Hatha Yoga: Spiritual Fulfillment Through Body
Hatha Yoga, as old as the Upanishads, is a classical yoga which seeks to harmonize body with mind so that your transition to higher Consciousness goes on smoothly. Purifying the body is a must for your yogic journey across various realms of being. Hatha Yoga is a preparatory yoga for the higher yogas.
Connecting Universal Life Energy
Purified Body Receives Universal Energies
The Sanskrit word “ha” relates to Sun, to the dynamic life energy, and “tha” relates to Moon, to the static energy, the mental energy. The union of the two in man prepares him to reach out to the higher possibilities of the soul’s evolution from lower to higher states of Consciousness.
Importantly, body is the material base through which these subtle energies act. So, purification of the body is of great significance for yogic progress. It makes the body a supple instrument to receive and assimilate the huge inflow of the life and mind energies that seeks to pour in the practitioner as he advances on the path of yoga.
Unless your body is suitably attuned to become a pliant receiver of universal energies, you cannot move further to cross the boundaries of the individualized consciousness and connect and become the Universal Consciousness.
Gross Harmonized with Subtle
Nature’s first intention is to limit the universal life and the mind energies in the individualized gross body. The harmony of the body with these two limited energies is needed for a stable individualized life controlled by separative ego.
But if we seek to cross the bar of individuality through yoga and reach out to the Universal another harmony would have to be established. This new harmony would fit the physical frame to open to the higher forces of universal nature. Hatha Yoga is meant to establish this new harmony in the yoga seekers.
Energy Blocks Must be Cleared
Mind cannot be purified unless the body is sufficiently purified and without the purification of both, the universal energy that seeks to flow in cannot enter.
The energy blocks must be unclogged and once these blocks are removed the universal energy will begin to move, wave-like, through the channels of the physical frame, moving up to the brain. This may give the yoga practitioners such health and force which are denied to the normal life lived in the individualized consciousness.
Purification of the body through hath yoga involves a number of methods which purify the body of its six debilitating impurities. The Sanskrit word “Shatkarma” means mainly six purification practices or kriyas – neti, dhauti, nauli, basti, trataka and kapalbhati. It is a slow but steady yogic cleansing process. The aspirants must keep patience and practice them under competent hatha yoga trainers for visible results. “Hatha” in Sanskrit means persistence in efforts, resoluteness, stubbornness to overcome the resistance of the limited physical nature.
Further, Shatkarma, practiced in accord with the well-defined hatha yoga systems, removes the toxins from the body and makes the mind strong and well-balanced that remains unaffected by pressures of normal life.
Asanas & Pranayamas
High-powered Tools for Transformation
These are the processes devised in hatha yoga to make the body a fit instrument to receive the life forces coming from the infinite Ocean of Life. Yoga means opening the doors to the forces of Universal Nature to help the Individual become the Universal.
If these are practiced regularly as per the hatha yoga rules, the practitioners are likely to be bestowed with prolonged youth, unfailing health and even long disease-free life which cannot be attained in ordinary life lived in the limited ego consciousness.
Asanas are numerous in hatha yoga, all meant to keep the body in static postures in order that the body gets freed from inherent restlessness, its inability to receive and absorb the huge energies coming from the Life Plane of Universal Nature.
Asanas are not difficult to learn and if taught by competent hatha yoga teachers, you can learn things fast and swift. These helps make your body a worthy vehicle to take you into the realms of inner illumination that is the consummation of the yogic exploration.
Pranayama means breathing with awareness. As per the hatha yoga texts, breath controlled is of immense importance, for breath is the principal power of the body to connect the life energy playing out. Pranayama is a slow and deep process involving inhalation, exhalation, internal/ external breath retention. Controlled inhalation and exhalation help you calm down the normally restless mind.
Pranayama is supposed to be a double gift. In the first place, it completes the purification of the physical frame started through asanas and shatkarma. Also, it knocks up and rouses the supernormal powers hidden in you, sleeping coiled, serpent-like. These powers when uncoiled help you break free from the molds of your normal consciousness.
Bandha & Mudra
Locking & Enhancing Energies for Yogic Expansion
Locking energy through yogic gestures is an important element of hatha yoga practice. Bandha signifies locking action to conserve energy: a powerful tool to break the knots lying in the body chakras and arouse the supernormal kundalini: the coiled serpent of the Primal Energy sleeping within. Once the kundalini is awakened consciousness freely ascends to higher and higher reams of awareness: unbound, infinite, eternal.
Mudras are, on the other hand, some yogic gestures practiced in hatha yoga along with asana, pranayama and meditation. These enhance your inherent energy and this results in the range of your yogic experiences expanding and reaching undiscovered realms.
Improves Health, Cures Diseases
Health, Unfailing, Leads to Long Disease-Free Life
Aside from preparing your body to connect the soul and then going upward into the Supreme Consciousness, hatha yoga is also known for its health-enhancing and curative qualities.
There is no denying that hatha yoga practice provides the practitioners with robust health, strong nervous system and balanced mind with opposing energies perfectly harmonized. It facilitates unageing youth, superabundance of energies and long, healthy life. It is also widely known that the yogis of the ancient times would cure themselves and others of seemingly incurable diseases through means which fall under the category of hatha yoga.
Hatha yoga facilitates health because of its emphasis on harmony of different organs and energies of the body. Disharmony causes diseases and so harmonizing them helps cure and even ward off diseases.
Hatha Yoga Is More
Physical Perfection a Tiny Step
True, hatha yoga ensures robust health, unageing youth and abundant energies for the practitioners. And yet, hatha yoga as part of the classical yoga system goes much beyond the mere perfection of the physical body.
If we stop stuck at hatha yoga, hypnotized by its enormous capacity on the physical plane, and turn away from the higher forms of yoga which must follow subsequently, we will get lost just in the beginning of the yogic journey.
We must remember that where the boundary of hatha yoga ends the deeper yoga begins. So, we must not stop midway. Hatha yoga is not even the half-way house. Beyond hatha yoga is stretching the long, long way to attaining the Supreme Consciousness.