Hatha Yoga: Definition, Origin, and Benefits

Yoga is a form of exercise that improves mental and physical well-being and ensures harmony between me and the mind. The homeland of yoga, dating back to 3000 BC, is India. The philosophy of yoga is to listen to yourself. Therefore, when deciding which yoga to do, it is necessary to find your expectations from yoga, what you need, and the area that interests you. There are many types of Yoga, such as Hatha Yoga, Asthanga Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga, and Kundalini Yoga. In this article, I will give information about the definition, origin, and benefits of Hatha Yoga.

Hatha Yoga is a system created by Swatmarama, who lived in India and wrote the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. By his own definition, “hatha yoga is the process of purifying the body and mind for meditation”. The word Hatha means powerful. Hatha Yoga is a system of sequences designed to align your skin, muscles, and bones with physical exercises, known as asanas or postures, and breathing. Postures are also designed to open many channels of the body, especially the main channel, the spine. So energy can flow freely.

Hatha Yoga is a powerful tool for self-transformation. All the power of body and mind is obtained. This potential becomes more self-fulfilling as it gets deeper in practice. However, from the first moment, relaxation, calmness, freedom of movement, increase in balance, ability to concentrate, be sober, self-confidence, focus, and satisfaction are felt. Hatha also means sun (“ha”) and moon (“tha”). “Ha” represents yang or masculine, and “tha” represents yin or feminine. This refers to the balancing of the masculine aspects (challenge, the power to say no, movement) and the feminine aspects (surrender, the power to say yes, stay with what is) within us all.

It is a way of balancing and connecting opposites. Integrity is the coming together of our different sides. We learn to balance our efforts and commitments to each pose, as well as developing strength and flexibility, movement and breathing, and balance of mind and body. Hatha Yoga was accepted by the world health organization under the health title in the 20th century.

What Is Hatha Yoga?

Hatha Yoga is not a system for being physically fit. It’s not a religion, not a ‘cult’, not a New Age. It does not require any belief, it does not impose anything blindly. There is no need to worship, kneel, confess. It’s not a lifestyle with a specific value system. No need to light incense and wear weird clothes. No need to refuse meat, cigarettes, alcohol, sex, or money. Hatha Yoga is a spiritual practice. In other words, it is an application that clarifies what happened and provides harmony within the whole. In this way, Hatha Yoga is both a science and an art. Hatha Yoga is practiced with impartiality, passion and enlightenment, harmony, beauty, and inspiration.

Hatha Yoga, practically yoga itself, unlocks one’s potential. This means that all the power of body and mind is obtained. This potential becomes more evident as it gets deeper in practice. However, from the first moment, relaxation, calmness, freedom of movement, increase in balance, ability to concentrate, be sober, self-confidence, focus, and satisfaction are felt. These can also be felt after a single lesson. In this way, the desire to continue the lesson awakens thanks to its immediate effects.

Postures practiced in Hatha Yoga allow us to let go of restrictive body and mental habits. Hatha Yoga asks us to abandon our old and limiting habits. It frees us from the familiar and the known. It makes us feel comfortable and safe with what is unknown and unfamiliar. It reveals the underlying of our limiting habits. It allows the potential sleeping in the depths to rise to the surface. Uncovering this potential is not like building a structure. It’s not like pulling something out. Potential is the spontaneous occurrence of changes in our being as a result of research and acceptance.

We no longer identify with superficial, temporary, disconnected, momentary situations, momentary emotions, feelings, thoughts, momentary ideas, and beliefs. They are only allowed to take place temporarily, without losing consciousness of the whole. The meaning of yoga is wholeness. Integrity, coming together of different sides. With coming together, each separate piece gets stronger. Integration takes place at many different levels: the integrity of movement and breath, the integrity of muscle and muscle, bone and bone, the anatomical and physiological body, the external and central nervous system, the mind and body, thought and behavior, desire, and intention.

