26 February 2014

Book Review: Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Light on Yoga

This is my book review on Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swami Satchinanda and Light on Yoga by B. K. S. Iyengar. 

This article I wrote was from the assignment of the Yoga Energetics Teacher Training I attended in 2012.

This is only my personal review about the two Yoga philosophy books. Please open your mind too when you read my mind. Namaste.

My Review on Hatha Yoga Pradipika: 

This is a very original yoga book and a wonderful classical book to describe what Yoga is all about. I learn a lot about the secret of Yoga from this book and that Yoga is about Pranayama (breathing) too, not just about Asana (postures).

From Hatha Yoga Pradipika, I can learn something about philosophy and spiritualism. The book has enriched my soul. How to see Yoga not just as Asana, but also as a way of life, a way of how we see the life itself and how we see the world. I also learn about the tools to face the world from a different side.

The book sounds very old school and traditional. Honestly, it is hard to apply some things in the book in our nowadays daily life. The book is full with old values that might not be applicable and practical in modern life, but I can learn a lot about the value of yoga in the past when the book is created and the pureness I can teach in the Yoga class.

It seems that the book is so “high above the world” that I might not have the ability to explain it to my students and the people around me. It explains so many things that can not be seen by the eyes of the men in this world. But hey, it is a challenge for me to introduce it to my circle, so they know that the world is not just about things we can see.

The book is a very straight forward, pragmatic approach to yoga. This book rules the way that Yoga things used to be done. Some of the things in the book are almost beyond reality, but I can learn about how to purify and prepare for my path of yoga.

The book is a good choice for me as I am interested in knowing more about Hatha Yoga. I am so introduced to things that develop Hatha Yoga and how to practice it in my spiritualism life.

Each time I read this book, there's always a different meaning in some sections in the book. And it is good to know that I have been practicing Yoga for some times and I have that Yoga in my blood as the book has multiple meanings that can only be understood after practicing such a good Yoga practice.

My Review on Light on Yoga: 

This is the Yoga book I like. The bible of Yoga! I use it as inspirations for my daily yoga practice for myself and yoga teaching at my yoga class. This is a good book to accompany me as my other teacher, other doctor and other advisor. It really completes me as a Yoga practicioner and Yoga teacher.

Great and fascinating introduction to Yoga, detail description of Yoga philosophy, great pictures of Yoga poses, nice sequences for specific intentions, precautions, contradictons, helpful hints and therapeutics effects. And BKS Iyengar's advice and explanation complete everything. What a nice package!

From the book, I understand that Yoga is more than flexibility and strength. Yoga is all about the way of life. There's a connnection between Yoga, spiritualism, life and the Universe.

From the book, I can learn that yoga is applicable for anyone and any ages at any levels. Every pose has a different meaning, and every pose has its own benefit.

The questions: How can a book that is as old as me explain more about life in the present moment? While I grow up day by day, the book is very wise and mature enough to be used as a life compass for a life time. While I move myself forward, I can always go back to the book at any time from the first page to the last one or the reverse. Amazing!

Iyengar style is detailed and tough. I personally do not like it that much, but the techniques are usefull for me when I teach my Yoga class. It helps me to detail the poses so my students understand what muscle to stretch. Going details means concentration that leads to mindfullness, and that mindfullness means that I am back to my meditation.

For me, using this book as the guidance at class means that I will teach a deep poses of Yoga.


After reading Hatha Yoga Pradipika, reading Light on Yoga is like going deeper and longer into Yoga life.

I like Light on Yoga better than Hatha Yoga Pradipika. The books are almost the same, especially when talking about the basic principles of Yoga. But the things on Light on Yoga is more applicable in our day to day real life than Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika talk about the basic things on Yoga, the philosophy and the thoughts of the writer about Yoga itself.

Light on Yoga talks more in detail about Yoga. Not just the philosophy, it also talks about yoga practice, key postures, breathing exercises, detail course for beginner to intermediate level and the yoga terms. All in one book!

I guess the book can complete each others. Use Hatha Yoga Pradipika as the introduction to Yoga through its deep explanation about Philosophy of Yoga and use Light on Yoga as the detail description on Yoga, especially what we can do with Yoga in our daily life.

And this is the reason why many Yoga schools use Light on Yoga as their main book, because every single details in the books can be very usefull for both teachers and students of yoga practice, even to those who are not yogi and yogini.


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