Hatha Yoga – Meaning and Purpose

Hatha Yoga is one of the first types of Yoga with which people have become acquainted world over. Most of the physical formats of Yoga as are popular today are all types of Hatha Yoga. The word ‘hatha’ consists of two seed words – ‘ha’ (sun) means ‘prana’ or energy flowing within the body and ‘tha’ (moon) means the mind or mental energy. Hatha means to bring balance in the energies of the sun and moon, or unify the vital energy of the body with the mental energy.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Sage Swatmarama (Indian sage of the 15th century) is one of the most fundamental Hatha Yoga texts.
He emphasizes that Hatha Yoga is to be practiced for the sole purpose of preparing oneself for the highest state of Raja Yoga.

Hatha Yoga practices seek to still the mental waters to prepare the practitioner for the higher practices of Yoga. It is essentially a manual for scientifically taking one’s body through stages of control to a point at which one-pointed focus on the un-manifested Self is possible. It takes the practitioner to the peaks of Raja Yoga i.e. the state of one pointed mind”. Hatha Yoga Pradipika states – “There can be no perfection if Hatha Yoga is without Raja Yoga, or Raja Yoga is without Hatha Yoga. Only with practice of both, perfection is attained”. Therefore, hatha Yoga is not a system of its own, but is merely a preliminary step for reaching to higher practices of Yoga.

Raja Yoga (state of one-pointed mind) is also understood as the king of sciences.
Different traditions follow different techniques; such as, Patanjali Yoga, Kundali Yoga, Laya Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Dhyana Yoga of Bhagavadgita, Raja Yoga in Upanishads, etc to reach to the state of Raja Yoga

Hatha Yoga involves maneuvering the body through its distinct practices i.e. through particular postures (asanas), along with breathing techniques (pranayama) involving neuro-muscular locks (bandhas), gestures (mudra) for controlling the life airs within the body and calming of the mind through relaxation and meditation. The term Hatha Yoga also has a specific measuring, to connote a special set of internal Yogic cleansing techniques, known as ‘Shat Karmas’. The main goal of Hatha yoga is to help keep the body in shape and free from disease, the mind peaceful and steady for spiritual pursuits, and the inner energy balanced and flowing.

Practice of Hatha Yoga begins the power to remove diseases, bodily or mental, its practices stretches & strengthens different parts of the body, massaging and bringing fresh blood to internal organs while rejuvenating the nervous system, lubricating joints, muscles and ligaments

Hatha Yoga is very useful in whatever spiritual process we pursue. If our body is too diseased, and if our mind too restless and unsteady, they become a hindrance in our quest for spiritual awareness and perfection. Having said this, although it is a part of spiritual process, even when taken as an isolated exercise technique without any spiritual interest one can still use it and acquire its benefits.

45 thoughts on “Hatha Yoga – Meaning and Purpose

  1. The study of yoga is purposeful with gains beyond imagination.
    Only after time and practice can any gain be even noticed.
    Thank you for presenting us with this introduction kindling a desire to seek further

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you Eddie. A comment such as this can only come from someone who has a body of practice and has tasted the benefits.
      Reconfirmation from true practitioners is what in my view most inspires people. I hope your words reache people…people who most need.
      Thank you once again for being here 🙏🧘☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I do not practice yoga but I like to nourish my knowledge by reading your entries. It is a fascinating world, especially when it refers to the power of the mind. If we can improve the mood and eliminate stress, then we are talking about a very beneficial technique to fight with everyday life. Now, if we add that it can correct the bad postures of the body, the benefit is already corporal and spiritual. But the highlight is the way you transmit it. Simple and precise to understand you. In summary, your blog is very important if you want to have a better way to live life to the fullest. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yoga is being aware! Looking at your work, you cannot create the verses you do if you are not aware. In my view you see, feel and live every moment and that’s precisely what Yoga is. One need not just achieve this state via a certain physical posture, yoga can be felt in every moment. Yoga is the way of life. So I believe Yoga is woven into your life very beautifully.
      Thanks Mac for your kind words. I always cherish them ☺️🧘🙏

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes I just need to look at an image with a face with a captivating smile to live inside the mind and let out the verses. Thank you for your words that clarify what one feels. My night is happy now.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I liked the photo change on the cover. I do not know what the position is called, but it’s a wonderful picture. I tune the heart to listen to the silence of your transparent meditation. Greetings.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gracias for the poetic compliment 😇🙏…

      It’s called Pada Angushthasana (tiptoe pose)…. It’s great to develop concentration, strengthens toes, ankles etc. Spiritually it’s helpful in activating the mooladhara chakra. Someday, I should be able to write a little about all of these concepts 🙂

      Thank you once again for your kind words. Greetings ☺️🧘🙏

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I want to share my joy with you. My last poem was translated into Italian and French by poets from those countries. And another Spanish recorded it for youtube .. I’ll give you the link later.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s wonderful. I was reading that only … maybe I read it over and over a few times 😂.. .
        Your work deserves to reach many many more… You have a priceless talent. Congratulations to your achievements! Wishing you a lot more 🙏☺️

        Liked by 1 person

  4. “even when taken as an isolated exercise technique without any spiritual interest one can still use it and acquire its benefits” – and I myself have sometimes felt a renewed spiritual interest as one of its benefits. The calming and strengthening seem to remind me of things far beyond me (or maybe in me) 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That is so incredible! The practice of Yoga – one wants it or not takes one to different dimensions. And hence, it’s something to be felt and cannot be theoritically explained. What you say is totally ‘an experience’!
      I totally loved your comment. You are a true practitioner and I can say this with 💯 % conviction. Happy to know you Felipe…really! ☺️🙏😇

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Yoga is never hard. And the ground rule while practicing Yoga is that you never overdo your potential. It very beautifully builds potential and make you better than you before. In Yoga you never compete… The only person you challenge is yourself.
      So don’t be shy from it. Start today. Overtime when you’ll look back at yourself, you’ll be surprised with your own self ☺️🙏

      Liked by 1 person

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