Various people are trying to describe the work of ‘Hatha’ in different ways. Some break the work into two- ‘Ha‘ and ‘tha’, where ‘ha‘ stands for IDA for the left nostril and ‘tha’ stands PINGALA for the right nostril. Both together create the balance ‘SUSHMNA’. However, it simply means being adamant or forceful about something. Hatha Yoga gives a path to mankind by simply telling them to be adamant in achieving Yoga which is to achieve synchronization between body and mind, physical and subtle body, the past and present.
The Hatha Vidya or knowledge was given by Yogi Swatmarama. He complied with Hatha Yoga Pradipka. The purpose of the knowledge was to purify the body (stomach, intestine, and nervous systems) and mind and then lead to the inner journey of Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga is one of the paths of Yoga (four paths of yoga namely Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, and Gyan Yoga) that lays down the final goal and path to singularity. Yogis need to align chakras to control ‘Prana (inward and upward flow of energy) and Apana’ (outward flow of energy that allows us to do karma, the activities).
Hatha Yoga is independent of any religion or society as it was formed for complete mankind. No matter what religion a person belongs to, atheist or a scientist, everyone does believe in the singularity at some level. But most of mankind misses out the knowledge and never tries to find the path to reach the ultimate goal.
Hatha Yoga gives out both.
Hatha Practice Tools
Like Ashtanga Yoga, Hatha Yoga also lays down seven practices. However, unlike Ashtang, it is not important to follow any sequence (except that of the seventh practice). The seven practices are:
It is preparing the physical body for longer meditation sessions and control chakras by yoga poses.
It prepares a yogi to understand and channelize Prana and Apana .
Bandhas or locks are practices to get the benefit of Pranayams. There are three locks, (Mool Bandha, Uddiyan Bandha, and Jalandhar Bandh). These bandhs route Prana to chakras.
- Mudras and Hand gestures
These are also done to channelize energies in the body.
These are cleansing practices. There are six cleansing exercises that you can practice under Hatha Yoga. It is believed that in order to control both the physical and subtle body, one has to be fit and healthy. Hence it is important to throw away toxins that accumulate due to ‘Karma’.
These are repeating chanting that purifies the mind and helps us focus on manifested (sargun) or
- This is the only practice that one can reach once you have mastered the first six practices. This finally leads to singularity.
Unlike Ashtanga, Hatha Yoga is the six-limb yoga (Shatanga Yoga). These six limbs are:
- Asana – steady comfortable state of body and mind
- Pranayama – expansion of capacity to retain prana
- Pratyahara – withdrawal from the sensory input
- Dharana – bringing the mind to one single point
- Dhyana – observing the self
- Samadhi – becoming free from Maya
So the first two limbs of Ashtanga Yoga: Yamas & Niyamas are excluded in Hatha Yoga.
Our mind is extremely fickle. Also in the present world, we have so many external inputs and stimuli. All that makes it difficult to truly understand the concept and reason of life. Thus, it is vital that we understand the concept of singularity and choose any path to reach the final goal.
JitYog introduces Hatha Yog as another path to understand self and reach singularity.
Article By: Richa Tulli Yoga Counsellor H2F Care