Hatha Yoga is a form of Yoga which originated in India thousands of years ago. “Hatha” means being forceful or adamant, and so Hatha Yoga is the Yoga of pushing our self-defined boundaries further one step at a time. In principle, Hatha Yoga is the principle of aligning the human system with the cosmic, bridging the gap between the body and the higher spiritual consciousness.
Hatha Yoga is a preparatory process of Yoga beginning with physical postures followed by Yogic breathing or Pranayam and finally meditation. Hatha Yoga is preparing the body for a higher possibility by activating the third and central ‘nadi‘, the Sushumna, which is the path of enlightenment. Hatha is made up of two words – ‘Ha’ meaning the Sun (Pingala), and ‘Tha’ meaning the moon (Ida). Thus, Hatha Yoga balances the Ida and Pingala Nadis along with the Three Gunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas).
In the words of the spiritual guide Sadhguru – “Hatha Yoga stems from a deep understanding of the mechanics of the body, and uses yogic postures, or yoga asanas, to enable the system to sustain higher dimensions of energy. By practicing this profound science, one can change and enhance the way they think, feel, and experience life.” Hatha Yoga enables stretching our comfort zones to the point where one is blissful and at ease in any situation. It is the science of achieving balance in life.
Hatha Yoga is about creating a body that is not a hurdle in your life. The body becomes a stepping stone in the progress towards blossoming into your ultimate possibility. – Sadhguru
Traditionally Hatha Yoga has been associated with the Yogis of the Natha Sampradaya. The “Hatha Yoga Pradipika” is one of the most influential texts on Hatha Yoga compiled by Svatmarama which enlists various aspects of Hatha Yoga such as the Shatkarmas (six purificatory processes), Asanas, Pranayam, Mudras, meditations, Chakras and Kundalini among other topics.
K. Pattabhi Jois and BKS Iyengar are some of the famous proponents of Hatha Yoga who made it popular in the west creating their own styles or brand of this ancient tradition. Some other popular forms of Hatha Yoga are Vinyasa (flow Yoga), Iyengar, Bikram Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and Kriya Yoga.