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What is Hatha Yoga?
Yoga means "union", "yoke"
To lead you towards the experience of Yoga – of union and boundlessness – we manipulate the energy and move the system in a certain way. Physical postures are one aspect of this. Understanding the mechanics of the body, creating a certain atmosphere, and then using the body or body postures to drive your energy in specific directions is what Hatha Yoga or Asana Yoga is about.
Asana means a posture. If you sit in one way, it is one asana. If you sit in another way, it is another asana. So innumerable asanas are possible. Out of these innumerable postures that the body can take, eighty-four fundamental postures have been identified as yoga asanas.
In Western culture, Hatha yoga is typically understood as asanas, just a physical practice, and it can be practiced as such. In the Indian tradition, Hatha yoga is much more. It extends well beyond being a sophisticated physical exercise system and integrates ideas of ethics, diet, cleansing, pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation and a system for spiritual development of the yogi. This is the Hatha Yoga we teach, introducing you to the origins and healing power of this ancient practice.
The word “ha” means sun, “ta” means moon. “Hatha” means the Yoga to bring balance between the sun and the moon in you, or the Pingala and Ida in you. You can explore Hatha Yoga in ways that take you beyond certain limitations, but fundamentally, it is a physical preparation – preparing the body for a higher possibility. There are other dimensions to this, but to put it simply, just by observing the way somebody is sitting, you almost know what is happening with them. If you have observed yourself when you are angry, you will sit one way; when you are happy, you sit another way; when you are depressed, you sit yet another way. For every different level of consciousness or mental and emotional situation that you go through, your body naturally tends to take certain postures. The converse of this is the science of asanas. If you consciously get your body into different postures, you can also elevate your consciousness.
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