What is Hatha Yoga? When and How did Hatha Yoga evolve?

Hatha Yoga is the Classical form of yoga. Most forms of yoga in the Western countries can be classified as Hatha Yoga.  Most of the modern practices of Yoga are based on Hatha Yoga. Hatha simply refers to the practice of physical yoga postures, meaning your Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Iyengar, and Power Yoga classes are all Hatha Yoga. The combination of Hatha Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation is the key for mental and physical fitness in today’s lifestyle.

The word “Hatha” can be translated two ways: as “willful” or “forceful,” or the yoga of activity, and as “sun” (ha) and “moon” (tha), the yoga of balance. Hatha practices are designed to align and calm your body, mind, and spirit in preparation for meditation.

Brief History of Hatha Yoga:

Hatha Yoga, inherited over thousands of years, from generation to generation, teacher to disciple, yogi to yogi. It was developed and preserved by the lineage of Nath Gurus in Northern India. Swatmaramaji, a descendant of that lineage, introduced the standard curriculum for hatha yoga practice, Hatha Yoga Pradeepika in the ninth century.  There are many texts written after Hatha Yoga Pradeepika such as: Hatha Ratnavali, Siva Samhita, Gheranda Samhita, Kurantaka Yoga, Kapala Kurantaka Yoga, Yoga Ratnavali, and Shiva Yoga Deepika.

 

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Indian yogis got a lot of attention by their preaching and demonstrations of Yoga. During the 1920’s, Hatha Yoga was promoted in India due to great efforts of one yogi named T. Krishnamacharya. This yogi opened the first Hatha Yoga Institute. Shree Krishnamacharya trained 3 students who boosted the popularity of Hatha Yoga. These 3 yogis were B.K.S. Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikachar and Pattabhi Jois. They continued Hatha Yoga practices in a different way. In 1919, Yogendra Mastamani amazed Americans with the power and elegance of Hatha Yoga. Before returning to India, he founded the American branch of Kaivalyadhama, an Indian organization created by the late Swami Kuvalayananda, which has contributed greatly to the scientific study of Yoga.
Hatha Yoga is the science of using the body to prepare oneself for the ultimate possibility.” – Sadhguru ji

If you are interested to know more about Hatha yoga then refer to the following articles

http://isha.sadhguru.org/yoga/yoga_articles_hatha_yoga_asanas/the_science_of_hatha_yoga/

http://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/types-of-yoga/hatha

http://traditionalyogafoundation.org/index.php/hatha-yoga

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