Hatha Yoga

Definition - What does Hatha Yoga mean?

Hatha yoga is the yoga tradition most familiar to Western culture. The term is derived from the Sanskrit ha, meaning "sun," and tha, meaning "moon." The practice aims to unite the active and receptive qualities represented by each celestial being.

Practitioners of Hatha yoga use physical alignment and breathing control to achieve an equilibrium between the active body and its universe. The resulting harmony manifests itself as physical strength, physiological health and emotional well-being.

Yogapedia explains Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is a popular tradition that reinforces equilibrium, flexibility and strength. The primary elements of the Western practice are yoga poses (asanas) and breath control; however, there are six other elements, or "limbs," involved in the full enjoyment of the discipline.

The "eight limbs" of Hatha yoga are:

  • Yama - Ethical behavior
  • Niyama - Spiritual practice
  • Asana - Physical poses
  • Pranayama - Breath control
  • Pratyahara - Turning our senses away from outside influence
  • Dharana - Concentration
  • Dhyana - Meditation
  • Samadhi - The ultimate state of consciousness and the goal of Hatha yoga
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