Hatha yoga is the style of yoga from which many of the various other forms of yoga originated. In fact, this is what we mostly refer to as yoga today and is the most popular, if only due to the sub forms of this type.
“Ha” means sun and “tha” means moon in Sanskrit. Hence Hatha refers to a pairing of opposites. Hatha yoga is aimed at trying to bring a balance between the body and the mind. It is aimed at freeing the various spiritual elements that are present in the mind. All of this is achieved through doing asanas, pranayama as well as meditation.
Asanas refers to the various body positions or poses. These are supposed to have various health benefits to the physical, causal as well as subtle bodies. The asanas were originally meant for meditation. This is because asanas give a calm to the body. Besides, the asanas enhance muscle flexibility and build upon bone strength. Not only this, they also act upon the non-physical aspects, such as building upon self-withdrawal, will power as well as the concentration of a person.
Pranayama refers to the breathing science. It is an important part of Hatha yoga as the yogic believed that the power of the mind can be unlocked through the controlling of breath. Thus, pranayama can be used in order to unleash the dormant energies inside our minds.
Practicing Hatha yoga helps to unleash the mental as well as the physical energies in our body. The continued performance of asanas will help to increase muscle flexibility. Meditation will help to relax in otherwise stressful situations. It helps to open the various energy channels which, in turn, allows the spiritual energy to flow freely. In fact, hatha yoga is also able to massage as well as tone the internal organs. Thus it is highly beneficial in the cases of diabetes, hypertension as well as arthritis. Even the internal as well as glandular functions are able to get balanced through practicing hatha yoga.
Pranayama has great benefits for people suffering from respiratory diseases such as bronchitis as well as asthma. Also, it offers benefit to people suffering from obesity too. Hatha yoga helps in lowering stress and anxiety. Besides, it helps to improve concentration. This helps to prepare the body for meditation and eventually, for enlightenment.
The literal translation of hatha yoga is forceful yoga. Hence, this is a type of yoga that requires a lot of physical effort. The asanas performed in Hatha yoga have two main purposes. Firstly, it prepares the body for doing real meditation. So it brings forth a physical posture in which a person can be comfortable for a really long time. The more positions that a person is able to master, the better will be their inner meditation techniques. The second objective of doing the asanas is to enhance the health of the body and mind by opening out the nadis.
Pranayama is the technique of mastering the breathing. Once that is achieved, it becomes easy to master the mind too. In fact, hatha yoga is the best way to start on the path of yoga.