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What is hatha yoga ?

Hatha Yoga is the yoga of balance, and can be broken down between, Ha and Tha.  Ha representing, the sun, solar energy, and more masculine qualities.  Representing the Sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for our “fight or flight response”, aggression and a more analytical mind.  Tha representing the moon, lunar energy and more feminine qualities.  Representing the Para-sympathetic nervous system (Non-stimulating activities), more submissive and non-analytical right brain activities.  Each one of us has more dominant qualities, and the purpose of Hatha yoga, is to bring these dueling energies, or opposing forces into one, and break the heavy, darkness that lies within us.

Abstracting an example from above, of an overly dominant analytical person.  Being highly analytical is greatly valued in the Western world, or more business type professions.  But when one is overly analytical, we tend to overthink simple decisions in life which will lead to stress, anxiety and less overall energy.  We bring this analytical mindset into relationships.  Whether with a significant other or friends and tend to over-analyze every aspect of other people’s lives.  Too much analysis will not allow us to look at situations in a more holistic view, tap into our gut instincts or feelings, rather than constantly using our mind.  An over analyzing person will always be looking at things piece by piece, part by part.  Practicing Hatha yoga will help bring more synthesis, or seeing things in a more complete/whole picture, rather part by part.

The practice of Hatha Yoga will provide more balance to these dominant qualities.  For instance, Inertia.  Everything in the universe holds inertia, or force.  We as humans need inertia to do things.  Get out of bed in the morning, practice asanas, practice pranayama, but too much can cause despair.  If we hold too much inertia in us, we won’t be able to fall asleep, and will suffer from insomnia or won’t be able to sit still when practicing pranayam.

We require Tamas qualities.  Tamas or dullness/laziness, allows us to sleep, but too much and you will be overly dull and tired.  Rajas qualities are more based around energy and movement.  Again, we require for asana practice, but too much and the individual won’t be able to sit still for a period of time.  The last guna is Satva, or lightness, positive, wholesome.  By practicing Hatha yoga we seek to find balance between these gunas and eliminate some of the darkness, tamas or negative qualities in us.

Through practice, we begin to purify the nadis, or energy channels.  We seek to find balance within ourselves.  Go beyond these dueling conflicts, break the tamas, heavy darkness within us and bring more light and joy into our lives.