Friday, May 9, 2008

What is Tantric Hatha Yoga?

Tantric Hatha Yoga is an ancient system of working with the body, mind, and heart to reduce suffering, enrich life, purify and revitalize the systems of the body, and ultimately, to remember and rest in your best self, the real you, an ever-lasting source of tranquility. Yoga is a ritual which we offer our body and mind to the flame of awareness that is our true Self. The highest state of yoga is self-knowledge.

Hatha Yoga is so much more than asana or physical poses. There are 5 sheaths, or coverings, of the Soul, and the body is one of them, known as the Anna Maya Kosha--or food body. Other sheaths include Prana Maya Kosha (energy body), Mana Maya Kosha (lower mind or sense mind), Vijnana Maya Kosha (higher mind or intuition), and Ananda Maya Kosha (bliss sheath), and finally - the Soul, known as Purusha or Jiva Atman. In Hatha Yoga, we may work at the level of any of the koshas, although generally we work from the most gross or dense (the physical body) to the more subtle (Vijnana Maya Kosha & Ananda Maya Kosha). Specific kinds of practices address each sheath.

According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, anyone who has been impacted by spiritual, mental, environmental, or physical pain can be helped by Hatha Yoga. If you are practicing asana (yoga poses), then according to the Yoga Sutras, you can judge the quality of your asana practice by how stable you remain in the midst of change in your life.

The reach and affect of Tantric Hatha Yoga include and consist of the following:
- The Physical Systems (muscular, skeletal, respiratory, circulatory, and the nervous system)
- Steadiness and stability of mind and body
- Balance of the mind - preparation for meditation
- Devotional
- As a tool for self-reflection
- Energy - 1) Undoing energetic blocks in the body and collecting and channeling energy, and 2) Chakras & Prana Vayus (awakening, purifying, and balancing energy)
Progress - physically, mentally, spiritually
- Awaken Shakti / Kundalini
- Care for the body as a fit vehicle for the Divine to shine through
- Tools and practices from Classical Yoga, Tantra, and Ayurveda* include:
Asana, Pranayama (breathing and breath retention), Relaxation and Yoga Nidra, Chanting, Meditation, Contemplation, Visualization, Kriya, Mudra (gesture),
Bandha (energetic seal), Bhakti (Love and devotion), Rituals to connect to self, others, earth, and the Divine.

No comments: