Today when people speak of Hatha Yoga, their understanding is a flexible body and to be able to perform complicated asanas. The actual meaning of Hatha Yoga is to create balance between the body and the mind. Hatha represents the two aspects of within the body and mind. The Surya shakti (solar energy) and Chandra shakti (lunar energy). The solar energy is associated with prana shakti, vital energy, and the lunar energy is associated with chitta shakti, mental energy. Hatha Yoga balances these two energies. We are alive because of these two energies which combine and purify our Prana.
Our vitality is constantly being rejuvenated because of the prana shakti and because of the chitta shakti, our mind is active and positive. The purpose of Hatha Yoga is to remove the excesses in our body and mind and restore health. Many of us believe the saying that to eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die. I remember in school we had to write a motto on the board every day and I wrote this. We had a great teacher, she never said a word. Later she said that what if we followed this and became ill, and had to be hospitalized.
How do we have a healthy body?
It is only possible by exercising self-restraint and not indulgence. Also gross behaviour, laziness, excesses and unwholesome thoughts spoil our mind and body. This leads to misconceptions, fatalism and destructive behaviour which only accrues to our emotional and mental development. In hatha yoga we first learn the cleansing practices of the body. These cleansing practices are very powerful and it is after these we learn asanas, pranayamas, mudras and bandhs. When we are able to unblock our nostrils, and the ida and pingala nadi can flow, the sushumna flows. Then the practice of Hatha Yoga is complete.
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati said, “When we think in terms of past, present and future, we develop a fatalistic view, but when we see each day as a new beginning we develop faith, which is more important than fate.” When our nadis are unblocked we face a life of optimism and spirituality.
Aim Hrim Klim