YogaResource.net

Hatha Yoga Guide




The topics A through Z on this site are a map to the land of hatha yoga.  However, unless you are a veteran visitor to this territory, you need a guidebook as well as a map.  This page is that guidebook.  The subjects are:


Hatha Yoga Essentials

History of Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga Masters

Learning & Performing Yoga Asanas

Building a Hatha Yoga Practice

Executing Your Personal Practice

Expanding Your Practice


Each section below provides a summary of the subject and a list of pages to visit on this site.



Hatha Yoga Essentials


At its most fundamental level, hatha yoga is body positioning & movement, with proper breathing.  Hatha yoga keeps the body healthy, disciplines the mind, and opens body & mind to a state of oneness with the Universe.  

Hatha yoga can stand alone.  It can be an adjunct to other forms of yoga.  It can also be the physical foundation for a raja yoga practice (for example, using the traditional eight steps in which steps 3 and 4 are asanas and pranayama [breath management]).


The Asanas and Breathing pages summarize these aspects of hatha yoga.


Beyond asanas and breathing, hatha yoga includes physical actions called mudras (seals), bandhas (locks), and kriyas (cleansing).  These vary by text and yoga master -- please see the next two subjects below.



History of Hatha Yoga


The history of hatha yoga is told in two stages.  The first stage is texts created by ancient sages about whom little is actually known.  These sages are known primarily through their written works.


The works are described on these pages: Patanjali (the most famous of the sages) and Hatha Yoga Pradipika.  The texts themselves illustrate two facts: 1) hatha yoga indeed possesses its own characteristics, and 2) there is consistency among the ancient texts on hatha yoga; differences lie in details, not the overall approach.


The second stage of hatha yoga history is Hatha Yoga Masters -- people who came after the authors of the earlier texts, individuals about whom a great deal is known.  See the next section.



Hatha Yoga Masters


In the early 1900s, modern yoga masters emerged, basing their work on the ancient texts.  Other masters followed them, building on their efforts.  These people produced substantial literary and practical legacies that took hatha yoga to the next level of evolution.  


Pages about the modern masters chronicle this evolution.  Krishnamacharya and Sivananda are the first generation of modern yoga masters.  Jois, Iyengar, Desikachar, and Mohan are the second generation.  The second generation also includes a woman, Indra Devi, who contributed mightily to hatha yoga through her approach that folded ancient simplicity into the modern evolution.  She is mentioned on the Zen page.


Undoubtedly history written in the future will identify new masters from the population of today’s hatha yoga leaders.  It is too early to know who these individuals might be.



Learning & Performing Yoga Asanas


Learning asanas is a multi-step process, as is learning dance or gymnastics.  You learn the basic moves, then you refine them while you create an individual routine for yourself.  Over and over again until you reach your goals.


You need to be familiar with the Asanas and Breathing pages.  Other potentially useful pages are:


Learning Yoga:   an introduction to numerous sources of information

Need A Guru?:   learning from a real person someplace along your educational journey

Why:   the know-why of selecting & performing an asana

Form:   how to learn the correct body form for an asana

One Size Fits All:   works for some things, not so well for others  



Building a Hatha Yoga Practice


Knowing how to hit a golf ball doesn’t mean you are ready to play in a tournament, but it does mean your next step is actually playing a round of golf on a golf course.  Being comfortable with yoga asanas means you are ready to think about your yoga practice.  YOUR yoga practice, built for you.


Fundamentally this means the Yoga Practice Design page.  Spend some time on it, especially on the paragraphs that seem meaningful to your needs and style.  Understand the Exercise and Goals pages, too.  


Verse 66 of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika says “Success is achieved neither by wearing the right clothes nor talking about it.  Practice alone brings success.”  Work on your practice until you have what you want.  There are four essential steps listed on the Yoga Practice Design page.  Take what you want & need, but please consider your choices thoughtfully.



Executing Your Personal Practice


The Yoga Practice Design page talks about practice execution (and its ramifications such as practice improvement), so what do I mean here?  


I mean paying attention to your practice, using your mind and body to their fullest, opening yourself to the universe, being a committed player in the symphony of Life.  How would you do this?  See the Quiet Your Mind page.  And, of course, integrate your hatha yoga practice with whatever spiritual practice you pursue, whether it is raja yoga or a different path that you follow.



