Yoga has a numerous varieties, of which Hatha Yoga is a branch. The word “Hatha” is a sanskrit word which stands for “force”, thereby alluding to a system of physical as well as mental techniques. In India, Matsyendranath the traditional founder of the Yogis of the NathaSampradaya is associated with Hatha Yoga which is a very popular tradition here. Here almost all the Hathayogic manuscripts and texts are connected to the Nath siddhas and the important ones are credited to Matsyendranath's followers known as the Goraknath or Gorakshanath. In Tibet,Matsyendranath is also known as Minanath or Minapa and is celebrated as a saint both in Hindu and Buddisht Tantric and Hatha Yoga learning institutions. On the other hand the DashanamiSampradaya and the mystical figure is associated with James Mallinson. By the beliefs of the Dattatreya Yoga Sastra , there exists total two forms of hatha yoga one of which consists of eight limbs of Ashtanga yoga known as the Yajnavalkya and the other one consists of eight mudras known as the Kapila. At the latest, the oldest texts to describe Hatha yoga dates back to 11thcentury CE called the Amrtasiddhi that originates from a tantric Buddhist Milieu. Vajrayana buddhist are the ones who used to use these oldest terminology of Hatha. Later, these texts were adopted and practiced as hatha yoga mudras into a Saiva system with various methods of Layayoga focusing on raising of kundalini through energy and chakras.
After all these adoption and changes, the hatha yoga was developed aiming and focusing mainly on asanas(the physical postures). In the 20th century, it became famous worldwide as a form of physical exercise which is widely known as “yoga”.
Hatha Yoga Origin
As per the detailed study of the Indologist James Mallinson, there are some hatha yoga techniques which can be traced and identified well before the 1st Century BCE mentioned in some of the texts in Sanskrit and Pali in their Sanskrit epics and Pali Cannon respectively. The Buddhist version of this written in Pali describes three passages where the Buddha mentions pressing the tongue against the palate for the need and necessity to control hunger or the mind , depending on the passage. On the other hand, the khecari mudra doesn’t mention any activity of inserting the tongue into the nasopharynx. It was also found that the Buddha also used a technique or posture where the pressure is mostly put on the perineum with the heel which has quite resemblance to the stimulation of the modern Kundalini. It was also discovered in the MahasaccakaSutta where the Buddha mentions physical practices like different kind of meditations by holding off one’s breathdidn’t help him achieve a greater level of excellence in noble knowledge and insight that controls and transcends human conditions. After performing all these, it is believed that he achieved another path to enlightenment.
Top 6 easy Hatha Yoga poses for beginners
By standing straight on a yoga mat with the feet close to each other hold ypur arms by your side. Then evenly spread the weight of you body across the balls of the feet by tucking the tailbone inside. Start by inhaling and raising your arms overhead and then fold them in the prayer position. Continue breathing relaxed and smooth while you look at a fixed point in front of you. Hold this pose for 1 minute minimum.
You need to begin by posing in mountain pose with the feet and the hip distantly placed. By grounding your feet firmly on the ground start lifting your left leg as high as possible. Then by placing your left foot on the edge of the right inner thigh , align your right and left posterior. Try balancing the body by staying still in this position by taking a few deep breaths. Lastly, fold your palms in Namaste position in front of your chest and look forward softly by holding this position for 30 to 60 seconds.
Standing Forwarded Bend pose(Uttanasana)
Keep standing on your yoga mat by keeping your spine straight and hands on the hip. Take a deep breath and stretch your limbs towards the ceiling. Leave the breath simultaneously bending down at the hips and bring your arms to the floor right next to your each foot , resting your hands on the back of the ankles. Hold this pose by resting your chest nose and forehead on the thigh for 15 to 20 seconds.
Downward Facing dog pose( AdhoMukhaSvanasana)
You need to be in a table topposition to start this asana. First place your wrists on your shoulders and knees along with the hips. Then start exhaling your toes inside by uplifting your knees above the yoga mat by extending the legs behind. By raising your posterior portion towards the ceiling try to drive your body to a upside down position. Then try aligning your head with your arms without hanging it. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds at least by keeping your sight fixed at the navel.
You need to lie down in a supine position with bent knees and arms on the floor, slowly bring your heels near to your posterior and firmly press your feet into the ground then breath out. Again lift your posterior , lower back and then chest up. By rolling the shoulder blades away from your ears relax your neck and head on the floor. Then hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute bu joining your hands together underneath your back.
Lie upside down on your stomach with arms at your side and then bend your elbows. Stretch your legs and try to keep them hip-width apart. Upon leaving the breath uplift your torso, chest and arms away from the floor towards the up by holding your hands parallel to the ground with the body. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute by raising your legs up above the yoga mat by looking forward continuously.