Yoga translates literally to "Union" and can be used in conjuction with any transformative system. In addition to the many of styles of Yoga from India, there are also Buddhist and Taoist styles of Yoga.
The "union" that is suggested in "Yoga" can be interpreted on various levels:
- "unifying" the musculature within the body as a cooperative unit to promote health
- "unifying" the breath with the body to create energy
- "unifying" energy with concentration to create awareness
The most common understanding of Yoga connects it almost entirely with extreme stretching. Although Asanas/physical poses are a large part of any system of Yoga and are a necessity for strengthening the muscles and toning the central and peripheral nervous systems, they comprise only one rung of a multi-tiered ladder.
It is critical for success in Yoga to have an understanding of what the role of Hatha Yoga is in a complete Yoga system. Hatha Yoga provides a critical foundation for success in more advanced Yoga practices.
The word "Hatha" is derived from "ha"/sun and tha/"moon", which relates to the energizing of the dualistic energies of the body. These energies are beyond the grasp of non-practitioners because of the body's lack of development. These energies are literally manifested in the waking and dream state as the "ida" and "pingala" channels of energy that run on both sides of the spinal chord. It is only during the deep sleep state that they recede into the central spinal energy channel.
Whether you intend ultimately to practice Japa Yoga/mantra chanting, Kundalini Yoga/spinal energy awakening, Bhakti Yoga/devotional, or Raja Yoga/meditation, the preparation and cleansing of the body should be dealt with first by training in Hatha Yoga. It is the "asana" practice of Hatha Yoga that begins to clean out the physical obstructions that block these channels.
To understand what comprises a complete "Yogic" system, please see The Eight Levels of Meditation, which explains Raja Yoga and how its 8 level approach builds on a Hatha Yoga foundation.
At the studio, we offer traditional classes in the building blocks of Hatha Yoga.
- Asana/Physical Posture
- Pranayama/Breath Control
- Bandha/Energy Lock
- Mudra/Energy Attitude