Health is the core of human development.
In contrast to the focus on mind in Yoga Suthra, later traditions of Yoga like Hatha yoga focus more on asanas or body postures.
Hatha Yoga is a preparatory process in Yoga. 'Ha' means sun and 'tha' means moon. 'Hatha Yoga' means the Yoga which brings balance between the sun and the moon or the Pingala and the Ida Nadis in a person.
Though higher states are possible through specific asanas, mudras and bandas in Hatha Yoga, basically Hatha Yoga is used as a preparatory tool.
In 15th century AD, an Indian Yogi, Swami Swatmarama (a disciple of Swami Goraknath) wrote the 'Hatha Yoga Pradipika' (Light on Hatha Yoga).
Many eminent Yogis who came later, wrote comments on Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Here is a good book, 'Hatha Yoga Pradipika of Swatmarama' by Swami Shailendra Sharma who comes in the lineage of great immortal Yogi Babaji.
This book describes in detail about all steps towards self realization. It can also be called a Manual of Kriya Yoga for advanced practitioners.
The original work by Swami Swatmarama has four chapters and below is the list with a brief overview of each chapter.
Chapter 1 - Asana
Lists the names and descriptions of the asanas along with proper dietary habits that support the practice.
Chapter 2 - Shathkarma and Pranayama
Explains Pranayama, the effects it has on the mind and the nadis. And introduces Six Karmas (acts of purification) which are preparatory exercises for the practice.
Chapter 3 - Mudhra and Bandha
Explains ten different Mudhras and Bandhas.
Chapter 4 - Samadhi
Discusses Samadhi - the ultimate state of self realization.
To get an insight into Hatha Yoga Pradipika check out the links below:
Though Yoga has higher limbs which can elevate human consciousness to greater levels, the word 'Yoga' means just Yogasanas to many people who give importance to its physical aspects. Nevertheless Yogasanas (or asanas) have definite physical and mental benefits. No doubt in that !
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Benefits of Yogasanas (body postures)
Pranayama (breathing technique) and its benefits
Pranayama = Prana + ayama
‘Prana’ means life force and ‘ayama’ means to regulate or lengthen.
There are different types of Pranayamas as listed below:
Pranayama in general,