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What is Hatha yoga?

So what is Hatha Yoga fo real? That’s what they don’t tell you in the West, or take the time to explain to you because everyone is running around and doing Hatha as a physical exercise.

Understand hatha Yoga for a better practice and health results

Hatha is not just the physical expression of the body.

With the physical practice of yoga, you cannot benefit from its benefits because you are not taught it in the right way.

Maybe also that people are not ready to listen to it because it calls our spiritual and physical part, yet these last 2 are inseparable, whether we like it or not.

This spiritual part is also the energy in us and that which surrounds us and this energy which surrounds us is part of us.

Why do we say “today I have no energy”, it is because we feel our level of vitality and yet it is not palpable is it?

Hatha yoga purifies

In order to purify the mind, it is necessary for the body as a whole to undergo a complete purification process.

Hatha yoga, in its traditional practice, is the science of purification, not just one type of purification but 6 different impurities.

When you rid the body of these impurities, the nadis* function and the different pranas* are released. Then they travel as wave frequencies through the channels of the physical structure (nadis), traveling to the brain.

*- Nadis: channels through which, in traditional Indian medicine and spiritual theory, the energies such as prana of the physical body, the subtle body and the causal body are said to flow)

*Prana: considered as a life-giving force. Prana is seen as a universal energy which flows in currents in and around the body.

Yoga has proven to be very effective in the treatment of many diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, depression, back pain, schizophrenia, migraines, hormonal imbalances, low back pain…

Hatha yoga balances

What is Hatha yoga: balance activities and process of body, mind and energies

The main objective of hatha yoga is to create an interaction: it is to find the absolute balance between the activities and the processes of the physical body, the spirit and the energy.

When this balance is created, the impulses generated call for the awakening of the central force, sushumna nadi, responsible for the evolution of human consciousness.

And if hatha yoga is not used for this purpose, its true purpose is lost.

The meaning of Hatha Yoga

Hatha is done by “Ha” and “Tha”, a combination of 2 bija mantras.

“Ha represents prana (life force) and the sun, heating.

“Tha” represents the spirit, and also our lunar, cooling side.

It refers to the balance of the masculine aspects: active, warm, solar, and feminine: receptive, fresh, lunar, present in each of us.

So Hatha means the union of pranic and mental forces.

Aparte…

What happens internally every time you start thinking?

If you’ve never thought about it, start thinking now.

What is thought?

What happens in us when a thought arises and the thought diminishes, and when one is replaced by another, or when the thoughts intersect?

This is called the interaction between Ha and tha, prana and mental forces.

What is Hatha Yoga: harmonizing prana and mind

In hatha yoga there is the concept of harmonizing the two energies, as they normally remain in an unbalanced and unharmonized form.

The prana force can be predominant and the mental force can be subordinate and vice versa.

If the force of prana is too great then people develop psychic disorders orillnesses, when the spirit is too high people get angry, quarrel, create conflicts, even cause murders, crimes, all kinds of violent behavior. This is the effect of imbalance.

The concept of Hatha yoga is to bring harmony between these 2 forces called ida (nadis) and pingala.

Ida and pingala

The 3 main Nadis : ida, pingala, sushumna

In hatha yoga, union means the union of the two energetic forces of the body, that is to say the pranic and mental energy circulating in the ida and pingala nadis, as said before.

Usually these two forces do not act simultaneously because either the mental force predominates or the vital energy is dominant.

Hatha yoga is the process of balancing the flow of these two forces to bring about perfect physical and mental balance as well as the awakening of sushumna and kundalini.

All branches of yoga unite these two energies and channel them through the third nadi, sushumna.

The three main nadis

The three main nadis: ida, pingala and sushumna, end with the ajna chakra, the psychic center located in the region of the medulla oblongata and the pineal gland.

Through the practice of yoga, ida and pingala are balanced, sushumna is activated and ajna chakra is awakened.

Ida is connected to the left nostril and the right hemisphere of the brain.

Pingala is connected to the right nostril and the left hemisphere of the brain.

In the same way that the right hemisphere governs the left side of the body, at the pranic level ida also controls the functions of the left side of the body.

Pingala and the left hemisphere govern the right side of the body.

Just as the cerebral hemispheres and nostrils alternate their functioning in a ninety-minute cycle, so do ida and pingala.

