Classical Hathayoga

by Nitya

The physical practice of Rajayoga is hathadailyclasses Yoga. Hatha is actually two words Ha and Tha. The union of this Ha and Tha is Hathayoga.

 In our physical body there are so many nerves. According to Hathayoga, these nerves are eight million four hundred thousand in number. in Sanskrit nerves are called Nadis. Nadis however, need not be the physical nerves, they are also subtle nerves. These nadis are all over the body. in all these Nadis, three are very important, they are Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. All these nerves originate from the very bottom of the spine. the nerve centre is called Muladhara. Ida starts from the left side rolling around the spine up to the left nostril. Pingala starts from the right side and running around the spine ends in the right nostril. physically these two Nadis correspond to the left and right sympathetic nerves which run along either side of the spinal cord. Sushumna Nadi run inside the spinal column up to the top of the head.

 These nerves are the channels for energy to flow all over the body. In Sanskrit, energy is called prana. Prana flows all over the body, supports all the body organs, and controls all bodily functions. Accordingly, the various functions prana, it have been divided into five kinds. they are Prana, apana, Udhana, Samana and Vyana. In these five, two are very important, they are Pana and Apana. Prana controls the respiratory system and Apana controls the digestive system. Prana's force is upwards and Apana's force is downward. Prana's force is inward and Apana's force is outward.

 In our Nadi system, Prana flows through the right which is Pingalanadi and Apana flows through the left which is idanadi. Pranas nature is hot, so it is also called the Sun and Apanas nature is cool, so it is called the moon. The union of Prana and Apana or the Sun (Ha) and the Moon (Tha) is hathayoga.

 The Hatha yogic texts and the Tantra yogic texts explain Nadis and their function in a beautiful way. they consider the whole earth and the Universe as a body (Brahmanda). it has its spinal column (Merudhanda) as the highest mountain (Meru) which is surround by Seven Islands (the Seven main nerve Centres). That which we see out side our bodies wee can also see inside our bodies. All thee rivers, seas, mountains, agricultural fields and all the Gods and Goddesses. it is also possible to see all the sages and saints, stars,planets, pilgrimage centres and temples. there is the Sun and moon that brings day and night, and that also represent the construction and destruction of the world. We can also see space, air, fire, water and earth and all the animals who born in the three worlds.

 All of these are related to and dependent on that meru (spinal column). Only those who are the highest masters of Yoga can see this. In this Universal body (Brahmanda) at the Ajna Chakra on the Sushumna nadi the moon is showering its nectar. This moon always faces downward and is showering the nectar in two ways. One way is passing through the Ida to the whole body to purify and nourish the whole body. The other way is passing to the top of the spinal column even to protect this moon nadi and showering blissfulness.

 The sun is centered at the bottom of the spinal column (Muladhara) and is facing upwards. It passes through thee right side (pingala0. the sun protects and controls the Ojas (the subtle essence of all our food) and brings it upwards to the position of Vayu (which is the Anahata chakra of the heart center). From here it spreads all over the body.

 Yogis are always interested in the sushumna nadi which runs through the spinal column. In the ordinary human state, the subtle part of sushumna nadi is not active even though the other nadis are depending on this nadi. inside thee sushumna nadi there is another nadi called Chitra. the flow of energy though this nadi causes the state of deathlessness, endlessness and ever lasting blissfulness. the energy will only flow through this nadi when thee union of prana and apana has happened or when thee sun and the moon become one with Agni (Jadaragni, Viswanaragni- the energy which is receiving and taking the essence of thee food). Until this union happens this subtle energy is resting in Muladhara chakra as a snake which is coiled three and half times. This resting energy is called Kundalini. The perfect and harmless flow of energy through Chitra can happen only in a pure body-mind state which can occur by the practice of Yama, Niyama, Asanas, Pranayama and pratyahara. half of the hatha yoga practice is for this purification of the body. The practice and control of the energy in the Sushumna nadi for a long period of time is called Gaddavastha. It is a transcendent state where a yogi will have the capacity of knowing the past, future, present and all the rest of the Siddhis.