Here is the purpose and function of yoga: presenting ourselves to us as a whole. Not for more flexible, stronger, more balanced, or any other external benefit. These are the accidental side effects of yoga. However, if we focus too much on these, we will miss the main point. If there is such a narrow target in the mind, the mind cannot be stable and comfortable, there cannot be integrity. Ambition creates tension that disturbs the mind. Integrity requires a mind that is open, tolerant, and tolerates all our different sides. These parties may seem contradictory when not seen on the whole.

5 Basic Attitudes in Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga suggests a certain attitude so that we can taste the fruits of yoga. The attitudes and tendencies defined by Patanjali describe the attitude. These create certain effects (pranayama) in their sleeping environment (asana). Hatha Yoga practice should be done without violence (ahimsa). Before pushing the limits of the body, one must be sensitive to those limits. Hatha Yoga is not just going beyond the limits. To recognize their existence and invite them to melt in the light of our attention. Sensitivity is essential for a safe application. Hatha Yoga enables the use of muscles, tendons, and joints we do not know. It can be dangerous to push them hastily by pursuing a goal. Before we can recognize our limits, we must be ready to find them.

Hatha Yoga practice should be done with honesty (Satya). That is, we must apply using all our resources and not assume resources that do not exist. If we can straighten our legs, we can. If feet can take root, let them fall. If not, we don’t force it. Honesty is essential for psychologically safe practice. Without honesty, we can fall into ambition and get further away from ourselves. Before we let go of our limits, we need to get to know them.

Hatha Yoga practice should be done with openness (Asteya). We shouldn’t approach yoga with lots of ideas in pursuit of the results we want. These ideas distract us from what is really happening. Of course, there are some prejudices at first. However, with practice, we learn to let go of these prejudices. To ask for more (from yoga or anything else) is the understanding of a poor mindset. Asking for more where it isn’t is a stealing style. Before we let go of our limits, we must accept them.

The practice of Hatha Yoga should be done with focus (brahmacharya). Energy should not be wasted. We spend a lot of energy while forcing the body into poses that it is not ready for, or trying to impose inherent rhythms and quality on the breath. Working for more consumes us, slowly but surely. Equally, wasted energy is about daydreaming. Living in a fantasy world is the opposite of yoga. We must be able to focus on our limits so we can let them go.

Hatha Yoga practice should be done with generosity (aparigraha). For years, we have lived with contempt for the body and squeezed into constricting habits. It takes time to change this. We need to respect our limits so we can let them go. These five attitudes are actually not separate from each other. It takes honesty to be sensitive, and openness to be honest. One needs to be generous to be open and focused to be generous. These attitudes that are constantly intertwined create an attitude in the mind; Without this attitude, yoga practice would be limited. It should be applied with five orientations at the same time.

Other Attitudes Related to Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga should be done with dedication (Saua). Yoga is a challenging process. We must do it without holding ourselves back, without hesitation. We must dedicate all our energy, attention, and effort to this. It invites a complete man, cleanliness, and purity to our practice. Without this, the fruits will be rotten. Hatha Yoga practice should be done with sincere satisfaction (Samtosha). Not out of disgust, doubt, and concern. Our love for the practice we do should inspire us, not hold on to its results.

Hatha Yoga practice should be done with a burning passion (tapas). If we do not practice the discoveries of life, full of passion for existence, it is not possible to continue satisfied when we face difficulties. Hatha Yoga should be done as a self-study (Svadhyaya). Self-research is the heart of yoga. Not all techniques go beyond being a mirror of our inner world. Any other motivation has limited and possibly problematic consequences.

Hatha Yoga practice should be done with a feeling of gratitude (işvarapranidana). The feeling of gratitude cannot be faked and is the result of authentic practice. This is our biggest security that protects us. Yoga techniques are the methods that increase energy and generate energy. Whatever we bring into practice, this element echoes in layers. We need to be humble in the face of the greatness of existence so that these resonating things are not fear, ambition, desire, and selfishness.

