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Hatha is Hatha Yoga ?
The Hindi word hatha means 'obstinate'. But the meaning
yoga is not 'obstinate yoga', though some people
might regard it as
being so. The word hatha is composed
of two syllables, namely ha
and tha. Ha means the 'sun'
and tha means the 'moon'. Yoga means
Thus hatha yoga means the harmony between the sun
moon aspects of our being. The right nostril is connected with
the sun aspect; the left is associated with the moon aspect.
rules over the mental functions, while the sun
controls the vital and
physical functions. This applies to
everyone and is a basic tenet of
yoga. The two nostrils have
a deeper association with the flow of
prana within our being.
It is this flow of prana that ultimately influences
and physical functions. If the moon flow is predominant,
then one tends to think too much. If the sun flow is
is a tendency towards extroversion
and physical activity. physically.
This is a natural process.
However, for perfect mental and physical
balance the sun
flow should predominate for a total of about twelve
and the moon flow for the other twelve hours in each day.
This ensures a balanced personality with neither too much
nor too much extroversion. The balance of
these two is essential and
is the basic aim of hatha yoga.
What is pranayama ?
The definition of pranayama is usually given as breath control.
Though this may seem a fair interpretation in the light of the
involved, it does not convey the full significance of
Though oxygen is a form of prana, pranayama
is more concerned
with influencing the more subtle forms
of prana. As such one should
not make the mistake of
regarding pranayama as merely breathing
Of course the practices do improve the introduction of
into the physical body and the removal of carbon dioxide.
Of this there is no doubt, and this in itself brings about
physiological benefits. But pranayama actually
utilizes the breathing
process as a means to manipulate
all forms of prana within the human
gross or subtle. This in turn has repercussions on
mind and the physical body.
What is prana ?
Without prana nothing can exist or function, everything is a
myriad of different shades and forms. Without prana
there is no life
furthermore without prana it is not possible to
practice yoga asana.
There are five different prana works
in human prana sheath of body.
Apana is located below
the navel region and provides energy for the
kidneys, anus and genitals. It is concerned with the
of waste from the body
Samana is located between the
and the navel. It activates and controls the digestive system
the liver, intestines, pancreas and stomach, and their secretions.
Samana also activates the heart and circulatory system, and is
responsible for the assimilation and distribution of nutrients.
Udana controls the area of the body above the neck, activating
the sensory receptors such as the eyes, nose and cars.
and consciousness of the outside world would be
without it. Udana also harmonises and activates
the limbs and
all their associated muscles, ligaments, nerves
and joints, as well as
being responsible for the erect posture
of the body.
the whole body, regulating and
coordinating the other pranas.
It acts as the reserve
force for the
other pranas. Along with
the five major pranas there are five minor
the upa-pranas. These five sub-pranas are: naga,
krikara, devadatta and dhananjaya. Their functions are
described as follows.
Naga is responsible for belching and
Koorma opens the eyes
and stimulates blinking.
hunger, thirst, sneezing
Devadatta induces sleep and
immediately after death and is
responsible for decomposition
of the body.
Why should we practice pranayama ?
Pranayama brings new levels of awareness by stopping
distractions of the mind. In other words, it is the
within the mind that prevents us from
experiencing higher states or
dimensions of awareness.
Pranayama practices reduce thoughts,
conflicts, etc. in the
mind to a minimum and can even stop the mind
completely. This restraint of mental activities allows one
know higher levels of existence. Let us take an analogy.
If we stand in a room and look at the sun through a dirty
window then we don't
see and feel the rays of the sun in
its purity. If we clean the window
then we see the sun in
its true glory. The mind in its normal state is
the dirty window.
Pranayama cleans the mind and allows the
to come through unobstructed. It becomes obvious
pranayama means far more than breath control.
Cleansing teachnique - SHATKARMA