Hatha Yoga describes the physical practices of yoga. The word Hatha is a compound of the syllables Ha and Tha which represent solar and lunar energies. Hatha is the unification of complementary energies: hot and cold (fire and water, following similar concept as yin-yang), male and female, active and receptive.
Hatha Yoga is defined as “the balancing of solar and lunar energies.” In the prana-vidya Hatha Yoga style of doing asanas, one’s concentration is not only the positioning the body correctly, but also on experiencing what is happening within and how prana expresses itself through the body.
There is reverence and gentleness in the mind, moving from outside inwards, and the ability to totally relax non-active parts of the body and move prana into tense areas by means of concentration and the breath.
Hatha yoga in the Himalayan Tradition is taught as an integrated practice, which includes centering, correct breathing, breath-awareness, stretching sequences using the joints & glands movements, asana refinement, subtle-body relaxations, pranayamas, and mediation. Hatha Yoga, as taught by Swami Veda is understood as “a continuum” involving all the limbs of Raja yoga, especially Ahimsa.
We offer a number of hatha yoga classes from “foundation” to “advanced”.
The Himalayan Tradition is a meditation (dhyana)-based tradition. All the practices are meant to prepare us for meditation. In the process of learning meditation, the Himalayan Tradition teaches us how to sit (stable, comfortable and effortless), how to breathe without irregularities, how to relax and how to purify our mind.
Swami Veda has said, concerning how to master asanas:
“The first step in yoga is not touching your nose to your knees. A circus clown can do that backwards. In the practice of asana, many people move their hands and feet in all different directions but they are not observing. But if they move their limbs in specific directions with the breath (with the respiratory slow rhythm), with full-relaxed awareness of the flow of energy in their arms and their hands, then that process of going into a posture becomes an asana. Without this kind of relaxed observation, it is not an asana. It needs to be flowing, steady and smooth. You can refer to Patanjali (YS 2.47): If it is done with relaxation, then it is a yoga posture; if it is not done with relaxation, then it is not a yoga posture.”
Joints and Glands Exercises by Swami Rama
Philosophy of Hatha Yoga by Swami Veda Bharati (Pandit Usharbudh Arya)
Practical Guide to Holistic Health by Swami Rama
Holistic Living Manual by Swami Rama
Yoga: Mastering the Basics by S. Anderson and R. Sovik