Hatha Yoga - Its Context, Theory and Practice

Hatha Yoga - Its Context, Theory and Practice

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About the Book


Many thousands of people throughout the world claim to practise some from of yoga, but the philosophical background of this ancient discipline is frequently either neglected or subjected to oversimplification and misrepresentation. This has been especially true of hatha-yoga (literally, the 'forceful yoga'), the tradition most performance of posture (asanas), cleansing practices (karmani or kriyas) and techniques that involve altering the breathing rhythm and flow of 'vital energy' (pranayama). In this study, philosopher and hatha practitioner Mikel Burley places the soteriological system of hatha-yoga within its proper context, drawing attention to its continuity with Vedic religion, its initiatory pedagogical structure, and to the theoretical underpinnings of hatha practice. In particular, he examines the complex notion of a 'subtle bodily matrix' - comprising vital channels (nadis), centres (cakras) and forces (prana)-which is so crucial to the discipline, this matrix being held to form, as it were, a bridge between the gross physical and mental spheres.


Use in made of a wide range of source materials, including seminal texts in the hatha tradition such as the Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika and Gheranda-Samhita, as well as primary and secondary works from related streams of Indian thought. The author's approach is both scholarly and accessible, making the study suitable for specialists, practitioners and general readers alike.


Hatha-yoga is concerned with the most fundamental of matters: the development of an ethical and spiritually-oriented appreciation of humanity, the cultivation of maximal health and perceptual acuity, and the quest for Self-realization. Absorbing and penetrating, Hatha-Yoga: Its Context, Theory and Practice makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of this subject.


About the Author


Mikel Burley was born in Leicestershire, England, in 1972. He has studied philosophy, both Eastern and Western, at the University of Essex and Western, at the University of Essex and the University of Nottingham, and has travelled widely in India and Nepal. He currently teaches hatha-yoga and Indian philosophy for the Devon School of Yoga, and has had articles published in several magazines and journals, including introductory series on Indian philosophy and Patanjali's Yoga-Sutra in Yoga and Health magazine.

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About the Book


Many thousands of people throughout the world claim to practise some from of yoga, but the philosophical background of this ancient discipline is frequently either neglected or subjected to oversimplification and misrepresentation. This has been especially true of hatha-yoga (literally, the 'forceful yoga'), the tradition most performance of posture (asanas), cleansing practices (karmani or kriyas) and techniques that involve altering the breathing rhythm and flow of 'vital energy' (pranayama). In this study, philosopher and hatha practitioner Mikel Burley places the soteriological system of hatha-yoga within its proper context, drawing attention to its continuity with Vedic religion, its initiatory pedagogical structure, and to the theoretical underpinnings of hatha practice. In particular, he examines the complex notion of a 'subtle bodily matrix' - comprising vital channels (nadis), centres (cakras) and forces (prana)-which is so crucial to the discipline, this matrix being held to form, as it were, a bridge between the gross physical and mental spheres.


Use in made of a wide range of source materials, including seminal texts in the hatha tradition such as the Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika and Gheranda-Samhita, as well as primary and secondary works from related streams of Indian thought. The author's approach is both scholarly and accessible, making the study suitable for specialists, practitioners and general readers alike.


Hatha-yoga is concerned with the most fundamental of matters: the development of an ethical and spiritually-oriented appreciation of humanity, the cultivation of maximal health and perceptual acuity, and the quest for Self-realization. Absorbing and penetrating, Hatha-Yoga: Its Context, Theory and Practice makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of this subject.


About the Author


Mikel Burley was born in Leicestershire, England, in 1972. He has studied philosophy, both Eastern and Western, at the University of Essex and Western, at the University of Essex and the University of Nottingham, and has travelled widely in India and Nepal. He currently teaches hatha-yoga and Indian philosophy for the Devon School of Yoga, and has had articles published in several magazines and journals, including introductory series on Indian philosophy and Patanjali's Yoga-Sutra in Yoga and Health magazine.

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