Ida and the right hemisphere activate an introverted state of consciousness: orientation in space, artistic, creative and musical ability.

Conversely, pingala and the left hemisphere externalize consciousness.

Your approach becomes logical, sequential, mathematical and analytical.

Ida nadi controls subconscious activities, while pingala is responsible for conscious and dynamic functions.

When these forces are balanced and working simultaneously, both nostrils are active. This indicates that sushumna nadi is working.

Small test: position your index finger below your nostrils: do you feel the flow of air coming out of one nostril greater than the other or is the flow of air coming out of your nostrils equal for both?

Cycle Length

Usually this happens for one to four minutes between each ninety minute cycle.

The object of hatha yoga practice is to increase the duration and flow of sushumna and the period during which both nostrils flow simultaneously so that a balance is created in physical and mental functions.

When the mind and body do not work in harmony, there is a split between physical and mental rhythms, which inevitably leads eventually to disease.

You should always keep in mind that body, mind and soul are not 3, they are 1.

At some level of existence you see the body.

On another level, you perceive it as a spirit.

You should never regard the body as different from the mind.

To achieve this: the shatkarmas

In hatha yoga, we first take care of the body and purify it through 6 methods. The most important point is that the nadis must be purified.

Just as a machine produces waste, our body continually produces wastes. This waste is of 3 types: mucus, gas and acidity.

If we cleanse the body internally from time to time, the excesses of the 3 wastes products are eliminated and their formation is regulated and balanced. Then good health can be maintained.

It is in this sense that the shatkarmas are of very great importance. Cleansing the body of the 3 types of imbalance in the system is an important aspect of hatha yoga and therapy.

These 6 hatha yoga kriyas (neti, dhauti, basti, kapalbhati, nauli and trataka) are also necessary for spiritual aspirants.

What is Hatha Yoga: controlling the mind by controlling prana

Indian philosophies were very aware of the difficulty of controlling the fluctuations of the mind.

She first defined the mental structure and then defined methods to relieve the monkey spirit.

Today our Western theories of personal, spiritual and psychological development have largely copied what had been defined centuries before in India.

The mind, you can handle it for a while, but you can’t always be successful all the time.

By controlling the prana (breath), the mind is automatically controlled. Prana and mind influence each other. When the prna are agitated, it affects the mind and vice versa.

Some people want to control the mind without wanting to control prana. Maybe a few people will do it, but most people of peace can’t control the mind with the mind. The more they try, the more the split grows.

Sometimes you are inspired. You feel very good, very focused, but this is not everyday practice… Practicing asanas and pranayama is the solution.

By practicing them, the mind is conquered automatically.

Hatha yoga is a very important health science. It is true that the practices require more involvement and effort from the patient than conventional therapies, but in terms of results, they are positive and permanent. It is healthier to save the huge expense of drugs, and these practices are certainly more worthwhile than damaging the body with chemicals that could be avoided for many symptoms and illnesses.

Unification Method

What makes this method of treatment so powerful and effective is that it works on the principle of harmony and unification, rather than diversity.

The 3 important principles on which physical and mental therapy are based are:

1. bestow absolute health on a part or system of the body thus influencing the rest of the body

2. balance the pole of positive and negative energy. (ida and pingala, prana and apana)

3. purify the body of the 3 types of waste.

Physical and mental therapy is one of the most important achievements of hatha yoga, which has been successful in diseases like asthma, diabetes and blood pressure, epilepsy, hysteria, rheumatism and many more. other conditions of a chronic and constitutional nature.

What has been discovered recently is that asanas and pranayama are more powerful and effective in controlling the whole body.

These are the first steps that allow us not only to modify the mechanism of an element, but also to take control of the total structure of the brain and the mind, the control system that allows us to direct all aspects of our life and the energy in it.

What is Hatha Yoga: a therapeutic science

Hatha yoga improves physical and mental health

Over the past 40 years, Hatha yoga has been accepted as a therapeutic science all over the world and many scientific studies have been conducted in this field. Today we teach yoga to people because it is very necessary. The man fells ill and medical science alone cannot meet the challenge. Hatha yoga, however, helps everyone.

Behind every sick man there is a spiritual man, a diabetic a yogi, a man suffering from depression, there is a seeker.

