Origins of the Hatha Yoga


What is hatha yoga

Hatha yoga is spirituality of the body; it is the most perfect union of corporeal and incorporeal. A yoga class described as ‘Hatha‘ will typically involve a set of physical postures (yoga poses) and breathing techniques. These are typically practised more slowly and with more static posture holds than a Vinyasa flow or Ashtanga class.

Hatha Yoga

Origins of Hatha Yoga

What better way to get started than to learn about the discipline and its origins before you actually do it?

Before you roll out your yoga mat, start opening chakras, and stretching muscles, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of each technique you’re going to do by practising as often as possible!

It’s often said that Hatha yoga is the genesis of all the other types of yoga, which would explain why it’s so popular amongst those who do yoga. Its name means “force” and alludes to the balance between forces and the alignments of these forces.

It’s somewhat similar to yin and yang if you’re familiar with the concept. Hatha yoga focuses on letting go, mindfulness, and self-awareness through poses which can have healing effects on our body, mind, and spirit.

Also referred to as “postural yoga”, Hatha yoga doesn’t have a single leader like some of the other styles but rather many because it’s been around for so long. It appeared in the West at the end of the Second World War and continued to evolve and develop into the discipline as we know it today!

Specialists agree that all forms of yoga are derived from Hatha yoga and that the practice of yoga arose from the pillars set out in this discipline. This is the original yoga, which makes it all the more interesting. These pillars were described by the Indian sage Patanjali, who outlined the eight pillars of yoga. These 8 pillars include:

Eight limbs of Yoga

  • Yama (abstinences)
  • Niyama (observances)
  • Asana (postures)
  • Pranayama (breathing)
  • Pratyahara (withdrawal)
  • Dharana (concentration)
  • Dhyana (meditation)
  • Samadhi (absorption).

The last two pillars form the foundation of Hatha yoga, which you’ll see if you attend a taster session or yoga classes – Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh. According to the Indian sage, breathing exercises and postural discipline are fundamental parts of Hatha yoga.

But what exactly are the basics of Hatha yoga?

Owing to the darkness arising from the multiplicity of opinions people are unable to know the Raja Yoga. Compassionate Swatmarama composes the Hatha Yoga Pradipika like a torch to dispel it.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga traces its origins especially to Gorakhnath, the legendary 11th-century founder of the Kanphata Yogis, but it grew out of yogic traditions dating back at least as far as Patanjali (2nd century BCE or 5th century ce), author of the Hindu classics the Yoga-sutras and the Mahabhasya (“Great Commentary”).

What exactly Hatha yoga actually is hasn’t changed for thousands of years. However our thinking and perception of it certainly has. Language is a powerful thing, and in different cultures the same word can have a variety of definitions. Throughout the evolution of yoga practice, the same word – Hatha – has come to mean different things too.

Popular thinking in the West (an all-too-common expression now), is that Hatha yoga is about balancing the body and mind. ‘Ha’ represents the esoteric sun, and ‘tha’ the moon. The practice of Hatha yoga aims to join, yoke, or balance these two energies.

A yoga class described as ‘Hatha’ will typically involve a set of physical postures (yoga poses) and breathing techniques. Typically practised more slowly and static posture Holds than a Vinyasa flow or Ashtanga class. And indeed, that is how we describe our Hatha Yoga Retreat in Rishikesh classes on Arogya Yoga School.

Origins of the Hatha Yoga

The ascetic tradition emerged on the borders of India and Nepal. Aspects that came to be a part of Hindu tradition, like reincarnation and karma, were central to their thinking. These were the original Hatha yogis – and Tapas, translated as ‘heat’, ‘glow’, ‘austerity’ or ‘discipline’ and referring to a sense of ‘burning’ off past karma and refining the body and mind – was their practice.

Hatha yoga is also a great way to become far more flexible. Again, this is thanks to the poses you have to adopt. In fact, in addition to being great for your mind, you’ll also work on various parts of your body while stretching and improving your flexibility. If you are looking to bring a change into your life by learning yoga for self-rejuvenation or transfer the benefits to others, by getting a professional certificate and expertise 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh, India

Finally, Hatha yoga can work wonders for your spirit and mind, especially in terms of relaxation. With visualisation and meditative relaxation, beginners will quickly learn to manage their emotions and their actions. Improve their concentration, as well as better boost our morale and mood.


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