Preksha Meditation & Human Health ► 1. Introduction ► 6. Yoga ► 6.3 Types of Yoga ► 6.3.5 Hatha Yoga

Posted: 05.09.2015

In the West, outside of Hindu culture, yoga is usually understood to refer as Hatha yoga. Hatha Yoga is, however, a particular system propagated by Swami Svatamarama, a yogic sage of the 15th century in India. After the Bhagvad Gita and Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the most fundamental text of yoga is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, written by Swami Svatamarama, which in great detail lists all the main asanas, pranayama, mudra and bandha that are familiar to today's yoga student. It runs in the line of Hindu yoga (to distinguish from Buddhist and Jain yoga) and is dedicated to Lord Adinath, a name for Lord Shiva (the Hindu God of destruction), who is alleged to have imparted the secret of Hatha Yoga to his divine consort Parvati. Hindu philosophy in the Vedanta and yoga streams views only one thing as being ultimately real: Satchidananda Atman, the Existence-Consciousness-Blissful Self. Hatha Yoga follows in that vein and thus successfully transcends being particularly grounded in any one religion. Hatha is a Sanskrit word meaning 'sun' (ha) and 'moon' (tha), representing opposing energies: hot and cold, male and female, positive and negative, similar but not completely analogous to yin and yang. Hatha Yoga attempts to balance mind and body via physical exercises, or "asanas", controlled breathing, and the calming of the mind through relaxation and meditation. Asanas teach poise, balance & strength and were originally (and still) practiced to improve the body's physical health and clear the mind in preparation for meditation in the pursuit of enlightenment. By balancing two streams, often known as ida (mental) and pingala (bodily) currents, the sushumna nadi (current of the Self) is said to rise, opening various chakras (cosmic power points within the body, starting from the base of the spine and ending right above the head) until samadhi is attained. Ida and pingala are represented in the dynamism of natya yoga by lasya (female) and tandava (male) aspects, and bear direct reference to the Taoist dualism. Svatamarama's approach towards yoga is more practical. Whatever the material available until now on yoga has more theoretical things. Even they are practical but it needs a high degree of intellect which is not possible for a common man. So Svatamarama contributed a very simple clear and with all their effects, techniques of different asanas, Pranayama, mudras and Energy locks. Pranayama is special contribution of Svatamarama.

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