Hatha Yoga, Ha = Prana & tha = Mind; one of the original and classical yoga practices, traces its origins which date back to 6th BC, though it seems that it was established around the 6th to 15th AD, the approximate time when the most important texts on Hatha Yoga were written by Svātmārāma; these classic texts are known as Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
The foundation of Hatha Yoga
The basis on this practice is physical purification with Asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques) which need to be developed over many years, for preparation of the next stages of one’s yoga practice and the higher states of awareness accessed via meditation. Hatha Yoga is a system of purification of the physical and the internal workings of the body, with cleansing techniques which were known as Shatkarma, they consisted of Neti (cleansing of the nasal passages, Basti (colon cleanse), Kapalhati (skull shining) breathin technique cleansing of the frontal brain, Trataka which develops focus and Nauli which massages the abdomen, through isolation of abdominal muscles vertically. Shatkarma is the foundation of Hatha Yoga and all other yoga practices, after comes the stages of Asana (yoga postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) to further purify the body and mind, also the nervous system needs to be balanced and harmonized which has a direct influence on the brain. Once the body and mind have been balanced and purified then the energy of the body flows smoothly and the state of harmony can be achieved. The cleansing techniques of Hatha Yoga helps the aspirant to prepare for the subtle changes that manifest when practicing pranyama, some of these changes have been recognized, lowering of the respiratory rate, increased heat for cleansing internally, brain patterns modifying and awakening of the deeper centers in the brain, hormones are affected also, so cleansing preparation helps to prepare for the changes that occur when going deeper into Hatha Yoga.
Hatha Yoga intergrates balance
When there is balance of Ha-tha Prana and Mind then the higher consciousness awakens, in Tantra this polarity is known as Shiva and Shakhi, in Taoism it is called Yin and Yang, in Hatha Yoga we have Ida and Pingala which is stimulated and regulated by the left and right nostrils in Pranayama. The beginning stages of Hatha Yoga is to discipline the body, as to try and discipline the mind first could prove to be difficult, with the further development of Hatha Yoga one needs to practice Mudras (gestures), these help to facilitate deeper levels of awareness, Mudras help to stimulate and channel our internal and psychic energy. Some Mudras would consist of lower locking of the pelvic floor region which is known as Vajroli for men and Sahajoli for women, this method help us to maintain our sexual reservoir from leaks and helps to develop our potential to access the advance stages of Yoga, we include similar methods in our inner sexual alchemy courses. Hatha Yoga is the foundation and can be used as a preparatory practice for Raja yoga, Tantra Yoga , Kundalina Yoga and Kriya Yoga. Hatha Yoga is a system of creating balance of our internal energies, it helps the yoga practitioner to harmonize the feminine and masculine power within us all, usually these energies will be in a state of imbalance, the imbalance within may initiate sickness physically or mentally and these imbalances when they become evident, may encourage people to start practicing yoga or other energetic disciplines like Chi Kung and Reiki.
Maintaining our health and developing the deeper aspects of Yoga
The body produces waste and it is important for us to clean all product of internal waste, the waste in our body consist of mucus, acid and gas, through the practice of Hatha Yoga we work as a whole and deal directly with the purification of waste accumulation, throughout the whole body, such as the respiratory system and circulatory system, we also have to work with our nervous impulses as these need to be regulated and stable, our Yoga practice needs to be consistent but balanced, this will help to improve and maintain our health and state of mind. Hatha Yoga helps to initiate the physical body, so that the pranic flow and the metal powers which interact with each other are transformed to a positive quality, thus developing the power of unity within us; we also see this method applied in Chi Kung. Hatha Yoga is a step to achieving real Yoga, union with body, mind and self. Once we have ascended our internal power (Kundalini) from the lower self and it ascends and resides in the brain (anja chakra) we start to develop higher levels of awareness then we have achieved the goal of Hatha Yoga, thereafter Hatha Yoga we start to develop Yoga (union) via accessing super or higher consciousness. If we wish to develop further in Yoga we have to perfect Hatha Yoga and Pranayama, we need to surrender some aspects of ourselves which no longer support us, to further the development of or Yoga practices. Hatha Yoga helps us to improve our health as we develop our practices and allows us to further develop our spirit for our evolution..