Hatha Yoga is a classical method of asanas practice, which is held in regulation
and observation of the body, breath, mind and the prevailing consciousness of
ourselves. Hatha yoga is a process of purification which unites the practitioner
with the whole, the inner and outer Universe.
The body is an instrument, a tool for the soul to experience the world. Hatha
yoga is the set of tools we use to tune, purify and adjust the subtle, gross and
spiritual aspects of the body to make its passage in this world as harmonic as
The word hatha also means ‘force’ in Sanskrit, and may have this association
because it is believed that its practice was challenging and ‘forced its results to
happen’ on the yogi. The term ‘Hatha yoga’ connotes a system of
supplementary physical techniques within the broader concept of Yoga.
Most forms of yoga in the West can be classified as Hatha Yoga. Hatha simply
refers to the practice of physical yoga postures, meaning your Ashtanga,
vinyasa, Iyengar and Power Yoga classes are all Hatha Yoga. The word ‘hatha’
can be translated from Sanskrit as ‘willful’ or ‘forceful’ the yoga of activity,
and as the yoga of balance. Hatha practices are designed to align and calm your body, mind, and spirit in preparation for meditation.
The Hatha yoga practice emphasizes proper diet, processes to internally purify
the body, proper breathing and its regulation particularly during the yoga
practice, and the exercise routine consisting of asanas (bodily postures). The
methodology sometimes includes sequences such as the Surya Namaskara, or ‘sun salutation’, which consists of several asanas performed as a fluid movement sequence.
The aims of Hatha yoga have traditionally been the same as those of other
varieties of yoga. They include physical siddhis (special powers or bodily
benefits such as slowing age effects) and spiritual liberation (moksha, mukti). In the 20th century, techniques of Hatha yoga particularly the asanas (physical
postures) became popular throughout the world as a form of physical exercise
for relaxation, body flexibility, strength and personal concentration to focus the mind. Hatha Yoga is a tool for holistic health, it is the first step you do, to reach higher stages of yoga, to experience your athma, your real self, samadhi – moksha.