Hatha Yoga includes most of the asanas and most forms of yoga, like Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Iyengar and many others. Very simply, it is the practice of the asanas and the postures. The term, “hatha” means two things, “willful” or “forceful”, and even the “sun” (ha) and the “moon” (tha), signifying balance. It basically aims at calming the mind and striking a balance in the body, preparing it for deep meditation. The solar and the lunar energies are called pingala and ida respectively.
By practicing this more often, one can even change the way they think and evolving into a more enhanced personality. As Sadhguru says,
“Hatha Yoga is the science of using the body to prepare oneself for the ultimate possibility.”
Hatha yoga, however, must not be thought of as an exercise. It is understanding the mechanics of the body and preparing it for higher possibilities. It is practiced in order to decrease and eventually overcome the differences between the body and the consciousness.
Ashtanga Yoga was developed in the 20th century by Shri K. Pattabhi Jois, along with T. Krishnamacharya. This style of yoga synchronizes the movements of the body with the breath, creating a rhythmic flow. These eight limbs were stated in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The sutras are considered to be the general guidelines for those who wish to lead a spiritual life.
These sutras are not mere beliefs, but they consist of methods, which have been tried and tested by the yogis and the practitioners themselves. These limbs are the path to achieve self-realization. They are, namely, Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. The first four limbs are purifiers, they help in cleansing the body, which is extremely important for attaining Samadhi, which means salvation.
This method also utilizes the techniques of deep breathing or Ujjayi, the focused eye gazing or Drishti and the energy locks or seals, known as bandhas. These together help in purifying the body. It is imperative to learn Ashtanga Yoga in the traditional manner to avoid fatigue and unnecessary ailments.
Meditation is referred to as “Dhyana” in Sanskrit. It includes relaxation along with concentration, which is both increased through yoga. It leads to the transformation of the mind and evolution of thought process. There are various ways of meditating and also in various stages. The first stage entails finding a point or an object to focus and freeing oneself from all the distractions.
Scientific research has proven that meditation causes not only psychological but also physiological changes. It lays immense emphasis on bodily sensations and words and phrases, called “Mantras”. It is believed to be a way to communicate with the universe while making one more optimistic and also find clarity. It is a state which is extremely different from the normal state of being. It leads to an experience of conscience and consciousness deep within. It is also suggested with medicines to treat diseases, it is a complementary therapy, to treat mental disorders.
Hence, we will be learning about different Meditation techniques and Mantras.
Yoga is not only spiritual but also physical. It is essential to learn about the various physical alignments and the appropriate ones to practice it correctly. Once a yogi or a teacher attains a fair understanding of the same, more appropriate guidance or practice can be undertaken to suit their needs.
Nevertheless, the yoga teachers must learn anatomy to facilitate their teaching, as well as to teach them the healthier way of practicing it. It could also help them explain to their students what goes on in their body and the effects of such asanas. One will travel from
Many believe that anatomy is an instrument, which is used either to facilitate or even to harm. Nevertheless, the instructors are not expected to know everything about the body, but only the fundamentals which are needed for better practice, like the joints, muscles, and bones, encompassing the major movements.
Philosophy of Yoga is a very deep subject and an interesting one. It is very important to know and understand different yogic philosophies. It will help you to understand the science of Yoga. This understanding allows us to get acquainted with the right understanding of yoga with intelligence and gives us a much better perspective of what exactly we are doing.
It will also help you understanding yoga and alternative way of thinking about your life.
Kriyas and Mudras
Kriya, basically, means an “action”. Action is what leads us to a result, within an action, it is not possible to achieve an outcome. However, a kriya affects the mind and body and the leads to numerous changes, too. Every kriya, however, has a different effect and affects every organ differently. Practicing Kundalini Yoga Kriyas leads to preparation for not only a happy but also healthy and holy life.
It is believed that the body of an individual consists of the five elements, namely Agni (Fire), Jala (Water), Vayu (Air), Bhumi (Earth) and Aakash (Aether). However, in case of a disturbance in those elements, it may cause issues in the mind, like an imbalanced mind or lead to physical diseases. Such a disturbance can be dealt with through the asanas, but to balance these elements, we need the mudras.
Mudras are hand gestures, which guide the flow of energy to the particular parts of the brain, benefitting the individual according to their need. They are practiced with the breathing, so as to increase the circulation of prana. When one practices this, they experience a connection with the various patterns influencing the reflexes of the various parts of the body. Thus, the internal energy, being redirected, balances itself. This also energizes the other muscles, glands, tendons and sensory organs of the body.