Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Hatha yoga, pronounced "ha-tuh", is also known as hatha vidya or the "science of hatha" yoga; this word comes from combining the two sanskrit terms "hat" meaning sun and "ha" meaning moon. The word "hat" refers to the solar nadi (pingala) in the subtle body and "ha" the lunar channel (ida). Hatha yoga is what most people associate with the word "yoga." It is part of the Hindu traditions of Yoga and Tantra, and is seen by many as a path leading to the ultimate goal of Raja Yoga, or contemplation of the One Reality.
Hatha yoga primarily concerns itself with asanas or postures. Asanas are contemplative in nature and were originally intuited by yogis during meditation; the Kundalini naturally brings forth these postures or movements, called Kriyas, during deep meditation. These movements help to remove blockages (disease) in the causal, subtle, and physical bodies.
In the West, outside of Hindu culture, "yoga" is usually understood to refer to "hatha yoga." Hatha Yoga is, however, a particular system propagated by Swami Swatamarama, a yogic sage of the 15th century in India.
Hatha represents opposing energies: hot and cold, male and female, positive and negative, similar but not completely analogous to yin and yang. Hatha yoga attempts to balance mind and body via physical exercises, or "asanas", controlled breathing, and the calming of the mind through relaxation and meditation. Asanas teach poise, balance & strength and were originally (and still) practiced to improve the body's physical health and clear the mind in preparation for meditation in the pursuit of enlightenment.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika
See separate article entitled Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
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