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Hatha Yoga Perspective for 21st century

Hatha Yoga Perspective for 21st century

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A detailed article on the place of hatha yoga, physical aspects of yoga, in yoga proper and some histroy of its development, with focus on the Gita and Patanjali ashtanga yoga, and other yoga texts like Hatha Yoga Pradhipika, contribution and brief bio of Thirumalai Krishnamacharya, the father of modern hatha yoga , B K S Iyengar, his students, Pattabhi Jois and other yoga teachers; modern trends in teaching and propagating hatha yoga and new areas such as yoga therapy and chair yoga-easy yoga for seniors, some classic books for reference and other information based on Indian practice and some of the author's experiences and limitations of modern yoga practice.
A detailed article on the place of hatha yoga, physical aspects of yoga, in yoga proper and some histroy of its development, with focus on the Gita and Patanjali ashtanga yoga, and other yoga texts like Hatha Yoga Pradhipika, contribution and brief bio of Thirumalai Krishnamacharya, the father of modern hatha yoga , B K S Iyengar, his students, Pattabhi Jois and other yoga teachers; modern trends in teaching and propagating hatha yoga and new areas such as yoga therapy and chair yoga-easy yoga for seniors, some classic books for reference and other information based on Indian practice and some of the author's experiences and limitations of modern yoga practice.

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Published by: Dr Srinivasan Nenmeli -K on Sep 08, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/08/2015

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Hatha Yoga Perspectives for 21st Century N K Srinivasan
Hatha yoga, the physical branch of yoga, is practised bymillions of people in almost all countries. It has beenbranded, commercialised and toned down that one can get aset of lessons for a few dollars. There is no doubt thatmany seek yoga practice for physic al wellness andhealing, especially for back pain, asthma , muscular pains,stiffness and insomnia.Every one knows that Yoga originated in India, as partof the spiritual discipline to seek "union with the Divineor the Universal soul" ..Yoga means that--'union' like theword "yoke". Yoga also means the path towards the goal.Thus the word "yoga" means both the path and the goal.The Yogi saints developed yoga to improve body to make ita fit instrument for long spiritual practices. One shouldcleanse the mind first for which they developed chanting[Japa} and meditation.{Dhyana].They also did not neglectthe devotional path or bhakti to a chosen ideal or God.{Worshiping a personal God is part of Hindu form ofdevotions, including symbolic idol worship, though Hindusbelieve in a formless 'Brahman ' ..]Control of "prana" or life force through breath and
 
nervous currents became a standard technique for tuningthe body and attain mental calmness. This led to'pranayama'.[literally 'Control of Prana'.]Thus you can understand how a Hindu yoga system developedinto different branches of Yoga.The main branches for the purpose of teaching are four:
Jnana yoga [the path of inquiry,knowledge]Bhakti yoga [the path of devotion]Karma yoga [the path of selfless action or service]and Raja yoga [the path of meditation and concentration, the mystic path ]
[Swami Vivekananda wrote on these four brancheswith remarkable clarity ,mainly for western readers--hisbooks are transcripts of his lectures in the West.]It should be noted that the four paths are not water tightcompartments and a yogi invariably mixes different yogamethods in practice. This mixing occurs in India due tothe religious traditions of the particular master or guruwho teaches you. This can be confusing to a westernstudents, for based on logic alone, they tend to separatethe paths into distinct schools. This does not happen inpractice. 
 
Hatha YogaHatha yoga or the
physical aspects of yoga is essentiallya part of Raja Yoga. It was introduced to make the body afit instrument for long meditative practices. In laterperiods, this became a discipline on its own , mainly as aphysical training method. But it should be noted thathatha yoga is the necessary preparation for any raja yogi,while other yogis may neglect or even avoid hatha yoga. Iknow many jnanis frowning upon hatha yoga as an inferiormethod and a distraction focusing on body .Hatha yoga means 'bodily yoga' and the word 'ha' means sunand 'tha' means moon and this is about the bringingtogether of two paths in our body--for instance ida andpingala nerves which surya -sun nadi and chandra -moonnadi
 
.Since hatha yoga is part of Raja Yoga, the basic text ofRaja Yoga , Patanjali's Yoga sutras ,became the standardand holy text for hatha yoga as well.
Patanjali's Yoga SutrasPatanjali
was a sage of first or second century CE, thoughsome would place him much earlier. Very little is knownabout this sage. He spoke these cryptic verses oraphorisms ,called 'sutras'.

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