The origins of Hatha yoga

Hatha yoga (हठयोग) hathyog, also known as hathavidya (हठिव%ा) it is the foundation of yoga. The word hatha (lit. ‘Force’) denotes a system of physical techniques supplementary to abroad conception of yoga. Hindu and yogi tradition believes that Shiva himself is the founder of hatha yoga. In short Hatha means to stick fast, to be devoted and to hold closely or firmly. Yoga means to unite, to associate, to yoke and to join. It also means zeal, endeavour, fixing the mind on one point, holding the body in a steady posture, contemplation and meditation. Vidya means knowledge, art and science. In Hatha yoga we hold the asanas for longer time from minimum three breaths to 30 seconds.

Pranayama (breathing) in Hatha yoga

In Hatha yoga you can expect to practice breathing exercises after the asanas to bring together body and mind. Also, while practicing the asanas we breathe in/out thought the nose combining yoga postures with pranayama.

The benefits of Pranayama are:

  • Balance our breathing
  • Purify the respiratory tract and lungs
  • Boost blood circulation and blood purification
  • Ensure proper circulation of body fluids, benefiting the digestive process

Leading to relaxation, happiness, and alignment.

The purpose of Hatha yoga

By practicing Hatha yoga, we training ourselves to bring body and mind together, inner peace, being in harmony with ourselves, others. We are more balance and grounded. I consider this an amazing aim and something that we should all want to achieve.

Also by practicing Hatha yoga:

  • Makes us more flexible
  • Teaches us how to deal with stress
  • Has a positive effect on our organs and nervous system

Hatha yoga and other yoga styles

Hatha yoga is more a trend on which many other yoga styles are based. This is not good or bad, because it is precisely within Hatha yoga that you let go of this ego issue. The big difference between Hatha yoga and other yoga styles is that with Hatha yoga we mainly turn inside. You can therefore easily and well practice this style at home. With other (flow) yoga styles you get a lot of strength and energy from the group by practicing the flow together.

Hatha yoga is seen as the basis of many other yoga styles. It is actually a bit like the mother in yoga. No matter how many children and grandchildren Hatha yoga has, the foundation ultimately lies with it.