Hatha yoga unites and balances opposing energy flows within the body. It emphasizes on asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing) and dhyana (meditation). Hatha Yoga is the basis of all yoga systems and is the physical part of yoga practice. The word comes from the term "ha" meaning the sun, and "tha" meaning the moon. This refers to the sun being positive, and the moon being negative.
The sun is the symbol of the expression of energy and the moon is that of the conservation of the same. Two grand processes are constantly at work in our bodies, one in which the energy is spent and the other in which the energy is acquired and conserved. The energy-consuming force is manifested by the sun principle and the energy-building force by the moon principle. Hatha yoga is that form of yoga in which concentration is acquired through the normalization and union of these two principles by breath control.
Hatha yoga is a systematic method education, which aims at the purification. rebuilding, vitalization, and control of the body to enable it to successfully undertake breath control. Breath control ultimately causes the molding of the body into the pattern most suitable for molding the mind into a form in which it is able to undergo the stages of samadhi, which is ultimate enlightenment.
Posture exercise, control exercise, contraction exercise, purificatory acts, and other processes were employed to bring about this normalization, embracing all the processes and tissues of the entire body. Under this ideal physical condition, breath control becomes really effective and leads ultimately to the state of mind in which concentration is properly developed.
Hatha yoga teaches that the relatively new role of muscles - the static transformation of the dynamic muscles, which is the basis of the development of the contemplative aspect of human existence - becomes most effective when the dynamic functioning is not ignored but rightly utilized. Hatha yoga aims at having the maximum result in concentration through the motionless of the body without sacrificing the organic soundness of the body, which can only be maintained through muscle movement.
Hatha Yoga postures range from basic to advanced. There are nearly 200 asanas, in which only half are known and practiced in the west. Every movement is planned and controlled and is proven to revitalize the mind and body. These exercises strengthen muscles, tone internal organs and improve balance and flexibility. There are lots of benefits when practicing these postures regularly in combination with proper breathing. This includes; stimulating circulation within the body, improving immunity and improving function in the digestive, hormonal, nervous and endocrine systems within the body.
When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life.
Therefore, one should learn to control the breath.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika
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