hatha yoga teacher training course


Hatha Yoga or Hatha Vidya

Hatha means to stick fast, to be devoted and to hold closely or firmly. Yoga means to unite, to associate, to yoke and to join. It also means zeal, endeavor, fixing the mind on one point, holding the body in a steady posture, contemplation and meditation. Vidya means knowledge, art and science.

The Goddess Parvati, the wife of Lord Siva, approached her Lord–the seed of all knowledge–for guidance to ease the suffering of humanity. Lord Siva revealed to her the greatest of all sciences for the holistic development of man–the science of hatha yoga. On receiving yogic knowledge from Siva, Parvati imparted it to Brahma, who taught it to his children born of his own will, the sages such as Narada, Sanaka and Sanatkumara, who passed it on to Vasista and others. Hatha vidya was set down in the Hatha yoga pradipika by Yogi Svatmarama who, it is thought, lived between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. The Pradipika has thus been referred to as a nebrively recent addition to the literature of yoga, which goes back to the Vedas (1500 bc). In fact, Svatmarama was part of the long unbroken line of sages or rishis, descended from Brahma, by whom hatha vidya was passed down through the ages. (…)

At the very beginning of his treatise, in verses 4-9, Svatmarama invokes the names of many of these sages who came before him and who practised and passed on the noble art of hatha yoga. A consideration of this list of names leads to the conclusion that the yoga described by Svatmarama iscontemporary with that of Patanjali (whose Yoga Sutras were also a codification of long-established theory and practice).

If Patanjali, in the Yoga Sutras, codified the eight limbs of yoga (astanga yoga), Svatmarama did the same for hatha yoga. If the former is a scholarly exposition with gems of wisdom woven together, the latter is a direct practical and technical handbook. (…)

It should be realized that the Hatha yoga pradipika is a major treatise with practical guidelines. It takes the practitioner from the culture of the body towards the sight of the self. The first Sloka (verse) of the book reads: “Reverence to Siva, the Lord of Yoga, who taught Parvati hatha wisdom as the first step to the pinnacle of raja yoga” (Patanjali yoga). And at the end we are reminded that “all hatha practices serve only for the attainment of raja yoga”. (4:103).

Hatha means willpower, resoluteness and perseverance; and Hatha yoga is the path that develops these qualities and leads one, towards emancipation. The word hatha is composed of two syllables: ha and tha. Ha stands for the seer, the Self, the soul (purusa), and for the sun (Surya) and the inbreath {prana). Tha represents nature (prakrti), consciousness {citta), the moon (chandra) and the out-breath (apana). Yoga, as already noted, means union. Hatha yoga, therefore, means the union of purusa with prakrti, consciousness with the soul, the sun with the moon, and prana with apana.


—–B. K. S. Iyengar in the foreward to The Hathayoga Pradipika in the Translation of Hans-Ullrich Rieker




Hatha Yoga Systems

The following is a brief list of the hatha yoga schools with a description of their focus.

  • Ananda, strong emphasis on meditation
  • Ashtanga, strong emphasis on the physical
  • Bikram, emphasis on the physical and sweating
  • Integral, emphasis on relaxation by integrating positions, breath, and meditation
  • Iyengar, emphasis on symmetry and alignment
  • Kripalu, emphasis on flowing and merging of body, breath, and mind
  • Kundalini, focus is on the breath
  • Sivananda, emphasis is on integrating positions, breath, and meditation, and is gentle
  • Viniyoga, emphasis is on integrating poses and breathing for the individual, and breathing is stressed


—-Excerpts and reference from Stephanie Levin-Gervasi, Smart Guide to Yoga


Origin of Hatha Yoga


One day Parvati, the consort of Siva, looked down on her children, human beings, and seeing them in such a bad way, asked her divine husband: ” My Lord isn`t there anything that can be done to ease the suffering of our children? ” Siva closed his eyes, entered into a state of deep meditation and started to teach the science of Hatha Yoga. Divine knowledge was pouring out of his lips as naturally and effortlessly as the Ganges flows to the sea.

When he had finished, he opened his eyes and discovered that Parvati had fallen asleep. As he had been teaching from this deep state of meditation, he could not remember what he had said. “What a waste!” said Siva to himself. Fortunately, in a pond nearby, there was a very special fish who had listened with great attention to the whole discourse. He said to Siva: “Please, do not worry my Lord, I remember everything!” Siva was so happy that he instantly liberated this great soul who had been the first recipient of this knowledge. He became Matsyendranath. Matsyendranath handed it over to his disciple Goraknath, and this started a lineage of siddhas, perfected beings.

This story underlines the fact that Hatha Yoga is a divine gift traditionally transmitted from Guru to disciple. In this lineage, the first Guru was Shiva himself. Far from being frozen knowledge and codified instructions, it is a science kept alive by the yogis who have mastered it and who in turn transmit their knowledge to their deserving students. Sampoorna Hatha Yoga is a continuing expression of this tradition. That is why it is so effective for evolution of Ardent practitioners.

Get the Best Online Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training Course & more in Dubai, UAE at Yogihearts

No Comments

Post A Comment