Introduction to Yoga Hatha Yoga
Hatha yoga is an ancient system of physical exercises designed to bring about more awareness of the body, better alignment, more strength, tone, flexibility, energy, relaxation, and overall well-being. The original purpose of Hatha yoga is to regulate and discipline the body, the senses, and the mind so that one may more easily engage in meditation and the deeper yoga practices without being disturbed by the body or the mind. Often Hatha yoga is used simply for its physical benefits, and these benefits can be experienced by young and old alike. In fact, it is one of the few forms of exercise that can be done by anyone and everyone, regardless of age or physical condition. It is an excellent complement to any sport and a good first step for the non-athletic towards getting into better shape. It can be as gentle as needed or as rigorous as desired. Children can build stronger and healthier bodies as they grow, and the elderly can maintain and improve their health and mobility as the body ages.

The benefits of Hatha yoga, however, go beyond the physical body. Through regular practice, we are able to calm the mind and develop better concentration. Hatha yoga can also introduce us to meditation, which is a deeper yoga practice focused on disciplining the mind and cleansing it of all tension and anxiety. In this condition we are better able to acquire and cultivate spiritual knowledge and understanding, allowing us to achieve the goal of yoga.

Yoga means to "link up with God." This is the ultimate goal of yoga, known as Bhakti yoga, and is the culmination of all the various yoga practices. It is not necessary to practice Hatha yoga in order to meditate or achieve the goal of yoga - anyone can begin the deeper yoga practices at any time, regardless of physical condition. But Hatha yoga is a valuable tool for keeping the body, our vehicle in this world, in good condition so that we can get on with our real purpose for being here - that is, re-establishing our relationship with God.

The classical style of yoga is the best versus the twisted (pun intended) styles that have now taken root in the US. The reason for this is that Yoga is non-competitive in essence. You work within the limitations of your own body. However many new styles of yoga don't take this view.

Please see Wai Lana's site, as she is best at highlighting the classical style.

Submitted by Anonymous on June 1, 2004.
To be followed later by details on Bhakti Yoga.
Yoga Links submitted by other browsers:
Sahaja Yoga
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