Definition - What does Gheranda Samhita mean?
"Gheranda Samhita," or "Gheranda's Collection," is one of three important texts on classic Hatha yoga, along with the "Hatha Yoga Pradipika" and the "Shiva Samhita." It was written in Sanskrit in the late 17th century and is sometimes considered to be the most comprehensive of the three texts as it forms a manual for yoga.
The text is divided into seven chapters with each chapter corresponding to a different part of the journey of yoga. It is focused on the shatkarmas and differs in a few respects from the path of yoga that is described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras.
Yogapedia explains Gheranda Samhita
The seven chapters of "Gheranda Samhita" follow the sevenfold path of yoga, which was taught by the sage Gheranda to his student, Chanda Kapali. These seven are:
- Purification through Shatkarma - includes six cleansing techniques
- Strengthening through Asana - includes 32 postures
- Steadying through Mudra - includes 25 mudras (gestures)
- Calming through Pratyahara - includes five concentration techniques
- Lightness through Pranayama - includes 10 breathing techniques
- Perception through Dhyana - dedicated to meditation
- Isolation through Samadhi - uses different methods than those Patanjali teaches
Although there are only 32 postures in "Gheranda Samhita," Gheranda explains that there are as many asanas as there are species on the planet, but there are only 84 root asanas. It is stated that it is essential to include at least one inversion in every daily practice of yoga. In general, however, the Hatha yoga described in "Gheranda Samhita" is more seated and meditative than what is most commonly practiced as Hatha yoga today. In fact, tree pose (vrksasana) is the only standing posture mentioned.