The Hatha Method
'Ha' means 'sun' in the ancient language of india, and 'tha' means 'moon'. Hatha is about balancing the two opposite energies, light and dark, sun and moon, yin and yang, vibrancy and inertia, of the human being to create the optimum conditions for meditation and self realisation.
Around 2000 years ago, Patanjali taught us that if we sit still and concentrate we can achieve yoga. This was during an age of heightened conciousness. Today, for most people, the body and mind are too full of impurities to make much progress.
Experimenting with different stretches, physical and breathing exercises, yogi's many centuries ago discovered how we can use the body as a tool to purify prepare the mind for meditation. The body is the gross manifestation of the mind, and the mind the sublte manifestation of the body - the two are indivisible and this can be used to our advantage.
The yogi (enlightened yoga teacher) Matsyendranath founded the Nath sect and taught that before taking up the practice of meditation the body and its elements need purifying. Around 600 years ago, Swami (great teacher) Swatmarama of the Nath sect wrote the text most important to hatha sadhakas (practitioners) of today, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, which means 'light on hatha yoga' in sanskrit the ancient language of India. It describes how to use the practice of different
- asana (postures)
- pranayama (breathing exercises)
- mudra (seals)
- bandha (locks)
- shatkarma (cleansing practices)
to prepare the mind for meditation. This constitutes the hatha method.
So we can consider hatha yoga as the physical yoga method. the body is used to prepare the mind for meditation. Hatha yoga techniques emerged around 600 years ago as a later embellishment to the raja method of Patanjali (see Patanjali's Yoga Sutra), necessary in an age of diminished consciousness and mental purity.