Hatha Yoga

 

 

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga also called hatha vidya, is a system of yoga introduced by Yogi Swatmarama, a Hindu sage of 15th century India, and compiler of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

"The word "hatha" comes from the Sanskrit terms "ha" meaning "sun" and "tha" meaning "moon". Thus, Hatha Yoga is known as the branch of Yoga that unites pairs of opposites referring to the positive (sun) and negative (moon) currents in the system."

Swatmarama introduces his system as preparatory stage of physical purification that the body practices for higher meditation or Yoga. It is based on asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques, also known as shatkarma). Hatha Yoga became popular in the west beginning in the second half of the 20th century, and is often referred to simply as "Yoga" in the context of health and physical exercise.

Traditional hatha yoga is a holistic yogic path, including disciplines, physical postures (asana), purification procedures (shatkriya), poses (mudra), breathing (pranayama), and meditation. The hatha yoga predominantly practiced in the West consists of mostly asanas understood as physical exercises. It is also recognized as a stress-reducing practice.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is one of the two branches of yoga that focuses on the physical culture, the other one being raja yoga. Both of these are commonly referred to as sadanga yoga, i.e., yoga of six parts ('sad' meaning six and 'anga' meaning limbs). The six limbs are described below in detail. Svatmarama emphasizes many times in his Hathapradipika text that there is no raja yoga without hatha yoga and no hatha yoga without raja yoga. The main difference is that raja yoga uses asanas mainly to get the body ready for prolonged meditation, and hence focuses more on the meditative asana poses: Lotus Posture (padmasana), Accomplished Posture (siddhasana), Easy Posture (sukhasana) and Pelvic Posture (vajrasana). Hatha yoga utilizes not only meditative postures but also cultural postures. Similarly, raja yoga's use of pranayama is also devoid of extensive locks (bandha).

Hatha Yoga

Hatha represents opposing energies: hot and cold (fire and water, following similar concept as yin-yang), male and female, positive and negative. Hatha yoga attempts to balance mind and body via physical postures or "asanas", purification practices, controlled breathing, and the calming of the mind through relaxation and meditation. Asanas teach poise, balance and strength and are practiced to improve the body's physical health and clear the mind in preparation for meditation. However if an individual has too much phlegm or fat then purification procedures are a necessity before undertaking pranayama.


Hatha Yoga

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