Community on Yoga, Meditation, Ayurveda and Spirituality
The bases of yoga are meditation and asanas, both of which are required to connect with one's spiritual core and to the universe itself. Ancient yogis believed that the end goal of any person's life was to shed the physical boundaries of existence and move into the spiritual realm. They believed that yoga was the gateway to this process, since the end goal of performing yoga was to attain spiritual salvation.
Before the yogi could transcend the physical world for the spiritual one, however, he needed to perform severe penance for days on end. This was an arduous process made all the more taxing on the body by the fact that the yogi would sit in meditation for days on end without food or rest. These gruelling meditation sessions could be made possible with the regular practice of Hatha yoga asanas.
What is Hatha Yoga?
Hatha combines two of yogi Patanjali's eight parts of yoga - Asana (Postures) and Pranayama (Breathing) - in a series of postures and meditation sessions that strengthen the body and nourish the soul. Hatha yoga is often the preceding step to Pratyahara (Control of the Senses), Dhyana (Meditation) and Samadhi (Enlightenment). It is thus an important component of the chain of yoga processes that lead to ultimate release.
The practice of Hatha yoga was necessary for ancient yogis, to provide stamina for the highest levels of meditation. In today's times, it is a practice by which one learns control over the body and mind so that it is strengthened and purified for the rigours of life.
The origins and asanas
The very word 'Hatha' denotes a holy confluence. It is derived from the Sanskrit words 'Ha' (the Sun) and 'Tha' (the Moon). Even the ancient Chinese Ying Yang philosophy of balance and fulfilment derives heavily from the core principles of Hatha yoga. This yoga is practiced for the balance between the body and the mind. The physical asanas build stamina, strength and endurance. Meanwhile, the meditation practices cleanse the mind and infuse it with positivity and creative impulses.
Hatha yoga asanas exercise every single body part, including the internal organs. With regular practice, the body's circulatory systems are revved up to perform better. Also, the natural waste disposal systems are able to eliminate toxins and waste matter more efficiently. This keeps the organs working better for a longer time in a clean body. When this happens, one is more refreshed and energetic, with a fitter body and a keener mind. The asanas also promote dexterity and flexibility.
if you want to know how meanwhile, meditation helps connect the asanas with the body, and eliminates distractions to increase concentration.