What is Hatha Yoga?

The word Yoga is derived from the word Yog, which in Sanskrit means associations / connecting.

Hatha = the sun + the moon

In the name Hatha, the Sanskrit words ha (sun) and tha (moon) come together. The sun stands for action, the moon for internalization. In Hatha yoga those opposing energies (Shiva and Shakti) come together. By moving your concentration and breath to points in the body, you bring awareness there.

The first clear source is the fifteenth-century document Hatha Yoga Pradipika. This is still seen as the Bible of contemporary yoga. Swami Swatmarama describes the path to the highest, “royal” yoga. In this writing he elaborates a complete system of postures and breathing.

Hatha yoga is being taught in many different ways today. This often depends on the teacher and where he has followed his education. For example, it may be that the yoga postures (asanas) are given in a hatha flow (concatenation of postures). More traditional is working in phases:

Sthira sukham asanam

Sthira = steadfast, stable, motionless

Sukham = comfortable, easy

Asanam = attitude

  • Preparation: in a neutral position you quietly observe yourself in the here and now.
  • Adoption: you adopt an attitude in a fluid, natural way. Without forcing or allowing yourself to be pushed into position by someone else. The physical performance is unimportant. It’s about what you feel / experience in an attitude.
  • Persist: You remain calmly breathing in the posture for some time. You are calm but not relaxed, you spread the tension over different muscles.
  • Perception: in a resting position you observe the effect of the posture. You usually take on asanas multiple times. This way the posture becomes your own and it is easier to fully concentrate on it. It becomes an attitude of body and mind.

The great Indian wisdoms have developed many methods so that every human being has the ability to find and understand the meaning of life through his own physical and mental abilities. All paths of Yoga teach people discipline and self-control. Even though the different Yoga paths seem different, the essence remains the same: Self-realization.

There are four types of people in this world: the intellectual, the active, the emotional and the contemplative.

Those who are intellectual follow the path of Jnana Yoga, the path of wisdom and acumen.
Those who are active follow the path of Karma Yoga, the path of action and selfless service.

Those who are emotional follow the path of Bhakti Yoga, the path of devotion and love, where the personality is dissolved and the individual becomes one with the Higher.

Those who place the greatest value on reflection will follow the path of Raja Yoga (the Royal Path), the way designed to control and overpower the mind through mental concentration. A branch of Raja Yoga is Hatha Yoga that prepares the Yogi for the higher levels of Raja Yoga.

Classical hatha yoga (Swami Sivananda)

I have followed my Classical Hatha Yoga training at Arhantha Yoga India. The Arhanta Yoga follows the rich tradition and philosophy of Swami Sivananda and Sri Vivekananda and requires a combination of the different ways of Yoga. Swami Sivananda recognized that every person has intellect, heart, body and mind and therefore recommends that everyone should practice certain techniques from every path. Taking into account the individual nature and preference, someone can emphasize a certain path of Yoga.

A fixed pattern
The lesson consists of concentration, breathing exercises, sun salutations, postures and relaxation exercises.

We practice the Kapalbhati and Anulom Vilom and the
Yogic breathing.

A lesson is started with a short relaxation, followed by sun salutations, a fixed series of postures and ended with concentration and relaxation exercises.

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga follows a set pattern. Vinyasas (smooth movements) link together asanas (static positions).
Over time, your practice becomes a meditation in motion.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is living with full attention. Living in the here and now. Being completely awake and observing without prejudice.
Jon Kabat-Zinn
distinguish 3 elements in mindfulness:

1. Focused attention (conscious)
2. In the current moment
3. Without judging (open, friendly)

Integral Yoga

Integral Yoga by Sri Aurobindo & Mother is a combination of Hatha Yoga, Pranayama and meditation to ensure that you get to know your inner self. You work with your attention focused on your crown.

“the power from above”.

Yoga Nidra

Nidra means “Yogic Sleep”. It is a consciousness sleep. There is consciousness without thoughts. It is not a meditation. Rather the opposite. You withdraw your senses and the mind is not concentrated, but rather brought to sleep. You are aware of the fact that you practice Yoga Nidra.

Hatha Yoga

Most modern forms of yoga are branches of Hatha Yoga. It can be described as a system for self-transformation. Balancing body, mind and energy to reduce suffering and increase happiness.

Zuna - Tantra Yoga

Tantra = Accelerate, Weave.
Zuna Yoga is a system after the oldest known living tradition of Eastern philosophy and science. It follows the Tantra tradition of Sri Vidya. Tantra Yoga has its roots in Hatha Yoga. It is the science of being.

Pilates

Pilates is a workout where it is primarily about the perfect control of the movement.
This exercise method promotes control, flexibility, coordination and tone of the muscles without increasing the size.

This is a form of movement based on the subject matter and theory of Joseph Pilates.

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