Introduced by Swami Swatmarama in the 15th century, Hatha Yoga is also known as Hatha Vidya. The term Hatha comes from the amalgamation of two Sanskrit terms, ‘ha’ meaning the sun and ‘tha’ meaning the moon. Therefore the basis of this Yoga is the bringing together of two opposites, like the positive sun and the negative moon. Many times Hatha Yoga is also defined as a more forceful form of Yoga as it requires more physical effort in comparison to other forms of Yoga.
About Hatha Yoga
In simple terms Hatha Yoga is all about focusing on asanas or postures and pranayamas or breath control to fuel more energy and vibrancy to the channels or the nadis. The postures followed in Hatha Yoga are based on two very important objectives. One coming from the observation that to be able to really meditate one must first be in a comfortable position so that he can stay in that position for a long period of time. Therefore in hatha Yoga, perfecting a particular posture becomes very crucial. The second objective is to practice those postures and breathing exercises that will supply an abundance of energy to the body. The two objectives work hand in hand.
The pranayamas or breathing techniques propagated in hatha yoga comes from the understanding that if you are able to fully control the pace of your breath, you can also take full control of your mind. Hatha Yoga is a mix of stretching, relaxation and breathing exercises that have great physical and emotional advantages.
Practicing hatha yoga is a simple affair. All one need is a quiet place, comfortable clothing and about thirty minutes every day for it. A standard Hatha Yoga session lasts 90 to 120 minutes. However people who have just begun can start with 30-35 minutes.
Hatha Yoga is practiced in many variations such as the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Kashmir Yoga, Iyengar Yoga etc. In its traditional form Hatha Yoga is practiced in the following popular categories.
Hatha Yoga Poses
Shrishti Krama Hatha Yoga: This is done for the holistic growth of the mental, physical and spiritual aspects of the body. Mostly practiced by youth, the main focus of this Yoga is better the power of concentration, infuse energy to the body and energize the nadis or the channels.
Siksana Krama Hatha Yoga: This Yoga starts from the basic premise of matering the asanas and pranayamas and gradually to also be able to control the bandhas.
Rakshana Krama Hatha Yoga: The main focus here is to maintain good health. A relaxed mind and body is most pivotal for this Yoga.
Adhyatmika Krama Hatha Yoga: This yoga is all about building a deep connection with the internal self and thereby drawing strength from it.
Chikitsa Krama Hatha Yoga: This is more a healing process rather than just yoga. It is about bringing a balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual planes to get rid of any negativity that resides in these planes.
Shakti Krama Hatha Yoga: This yoga, as the name suggests is about generating strength and is mostly practiced by Sdahus and Sanyasas.
Originally designed to prepare the body and the mind for intense levels of meditation, hatha yoga has several benefits. It increases body strength and flexibility, makes the muscles more flexible, corrects the body posture and makes the spine straighter and stronger. Hatha Yoga also fuels the bodys immune system, ebdocrine system, respiratory, digestive and circulatory system to work better and faster. Many western doctors and researchers have been attempting to determine the role hatha Yoga can play in checking diseases like arthritis, AIDS, asthma, diabetes, chronic fatigue and arteriosclerosis.
It won’t be long before Hatha Yoga will be seen as an alternate form of medication.