Hatha yoga improves physical health, but not only is it not enough, it also improves mental health.

Conclusion

Many scientific studies have been conducted in this area.

Source: Samanvaya 2022: conference on integrative medicine for Humanity and wellness.

Today, yoga is one of the integrated sciences in hospitals in the United States and now in various countries (Canada, New Zealand for example, etc.), because it allows improvement in coordination with health professionals. conventional medicine and improve the conditions of patients.

Or conversely, where conventional medicine fails, yoga improves the patient’s condition.

Yoga is a therapy that it is time to integrate more widely into health systems. There is no proof to give but scientific studies to read. They don’t cheat.

Today we teach yoga to people because it is more than necessary to improve our conditions.

The man has fallen ill and medical science is no longer able to meet the challenge alone.

Hatha yoga, however, has and does help everyone.

Hatha yoga is a great science that everyone can practice according to their own abilities.

Maybe not all the techniques because they require the presence of a teacher, but at least some can be practiced every day.

Hatha yoga techniques, along with asanas and some pranayama, are sufficient for most people.

It is necessary to practice these preparatory steps first.

Then you can go further. If the preparation is perfect, it will not be necessary to learn meditation from anyone because then it will be natural.

By practicing yoga your mind will be lifted into a new realm of awareness.

References

Exploring the Therapeutic Benefits of Pranayama (Yogic Breathing): A Systematic Review

Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life

Effects of various Praṇayama on cardiovascular and autonomic variables. 

Sudarshan Kriya Yogic breathing in the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression. Part II–clinical applications and guidelines

Effect of Sheetali pranayama on cardiac autonomic function among patients with primary hypertension – A randomized controlled trial

Immediate effect of Kapalbhathi pranayama on short term heart rate variability (HRV) in healthy volunteers

Yoga breathing, meditation, and longevity

Effect of pranayama breathing technique on asthma control, pulmonary function, and quality of life: A single-blind, randomized, controlled trial

Effects of Yoga Respiratory Practice ( Bhastrika pranayama) on Anxiety, Affect, and Brain Functional Connectivity and Activity: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Ayurveda and yoga for fall season

Yoga for fall, what does that means? We are all living in the microcosm depending on macrocosm, so seasons have an impact on all beings. We can see Nature change as much as we change to its rhythm. It is therefore important to bring the ritucharya in our life to maintain the balance of our doshas.

Rituacharya is the ancient Ayurvedic practice. “Ritu” means season and “charya” means Regimen or discipline.

Ritucharya consists of lifestyle and ayurvedic diet routine to cope with the bodily and mental impacts caused by seasonal changes.

Fall season qualities or gunas

  • Dry
  • Rough
  • Windy
  • Erratic
  • Cool
  • Subtle and clear.

All these qualities are also Vata qualities. And in Ayurveda, same qualities increases the effect of them, then Autumn increase Vata dosha.

What to do to balance Vata for fall?

Balance the climate effects by appropriate lifestyle choices and diet:

  • Bring more stability, warmth, oiliness, deep nourishment, positive realtionships. Most important is to have a sense of stability, routine and groundedness.
  • Try to do the things at the same time daily: wake-up, exercise, meals, go to bed…
  • Massage yourself to calm your nervous sytem…

Diet should be:

  • Nourishing, oily and warmth.
  • Avoid fasting,
  • Use favor sweet, sour and salty tastes.
  • Breakfast of cooked grains (oatmeal, tapioca, cream of rice or wheat…)
  • Lunches and dinners : steamed veg, hearty grains, soups and stews are grounding and moisturizing. Organic dairy product and seeds are also beneficial.
  • No process or industrial food, only fresh and homemade as much as possible

Herbs:

  • Ashwaganda, chyavanprash, ginger tea, cumin, coriander and cumin tea.

Avoid or in moderation:

  • Raw food, cold or frozen foods, bitter, pungent and astringent tastes.

Bring Yoga and meditation in your daily routine:

  • For 10 to 15 min for starting.
  • Practices Vata pacifying yoga, and pranayama like nadi shodhana…
  • Slow sun salutation [here a video of complete yoga session with a modify sun salutation at 56:57 min in the video]
  • Tadasana
  • Bitilasana
  • Marjaryasana
  • Bhujangasana

  • Vajrasana
  • Balasana

  • Viparita karani
  • Savasana for 20 minutes

It is better to practice with a qualified and experienced yoga teacher to practice the asana according to your body, to avoid injuries and also to get the full health benefits from them.

