Hatha Yoga has very ancient origins, lost in the remote history of Indian and Tibetan spirituality. This tradition, originally developed within Hinduism, soon became a contemplative and physical practice, free from any religious connection.
Hatha is the most widespread and appreciated style of Yoga throughout the West. It comes from the tantric tradition, which also includes Raja, Kundalini, Laya and Mantra Yoga, and it is based on the sacred texts, the Tantras, which aimed to achieve the inner realization and liberation.
The definitive codification of Hatha Yoga is due to Gorakhnath (a master who worked between the eleventh and twelfth centuries AD), who developed a system of spiritual and physical practices designed to give the human being a complete control of the mind-body binomial.
The etymology of the term "Hatha" is clarified by the words of the great yogi master B.K.S. Iyengar (1918-2014), who gave a great contribution to the popularity of this discipline in the West:
"Ha means sun, which is the Sun of our body, that is, of our soul; Tha means the Moon, which is our consciousness. The energy of the sun never fades, while the moon fades away every month and then again from the new moon it becomes full again. "
This is the reason why Hatha yoga is also known as "Yoga of the Sun and the Moon".
The ultimate goal of Hatha Yoga is to control and consciously express the cosmic energy that dwells in the human being, a skill that lead us to calm our mind, the most uncontrollable component of the Being.
Hatha Yoga is based on four main elements:
- Postures (Asana)
- Breathing (Pranayama)
- Meditation (Dhyana)
The constant practice of this ancient discipline help us to develop better strength and elasticity, improving the posture and giving relief to the spine.
A typical lesson of Hatha Yoga involves the practice of Asanas and Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) in connection with a deep breathing, in order to relieve muscle tension and achieve a peaceful and meditative state of mind.
The session can be ended with some guided relaxation and meditation techniques.
Among the most famous Asanas of this style are:
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
- Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
- Boat Pose (Navasana)
- Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
- Tree Pose (Virksasana).
The constant practice of Hatha Yoga has beneficial effects on the whole body and is able to calm the mind from the worries and pressure of daily life.
The holistic approach of the “Yoga of the Sun and the Moon” allows to work together on the physical and psychological level, bringing a natural improvement of conditions such as:
- joint stiffness;
- general debility;
- chronic stress;
- anxiety and depression.
In conclusion, Hatha Yoga is configured as a complete discipline, a real elixir to nourish physical strenght and promote mental well-being.