What is Hatha Yoga?

This 7th-16th Century AD practice covers a wide-ranging system of Yoga that details major processes to follow in order to achieve the highest goals, including purification, strengthening, lightness, steadiness, and contemplation. These processes include:

Some of the additional concepts we owe to the Hatha Yoga tradition are:

The essential element of Prana,  the vital bio-energy and life force that drives our consciousness. Prana underlies all physical and mental activities in nature. Wisdom and creativity are awakened by the discipline and regulation of this energy, leading to an elevation to super-conscious states of being where you can experience liberation and Nirvana. Hatha Yoga introduces the concept of two kinds of Prana (energy) which pervade our body and mind.

Ha is Solar physical and dynamic energy related to the breath in the right nostril.

Tha is mental and passive Lunar energy related to the flow of breath in the left nostril.

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We are indebted to Swami Maheshananda’s presentation at the seminar “Yoga for Joyful Living” (September 2018) for the elegant explanation of this complex topic.