Hatha yoga is the yoga tradition most familiar to Western culture. The term is derived from the Sanskrit ha, meaning “sun,” and tha, meaning “moon.” The practice aims to unite the active and receptive qualities represented by each celestial being. Hatha yoga is a branch of yoga. In India, hatha yoga is associated with popular tradition with the Yogis of the Natha Sampradaya through its traditional founder Matsyendranath. Almost all Hatha yogic texts belong .
One of the lesser known schools of Yoga which seems to be particularly well suited to our search for relaxation of mind is the Sankya Yoga, based on the sutras, or writings, of the sage Kapila. Hindus believe this Yoga philosopher was none other than the godVishnu, the son of Brahman, in one of his earthly reincarnations. On the surface, the sutras seem to be merely a series of philosophical propositions, yet students .
While the great majority of the asanas have a curative or therapeutic value, there are several which are purely for the purpose of relaxation. Relaxation should not be mistaken for inertia. It is not a state of lethargy; rather, it is rest after effort or, perhaps, conscious rest after the conscious effort. One definition of relaxation is “a complete resignation of the body to the power of gravity, surrender of the mind to nature, .
The slim, svelte figure is a goal of our culture, especially for the female sex, so that the next series of asanas may be of particular interest to women. From the point of view of Hatha Yoga, the elimination of excess fat has been one means of achieving body-mind harmony. Even before modern insurance actuaries pointed out the correlation between excess weight and high mortality, Yogis had determined that every pound of weight above .
While the asanas or postures which will be described later are a basic part of the practice of Yoga, we should continue our study of Raja Yoga, the non-physical phases of this practice. Some readers may find they cannot follow the rigid discipline of a full Yogic life; others may be seeking an easier path to relaxation and may feel that they are less concerned with their physical than their mental states. Breath control .
The Himalayan Mountains have been the home of sages for millennia. These great sages have lived and passed on knowledge of the yogic teachings to disciples who then became masters passing on the teachings in an unbroken lineage since the Vedic period. Twelve hundred years ago Shankaracharya organized his teaching into five centers of the Himalayan Tradition. As one of those five, our tradition is the Bharati lineage connected with the Shankaracharya at the .