To fully understand the meaning of the word Hatha Yoga it is necessary to analyze its translation from Sanskrit, or the ancient Indian language to which yoga refers.
As for the word Yoga now there should no longer be any doubt about its meaning :), but if there are any, I remind you that it comes from Yuj, and that means "to unite" or "subdue", and refers to the union of body with mind and spirit.
The word Hatha, on the other hand, has a double meaning. First it means "effort" and refers to the mental and physical effort required to practice yoga.
(Mental effort is necessary for practicing yoga with regularity and constancy over time, while physical effort is necessary to practice asanas and all the other techniques that make up the universe of yoga, such as pranayama, mudra, bandha or le purification techniques.)
Hatha Yoga can therefore be translated as "yoga of effort", but this is not the only interpretation.
The word Hatha, in fact, also has another meaning.
Ha means "sun" and refers to the masculine energy, which flows into the right energy channel of our body and which is also called Pingala. While Tha means "moon", and refers to the feminine energy, to the energy that flows into the body's left energy channel and is called Ida.
The word Hatha, therefore, represents in this case the two polarities, the opposing energies that are brought together to function in harmony.
For this reason, Hata yoga is also called "the yoga of the sun and the moon" (yang and yin respectively), and its practice teaches us that the body, mind and spirit are one, unique and indivisible thing.
So we could say that the practice of Hatha yoga aims to keep these two polarities in balance and in harmony, and to do so requires physical and mental effort.
For example, if at a given time or period we feel hyperactive, nervous or agitated, it is likely that there is an excess of masculine energy in our bodies, (pingala) and to restore balance in body and mind, it is useful to dedicate oneself to a gentle, quiet, calm and relaxed yoga practice that stimulates feminine energy (ida).
(Such as the Chandra Bedhana Pranayama breathing technique, which stimulates Ida nadi, the energy channel associated with the energy of the moon or the parasympathetic nervous system.)
On the contrary, when we feel lethargic, tired and lack enthusiasm and vitality, it is likely that the Ida feminine energy is in excess, and in this case, to restore balance in body and mind, it is necessary to stimulate Pingala, the solar energy, through a more physical and more intense yoga practice, such as the asanas working on the abdominals or on the third chakra (manipura) or with some vigorous cycles of Saluti al Sole.
The purpose of Hatha yoga
As we have seen, Hatha yoga aims to maintain the two opposite polarities, Yin and yang, in harmony and balance, through the fulfillment of a physical and mental effort.
But it's not over here.
In fact, there is a "higher level", a more "advanced" stage of yoga, one that according to the Yogasutra of Patanjali (the oldest reference text on yoga), should lead us to the ultimate goal of yoga, namely Samadhi, or the "Bliss", the state in which the ego is canceled, the dualities becoming one, the mental afflictions are silenced, and the mind is still.
This ultimate goal is achieved through the practice of Raja Yoga, a very "mental" and meditative style of yoga that requires a high degree of physical, mental and energetic preparation.
Origins of Hatha yoga
The ancient tradition of yoga is like a wide and deep river fed by many oral and written sources, but also iconography, dances and songs.
It was thanks to Patanjali, and to his famous text - the " Yoga Sutras of Patanjali ", written about in the 3 sec. ac -, that yoga has begun to take shape.
The text gathers in logical order all the previous teachings, which were often transmitted only verbally.
However, the yoga that Patanjali told us about, even though it is still a point of reference for most yoga training schools, does not concern the practice of positions.
The Yoga Sutras, in fact, have an especially mental characteristic, and it is as if they were a manual that describes and identifies in 8 anga or "steps", the ultimate goal of yoga, namely Samadhi, or the state of bliss, and the the only asana that is treated is the sitting meditative position, which according to Patanjali must be sthira sukham asanam and that is "comfortable and stable".
Thus, from the beginning of the history of yoga to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the body of the body is not considered to be an instrument for achieving bliss, or Samadhi.
Later, with the development of tantrism, we began to understand the value of the body, of sensations and emotions as a means to transcend freeing the mind, and it is in this age that the term Hatha yoga was used for the first time. which, unlike Patanjali's yoga, also included physical effort, through the practice of postures.
Hatha yoga therefore originates from tantrism, and in this particularly creative age the Mantra, the Kundalini yoga, the Nada yoga ( sound yoga) have also spread.
