Hatha Yoga for Optimum Health
Hatha yoga is the style that is most well known in the west. These days it is practiced mainly for god health and to improve vitality.
The word Hatha is a conjunction of the words "ha" meaning sun and "tha" meaning moon. It is often described as the type of yoga that brings about the union of opposites. This style of yoga focuses on the third and fourth of the eight limbs of yoga. It uses the physical poses and breathing exercises to revitalize the energy.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga
- Yamas. Yama your response and relationship between your inner self and the external world. There are five Yamas including; Ashima or non-violence, not causing anyone any pain, Satya is truthfulness and honesty in the spoken word, non-stealing or Asteya, meaning honesty in action, Bramacharya or celibacy when single and faithfulness during marriage and Aparigrha or compassion and non-possessiveness.
- Niyamas.Niyama is how you treat yourself or your attitude towards yourself. The following are the five Niyamas: Sauca maintaining cleanliness, Santosha or happiness and contentment with life, Tapas or strictness, Svadhyaya or study of the sacred texts and of one's relationship to them, and Isvarapranidhama the realisation that we are insignificant in comparison to the Divine.
- Asanas.The asanas are physical poses that are used for to relieve your mind of tension. These postures relax the muscles, revitalize the whole body and balance the body and mind.
- Pranayama.Pranayama involves exercises that control breathing. Breathing is regulated through exercises which focus on the inhalation and exhalation and holding the breath in between.
- Prathayara. Prathayara is also known as a withdrawal of the senses. This can occur during an asana, pranayama or a meditation session. It happens when you become so focused in your activity that you are no longer aware of your surroundings.
- Dharana. Dharana aims at training your mind to be able to concentrate without becoming distracted.
- Dhyana or Meditation.Meditation involves the process of observation of the mind. It means focusing the mind on one point, stilling the mind in order to perceive the Self. It is an uninterrupted flow of concentration aimed to heighten our awareness and oneness with the universe.
- Samadhi or Enlightenment.Samadhi is the number one aim of the Eight Limbs of Yoga. It entails a feeling of oneness with the universe and spiritual ecstasy.