Universal Principles of Yoga, Part 3

Paul Jerard

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Hatha Yoga: Is unity through physical mastery, but Hatha Yoga uses many of the aspects of other Yoga styles. This is the most common form of Yoga outside of India. In the Hatha Yoga family tree are many popular Hatha sub-styles such as: Iyengar, Bikram, Sivananda, Restorative, Power, and Vinyasa Yoga.

There are many books and videos about Hatha Yoga on the market. Yet, there are still many misunderstandings about Hatha Yoga. Since Hatha Yoga is the most popular form of Yoga in the world, it has been labeled as many things.

When most people outside of India refer to Yoga, they are most often referring to Hatha Yoga. Some celebrities endorse variations of Hatha Yoga for its healing properties, while some journalists still scoff at the idea of Yoga as preventative medicine. Some doctors refer their patients to Yoga classes, but a rare few may still compare Yoga to “snake oil. "

Yoga has been referred to as a “cure all" for everything that troubles mankind. In truth, Yoga is the most comprehensive health maintenance system ever developed and it continues to evolve to this day. Hatha Yoga’s strength is that it is a “well rounded" in every aspect of preventative medicine.

Yoga has come a long way in the Western Psyche, but is still accused of being a “front" for the proliferation of Hinduism. The fact is, Hatha Yoga is a separate practice from religion, but also Hatha Yoga could be integrated into any religious practice. Hatha Yoga is a separate entity from religion.

Strangely, Yoga has sometimes been compared to “witchcraft. " The first time I read that one, I burst into laughter, but a few people must feel strongly about it, if they take credit for writing such claims. Just like anything else people have difficulty understanding, Yoga can be misunderstood. When one of my first Yoga students stated that she got rid of migraine headaches, after practicing particular Yoga techniques, I never thought the devil would receive credit for it.

A few of the more vigorous and contemporary Hatha Yoga styles have limited meditation practice within the class structure. This is not a rule, but the students are just more interested in “getting a workout. " Pilates is one of Yoga’s 20th Century offshoots and has no meditation practice at all. On the other hand Ashtanga Yoga classes are very vigorous and do contain meditation, as part of the lesson plan.

Hatha Yoga’s best known component is its postures (Asanas). However, Pranayama, philosophy, bandhas, mudras, mantras, and meditation can be commonly found in Hatha Yoga classes. With so many sub-styles of Hatha Yoga, there is always a style to match the needs of all Yoga students.

© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

Paul Jerard is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in North Providence, RI. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. He is a master instructor of martial arts, with multiple Black Belts, four martial arts teaching credentials, and was recently inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness to children, adults, and seniors in the greater Providence area. Recently he wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students, who may be considering a new career as a Yoga teacher. http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/index.html


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