Hatha Yoga – A brief Introduction
Hatha yoga is a part of yoga that highlights physical exercises to rule the body and mind as well as actions to depart it from external things. Its easy approachability and focus on health and wellness have enabled it to be an essential factor in hindering the many adverse effects of a quickly changing today’s world.
The ‘ha’ in Hatha means the Sun. The ‘tha’ in Hatha means the Moon. So, it means to balance energies of both the Sun and Moon in oneself. Or in other words, we can say Hatha Yoga is the science of blending the solar energy or Pingala and the lunar energy or Ida within ourselves to nudge our higher consciousness to life. The Vinyasa yoga, Bikram yoga, Ashtanga yoga, even Aerial yoga all originate from Hatha yoga.
Hatha Yoga – Foundations and history:
Hatha yoga poses has transformed a lot since its inception. When it was founded, it was a complete life philosophy that included how we associate with our world, to ourselves and how we can achieve inner peace. The fundamental writings were Patanjali Maharishi’s 196 yoga sutras or aphorisms written in the Sanskrit language in around 400 AD. In his writings, Patanjali explains hatha yoga as having eight limbs, or disciplines, and pointed to it as the eightfold path. The eight limbs of yoga are Yama, Niyama, asana, and pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.
However, Hatha yoga in the today’s world means something very different than what Patanjali wrote in the sutras. Our quick-paced society has pushed yoga to large class sizes, aerobic-type yoga, and studios that almost solely teach drop-in classes (virtual classes). It makes it challenging for yoga teachers to build into their classes as new students are joining each week. It also forces teachers to teach mainly hatha yoga asanas, since a lot of people seek stress cut by the physical approach.
Hatha Yoga – Features and characteristics:
The eight limbs or disciplines of Hatha yoga are:
- Yamas concentrate on how we associate with others. It is expressed as Ahimsa (Non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Ashteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (moderation),Aparigraha (generosity).
- Niyamas are how we associate with ourselves. They are expressed as Sauca (purity), Santosa (contentment), Tapas (self-discipline), and Svadhyaya (self-study), Isvara Pranidhana (surrender to the divine).
- Asanas are the postures that we perform during yoga.
- Pranayama is breathing methods that are designed to control the Prana (vital force), helping us feel observant, self-aware and peaceful.
- Pratyahara is the departure or withdrawal of the senses from the external world. It helps us to stay away from distractions.
- Dharana means concentration.
- Dhyana is constant awareness.
- Samadhi is a deep connection with all living beings.
Hatha Yoga – The practices:
The Hatha yoga practice stresses proper diet, means to internally purify your body, correct breathing and its regulation especially during the yoga practice, and the physical approach consisting of asanas (bodily postures).
The methodology sometimes comprises sequences such as the Surya Namaskara, which means ‘salute to the sun.’ The Surya Namaskara consists of many asanas performed fluidly in sequence.
Before entering your yoga session, make sure you have your yoga supplies like a yoga mat, yoga towel, yoga mat bag, etc., for a more comfortable yoga experience.
Hatha Yoga – Benefits:
- Sustaining a healthy body:
Hatha Yoga helps a person willing to lose weight. Other than losing weight, it also strengthens the body from within, ultimately enhancing metabolism and reinforcing the immune system. Breathing helps in maintaining a strong mind which is emotionally and mentally balanced.
- Relieves stress:
Hatha yoga helps its practitioners to get rid of stress along with detoxifying their mind and body.
- Energy (Prana) flow:
Prana (Universal Life Force) is a form of energy that is present in the human body. When a person is born, a specific amount of Prana is present in him that is required for body’s life and maintenance. Over the passage of time, this energy decreases and makes his body weak. The postures and breathing styles involved in Hatha yoga help the person to maintain this crucial energy that ultimately will increase his lifespan.
- Improves flexibility:
Flexibility is very much required to maintain an active and resilient body. Muscles that are inflexible can lead to severe body posture, neck pain, backache, and discomforts of knees. People who perform yoga regularly has improved body postures along with flexible muscles. Also, accomplishing difficult yoga postures become easy.
- Develops muscle strength & Increases Balance:
Healthy muscles enable us to move smoothly and keep our body active. Building muscle strength helps in maintaining joints in great shape along with preventing various conditions like arthritis. During our old age, healthy muscles also help in preserving the balance of the body.
- Enhances blood flow:
Different asanas including headstand, shoulder stand or handstand promote blood flow from our legs to the heart, and afterward pumps it back to the lungs for oxygenation, ultimately making one feel refreshed and energized.
Hatha Yoga – Final Words:
Therefore, with constant practice of Hatha yoga, you will merely not just live on earth but will live with spirituality, enthusiasm, and strong divinity.