We are all immersed in vasanas that attest desires and thoughts. Howvever, to sync with the paramatma, that is the supreme consciousness, one has to eradicate the vasanas. This union is what’s well known as yoga/yuj, and are essentially the approaches to detach from the vasanas specified by vedas.
Hinduism is merciful in not only being henotheistic, but also in prescribing 4 such yogas to take variety of humans’ disposition into consideration. These approaches in no particular order viz.:
- Karma yoga
- Dnyana yoga
- Bhakti yoga
and lastly the less travelled Hatha yoga. It is for those who lack rationality to at least appreciate the existence of underlying reality of life, as well as those who lack emotional psyche or devotion to bow before the parabrahma. For such indolent beings Hatha yoga comes to rescue. And in the state-of-the-art society indolence has become the new purpose.
The only resort for them is to forcibly inculcate spiritual discipline where physical education body becomes an instrument. It is often referred to as Course of compulsion – “hatha” or oppression. It enfolds asanas and pranayamas to emancipate a being from indolence. With the practice of hatha yoga, the being starts reasoning through his intellect, and gain sentiments. Thus, becoming qualified for spiritual awakening.
The irony here is that by gaining and then purifying emotions and the psyche, is the being to be set on path of renunciation.
All these courses only refine the mind in a way that it becomes congenial for concentration and meditation. However, meditation, or rather sadhana, is the final gateway to reality, and every other spiritual practice only leads you to that gateway.
However, without such preparation the practice of meditation is as futile as it is like trying to· run before you can crawl. One cannot meditate unless one has cleansed his inner personality and people are ignorant of this law. The ignoramuses are lured to meditation because of its seemingly beneficial effects in their material life, and moreover because of adding to its simplicity.
Hatha yoga originates from the verses of Yogatattvopanishad that describe its stages.
The first verses of Yogatattvopanishad emphasize the duality of yoga and dnyan (knowledge) as:
I hereby put forward to you the methods that should be used to eliminate errors; How could knowledge release the spirit if yoga weren’t practised? Conversely, how is practice of yoga sufficient, devoid of knowledge, to accomplish the task? The seeker of salvation must steer his energies for both simultaneously. Sorrow emerges from ignorance; Knowledge alone sets one free. This is the edict of all Vedas.
The stages of Hatha yoga:
are 6 purging actions used to compose the body by understanding the flow of praṇa (forces that control vital bodily functions).
This aspect is used to control the flow of motility by recognizing how praṇa operates in a circuit. When it draws up till the terminals of the body, it has to either flux out or back into the body. Consequently, when defluxion occurs, it is lost. However, when it is directed into the body, it behaves like a capacitor, elevating praṇa levels in the system. The intention is to persuade parts of the body that activate specific channels for inducing specific outcomes. It can be redirected from the major locations like hands, feet, tongue and tip of the nose.
As the name suggests – “machine/mechanism”. They are the symbolic/ visual form of the deity, the shakti. Each yantra is represents a totality, a specific manifestation of the universe.
They are used to isolate the perceptible and kinaesthetic facets of consciousness by use of repetitive audio stimuli. Sanskṛit language forms the basis for this itself which uses alphabets and meters to produce specific vibrations meant for particular outcomes.
Hatha yoga is an integral part of Raja yoga as described by Hatha Yoga Pradipika. It is too a form of yoga practice where the kundalini, which is a subtle energy, is coerced to move from the root chakra upon activation to the Head chakra. This is a metaphysical system of achieving salvation. In hath yoga, physical as well as cognitive apparatus, nervous, circulatory, endocrine and systems are optimised. Thereafter, the kundalini energy is forced through the central channel or susumna nerve, (only perceptible to inner self), to the head chakra.
Raja yoga is considered as royal path that essentially means salvation through materialism, since Raja or king is bounded by his duties (Dharma) as well as materialism.
Hatha yoga incorporates all of the asanas and focuses on physical body. Asanas enhance flexibility and resilence. Raja yoga provides transcendental relief as well as internal introspection, or Dhyan.