In this study, philosopher and Hatha practitioner Mikel Burley placed the soteriological system of hatha-yoga within its proper context, drawing attention to its continuity with Vedic religion, its initiatory pedagogical structure, and the theoretical underpinnings of Hatha practice. In particular, he examines the complex notion of a 'subtle bodily matrix' -comprising vital channels (nadis), centres (chakras) 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 is 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-realisation. Absorbing and penetrating, Hatha-Yoga: Its Context, Theory and Practice makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of this subject.