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The Importance Of Hatha Yoga To Modern Man

Updated on December 26, 2015

Hatha Yoga - Creating Internal Balance

Hatha Yoga for Beginners

Hatha Yoga

There is more to Hatha Yoga then being a preparation for higher stages of Yogic practice. Today, modern Yoga sages and experts have found a way to utilize its physical exercise and postures to the benefit of modern man.

What is Hatha Yoga?

Hatha Yoga is defined by modern yogic experts as a means to achieve complete control over your physical self -- achieving complete physical focus and letting go of distractions that can limit you on your quest for self-improvement.

Ancient texts define Hatha Yoga as a tradition of breaking the body's limitation to achieve its ultimate potential. Its many practices aim to discipline the practitioner to forcefully control his or her body in preparation to the next path of Yogic tradition -- the Raja Yoga or meditation.

There has been a major debate going on among different Yoga school on the importance of physical Yoga (hatha) and meditation (raja). However, experts all agree that these two stages are opposite sides of the same coin -- the coin being the body of the practitioner and require mastery on both sides in order to achieve complete enlightenment.

The Facets of Hatha Yogic Practice

The philosophy of Hatha Yoga is defined by its Sanskrit word. The word "hatha" means "to forcefully unite" or "union of opposing forces". It is further explained by breaking it down into "ha" and "tha". The Sanskrit words "ha" gives meaning to the active masculine energy or the sun, and "tha" as the receptive feminine energy or moon. The human body is composed of two opposing forces -- or energies -- like fire and water. These energies are called the solar and lunar channel.

These two opposing forces are similar to the concept of Yin and Yang. The solar channel is defined as the active masculine energy, and the lunar channel as the receptive feminine energy. The word "hatha" defines the forceful union of these two energies for man to achieve complete physical control and enlightenment.

What's Involved?

The practice of Hatha Yoga is a system of exercises that helps the modern man achieve complete control of his or her physical faculties before proceeding to the next stage of enlightenment. Reference to ancient texts indicated that the practice of Hatha Yoga involves the purification of the body (shatkarma) or a healthy lifestyle; meditative postures to improve the body's flexibility and energy circulation (Asanas), breathing exercise to regulate the circulation of the body's vital force (Pranayama) along the energy centers of the human body (Chakra) and the manifestation of man's latent instinct (Kundalini).

Hatha Yoga Flow 3 - 42 minutes

Hatha Concept

The only way to properly understand the concept of Hatha Yoga is to actually put it into practice. There is no way for an individual to experience the teachings if it is not undertaken by your physical self.

Hatha Yogic tradition expounds the use of physical meditative postures (Asanas) as part of the purification ritual (shatkarma). Along with gestures (mudras) and breathing exercises (Pranayama), a practitioner can disciple his or her body to enter a state of physical trance that is a prerequisite for meditation.

In order for man to achieve full control of his or her physical self, postures allows one to discipline their mind to achieve balance that is necessary to focus properly during meditation. The physical distractions are always part of meditation and the concept of Hatha allows one to overcome his or her senses in order to push through with mental exercises without any hindrances.

Hatha Yoga Easy Ground Work

Hatha Yoga Flow 4

Modern Application

Ancient texts define the result of Hatha yogic practice with aim to help man achieve complete enlightenment. However, modern application of Hatha is purely centered on health. Such examples include:

1. Stretching Exercise

The posture or asanas of Hatha Yoga targets all the muscles in the human body. This is perfect for those who are always stressed out with work and lack physical exercise that results to a lot of aches and pains all throughout your body.

2. Breathing Exercise

We can never deny the fact that modern man is always subjected to physical, emotional, and mental stress. Finding ways to calm one's faculties might require us to resort to chemical means -- like pills that helps your muscles relax -- in order to get rid of stress.

However, Hatha Yogic exercise, like the Pranayama or breathing exercise is one method to achieve complete stress relief even when you're in the middle of your work. Focusing on one's breathing can help a person focus -- getting rid of stray thoughts that confuse the mind; regular and steady breathing ensures proper oxidation of your blood and distributes much needed oxygen to all the muscles in your body.

3. Pregnancy

A stiff physical body is always a problem for pregnant women. In most cases, having a big stomach as you carry your child for 9 months might limit your body in terms of exercise. Modern yogic experts believe that the practice of Hatha Yoga and specific exercise and postures can help alleviate a woman's burden during the stages of pregnancy. Breathing exercises can help during childbirth and complete control of your muscles makes for an easy delivery.

4. Muscle Pain Relief

Hatha Yoga introduces modern man to various flowing exercises to help them achieve a healthy physical state. Today, some of these exercises are used to help man cope or alleviate painful muscle episodes by targeting areas with chronic pains. These postures and flowing movements address both your bones and muscles.

Hatha Yoga Class

Taking Classes

Hatha Yoga classes are quite popular in the modern world. Due to the discipline involved and the accuracy of movements required to push through with the teachings, it is necessary to take yoga classes with a skilled and compassionate instructor to guide you through it. Though there is no rule that says that you can't do yoga at home, it is necessary to make sure that you know the basics before you try doing it on your own.

Yoga classes often start out with an introduction if you're a beginner. You will be taught the philosophy of Hatha Yoga and its benefits to the human body. You will be given a set of routine schedules including warm ups, slow and flowing postures, advanced movements, and the likes. In most cases, consultation with an expert Yogic instructor can determine which classes would fit you best and avoid problems during and after sessions.


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  • Chris Crow profile image

    Chris Crow 7 years ago

    This is very interesting to me since I started doing yoga with my girlfriend recently. I have found that yoga is not "just stretching"--it takes some serious effort and I always feel like I've gotten a great workout when I'm done.

    It's amazing how hard your muscles have to work for some of those positions. It's also great for the mind. This is a good primer on Hatha yoga.