Yoga - Hatha Yoga
In Sanskrit “ha” means "the sun" and “tha” means "the moon".
Hence Hatha Yoga represents the union "of the pairs of opposites". Oftentimes Hatha Yoga is also interpreted as "forceful yoga" since, of all Yoga forms, it calls for the most physical exercises. There is definitely no doubt that Hatha Yoga is the form of Yoga that is the most well-known in the West.
This, perhaps, is why there are so many definitions of Hatha Yoga.
First and foremost, Hatha Yoga is focusing on the practice of physical poses (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama). These are done to vitalize the subtle channels (called Nadis) in the Human Being. For this reason Hatha Yoga focuses on the 3rd and 4th steps of the 8-fold path of Yoga.
Hatha Yoga’s objective is to eliminate the obstacles so that the practitioner gets ready for the further steps of:
- Pratyahara (sense-withdrawal)
- Dharana (Concentration)
- Dhyana (Meditation)
- Samadhi (Balance).
Yoga poses (asanas) in Hatha Yoga carry two vital purposes. The first air is, to practice real meditation, you must have at the least one pose in which you are perfectly comfortable for quite some time. The more such poses you are able to master, the better to practise meditation.
The next objective of Yoga poses is to deliver health and energy benefits to the body and mind. This is done by opening up the subtle channels (Nadis). When such poses are done regularly, the path of Hatha Yoga opens of its own accord. Even so, you still have to follow it further.
The breathing exercises (Pranayama) in Hatha Yoga is necessary to master your breath. If you are able to master breathing, know that mastery of your mind is within reach. Through the practice of breath exercises the flow of prana (life force) through the subtle channels (Nadis) is chanelized. That energy is definitely required to proceed on the more advanced stages of Hatha Yoga. Ultimately it leads Samadhi a state of mental equilibrium and bliss.