Hatha Yoga has developed techniques that not only include postures (asana) and cleansing techniques (Shaucha), but also breathe control (pranayama). Hatha Yoga begins the journey by purifying and toning the body. A well-toned body is said to be the prerequisite for further enhancements to delve deeper in our inner being. The stages of supreme concentration and meditation ultimately summons the state of Samadhi. This Samadhi leads us to know and unite with our supreme and pure self. Hatha Yoga is able to bring about a balance between the human mind and human body.
Origin of Hatha Yoga
Coming from Sanskrit origin, the root words "Ha" means Sun and "Tha" means Moon. Tradition says that Hatha Yoga was propounded by Lord Shiva. Legend says that on a lonely island Lord Shiva had transferred the knowledge of Hatha Yoga to Parvati assuming that nobody would hear him but a fish heard the entire discourse and remained still during the entire time. Lord Shiva had mercy on the fish and made him a Siddha and he came to be known as ‘Matsyendranaatha’. Matsyendranaatha taught Hatha Yoga to ‘Chaurangi’, a limbless man who was given hands and limbs by Matsyendranaatha just by looking at him.
Some experts view the existence of Hatha Yoga to be a tradition whose roots extend back at least several thousand years, with its earliest known authentic text being the ‘Yoga Karunta’. Modern practices of Hatha Yoga are derived from the school of Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya who had taught Hatha Yoga to his pupils from the year 1924 and he had continued his teaching till the year 1989.
Concepts in Hatha Yoga
The concept of Hatha Yoga says that Hatha Yoga is a holistic yogic path consisting of moral disciplines, physical postures called asanas, purification processes, mudras and meditation. Hatha Yoga is also considered to be a stress reducing exercise. Hatha Yoga believes that keeping the body in a healthy condition is very necessary for attaining the universal happiness in life. The body can be kept in a healthy condition only with the help of proper physical exercises. The main attempt of Hatha Yoga is to bring about a proper balance of body and mind.
Human Body and Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga is often regarded as physical or bodily yoga. Such an over simplistic view is mistaken if that is all Hatha is considered to be; but it is certainly the case that Hatha Yoga works very much ‘with’ and ‘through’ the body, and that its conceptual isolation of the body is crucial to Hatha’s theory and practice. This conceptualization which involves whole ‘subtle’ physiological dimension forms should be understood properly. For that the misunderstood conclusions have to be discarded.
Techniques of Hatha Yoga
However imaginative and deeply philosophical the symbolic and mythological description seems to be for the Hatha yoga origin, yet the most important of these all are the Hatha techniques themselves. It is important to understand the theory that underlies the practice of Hatha Yoga as Hatha theory and practice are intimately bound up together. Still, Hatha treatise mostly emphasizes on the practice itself.
Food in Hatha Yoga
Food has a prominent place in Hatha Yoga. The Yogis believe that food is important to human beings not for mere taste but for nourishment. The main aim of food is to provide nourishment. They believe that a man should concentrate on how much he assimilates from the food that he eats and not focus on the type of food that he has. A true Hatha Yogi regards nourishment as his first duty towards his body, and is always careful to keep that body properly nourished, and to see that the supply of new, fresh material is always at least equal to the worn-out and discarded matter. An important doctrine of Hatha Yoga is that the yogis try to derive maximum amount of nourishment from minimum amount of food.
Benefits of Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga has a lot of benefits for the human body. At the very first instance Hatha Yoga has the capacity to make the body healthy. It tones the body and gives the Yogi the power to control the Prana or the vital force of an individual. As an individual is able to control the Prana soon he is able to exercise control over his mind. As a Yogi is able to exercise control over the mind and the five senses soon the mind is able to get united with the Atman and the Yogi is able to attain the stage of Samadhi. In the stage of Samadhi a Yogi is able to experience the state of universal joy.