I wanted to dig a little deeper into the reading though than a quick perusal-and-throw-it-back-on-the-shelf. So, remembering how much fun it was reading Chogam Trungpa with Owl's group, a couple summers back, I threw out the offer for others to read this with me. I'm extending the invitation to anyone who reads here to join in reading and/or commenting over the summer
The conversation is being held on the Ashtanga-Yoga-Gainesville facebook page. You can find a reading/discussion schedule there.
Here's an excerpt of my thoughts on the introduction to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika:
"Swamiji who is responsible for the introduction defines Hatha Yoga as “a preparation for higher states of consciousness”. He refers to the yogi/sage Matsyendranath who noted that “true meditation” needed preparation and a foundation. Swamiji seems to be suggesting that the preparation and foundation for meditation can be established through the hatha yoga practices.
It’s interesting to me that “pradipika” means “self-illuminating”. The title can be translated as “Light on Hatha Yoga”, but I think it also suggests a broader meaning, that the hatha yoga practices themselves are self-illuminating. As Ashtangis, I think we’ve heard this before. “Practice and all is coming.”…as in: do the practice and the practice itself will begin to help us distinguish illusion from reality.
Swamiji seems firm on a couple points:
1) Most of us cannot begin to control the mind with the mind
2) Most of us could not handle it if we were able to control the mind immediately when we begin practice. The body at the gross level and energy at the more subtle levels aren’t able to manage that kind of control—we wouldn’t know what to do with it if it happened.
3) Points one and two are why we begin practice with the body."