For what benefits?

Learning pranayama, yoga philosophy and lifestyle will bring peace in your mind.

You learn how to manage your emotions and control your monkey mind.

You will also cure and bring calm into your body.

Practice smoothly, gently with conscious and you will rejuvenate and help your nervous system.

Moreover, we all have to learn how to invest in your own health and vitality. We all stand to benefit from aligning ourselves with the rhythms of nature all the year.

We can avoid all symptoms and diseases linked to seasons by our diet and lifestyle

These are general tips many can be down, unfortunately it is not in 1 article that you can get all the benefits of yoga and ayurveda.

Do a good start and set your Ayurvedic and yoga routine, it is simple and so beneficial.

I can only advise you to start ayurvedic and yogic practices as soon as possible to maintain your good health over time, to support your immune system and by the same token your homeostasis

  • For yoga lessons [stress and mental management, hormones balancing, overweight]: click here to book your 1st free session
  • For ayurveda counselling : Click here to book your free call
  • For learning ayurveda, beneficial for all: click here to know more about the program

Be love, be nice and compassionate.

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Julie

Life After Death

What is life after death… As long as the vayu (air and prana: or vital force) remains in the body, that is called life.

Death is when it leaves the body. Therefore, retain vayu.

Life and death in the prana?

Death is not total. This is the transmission of Vedic knowledges and yoga practice.

Life and death of the mind and body

The physical body dies, or the mind dies, but not the soul.

Death is not extinction; it is a process of disintegration.

The components of the body, the five tattwas: akasha – ether, vayu – air, agni – fire, apas – water, prithvi – earth; which are associated with the five prana vayus, disintegrate and go back to their original source.

Akasha (ether element) tattwa goes back to akasha, vayu to vayu (wind element), agni to agni (fire element), apas to apas (water element), prithvi to prithvi (earth element), and then the jivatma (the individual soul or self) moves out.

This jivatma, spirit, ego, astral body, or whatever you might like to call it, is something which survives death. The pranas also do not die, they move out of the body and return to their source. If death is to be averted the process unlinking all the three components i.e. prana, mind and soul, has to be stopped.

In this sloka, (couplet of Sanskrit verse), we are told to retain the vayu.

Vayu means air, but it does not refer only to the gross air and its chemical properties, it indicates pranic air.

The reason why we feel better after a yoga class is because we have changed our prana, or our energy body. We have moved energy (that may have been stuck in our shoulders or hips from a day of work) into different parts of our bodies, and in this way, cleared out any minor blockages that may have occurred throughout the day

What is Life?

Prana shakti is the primordial cosmic energy that governs all physical functions in our body.

Life force energy is Prana and shakti is associated with feminine and creative energy.

And one of three forms of Shakti is Prana shakti that energizes our body, mind and soul.

In the pranic body, pingala nadi channelizes prana shakti, but prana vayu moves throughout the whole body like waves of energy. It can be likened to an electromagnetic field where the energy is in constant motion.

Ida and pingala in the pranic body

The five types of Prana Vayu

The pranic body

There are five main vayu functions, known as apana, prana, samana, udana and vyana.

They are the different processes and manifestations of the one vayu, just as the various limbs of a man comprise the one body.

Pranic absorption takes place on a major scale in the thoracic region and is the function of prana vayu.

Elimination takes place largely through the urinary/excretory and reproductive organs and is powered by apana.

In between apana and prana, in the stomach region, is the area of assimilation, which is the function of samana.

Movement in the throat and facial expressions are due to udana and circulation is powered by vyana which pervades the whole body.

The Pranic Body

All the processes which affect absorption or inward movement of the subtle cosmic force are due to prana.

Those which affect elimination or outward movement are due to apana.

Assimilation, preservation, and continuation are the work of samana.

Ascension and refining are the work of udana, and pervasiveness is the property of vyana.

These actions occur within the various realms of existence.

The vayu, however, is specifically concerned with the pranic body or pranamaya kosha.

