Hatha Yoga is often thought of as a form of yoga that involves physical and mental actions performed through force. This is why practices such as shatkarma (including neti, dhauti, kunjal vasti, nauli, tratak, and kapalbhati) are often associated with Hatha Yoga, although they belong to a different category. The purpose of shatkarma is to purify the body, while the aim of Hatha Yoga is to achieve a balance between the body and mind, making it a means to attain Raja Yoga.
Definition Hatha Yoga is derived from two words: ‘Ha’ and ‘Tha’. The word ‘Ha’ is related to the Sun, while the word ‘Tha’ is associated with the Moon. The Moon is considered a symbol of coolness, and the Sun is considered a symbol of energy. The balance of these two energies needs to be achieved in our bodies. Hatha Yoga helps to maintain this balance and keeps us free from many diseases.
Therefore, yoga performed with the aim of balancing both types of energy is called Hatha Yoga. The balance of life is achieved through the combination of ‘Ha’ and ‘Tha’. This yoga provides the body with the ability to protect itself from many diseases. In Hatha Yoga, Prana is directed into Sushumna Nadi through Pingala and Ida Nadi, leading to samadhi in Brahmarandhra.
Thus, Hatha Yoga serves as the foundation for achieving Raja Yoga. Attaining Raja Yoga (Samadhi), which is the ultimate goal of life, without practising Hatha Yoga is a very challenging task. Hence, we must practice Hatha Yoga before proceeding towards Raja Yoga, i.e. Samadhi.
Through Hatha Yoga, we can prevent our mind from wandering towards the external world and turn our focus inwards. The practice of Hatha Yoga aims to awaken the dormant Kundalini energy along the Nadi channels. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is considered as its main text, which includes four parts of Hatha Yoga – asana, pranayama, mudra and bandha, and nadanusadhana.
Gheranda Samhita, on the other hand, includes seven parts of Hatha Yoga – Shatkarma, Asana, Mudrabandha, Pranayama, Dhyana, and Samadhi. Here are the benefits of Hatha Yoga Hatha yoga consists of many postures, such as Vrikshasana, Balasana, Tadasana, Uttanasana, Setu Bandhasana, and many more, that are effective in healing our breathing system and removing disorders. Practising Hatha Yoga can help us relieve stress, which is a common problem in today’s time.
Hatha Yoga is also beneficial for sleep. Many asanas are practised in Hatha Yoga to help us come out of stress and achieve a state of relaxation. It also helps in controlling the level of cortisol in the body, which improves our sleeping position and helps control problems like blood pressure. Hatha Yoga can help get rid of back pain. Hatha Yoga is beneficial for the skin. Hatha Yoga can help strengthen bones.
Practising Hatha Yoga can increase flexibility. Hatha Yoga is beneficial for the heart. Hatha Yoga can also increase immunity.