What was spiritual masters attitude concerning Hatha yoga? 

What does yoga basically means?

How does Hatha yoga fits into the scheme of total yoga? 

Let’s talk about it in this sharing and proceed from here.

First, we must be cautious of not superimposing ourselves on to the teachings we may hear because it needs a lot of patience until we put the teaching to application. In most cases, a teaching cannot be applied. It is out own interpretation that emerges as the conviction. Often we use words rather loosely about how to apply the teachings of yoga.

When we apply a teaching, it becomes cosmetics. It is not assimilated. Just like watering the plants, we can go on spraying water on the leaves but until the water does not reaches the roots, there is no growth.

We have to assimilate and internalize the teaching. Hence, one should not be shy of listening without the anxiety of how I am going to do this. 

First of all, we must be able to listen to the teaching without thinking how it is relevant to me.  Without the anxiety that I may not be able to apply this in my life. It is by listening without this anxiety that we internalise  the teaching and when the teaching is internalised, slowly it brings about the changes deep within us just like the food we eat is assimilated and that assimilated food or nourishment is converted into the energy and that energy brighten us. If you have ever visited a saint in the east, you would observe that they are not standing on their head, or doing pranayama and meditation whole day. If you read a book on yoga, one of the foremost instructions given to those starting their spiritual practice is – stop drinking tea and coffee. But if you visit a saint, the first thing they offer you is (mostly) a tea or coffee. Both of these items are forbidden according to the teachings.  What does this contradiction exist? Are the saints being hypocrite?

The answers are not relevant. What is relevant is developing a sense of sensitivity through our Sadhana (practice). If we are going to only learn what we can apply right away, then we become stagnant. Then we do not move and Life is movement. Life takes us from where we are now to where we are going to be in few days later, on its own accord. So, it is good to have a sense of direction and that sense of direction is provided in the teaching. 

Teaching is there, it has to be listened to, it has to be assimilated without the anxiety of how I am going to implement it and without saying it is irrelevant or I like it or I do not like it. These ideas should not enter at all. It is possible that teaching can become relevant as we progress in life. It grows from within. We all have our own interpretations of Yoga.

Hatha Yoga plays a foundational role within the broader scheme of total yoga. Total yoga refers to the comprehensive approach of integrating various yoga practices to create a harmonious balance between physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Hatha yoga serves as an essential component in achieving this balance.

In the context of total yoga, Hatha yoga acts as a stepping stone for deeper practices. It prepares the body and mind for more subtler practices like Raja Yoga (the path of meditation and self-control), Bhakti Yoga (the path of devotion), Jnana Yoga (the path of wisdom), and Karma Yoga (the path of selfless service). These different paths are all integral parts of the holistic approach to yoga, collectively contributing to an individual’s holistic growth and spiritual evolution.

In essence, Hatha Yoga lays the physical and energetic foundation upon which the other paths of yoga can be built. It addresses the physical body and its connection to the mind, which are essential aspects of achieving a balanced and integrated state of well-being as advocated by the concept of total yoga.

Let us know about your experience of yoga in the comments section. We would love to hear your insights.

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