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Hatha Yoga

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

Benefits of Hatha Yoga

  1. Core strength
  2. Bone density
  3. Healthy heart
  4. Strong immunity
  5. Power
  6. Weight loss

Disadvantages of Hatha Yoga

  1. Blaming yourself for injuries
  2. Desire to fix everyone
  3. Constant awareness to encroaching decrepitude
  4. Restlessness