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HATHA YOGA  (The yoga of purifying the body through yogic techniques)

                    According to the postulates of ancient yore saints and Siddhars, hatha yoga will become the most popular yoga in this scientific age.  Hatha yoga means twisting and bending of body through asanas, regulation of breath through pranayama, and concentration to attain God by meditation.  All these three form “Hatha Yoga.”  ‘Ha’ means ‘sun’ and ‘tha’ means ‘moon,’ by uniting both sun and moon present within one’s body, this yoga is termed as Hatha yoga.  This yoga completely stresses on the importance of body, mind and breath tuning.  “Body should work at the speed of the mind” is the concept of a hatha yogi.  An average hatha yogi will be lean, healthy-appearing and his body will be in tune with the mind.  He will be mostly concentrating on body flexibility, regulation of breath, mind power and control of thought waves.

                   Hatha yoga affects mind through body.  It is seen as a way of attuning your body for meditation.  Some hatha postures tend to induce Samadhi through some direct means.  The yogic postures in this yoga are extremely ancient.  The founder of this yoga tradition is Goraksanatha, who lived during first few centuries A.D.  In 15th century, Swami Swarathmananda, complied all the important yogasanas and wrote the famous book “Hatha yoga pradipika.”  He classified the art as meditation, pranayama, asanas, bandhas, mudras, and kriyas.  These are the basic steps to attain liberations in the path of hatha yoga.  The yogi, by practicing this art, learns to control ‘prana’ or ‘life force’ by different mental and physical techniques and he succeeds in channeling the power to produce a cosmic energy that transcends time and place.

                   Hatha yoga mainly aims at subtle body building or generation of prana.  The channel and energy centers of the subtle body correspond to the physical body.  The central channel is ‘sushmana’ (spinal column) where life energy is found.  The other two channels are ‘ida’ and ‘pingala’ (the left and right nostril).

                   Centers of energy are called ‘chakras.’  Usually, seven yoga chakras are said by yogis in physical body.  When these chakras are opened, the practitioner, experiences higher level of consciousness thus making him to be aware of himself and universe.  These chakras are but nerve centers in physical body.  When cleansed and purified with hatha yoga techniques, the yogi experiences yogic bliss.

                   The training process of hatha yoga for a yogi gives him extraordinary control over his natural human functions.  For example, ability to perform feats such as buried alive for many days, swallowing poison, and remain unaffected, waling in water, etc.  These simple yoga siddhis demonstrate the yogi’s self-control, hard work, eligibility to reach higher true state.  All physical techniques are accompanied by mental disciplines and as usual observance of truth and nonviolence.
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