Hatha Yoga: Prostrating first to the Guru, Yogi Swatmarama instructs the knowledge of Hatha only for the highest state of Yoga. It is also emphasized the hatha yoga is to be practiced for the sole purpose of preparing oneself for the highest state of Raja Yoga i.e. Samadhi. – Swami Swatmaram

Hatha yoga definition defines as the union of the sun and the moon, the physical and mental energies, prana shakti, and Chitta shakti. The basic principle of hatha yoga is the harmonization of this dual-energy which governs the functioning of the physical body and its organs, and our mental activities, reactions and moods. Hatha yoga deals with these energies through the swaas i.e. the flow of breath in the nostrils, and through the two major nadis, ida and pingala, the energy channels corresponding to the right and left nostrils, body’s right and left halves, and brain’s two hemispheres. When the energy of the two halves become equal i.e. in a third force,known as atma shakti or kundalini shakti dawns.

Hatha Yoga Benefits

The main benefits of Hatha yoga practice are:

  • Restores and maintain good health, by reestablishing the fundamental balance in the physical and energetic frame work
  • Avoids the illness factors, mainly disturbances blockages which decreases prana Shakti i.e. vital energy flow
  • Influences the mental realm because a healthy and quiet body has a psychosomatic effect; it reduces dissipations, conflicts, lack of confidence existing in the mind.


Hatha yoga comprises Asanas or postures, pranayama or breathing practices, shatkarmas or cleansing exercises, bandhas/energy locks, mudras or somoto-psychic gestures

Hatha yogis in the past, practiced mainly the shat karmas, the yogic cleansings, but gradually, encompassed different types of posture and other techniques.

Hatha yoga is considered as a pre-requisite and complement to raja yoga and kundalini yoga. Swami Swatmarama introduced Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is the union of the opposite forces.

According to ‘Hatha Yoga Pradipika‘ – the main text based on Hatha Yoga by Swami Swatmaram, the main components of Hatha Yoga are:

  1. Asanas:  Physical and mental therapy is one of the most important achievements of hatha yoga. Asanas are the most powerful way of controlling the whole body. To strengthen the body and to prepare it for the energy of kundalini Asanas are important to be performed. They are the first steps in allowing us to not only alter the mechanisms of one element but to gain control over the total structure of the brain and mind, the controlling system which allows us to direct every aspect of our lives and the energy within that.
  2. Shatkarma and Pranayama: Pranayama is practiced in order to control the pranic forces in the body. Prana and mind are interlinked. Disturbance to one leads to another. Controlling prana will automatically control the mind which is the major cause of distractions in the practice of concentration. By the practice of pranayama, one can still the mind and develop one-pointedness and enter the inner realm of consciousness. Pranayama is responsible to clean nadis for the energy to flow without any blockage similarly Shatkarmas are the 6 cleansing practices of hatha yoga that increase the vital capacity of the practitioner. They are treated as therapy for various diseases and also to creates harmony in the body and mind and to prepare one for further practice.
  3. Mudra & Bandhas: Chakras are activated by the practice of Asanas, Sushumna is clear and Kundalini Awakened by the practice of Shaktkarmas and pranayama, now there is one way left to move it upward to the brain center, that is Mudras and Bandhas. Mudras are the specific body position that channelizes the awakened energy by asanas and pranayama, into the various centers and arouses the specific states of mind. Bandhas are required to hold the energy at one place and move it to the specific chakras that will awaken the entire pranic capacity to the main chakras.
  4. Samadhi: One who seems asleep but is awake, who is healthy but without  breath, is liberated- Hatha Yoga  Pradipika. When the practitioner transcends the body into sadhana and when the matter is all transcended, the object within is illumined. The practice of hatha yoga and tantra are the practices to realize the ultimate state of bliss through the awakening of kundalini.

Further Reading

What is Yoga?

History of Yoga

Misconceptions about Yoga

Fundamentals Of Yoga

9 Principles Of Yoga

Yoga Basics

Panch Mahabhutas



Astanga Yoga

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