What Is Hatha Yoga And It’s Benefits

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is one of the oldest forms of yoga, dating back from the early 15th century. In recent years, practice of Hatha Yoga has become more as a great means of improving physical well being by practicing several purification techniques. The name “Hatha” comes from the ancient Indo-Aryan language and is the combination of 2 words, “ha” meaning sun and “tha” meaning moon.

The idea behind Hatha yoga is to bring both the opposite ends together, uniting them together thus balancing the energies in human body. In hatha yoga, the main components are cleansing practices, body postures (Asanas) and breathing control (Pranayama). These components, when practiced makes the body fit and the mind becomes calm.

The Sanskrit word Yoga means communion with the Self or one’s own being.  It is the process of synchronizing the body, mind and the soul. It is a complete process supported by a well-defined philosophy, principles and ethics. Hatha yoga is the sanctuary of foundation in yoga for all those who seek knowledge on any style of yoga.

Hatha yoga is the starting point for any person in yoga. This style of yoga is one among the holistic paths which includes principles and practices to get the body equipped for practicing the higher levels in yoga. The asanas form the basics or first level of learning in Hatha Yoga. By making the body physically fit through asanas, the intensive practice brings steadiness, health and lightness on the body that purifies the body system.

To practice higher levels of meditation, one has to learn the asanas (postures) as mentioned in the Hatha Yoga. Hatha means two opposite energies – positive and negative.  By practicing Hatha Yoga, one learns the ways to balance the mind between these two.  The balancing is done by practicing asanas, breathing techniques and purification practices that cleanse the entire physical body system.

what is hatha yoga

Photo By Ron Sombilon

Hatha yoga is closely related with Kundlini yoga because of the fact that Kundalini yoga is more about the awakening of chakras, pranayam, etc.  The connection between body, mind, life, nadis, prana etc. is established through these processes in Hatha Yoga.

Following are the important components in Hatha yoga:

  1. Shatkarmas (purification techniques to prepare for the asanas & pranayam)
  2. Asana (body postures)
  3. Pranayam (breathing techniques)
  4. Chakras (subtle energy centers in the body)
  5. Kundlini (subtle energy for realizing the consciousness)
  6. Bandhas (locks in the body for channelizing the energy)
  7. Kriyas
  8. Shakti
  9. Nadis (channels)
  10. Mudras

Asanas (to name a few)

  • Gomukhasana
  • Matsyasana
  • Virasana
  • Vajrasana
  • Bhujangasana
  • Halasana
  • Dhanurasana
  • Sirshasana
  • Sarvangasana
  • Shalabhasana

Benefits of Hatha yoga:

  • Making the body joints flexible – practice of asanas
  • Increased awareness throughout the day
  • Prevent common stomach ailments and other diseases
  • Purifies the nadis (called as channels)
  • Cheerful face through practice of meditation and body purification
  • Sense of wellbeing through pranayama & breathing practices
  • Control over the mind by way of practicing asanas and purification techniques
  • Disciplined way of life
  • Live a lifestyle based on principles and ethics