Yama (attitude) and Niyama (orientation) are the inevitable ingredients in which yoga asanas are practiced. As a result, pranayama (yoga breathing) matures to reach the heart of yoga with pratyahara (meditative internalization): Dharana (meditative concentration), dhyana (meditative mind), and samadhi (meditative disappearance). These are the 8 branches of yoga according to Ashtanga Yoga, in other words, Patanjali. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras form the basis of classical yoga. In time, we can understand how the attitude and orientation described in the Yoga Sutras are intertwined with practice. The theory is at one extreme, the practice is not at the one extreme, when we realize that the two are not separate from each other, yoga will become integrated with ourselves.

The Simplicity of the Five Elements when Practicing Hatha Yoga

  • Ether: Awareness (drişti)
  • Air: Breath (pranayama)
  • Water: Flow (vinyasa)
  • Fire: Energy (bandha)
  • Soil: Alignment (asana)

Each of the elements represents different energy. As we get to know the energies, we begin to understand yoga better. Divided into styles and sometimes contradictory, yoga practices integrate into five elements. Contradictions come to an end. Simple and clear, yoga can be understood, felt, and practiced. Each element has an expression in Hatha Yoga practice. These expressions are in parentheses. For example, awareness is expressed more concretely as the focal point of the eye. The water element manifests itself in the flow, etc.

The diversity in yoga styles is due to the emphasis on different energies. For example, meditation-based exercises, emphasizing the ether and air; Because the expansion of awareness and focus on the breath is at the forefront. Kundalini Yoga is the expression of fire and air; Because breathing exercises are done specifically to awaken the Kundalini energy. Iyengar Yoga is the expression of the earth; because the most important factor is that the body is in alignment.

Which one is more effective yoga practice? We can assume that a study that uses all elements in a balanced way can be most beneficial. For example, we can observe that only the soil, that is, those who work the alignment of the body, begin to become dry and hard; Because the side effects of excess soil are hardness and dryness. May be physically tough-looking, and prescriptive, and narrow-minded in character. The person can be exhausted and tired only with fire works. Only with meditation can the person’s feet start not to touch the ground and there may be a departure from the practical elements in life. When we practice Hatha Yoga with the balance of the five elements, there is no need for another yoga, the fruits of yoga enable us to live life in balance and full.

How to Perform Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is one of the pathways that leads to the ultimate goal of Raja Yoga meditation or contemplation. It is a powerful key to connecting with the sacred and transitioning to a state of pure consciousness. Hatha Yoga was first coded in India in the 15th century. Hatha (pronounced “ha – tuh”) yoga consists of combining two Sanskrit terms meaning “sun” and “moon”. The Sun, ie “-hat” represents the active and masculine side, the Moon “Ha” represents the more passive, intuitive, and feminine side. With Hatha Yoga, it is possible to attain the power of expressing the unity of these masculine and feminine aspects and to realize the divine through the formation of this unity.

The goal of Hatha Yoga is to purify the body and help to remove the blockages that occur in the mind and body. It balances the body and the body through physical postures and exercises, that is, asanas, through controlled breathing, relaxation, and calming through meditation. Asanas teach posture, balance, and strength. They were originally (and still are) practiced as a mind cleansing process to improve the physical state of the body and to prepare for meditation in seeking enlightenment.

In the West, Hatha Yoga has moved away from its original purpose, transforming it into a physical exercise program, and has become quite popular in a hollow state. Western experts, psychologists, and physiologists are interested in Hatha Yoga to control bodily processes. Meditation is not just an exercise for physical recovery. In this way, it will be handled with only one aspect, and the applications will never give the desired result because they are far from their main purpose.

All meditations such as Hatha Yoga have been balance teachings that bring people together with their own nature, not as a way of distancing and diverting people, considering that material and spirituality are complementary elements. Health cannot provide a permanent improvement just by striving in the physical direction. Health includes both physical and spiritual integrity. Hatha Yoga will be a sacred one that encourages people to unity in all respects, removes borders, ends separation so that we can feel the power of eternity within us.