Pranic body and pranyama kosha

Pranamaya kosha is the vital life energy which organises the body parts and provides movement for mental and physical expression. It allows the invisible indweller, our True Self to be able to animate in the external world

Pancha kosha: the 5 sheaths of our body

In the Upanishads, prana vayu is also called the “in breath”, apana the “out breath”, samana “the middle breath”, and udana “the up breath”.

In other words, prana vayu is inhalation, apana exhalation, samana the time between inhalation and exhalation, and udana, the extension of samana.

According to the Maitri Upanishad (11:6), “Samana is the higher form of vyana and between them is the production of udana.

That which brings up or carries down what has been drunk or eaten is udana.

From a yogic point of view the most important is:

  • Vayu is samana related to sushumna nadi.
  • Prana vayu is related to ida,
  • Apana to pingala,
  • and ascension of kundalini to udana.

Samana vayu has to be developed. This takes place by suspending apana and prana within the region of samana.

Each vayu is interdependent and interconnected.

In the Chandogya Upanishad it is asked:

How are you body, senses and yourself (soul) supported?

  • On prana.

How prana is supported?

  • On apana.

And how is apana supported?

  • On vyana.

How is vyana supported?

  • On samana.

Because of these five main movements, five subsidiary or upapranas are produced.

These are known as koorma which stimulates blinking, krikara which generates hunger, thirst, sneezing and coughing, devadatta which induces sleep and yawning, naga which causes hiccups and belching, and dhananjaya which lingers immediately after death.

What is death?

Prana and life after death

From the time of conception up until four months, the fetus survives purely on the mother’s prana.

After four months it is said that prana enters the fetus and individual life begins. As the individual pranas begin to move, so the individual body functions become active. However, the child is only independent once it is born and starts breathing.

The moment prana completely leaves the body, consciousness departs, because prana and consciousness are the two poles of the one source, the Self.

The Prashnopanishad says, “This prana is born of the Self. Just as there can be a shadow when a man is there, so this prana is fixed on the Self…” (3.3)

At death, when the breath stops and the prana leaves, the magnetic force which held the body together deteriorates and along with it, so does the body. Therefore, the breath and prana are likened to a thread in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, verily by air, as by a thread, this world, the other world and all beings are held together.

Therefore, it is said, when an individual dies his limbs have been loosened because they are held together by air like a thread.”

When prana leaves the body there is no force to animate it. As long as prana is retained the body will not die.

What generates life?

Life is generated with inhalation, with exhalation there is loss of prana. When the breath is held, the prana does not move out or in, it becomes stabilized.

Prana is the basis of life and can be directly controlled through the breath.

The yogis who go underground for days together in a place where no air can penetrate, completely stop the breath.

These yogis concentrate on the prana as a point of light in the mid-eyebrow center. When their consciousness is completely absorbed in that light, the breath stops automatically.

Prana remains in the body, but there is no breathing process. There is no absorption of prana, no elimination, no function of prana and apana; only of vyana. The body functions are suspended as long as consciousness remains absorbed in the point of light. It is a state of suspended animation.

The moment the awareness starts to come back to the physical body, the breath starts and the yogi has to come out.

Through the breath, prana and consciousness are essentially linked; they can be separated by a scientific means which starts with the yogic technique of learning to retain the breath.

Prana is the tangible manifestation of the higher Self and Hatha yoga uses prana as the key to expand the awareness of consciousness and realize the Self.

Some systems of yoga aim at self-realization by purifying and concentrating the mind, others by purifying and channelizing the emotions, and some by purifying the intellect and developing wisdom.

There are so many ways of redirecting the vital life force from the lower to the higher centers.

Hatha yoga achieves it by a means which is most practical for everybody through the physical body and by working directly on the pranic movements.

References:

Effects of Yoga Respiratory Practice (Bhastrika pranayama) on Anxiety, Affect, and Brain Functional Connectivity and Activity: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Pranayamas and Their Neurophysiological Effects

Oxygen Consumption Changes With Yoga Practices A Systematic Review

Prana: The functional basis of life

Treatment of Insomnia by Pranic Healing

A Pilot Study of the effects of Yoga Prana Vidya (YPV) protocols on social behaviour, cognitive abilities and IQ of mentally challenged children

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