The first official Hatha Yoga text with detailed descriptions of positions and techniques is attributed to Svatmarama and dates back to around 1400 AD.
Since that moment of Hatha Yoga, writing and speaking have continued up to the present day, and from the teaching and evolution of this discipline dozens of styles and schools of yogic thought, all belonging to the same "Root", the one that first considered the body, and the practice of positions, as an element to transcend the mind.
So, when we talk about Iyengar yoga (by master Iyengar) or Ashtanga yoga (by master Patthabhi Jois), or the most modern of Bikram yoga (by master Bikram Choudhury) and Yin yoga (by master Bernie Clark), well, nothing else they are derivations of Hatha yoga.
At this point you may be wondering why, if all the styles come from Hatha Yoga, in some schools specific courses of Hatha yoga are proposed, differentiating them from other styles.
Characteristics of the practice
As we have seen, the word Hatha refers to any style of yoga in which positions are practiced (asanas).
However, when we talk about yoga lessons, generally the term Hatha is used to indicate a slow-paced type of lesson, in which physical effort is reduced, and where muscle stretching and endurance are cured much more than effort physical intended.
For this reason, Hatha yoga lessons are easily sustainable by most people.
A Hatha yoga lesson, in fact, includes mostly static and / or dynamic positions performed with a slow rhythm, and much importance is given to breathing, emphasizing the breath coordinated with the movement.
Generally the Hatha yoga lessons follow a common structure, and begin with a moment of recollection standing, sitting, or on the ground.
At this stage we focus on breathing and we begin to bring attention to the internal world. To emphasize interiorization, you can use mudras, and / or chant mantras.
Subsequently, we move on to static or dynamic asanas, which are used to heat the body. Alternatively, as a warm-up, some Sun Salutation cycles can also be performed.
The lesson normally continues with the practice of asanas: standing, extending backward, twisting, forward bending, inversions. Afterwards, breath control techniques (Pranayama) are performed and end with the Shavasana final relaxation, or alternatively with meditation.
The lesson ends with a moment of recollection in which the OM mantra (the sound that gave rise to the universe) is repeated or expressing gratitude towards something or someone, according to the teacher's creativity.
Obviously the way in which a lesson is composed, and the rhythm with which it is performed, depend very much on the teacher,© 2019 reliberceed.com and for this reason you can participate in completely different Hatha yoga lessons between them... but this is good, as gives us the opportunity to experiment with different practices and styles.
Furthermore, in modern times, it is becoming increasingly common to mix more styles together. In this sense I have to admit that I too have transformed my teaching a lot, and if initially I drew a lot on the teachings of integral yoga, today my lessons are influenced by the various formations that I have followed over the years.
Moreover, since I realized that yoga can also be proposed in a "personalized" way according to a specific goal, and to adapt yoga to the needs of the "western" lifestyle, I have directed my style in that direction, creating specific sequences for the most common disorders (such as stress and insomnia), for sport, and for everyday life.. just to give you the opportunity to experiment and choose what is best for you.
Click here to take a look at all the available lessons on Yoga n 'Ride>
The Benefits of Hatha Yoga
In general the benefits deriving from the practice of Hatha yoga are the same or similar to those of other yoga styles, and below we will see which are the main ones.
But one thing that distinguishes this style from others is that Hatha yoga, giving much emphasis to breathing, is especially beneficial for the nervous system.
It is therefore very useful for eliminating stress, anxiety, fighting insomnia and all the disorders related in some way with the nervous system.
All this thanks to the development of the proprioception that is acquired during the practice of the positions and the breath control techniques, which teach us to breathe correctly and to manage the breath to promote mental well-being.
To explore more deeply the blessings of yoga, I suggest you read the post: The 12 benefits of yoga... while below you list the main benefits:
It re-oxygenates all the cells of the body, improving the functionality of organs, tissues and systems
Generates strength, energy and vitality
Improves body flexibility
Detoxifies the body
Aging slows down
Improves balance and concentration
Prevents and treats back pain and other diseases
Maintains the cardio-circulatory system in good health
Increases the quality of breath, improving breathing capacity
In pregnancy it is good for the mother and baby
Gives clarity and mental tranquility, reducing the flow of thoughts
Reduces anxiety, depression and panic attacks
Helps manage emotions
Helps stop smoking
Improves sexual performance
Helps to solve problems
Helps to control weight and manage nervous hunger
Helps to control weight
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