Hatha Yoga is one of the most popular forms of Yoga and is widely practiced across the world by lay persons and Yogis alike. It considers the physical form or the human body to be the vehicle for the soul, and lays great importance on physical discipline.
The physical discipline is achieved through ‘asanas’ (postures), ‘pranayam’ (breathing exercises) and meditation. Through these activities, the body is shaped into a perfect receptacle for spiritual elements.
The ‘asanas’ and ‘pranayamas’ are used to power the energy channels called the ‘nadis’. The ‘asanas’ help to develop will power, concentration and self-withdrawal, and enable the practitioner of Hatha Yoga to move closer towards Samadhi, which is the Yogic term for inner peace and bliss.
The ‘asanas’, which are well thought-out physical exercises, make the human body supple and fitter. They make the muscles stronger, energize key organs, improve mind-body coordination and give the mind sufficient strength to stay cool and relaxed in times of crises.
‘Pranayama’ is equally important to the practice of Hatha Yoga. It is through these breathing exercises that you activate and channelise the vital life energy (termed as ‘Prana’). When this vital energy travels from the base of the spine to the top of the head, you can achieve Samadhi — the eternal bliss of inner peace and self-realization. This canalization of ‘Prana’ is also termed as Kundalini Yoga, which is one of the many branches of Yoga that has originated from Hatha Yoga.
The term ‘Hatha’ has been derived from the words ‘Ha’ and ‘Tha’; ‘Ha’ means ‘Sun’ and ‘Tha’ means ‘Moon’. In Yoga, the sun is perceived as radiating positive energy while the moon radiates negative energy. Thus, Hatha Yoga is based on the principle of a harmonizing union between the pairs of opposites (positive and negative). Therefore, taken together, the term ‘Hatha’ stands for ‘union of force’.
The prolonged practice of Hatha Yoga can help you recognize that a divine light shines within you. This awareness will make you stronger, more flexible and relaxed. The relaxation exercises involved in practicing Hatha Yoga opens the ‘nadis’ allowing your spiritual energy to flow freely.
Hatha Yoga is a great way to rid yourself of stress, tension and anxiety. It also helps you improve your overall health and fitness.
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