If you want to know about authentic Hatha Yoga, then you should read Hatha Yoga Pradipika. This book stresses the development of self-discipline and control. The other textbooks which speak about Hatha Yoga are Gheranda Samhita, the Upanishads, and the Puranas. So, as a beginner, you should have a copy of either of the above.
Hatha Yoga is the first yogic form that came down from Adidev, and it prepares the individual for higher states of consciousness. The very essence of Hatha Yoga is forgotten today. Most people practice this form, for physical benefits, rather than mental ones. Hatha Yoga does strengthen the external body so that the practitioner can see within. Internal purification is one of the lessons that Hatha Yoga teaches. You will be able to learn about all the aspects of this divine practice, given the right guidance. You will unearth a huge reservoir of information, as you progress here.
As a beginner, you must follow some guidelines.
Understanding the Origins and Philosophy Of Hatha Yoga
As we were discussing, Hatha Yoga has changed its trajectory in the course of time. When it was created by Lord Shiva, it was more philosophical in nature. Patanjali had also penned down one of the most valuable written scripts for the future generations to follow, named The Yoga Sutras. The book mentions the 8 limbs of Hatha Yoga, which include Yama, Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi.
No matter which yoga form you learn today, it originated from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. According to the texts, the eight limbs of yoga form the moral codes of conduct for all yoga practitioners.
- Yama – It is about the activities, which one needs to refrain from doing. They are the practice of Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya, and Aparigraha.
- Niyamas – This is the next sutra, which Patanjali talked about. The Niyamas are Saucha, Santosa, Tapas, Svadhyaya, and Isvara Pranidhana. A practicing yogi is supposed to abide by these.
- Asanas – This is the third sutra, which seems to have achieved a very prominent position today. Yoga poses or asanas, mainly help you to develop discipline and focus. It is a way to body mastery so that you can concentrate on activities, which can assist you to merge with the higher consciousness.
- Pranayama – It consists of a set of breathing techniques that help in harnessing the ‘Prana’. Breath manipulation can help you to control various life processes.
- Pratyahara – It relates to the withdrawal of all your sensory pleasures. The less you crave for the external, the more time and energy you get to delve within.
- Dharana – It means concentration. You will be able to remove objectionable thoughts from your mind if you practice this sutra.
- Dhyana – This sutra comes next and relates to the development of awareness. It differs from the former, as it is a state of mindfulness, without any particular focus.
- Samadhi – It is the final stage when the yogi is in sync with the universe. It also refers to the state of absolute enlightenment.
For most of you, accepting Samadhi may pose challenges. You need a lot of perseverance to be on the right track.
Setting Realistic Goals
The actual purpose of Hatha Yoga is to open the consciousness toward the realization of the self. All those who aim to reach the final state of enlightenment must follow a few steps.
In order to unlock the benefits of Hatha Yoga, one needs to follow the teachings of Verse 16 of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. They include the practice of positive attitude, perseverance, mindful discrimination, immovable faith, courage, and the avoidance of the company of negative people.
- Positive Attitude – If you develop a positive attitude towards life in general, you will get one step closer to the benefits of Hatha Yoga. If you are convinced about the reasons behind your urge to practice, that is half the battle won. Motivation is the key to starting your practice.
- Perseverance – If you are a yoga learner, who is having difficulty getting into a certain pose, you may become discouraged. However, Hatha Yoga is not just about poses. There are other kriyas, which you can practice alongside. Additionally, do not practice, just for the sake of it. You need to practice regularly so that the muscles and tissues loosen and open up. Stop thinking about the outcomes.
- Mindful Discrimination – You should also be clever enough to discriminate between the conducive and non-conducive. If your actions are holding you back, stop those right away. The main aim of yoga practice is self-realization, so you are tasked with the decision-making. One of the aspects related to this key factor is the choice of food. Yogis are supposed to eat Sattvic food, as it is lighter and easy to digest. This leaves you with a lot of inherent energies, to direct towards the achievement of higher goals.
- Immovable Faith – It is another key, which will take you a step closer to your ultimate goal. You should have total faith in your teachers, your practice, and the path you have chosen. If you have belief, you will automatically forget about the returns. They are bound to come to you, one day or the other.
- Courage – Here courage relates to mundane things, rather than physical acts. You may fear sitting for a long time, in the cross-legged position. Meditation may be difficult, but you have to push yourself to practice the same. Most people lack the courage to let go off their ego. Try out things that you fear the most.
- Avoidance Of The Company Of Negative People – It is about staying away from people, with whom you do not sync. They can also drain all your good energies. So, staying away from such people and finding company in like-minded people is stressed here.
Staying Consistent With Your Practice
You should try to maintain regularity with your Hatha Yoga practice. Set a time each day, for the same. It is not always necessary to start big. You can start with easy asanas and kriyas. You must also ensure to choose a good teacher, who will inspire you. You can master Hatha Yoga if you keep the above aspects in mind. If you are a beginner, who is just starting out, stick to the keys to attain prosperity through yoga.
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