Expanding Your Practice


You can attain satisfaction & contentment with your practice, but you will never achieve perfection.  However, don’t stop trying!  These pages will give you some suggestions:


Vikrti and Unique Asanas pages to keep your practice fresh

Chakras page for ideas about energy flow in your practice

Zen page as a reminder to avoid overcomplicating things

Teaching Yoga page if you want to get into helping others with yoga


Resources page if you want to pursue further hatha yoga study or want clarification and/or validation that information on this website is accurate.





Conclusion:  this Hatha Yoga Guide is one way to organize the 26 A through Z topics, as a guidebook is one way to plan a trip to a new place.  However, most travelers customize a guidebook to their own interests, so feel free to do the same with this guide.



         For a different page, click below:
 
            Asanas     Breathing     Chakras     Desikachar      Exercise     Form    Goals
         Hatha Yoga Pradipika     Iyengar     Jois     Krishnamacharya     Learning Yoga    Mohan
            Need A Guru?     One Size Fits All     Patanjali     Quiet Your Mind     Resources     Sivananda
         Teaching Yoga     Unique Asanas     Vikrti      Why     oXen    Yoga Practice Design    Zen


            Asanas     Breathing     Chakras     Desikachar      Exercise     Form    Goals
         Hatha Yoga Pradipika     Iyengar     Jois     Krishnamacharya     Learning Yoga    Mohan
            Need A Guru?     One Size Fits All     Patanjali     Quiet Your Mind     Resources     Sivananda
         Teaching Yoga     Unique Asanas     Vikrti      Why     oXen    Yoga Practice Design    Zen

            Asanas     Breathing     Chakras     Desikachar      Exercise     Form    Goals
         Hatha Yoga Pradipika     Iyengar     Jois     Krishnamacharya     Learning Yoga    Mohan
            Need A Guru?     One Size Fits All     Patanjali     Quiet Your Mind     Resources     Sivananda
         Teaching Yoga     Unique Asanas     Vikrti      Why     oXen    Yoga Practice Design    Zen

            Asanas     Breathing     Chakras     Desikachar      Exercise     Form    Goals
         Hatha Yoga Pradipika     Iyengar     Jois     Krishnamacharya     Learning Yoga    Mohan
            Need A Guru?     One Size Fits All     Patanjali     Quiet Your Mind     Resources     Sivananda
         Teaching Yoga     Unique Asanas     Vikrti      Why     oXen    Yoga Practice Design    Zen







         For a different page, click below:
 
            Asanas     Breathing     Chakras     Desikachar      Exercise     Form    Goals
            Hatha Yoga Pradipika     Iyengar     Jois     Krishnamacharya     Learning Yoga    Mohan
            Necessary & Sufficient     One Size Fits All     Patanjali     Quiet Your Mind     Resources
            Sivananda     Teaching Yoga     Unique Asanas     Vikrti      Why      oXen     You     Zen


         For a different page, click below:
 
            Asanas     Breathing     Chakras     Desikachar      Exercise     Form    Goals
            Hatha Yoga Pradipika     Iyengar     Jois     Krishnamacharya     Learning Yoga    Mohan
            Necessary & Sufficient     One Size Fits All     Patanjali     Quiet Your Mind     Resources
            Sivananda     Teaching Yoga     Unique Asanas     Vikrti      Why      oXen     You     Zen

         For a different page, click below:
 
            Asanas     Breathing     Chakras     Desikachar      Exercise     Form    Goals
            Hatha Yoga Pradipika     Iyengar     Jois     Krishnamacharya     Learning Yoga    Mohan
            Necessary & Sufficient     One Size Fits All     Patanjali     Quiet Your Mind     Resources
            Sivananda     Teaching Yoga     Unique Asanas     Vikrti      Why      oXen     You     Zen

         For a different page, click below:
 
            Asanas     Breathing     Chakras     Desikachar      Exercise     Form    Goals
            Hatha Yoga Pradipika     Iyengar     Jois     Krishnamacharya     Learning Yoga    Mohan
            Necessary & Sufficient     One Size Fits All     Patanjali     Quiet Your Mind     Resources
            Sivananda     Teaching Yoga     Unique Asanas     Vikrti      Why      oXen     You     Zen

         For a different page, click below:
 
            Asanas     Breathing     Chakras     Desikachar      Exercise     Form    Goals
            Hatha Yoga Pradipika     Iyengar     Jois     Krishnamacharya     Learning Yoga    Mohan
            Necessary & Sufficient     One Size Fits All     Patanjali     Quiet Your Mind     Resources
            Sivananda     Teaching Yoga     Unique Asanas     Vikrti      Why      oXen     You     Zen