Hatha Yoga: origin, Styles, Benefits and location Guide

BY Trisha Rashi

If you end up in a yoga class in which Hatha Yoga is taught as traditionally as possible, as well as in origin works such as Hatha Yoga Pradipika (from the 14th century), then you practice Hatha Yoga. And if you end up in one of the yoga classes in which the most varied of colorful yoga styles, such as Ashtanga, Jivamukti, or Yin Yoga, are taught, then you also practice Hatha Yoga, just change a little.

“Hatha Yoga, isn’t that the yoga style where you keep the exercises for so long?” I often hear this sentence and then think “Yes, but not entirely.” What makes hatha yoga so difficult to define is that its term is used today for two definitions:

As an umbrella term for most other styles of yoga known to us, since they all originated from Hatha Yoga.

As a standalone yoga style that has developed in parallel with the other styles.

If you end up in a yoga class in which Hatha Yoga is taught as traditionally as possible, as well as in origin works such as Hatha Yoga Pradipika (from the 14th century), then you practice Hatha Yoga. And if you end up in one of the yoga classes in which the most varied of colorful yoga styles, such as Ashtanga, Jivamukti, or Yin Yoga, are taught, then you also practice Hatha Yoga, just change a little.

So Hatha Yoga is a constantly evolving style of yoga that continually adapts to people’s current needs and tries not to forget the important traditional essences.

What is hatha yoga?
Since Hatha Yoga is very old, its origins are lost in the darkness of history. It probably originated around the 9th century AD and had its heyday from the 10th to the 15th century. What is certain is that it is not a self-developed philosophy, but is based entirely on the thoughts of Tantrism. It was developed to make the subtle teachings of consciousness of Tantra tangible.

The Tantra is a spiritual path of practice, which involves the body with – which was revolutionary! Short philosophical excursion: According to the tantric picture, our body is traversed by energy paths (Nadis) through which our life energy (Prana) flows. The three most important energy pathways in our body are Ida, Pingala, and Susumna. Ida and Pingala stand for two opposing energies in us and wind up the spine around Susumna. On their way, they meet at seven points in our body and form centers with a large potential of life energy (chakras).

With this knowledge, the translation of Hatha Yoga from Sanskrit can also be understood. “Ha” stands for the sun and “tha” for the moon. The term yoga itself is roughly translated as merging. So Hatha Yoga means bringing together the pairs of opposites in us, bringing together the two opposing energies in us, which can then ascend the spine through the middle energy pathway Susumna and lead to enlightenment – also known as the rise of Kundalini.

“The liberation or enlightenment, of which we are talking here, means a release from the tight bonds of individual becoming in the mind and body in the outer world and the return – better the dissolution – into the immeasurable vastness of the divine original ground.”

So this is the goal of all Hatha Yoga techniques: to bundle and direct our energies and thus make it possible to free the energy pathways from blockages.

Various physical and internal exercises are practiced to achieve this:

  • Yogic dealing with the environment and yourself (Yamas and Niyamas)
  • Physical exercises (asana)
  • Cleaning exercises (kriya)
  • Breathing exercises (Pranayama)
  • Gestures and energy locks (mudras and bandhas)
  • Chants and listening to the inner tone (mantras and nada anusandhana)
  • Meditation (Dharana)

After our long history, hatha yoga did not reach us in the west until the 20th century. We owe the well-known yogis such as Swami Kuvalayananda, Swami Shivananda, and Sri Krishnamacharya. Since then, it has been continuously modified and adapted to our needs, resulting in the many yoga styles known today. However, some teachers try to transport the tradition into modern times and offer Hatha Yoga, as it has been handed down in traditional works such as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika or the Gheranda Samhita (originated in the 17th century).

What you can expect from a Hatha Yoga class:
Traditional Hatha Yoga classes are characterized by very round classes. The physical exercises are given as much weight as the breathing and cleansing exercises, meditation, and the other components of Hatha Yoga (see above). The often demanding asanas are held for a long time and there is always time in small relaxation phases to trace the physical and energetic effects of the exercises. Nowadays, many hatha yoga teachers also teach in Vinyasa style, which in principle also came from Hatha Yoga. Music is deliberately avoided in order not to distract the perception and to give the attention the chance to turn from the outside in. All of this is clearly aimed at influencing your energy body.

Who is Hatha Yoga suitable for?

  • Are you better at rest in silence than with music?
  • Do you need your time in a posture to enjoy it?
  • Are the inner effects of yoga more important to you than the outer ones?
  • Would you like to get to know the subtle energies in your body and feel them clearly?
  • And do you want to learn how to influence this? Did you nod diligently? Then you are exactly right in a Hatha Yoga lesson!
  • Did you nod diligently? Then you are exactly right in a Hatha Yoga lesson!

Where can I find the best hatha yoga near me? (Find Best hatha yoga in the World)

  1. Hatha Yoga in India – Shivananda Ashram, Diya Yoga, Ananda, Isha Yoga, and Mysore Mandala – find more yoga teacher centers
  2. Hatha Yoga in Germany – Yoga Sandhya, Yogaground- Weena, Kompassie Yoga, Explora Yoga
  3. Hatha Yoga in USA – Devi Ma Yoga, Buddhi Tribe, Jai Yoga
  4. Hatha Yoga in Spain – Ren Coach Boutique, The Yoga Sanctuary, HWM, Yogaia
  5. Hatha Yoga in Norway – Les Liens, Movements
  6. Hatha Yoga in UK – Triya Yoga, Briston School, Hazel Faithfull
  7. Hatha Yoga in Russia – Yoga Dom, Kislorod yoga, Yatharth Yoga Moscow
  8. Hatha Yoga in Thailand – Kamalaya, Agama Yoga, Siri Yoga, All Yoga Training
  9. Hatha Yoga in Bali – Seminyak Yoga, Yoga Barn, The Asia Collective, Bali SpiritScience Articles, Explora Yoga

Hatha yoga online
Do you want to practice hatha yoga online? Then have a look at YogaEasy *! There you will find yoga videos with great Hatha teachers with different lengths and levels. About www.explorayoga.com you get a free test month without annoying automatic subscription renewal.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I am an experienced writer and yoga teacher.  I have written blogs and articles on various yoga and health-related topics. I have written guest blogs for various websites and many of my readers have followed for a long time now. If you are reading for the first time, I hope to see you soon. If you are an old reader, thank you for your love and see you soon on the next blog.

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