The term YOGA is a sanskrit word meaning "to unite" or to "yoke"
Ask a yogi or yogini and he or she will tell you that your "personal" soul will be united with the Universal soul. That there is only one soul at all. You will be enlightened... That sounds like a bit too much? And why would I want that? No need to start at the end. Let's take it bit by bit and be curious why it might be worth taking this path.
It's all about the journey anyway, isn't it...?
You might ask yourself: What do I get out of it?
Your body functions better - you feel flexible and strong, your organs and endocrine system work at their best
You start realizing that you have power over how you breathe and therefore how you feel
You become more independent of the situation you find yourself in
You feel healthier
You feel calmer and more centered
You might find out why you are here (that's the scary part...)
And finally: Your life is full and filled with joy (that's what we all want, isn't it?)
Sounds like a subscription to a coaching?
You might be right
WHAT IS HATHA YOGA?
Once upon a time (in the late 1950s) in India... there was a doctor, yogi and teacher. His name was Sivananda. He was really keen about yoga and had the dream to make it popular worldwide. So he spoke to one of his students: "Hey, Vishnudevananda, here are 10 rupees. This seems to be enough to explore America and tell them about Yoga. You fancy going?" And Vishnudevananda did fancy. As his life was simple (living of 10 rupees when travelling the world make me assume he must have lived a simple life...) he thought of a simple technique to get the complex idea of yoga into the consume-driven and top-heavy Western brains. And he came up with the 5 points of yoga. The rest is history.. ;-)
(Ok... this story is cut a bit very short and is quite freely interpreted... But the essence is in.. :-) )
It's all about the FIVE POINTS OF YOGA:
"Proper" Thinking / Meditation
"Proper" in inverted commas...? Follow the blog posts about each of the points and you'll find out why.
And you thought you would just stay on the mat...
What does "Hatha" mean?
Good question. There are actually two meaning to the word Hatha.
1. Look at the two syllables Ha-tha, then you'll see two words: Ha=Sun Tha=Moon. So Hatha Yoga is about opposites, or rather bringing those opposites together, uniting them in ... Yoga.
You could define those opposites as well as yin and yang, strength and flexibility, warm and cold, male and female, ida and pingala (what the f...? No worries, we'll come to that later)... you name it. Yoga brings all this together in our physical exercises on the yoga mat. We work on our strength and flexibility and unite it with our breathing. This is the Tantric interpretation, which sounds even a bit romantic to me...
2. There is another, older, maybe a bit more challenging meaning of Hatha
Hatha as one word means "force" or even "stubbornness" / "persistence". Hence Hatha Yoga indicates the (physical and mental) strength, discipline and determination that it is asking of the practitioner. Yeahh, you won't get it for free and not overnight... Didn't I mention already... it's all about the journey..?
Let's take each point bit by bit.
Follow this blog and you'll find out more about each of the 5 Points Of Yoga.