What is Hatha Yoga?
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is compiled by Yogi Swatmarama, an outstanding personality among many authorities of Hatha Yoga i.e. Goraknanath, Gheranda and Srinivasa Bhatta.
Meaning of term Hatha Yoga
The term Hatha is a combination of two big mantras, i.e. Ha & tha where Ha represents mind, the mental energy. That represents prana the vital force. So Hatha yoga means the union between the pranic and mental force. This is the awakening of higher consciousness.
In another description, ‘Ha’ means sun; ‘tha’ means moon “This is a symbolic of the twin energy forces which exists in everything. It represents the forces of mind, prana or vitality.
As in yoga, life and consciousness are known as Purusha and Prakriti and in Tantra they are called Shakti and Shiva, similarly in Hatha yoga they are known as Ida and Pingala.
Objective of Hatha Yoga
The main objective of Hatha Yoga is to create an absolute balance of the interacting activities and processes of the physical body, mind and energy. When this balance is created the impulses created give a call of awakening to the control force (shushmna nadi) which is responsible for the evolution of human consciousness. Therefore it considers Hatha Yoga as the preliminary practice of Raja Yoga or Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga.
Basic Hatha Yoga Practices
Hatha yoga, involving asanas (yoga postures), pranayama (breathing practices), Shat-Karma (internal cleansing techniques), Bandhas (muscular locks and contractions), and Mudras (hand gestures and seals).
What is Traditional Hatha Yoga?
The Guru-Shishya parampara has been an inevitable part of education in ancient Indian culture. This involved the tradition of a living and learning relationship between the Guru and the Student (Shishya), signifying the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual bonding between them.
Traditional Hatha Yoga involves the practice of:
- Asanas (postures)
- Pranayama (breathing techniques)
- Shatkarma (six action/purification methods)
- Yoga Nidra (psychic sleep meditation)
- Bandhas (muscular locks and contractions)
- Mudras (hand gestures and seals).
- Dhyana (meditation)
- Trataka (candlelight and gazing meditation)
There are many hatha yoga styles which exist in modern day among that, Traditional Hatha Yoga, Satyananda yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar yoga and Ashtanga Yoga considered as traditional Hatha Yoga.
Traditional Hatha Yoga Approach
In Traditional Hatha Yoga according to the level and intention of the class, the methods of transition will vary to some degree, for example approached from Tadasana and end at tadasana, then enough relaxation space between each practice. Counter pose for every asana involved. Every asana practised one by one individually.
What is Contemporary modern Hatha Yoga Approach?
Hatha yoga has evolved over the past century to become more inclusive and continues to evolve as new scientific discoveries are made in the fields of kinesiology, psychology, neurology, and holistic health. Whichever style you practice, yoga has the ability to bring balance, physically, mentally, and emotionally, to all areas of your life.
In Contemporary Hatha Yoga according to the level and intention of the class, the methods of transition will vary to some degree, for example while in flow-oriented classes such as Vinyasa Flow, most standing asanas are approached from Downward-Facing Dog Pose or directly from another standing asana.