Salutations to the glorious primal Guru, Sri Adinath who instructed the knowledge of HATHA YOGA which shines forth as a stairway for those who wish to ascend to the highest stage of yoga, RAJA YOGA.
The word Hatha is made up of two sanskrit words Ha and Tha where they symbolizes the Sun and the Moon respectively. They represent the twin energies which exist in everything. Hatha represents the forces of the Mind and the Prana which constitutes the Body and the Mind.
Moon represents the mental energy of chitta(mind) while the Sun, the Pranic force which is more dynamic and active. The two create the extremities - Introversion and Extroversion respectively.
Practice of Hatha yoga enables the fluctuation between these two energies to become harmonized and unified into one single force. If these two separate flowing energies, Prana and Chitta are unified, there emerges a suitable condition for the arise of Kundalini/Spiritual energy which when awakened travels through the sukshmana nadi.
Hatha yoga is the process of establishing perfect physical, mental, emotional, and psychic equilibrium by manipulating the energies of the body. For this, the physical body has to be refined and strengthened so it can act as a medium for the higher energy/cosmic force to pass through.Traditionally, Hatha yoga consisted only of six kriya, Shatkarmas namely, Dhauti, Basti, Neti, Trataka, Kapalabhathi, Nauli. later Hatha yoga came to include Asanas, Pranayama, Mudra and Bandha.
Through Hatha yoga one can regulate the bodily secretions, harmones, breath, brainwaves, prana which ultimately controls the fluctuations of mind and makes it harmonious.
Patanjali Yoga is widely identified as being the same as Raja Yoga (The Royal Path of Yoga). However, Patanjali Yoga can be defined as a specific system within the wider framework of Raja Yoga. Accordingly Raja Yoga includes the following system,
Kundalini yoga (laya yoga), Kriya yoga, Mantra yoga, Dhyana yoga, Patanjali yoga.
Raja yoga including Patanjali yoga is the science of the mind. Instead of exploring the outer world like other sciences, Raja yoga is concerned with exploring the inner world and unleashing the power and knowledge stored within. Raja yoga is often called the Yoga of Meditation. It may include God-dedicated action (Ritual worship), discrimination and concentration upon a chosen aspect of God. It is also concerned with the study of the body as a vehicle of spiritual energy. For eg, it describes the nature and function of the various psychic centers. It teaches us the importance of techniques in prayers.
Patanjali defines his method of yoga as 'The Elimination of the Mental Fluctuations'. He says, Mind is the visible tip of pure consciousness, which encompasses the conscious, subconscious and unconscious layers of being. Therefore, Patanjali 's definition of yoga is,
'Yogah chitta vritti nirodah'
Yoga is the control of patterns of consciousness'
Patanjali 's yoga is also called as 'Astanga Yoga' which consists of Eight limbs. These are;
Yama, Niyama, Asana.Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.
These techniques slows down and harmonizes the mind and induce subtle perception. These 8 limbs are divided into Exoteric (Bahiranga) and Esoteric (Antaranga). The first five negates consciousness while last three expand.
The stages upto pratyahara gradually remove the external distractions, whilst the practices from dharana onwards and eradicate the disturbing thoughts and psychic manifestations so that the mind ceases to function. The eight stages progressively steady the Pancha Koshas of man. i.e, Annamaya kosha, Pranamaya kosha, Manomaya kosha, Vijnanamaya kosha, Anandamaya kosha.
Eventually the aim of yoga is to transcend the limitations of these koshas, where one moves from the gross level to the more subtler levels.
According to Prashnopanishad 'Pranayama' is described as
Patanjali in his aphorism says,
'Yogah chitta vritti nirodah'
Yoga is a skill to control the mind/emerging thought waves
Mind is made up of manas, bhuddi and amhamkara. When we relax, we become one with the whole. No more ego and individual consciousness. When we are tense, we tend to have more concentrated ego and individual consciousness. How can we overcome this?
Carrying onself through four stages of concentration (Dharana) by Examining, Discriminating, Joyful state and Simple awareness on the object of one's choice takes one into the meditative phase(Dhyana). Concentration may be attained through devotion to God (Ishwara), mere repetition of God's name with awareness and meaning, on Prana(Vital force), awareness on thought-waves/sound waves, Trataka etc. Long, steady and continous practice of Dhyana opens one's consciousness and makes one familiar with our inner-self which is our true-self to merge with the source of all Creation, Life and Consiousness which is the primary purpose of all meditative practices.
Though meditation is a spiritual practice.It's effects are clearly seen not only by the change in character of the practioner but also has found interesting and positive results to body's physiological functions as well.
Mudra are specific body positions and hand gestures which channelizes the energy produced by Asanas, Pranayama, Meditation and other yogic practices into various centers and charkas and arouses a particular state of well-being in mind and body.
Our body is made up of Pancha pranas (Five life forces) which controls all the physiological functions in our body. These pancha pranas are headed by the main prana, Varistha prana. One of the purpose of yoga is to control varistha prana thereby controlling the mind leading to Samadhi.
Pancha prana --> Varistha prana --> Mind --> Samadhi
Mudras help in recognizing the nerve impulses leading to the recognition of Vyana prana (one of the pancha pranas). Vyana prana unlike other four pranas can move in any direction and at any speed. Therefore, if this vyana prana is controlled,channelized and utilized correctly increases the prana shakti dormant in all of us thereby, strengthening our immune system to revitalize and rejuvenate the whole body.
General mudras and therapeutic mudras when practiced under proper guidance of your yoga guru can bring many significant results.
Mantra is a sanskrit word which is composed of two roots. Man - Repetition and Tra - Freedom.
Mantra/Spandana is a resonance pattern of sound. Sound is an aspect of energy, a powerful energy which can influence the mind. When you recieve a mantra, you are actually recieving a portion of this powerful energy in potential form. Repeated chanting of certain mantra for certain duration varying its frequency, pitch creates a beautiful resonance spreading through various parts of your body. Every letter of the mantra has a particular resonance to particular part of the body. Recognizing and associating this resonance in the physical body bring special effects on body, prana, mind, emotions and intellect.
In order to experience meditation, we need a certain quality of mind. Before practices of dharana (concentration) one should clean one's mind. This can be done by specific mantras which removes impurities and impressions aiding in better dharana.
Thousands of sounds appear in the universe. Among them 'Om' represents the universal sound. Mantras are generally classified into three according to their effects,