The Gheranda Samhita

The Original Sanskrit and An English Translation

Translated by James Mallinson • 144 pages • 6 x 9 • Photos

This affordable, definitive edition of the Gheranda Samhita contains a new introduction, the original Sanskrit, a new English translation, and 39 full-page photographs. It’s the most encyclopedic of the classic Yoga texts and teaches a unique sevenfold path to perfection of the person.

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“Smooth and accurate, this translation of the Gheranda Samhita is a very welcome addition to recent work on Yoga.”
—George Cardona
University of Pennsylvania


“I like this version because it is a simple, clear and easy to understand translation without any of the usual—often complex and sometimes biased—commentary. The only embellishments are the introduction which has a brief, but helpful background and synopsis, and a few photographs of the asanas.”
—Patty Pickle


“Mallinson’s translation of the Gheranda Samhita includes the Sanskrit Devanagari script paired with clear, succinct English verses. The translation is lucid, making the threads of the teaching easy to understand. . . . For illumination, Mallinson includes a collection of full-page photographs demonstrating the asana or mudra as described in the text. These photos are an asset to this version. . . . This new translation of the Gheranda Samhita is invaluable for students seeking an accessible entry into the written tradition of Yoga practice.”
—Felicia M. Tomasko
LA YOGA Magazine


“If you are a student of Yoga, this is a valuable source book and quite interesting reading, as well.”
—Joanna Daneman


“The Gheranda Samhita is considered, along with the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and the Shiva Samhita, one of the three classic texts on Hatha Yoga. . . . Mallinson and the people at are to be commended for bringing this text to the attention of the modern Yoga practitioner since all other translations that I know of are out of print and hard to come by.”
—Dennis Littrell


“A first-rate primary source for anyone seeking to better understand the teachings and postures of Yoga.”
Midwest Book Review

Table of Contents


From the Introduction

The book you are about to read, a manual of Yoga taught by Gheranda to Chanda, is the most encyclopedic of all the root texts of Hatha Yoga. At the beginning of the book, Chanda asks Gheranda to tell him about the Yoga of the body, which is the cause of knowledge of the Ultimate Reality. Gheranda assents and the book is thus called the Gheranda Samhita, or “The Collection [of Verses] of Gheranda.”

It sets itself apart from other books on Hatha Yoga in two notable ways. Firstly, it calls its Yoga “ghata Yoga” or “ghatastha Yoga” and not Hatha Yoga. The usual meaning of ghata is “pot,” but here it refers to the body, or rather the person, since the techniques taught by Gheranda work on both the body and the mind. Secondly, it is unique in teaching a sevenfold path to perfection of the person.


The yogi should visualize a sublime ocean of nectar in his heart, with an island of jewels in its middle whose sand is made of gemstones. In every direction there are kadamba trees with abundant flowers. Bees and cuckoos buzz and call there. He should steady himself and visualize a great jeweled pavilion . . .

About the Author

James Mallinson is a graduate of Eton and Oxford, holds a master’s from the School of Oriental and African Studies, and returned to Oxford University for his doctorate. He is presently a Senior Lecturer in Sanskrit and Classical and Indian Studies at SOAS, University of London.