Hatha-Yoga is one branch of the huge kingdom of Yoga, Raja-Yoga, the eight elements of yoga as it is taught by Sage Patanjali
Hatha-Yoga is one branch of the huge kingdom of Yoga, Raja-Yoga, the eight elements of yoga as it is taught by Sage Patanjali in his timeless work, the Yoga Sutras. In order to exactly define the term Hatha there have been made many remarkable efforts for centuries.
Nowadays, yoga practitioners define Hatha as a set of yoga postures since they are naturally drawn to the physical aspect of yoga because their attention is basically subscribed to the physical worldly phenomena. It is found that the attention of the yoga practitioners is limited to the outer layer rather than the intern personality, and historically the practice of yoga postures were developed as a part of Raja-yoga or Ashtanga-Yoga (Eight Elements Yoga) as it is stated in the prime texts of Hatha-Yoga.
The Purpose of Hatha-Yoga Asanas?
These yoga postures were cultivated by the yogis and yoga practitioners in order to educate and train their students for attaining the higher yogic experiences. Yoga Postures (yogasanas) at our yoga school, Yoga Vidya Mandiram located in Rishikesh, India are taught in the same yogic vision. We train our students of yoga to achieve the highest life changing deeper experiences through spiritual disciplines.
For learning of the yoga postures we use an integrated approach where we enforce the different aspects of yoga such as use of body and its movements along with the synchronization of breath, relaxation and calm mind. Therefore we promote the meditative culture of the yoga postures so that the students achieve the highest goal of yoga.
Hatha-Yoga Postures in Medical Science
- World Health Organization (WHO) states, “450 million people worldwide are affected by mental, neurological or behavioral problems at any time.”
- One of the great contributions of this era is made by the modern scientists of psychosomatic medicine and other holistic approaches. According to their studies it is known that in human personality the mind and body are interlinked because they are parts of a single system and because of that the physical and mental health are interdependent.
- A balanced mind is the best protection against any ill health.
- Today in our society lifestyle is inherently stressful, and stress has been understood a vital aspect in physical and mental illness.
- Our immune system is to a certain extent depends upon the mental health. Today our environment day by day is being deteriorated by our social developments which constantly have been challenging our immune system.
Philosophy & Psychology
The ancient yogis referred health as the harmony of the breath, body and the calm mind and disease is a face of suffering inevitable to life. In the absence of physical pain or discomfort, we experience pain in other forms, such as emotional unease as a result of our life experiences- birth, growth, ageing, failure and loss etc. The yogis discovered the nature of the body, breath and mind, and conclusively state that the suffering and happiness are only the states of the mind. Thus the mind makes causes the experience of pain and the realization of inner happiness. The yogis recognize the importance of unpleasant life experiences. So according to them unpleasant experiences need not undermine our inherent nature of happiness.
They discovered the methods of anu-shasana (self-discipline), or control of the states of the mind. According to them we can hold our unpleasant desires and tendencies and observe our hidden strength for self-transformation (moksha). The yogis state that the self-transformation (moksha) for a human being is beyond the body, breath and mind presence and is to be achieved by realizing our existence beyond body, breath and mind. Yoga posture is just a visible ladder to attain that state.
Thus, as long as we live our life with an attention limited to the outer layer rather than the inner layer we live in a limited life while our hidden essence remains undiscovered, but when we realize our essence we touch our lives and also the lives of others who come in our contact. Therefore yoga postures are one way to realize the self in its full potential and enable us cultivate a tranquil mind. If we live a spiritual life we are possibly less likely to experience physical illness and mental distractions. We certainly are more likely to enjoy the benefits of serenity and we become increasingly capable of serving others.