By balancing the various aspects of the sun and the moon, it is possible to increase the concentration and skill of the body and mind. Hatha Yoga, basically, is an excellent handbook for taking one point scientifically, focusing from a single point, through the control stages of one’s body. This application has many benefits and can be applied by anyone. Among the physical and mental benefits of hatha yoga are the following:

  • It reduces all permanent or temporary effects of stress.
  • Increases the ability to cope, overcome.
  • It helps to increase vitality and general abundance.
  • Provides relaxation by increasing strength and flexibility.
  • It improves and strengthens immune system functions.
  • Strengthens the cardiovascular system
  • Improves digestion and metabolism
  • Helps increase hormone production
  • It relieves depression and anxiety.
  • It increases the feelings of health and well-being.
  • Increases athletic performance in all endeavors
  • Adds a greater sense of clarity and concentration

Yoga gives the position for strength and harmony. Breathing and movement are essential for coordination and harmony. With calm breathing, your nervous system will relax and then you can relax. Focused breathing will increase the balance of your body in all respects. This information is ideal teaching for those who want to take time to relax in their lives. In every classroom, some movements are required to reduce joint tension and increase spinal mobility.

There are also breathing techniques that encourage calmness to reduce stress and relaxation. Each class will result in relaxation. As you embark on this path, you should know that Hatha Yoga is a powerful meditation. First of all, knowing, realizing the truth in every way is great enlightenment that will take place through meditation. The terms may be superficial, making the meaning incomplete, but every step taken in the consciousness of meditation will open the door to a greater understanding.

Spiritual Power of Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is an important meditation that will be covered in many aspects. It is a sacred guide that explains the individual’s relationship with the whole in an individual sense, and at the same time exists to ensure an inner awakening and a serious awareness. Every individual always strives for his happiness. But since he does not know how to do it and where to find it, he often seeks his search in worldly pleasures and even if he gains temporary happiness, he cannot find complete peace.

As a result, Hatha Yoga appears as a guide. Man is not just a corporeal being with worldly needs. All of us express this clearly to us. Because just getting beauty, just money or just power, again, doesn’t please us in all ways. For centuries, there have been searches for this reason, and one of the ways wisdom created as a result of these searches has been meditation.

Although man has been exploring the earth, sky, and universe, his discovery with himself has always been incomplete. Hatha Yoga appears as a subtle science that reveals this missing side of human beings and enables us to feel that abstract lightness within our bodies. Of course, we will all have material desires and desires in this life. Hatha Yoga is not about isolating oneself from everything, but to reveal the unity of matter and spirit. It reveals the fact that our inner state constitutes reality and shows that improvement can occur from within, not from outside.

This class is a more meditative practice. It will also have a powerful effect when you tend to keep posture training in position for longer. It will then help you release tension in the body so that you can continue to do Pranayama (yogic breathing). This lesson will end with 10-minute quiet sitting meditation.

In fact, meditation is not only practiced at certain times, it should continue after meditation when we return to daily life. In reality, meditation is not a temporary trance state, but being aware of every moment and gaining the ability to stay always now. Today, many religions have ways of worship. These prayers have lost their meaning for a long time and have turned into symbolic movements. It is necessary to notice this subtlety so that the same thing does not happen in many meditations such as Hatha Yoga.

Because doing just one job to the body can give a feeling of only physical comfort, it should be able to comprehend the essence of the permanent work and expand the window of understanding. As a result, it should be understood that Hatha Yoga is not just a mystical philosophy, but a scientific, rational, and spiritual strengthening guide in all respects. Thanks to this meditation, first of all, your perceptions change and allow you to review your values ​​from beginning to end.

