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What is Hatha Yoga

 
When people mention the word “yoga,” they usually refer to the practice known as Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga was introduced by Yogi Swatmarama sometime in the 15th century in India. Today, it is safe to say that Hatha Yoga has become the most popular form of yoga. In fact, several other forms of yoga practices have evolved from this one. Examples of these more modern yoga practices are Bikram yoga, Kundalini yoga, Ashtanga yoga, and the so-called Power yoga.

The term “hatha” is derived from the Sanskrit word “ha,” which means “sun” and the word “tha,” which means “moon.” Hatha yoga is therefore recognized as the form of yoga which unites opposing pairs that refer to the positive currents as symbolized by the sun and the negative currents in the system as symbolized by the moon. It has its main focus on the third and fourth limbs of classical yoga, which are Asana or posture and Pranayama or breath control.

The goal of those who practice Hatha yoga is to achieve a balance between the mind and body by freeing the subtle spiritual elements of their mind through the Asanas or physical poses, the Pranayama or breathing techniques, and through meditation.

Asana is the Sanskrit word for “seat” and it refers not just to your body’s physical position, but also to its position in relation to that which is divine. Asanas are the different body postures or positions that are designed to improve the health and remove diseases not only in the physical, but also in the causal and subtle bodies of the yogi. These postures were originally meant to set an atmosphere that is conducive to meditation, as they can keep you relaxed for extended periods of time. The regular practice of Hatha yoga asanas is expected to give the yogi more bone strength and muscle flexibility. In addition to these physical rewards, the yogi is also expected to develop willpower, concentration, and self-withdrawal.

The term “Pranayama” is taken from the words “prana,” which means energy source or life-force and “ayama,” which means to control. It therefore refers to the science of breath control. Pranayama is an essential part of Hatha yoga because ancient yogis believed that one needs to control his breath in order to harness the ability to control his mind. Among other things, practicing Pranayama helps the yogi unleash dormant energies inside his body.

Regular practice of Hatha yoga can help you recognize your hidden potentials, both physical and mental. Through a consistent performance of the asanas, you will not only gain strength and flexibility, but also learn how to keep calm and relaxed even in the most stressful situations. Hatha yoga will open your energy channels, thus allowing your spiritual energy to flow freely. Some of the asanas also help prevent diseases by massaging and toning your internal organs. Furthermore, the poses of Hatha yoga can bring balance to your internal and glandular functions. Pranayama, for its part, can help you manage conditions like asthma and bronchitis.

A yogi can definitely gain all these benefits from practicing Hatha yoga. Most importantly, however, Hatha yoga practice will allow you to focus your mind such that you are able to begin your personal quest for enlightenment.

Start practicing Hatha Yoga by finding a Hatha Yoga class near you using Yogiseeker's easy to use yoga search engine.

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