḍalinī.

Key concepts: Kuṇḍalinī, cakra, mudrā, nādayoga, bindu, rasa

Session Six: Chapter four – Samādhi and the goals of yoga

This session will focus on the mental aspects of yoga, and the goal of yoga as presented in the Haṭhapradīpikā.

Key concepts: samādhi, dhyāna, mokṣa, rājayoga, layayoga.

Session Seven: Yoga practice in the Haṭhapradīpikā

We conclude with a broad description of yoga practice is in the Haṭhapradīpikā. We also see how this relates to modern yoga – both living traditional haṭhayoga and “modern” haṭhayoga.

HOW IT WORKS

Course delivery is 100% online

Seven weekly sessions

Study in your own time

Your tutor is available by email and forums

You can communicate online with your fellow students

All course materials are delivered via the web

Student forums with tutor participation

Recorded lectures available in video and mp3 format

Lecture notes available online and as pdf

Audio interviews with specialists in Hindu Studies

Supplementary materials taken from the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies teaching and research programme

Assessment is optional and is on the basis of successful completion of a single essay of 2000 words, with the exception of Introduction to Sanskrit which is assessed on weekly course work.

Courses can be completed in as little as seven weeks. There is a final deadline for essays of twelve weeks from the beginning of the course.

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