Hatha Yoga

What is Yoga?


  Yoga is an experience, apart from verbal definitions. Actually there are many definitions of Yoga. There is no  fixed absolute answer.

1)''Yoga literally  means union or connection. In Sanskrit it may simply mean connection, but it is also possible  that it means the process of the union. Yoga is the system, the procedure, the method, the technique and the practice to achieve the purpose that is the union meaning completion, the completeness, the realization of Self without, however, being absolutely determined.

 2) Yoga is the method were we consciously are seeking union with the Self, with our truth,  with the our own lives and the environment around us. There are different systems of Yoga: Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Tantra Yoga, Hatha Yoga to mention a few, as they are addresed to different types of people. The different systems each give more attention to each in different segments of the large field of Yoga. Still all systems have the same purpose, the same destination that is the realization of Supreme Self.

3) The Yoga Soutras (laconical verses operating as meditation objects) of the wise Patanjali, the texts of Ashtanga Yoga (Raja Yoga), give perhaps the best definition of Yoga. "Yoga is the halting of the fluctuations of the mind (turbulence of mind) then the Observer is experiencing his true existence". (1.2, 1,3 Yoga Sutra). In these two verses Patanjali not only gives in a laconic way one of the best definitions of Yoga but also he defines its effect and purpose that is the awareness of true and pure existence. The relentless movement of the limited unconscious mind prevents and blurrs the vision of the True and the Solid or Supreme Self, as we call it.

4) Dr Swami Shankardev Saraswati states to us his preference for a very nice and broad definition. Anything done with awareness can be Yoga. Awareness is the key. The completeness of Yoga will be met in awareness. This definition shows us that Yoga is not just practice on the yoga mat, but concerns the whole spectrum of life. 

5) In Hatha Yoga we can find more than one definition. As its name shows us it achieves its realization with the domination and "unification" on the duality and the forces within us. ("Ha" means the Absolute Light and the energy behind the sun and "Tha" the qualities we usually attach to the moon). It is the balance over antithesis and the conflicts of energy that exist within us. It is the yoga of personal growth and balance. The main text of Hatha Yoga gives us guidance on controlling the qualities of bio-energy (bioenergy = Prana as it is called in yoga) and increasing it. It gives us guidance as a compass for the practice and its way in general. Because yoga is not only the destination but also the journey. At the same time with great clarity and purity the texts of Hatha Yoga in Prantipika makes a reversal. "Hatha Yoga is the great secret of the yogis who want to achieve its realization but in order to be effective, it must remain secret. If you reveal it, it will be invalid" (Hatha Yoga Pradipika 1.11). It clearly indicates that it is a personal inner experience beyond the physical level, fine "actions" that are not transferred because they are lost, weakened, and the path is lost. Yoga can not fit into so many definitions. Yoga is beyond definition, it is a personal experience, practice and practice again. Description of our yoga practice>>






* We call the yoga exercises as Asana. This description includes the internal processes that it creates. It is not limited to the physical level and to the outer view of the posture, but it concerns the whole existence. It includes the internal attitude of mind and the process of breathing. When we call the asana "exercise" we do not mean the gym with repeated movement (often painful) where only the body takes part. While in the yoga lessons we give the asana a definition of great clarity, that we express with the following triangle: "body - mind - soul" or "body - mind - breathing. More about asana>>

 I.Kenis yoga and meditation teacher

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