Hatha Yoga

by Yoga Acharya Tej

Hatha Yoga is the classical teaching of Yoga which brings forth the modern styles of all asana practices. The word Hatha comes from two syllable ” Ha” which means sun and “tha” which means moon. So Hatha means the union of sun and moon. When this union has taken place, the yogi/yogini is said to be in Yoga, or the union between the individual and the cosmos.

Hatha Yoga practices include Asana ( Postures), Pranayama ( Breathing Techniques to control Prana), Bandhas ( locks) and Shatkarmas ( Purificatory techniques).

There are 3 primary Nadis or Energy channels which are flowing through the Astral body ( subtle body). These are called Pingala, Ida and Sushumna Nadis ( energy channels). These correspond to the Sympathetic, Para Sympathetic and the Spinal cord in the body.

Ha or the Sun channel corresponds to the the Pingala Nadi or the energy channel which is flowing to the right of the spinal cord. This also corresponds to the sympathetic nervous system and the flow of the prana through the solar or hot channel. Tha or the Moon channel corresponds to the Ida Nadi or the energy channel which is flowing to the left of the spinal cord. This also corresponds to the para sympathetic nervous system or the flow of the mind through the passive or cold channel.

The aim of Hatha Yoga is to make the union of these two opposite flowing energies, and bring them into the Sushumna nadi or the Central channel which corresponds to the spinal cord. When the energy has been united and raised into the Sushumna nadi, the kundalini shakti or the energy which is lying dormant at the base of the spine is awakened. This energy pierces the chakras one by one, and rises to the crown of the head, where illumination takes place.

Hatha Yoga practices are outlined in the Hatha Yoga Pradapika the ancient text of Yoga.