This means that awakening is the basis for all healing. Therefore, this foundation begins to be important in our lives thanks to these meditations. As every science has a teacher and a separate way to learn every science, Hatha Yoga is a learning method of this world of science and an experience that enlightens us in the way of life.

Benefits of Hatha Yoga

“Hatha Yoga” is a phrase often heard by beginners in yoga. If we look at it as a word meaning; “Hatha” means strong, tough. It is also used to mean ‘Ha’, Sun, ‘Tha’, Moon. The properties of the sun are masculine and earthy. It represents heat and action. It represents our creative side. The features of the moon are female, light, and airy. It represents our innovative side, which is cooler and open to taking. We need to be familiar with both sides of this equation and be able to establish a healthy connection between them in order to reach the whole.

Many styles of yoga practiced in the West are branches of Hatha Yoga. Like Vinyasa, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Power. Detailed written sources and pose descriptions about Hatha Yoga date back just a few centuries. Hatha Yoga Pradipika is the first essential resource written about Hatha Yoga by the Indian sage Swami Swatmarama in the 14th century. It is an encyclopedic resource and contains detailed information about asana, Shatkarma, pranayama, mudra, bandha, samadhi. (Other sources: Shiva Samhita, Gheranda Samhita) According to the original texts, Hatha Yoga has three purposes:

1) Complete purification of the body
2) Complete balancing of the physical, mental, and energetic fields.
3) Awakening the state of pure consciousness by establishing the ultimate connection with the Holy One through physical body exercises

Hatha Yoga uses our physical, mental, emotional aspects, our most subtle state, our most elusive inner nature, that is, whatever we have, as raw material. The aim is to use them to open ourselves to learning, seeing, all our imagination, cognition, passion, energy, awareness of spiritual life. It includes physical exercises (asanas, poses) and breathing exercises (Pranayama) designed to align the skin, muscle, and bone in the body. Pranayama includes breath observation and breath manipulation.

By progressing patiently in the asana and breathing practice, depth is gained over time. If you attend at least three classes a week, this process starts to show its healing. My advice to you is to keep a diary and note every experience that occurs in your body, mind, and inner world after each practice. It is to witness every step of your yoga journey.

The Reason for Choosing Hatha Yoga

There are many different types of yoga and it can be difficult to find out which style is right for you. Most styles of yoga are based on the same basic yoga poses, but the experience of one style can be radically different from another. For this reason, it is very important for your mental and body health to decide which style to choose.

Hatha yoga, which is a very old style, is suitable for yoga beginners today. In Sanskrit, Hatha means power. Hatha yoga breathing techniques can date back to the 1st century in both Buddhist and Hindu texts, but 1000 years before the use of yoga postures or asanas, breath control was known as a way to increase vital energy.

Hatha yoga is a general category that includes most yoga styles. It is an ancient system that includes asana (yoga postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises) practices that help to achieve mind and body harmony and prepare the body for deeper spiritual practices such as meditation. Today, the term Hatha is used so widely that it is difficult to know what a particular Hatha style will look like. However, in most cases, it will be relatively soft and slow for beginners or students who prefer a more casual style.

Breath: Most hatha yoga exercises begin with a period of focusing on your breathing or pranayama.
Poses: Also called postures or asanas, yoga poses are a series of movements that help improve balance, flexibility, and strength. Poses can range from lying flat on the floor to physically demanding positions.
Meditation: Most hatha yoga sessions end with a short meditation. In this silent reflection period, it is possible to get old behind you and feel comfortable. Tibetan songs can be used in some cases.

Hatha yoga classes use breathing to create a link between body and mind. It also builds flexibility and strength while minimizing the chance of injury. This versatile style balances and unfolds the body. Therefore, it is the right choice for beginners. In addition to greater flexibility and strength, a hatha yoga practice provides all the other usual benefits of yoga such as reduced stress, lower blood pressure, more energy, and better sleep.

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Savaş Ateş

I like meditation and yoga. I read a lot of books about them. I applied them in my daily life. I want to write about my experiences.

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