Definition - What does Natha Yoga mean?
Natha yoga is a tradition that dates back centuries and is a variation of Tantric yoga that melded principles from yoga, Buddhism and the Shaivism branch of Hinduism. It originated in northern India. Today, Natha yoga is also known as Breath or Energy yoga.
The Sanskrit word, natha, means “master,” “lord” or “protector.” It refers to the nine gurus, or great yogis (naths), of the Natha tradition, a sub-tradition of Shaivism. Matsyendra and Goraksha are credited with founding Natha yoga and sometimes also get credit for founding Hatha yoga. Natha yoga ideas influenced Advaita Vedanta and the Bhakti movement.
Yogapedia explains Natha Yoga
The original goal of Natha yoga was spiritual liberation or self-realization during the yogi's lifetime. In the Natha tradition, the yogi's own actions and thinking determined his/her path, rather than a divine being.
Natha yoga practice includes the physical practice along with spiritual and intellectual advancement using:
- Asanas, mudras, bandhas and drishti
- Pranayama and breath control
- Mantras and yantras
In addition, Natha yogis study and discuss traditional texts such as the "Yoga-kundalini Upanishad," "Shiva Samhita" and "Hatha Yoga Pradipika," among others.