The name ‘Hatha’ is made up of two Sanskrit roots: ‘ha’, which means the sun, and ‘tha’ which means the moon. In the science of hatha yoga, the right side of the body relates to hot masculine energy (sun side) and the left side of the body relates to cool feminine energy (moon side). Through the practice of hatha yoga the two sides and their characteristic forces and brought into balance. Hence, one can achieve physical health, mental clarity and emotional stability, eventually it results in a balanced and strong body and mind.
Yoga seeks to restore our bodies’ inner balance or harmony by uniting the mind and the body. In yogic philosophy, it is said that the mind can transcend the body and what is happening on the physical level is a reflection of the mental realm. Hatha yoga is the philosophy of physical well-being and takes a top-down approach; by attempting to heal the body the mind, in turn, is nurtured. The goal is that through postures, Asanas, we gain control of the body’s energy flow, the breath, Prana, and direct it in positive, healing ways. Our life force is in our breath, Prana, through breathing exercises we are able to control and direct this important energy in order to stimulate both body and mind, sap lethargy and release any blockages to bring about vitality.
The postures, Asanas and breathing techniques, Pranayama, of Hatha yoga, the philosophy of physical well-being, combine to provide vibrant energy. Each posture is enhanced by the addition of proper breathing- the stretches, breathing and deep relaxation exercises of Hatha yoga balance and tone the entire body. They provide an effective method for dealing with our normal fast-paced lives and give quick, observable results in relieving tension and stress.
Hatha yoga asanas are designed to give optimal flexibility and strength to the skeletal, muscular and nervous system. Asanas stretch and strengthen the spine and with the aid of Pranayama, to balance and revitalize the body. While practicing the postures the vital organs are massaged and the blood circulation is increased, your spine houses the central and autonomic nervous system, thus your entire body benefits as your spine becomes more flexible. Ultimately, hatha yoga prepares the body to sit still without fatigue and allows the mind to be calm and focused.
The inception of poses in Hatha yoga has been derived and inspired by nature. By carefully observing the movements, breathing and sleeping patterns of animals, the underlying techniques for them to survive effectively by remaining strong and healthy amidst harsh and varied environments were studied. The Hatha yoga system was developed using these techniques from Mother Nature.
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