Hatha yoga is often used as the term for most modern yoga practices. The kind of yoga where we move into different yoga poses, stretch, flow, move, maybe practise a few breathing exercises, meditate and have a nice relaxation at the end.
One of the first, and certainly one of the most popular, classic texts on Hatha yoga is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. We mentioned it in our previous blog here. We also discussed that the word yoga is often translated as union or a merging with a Divine state. But what does Hatha mean? And what is Hatha Yoga really?
Why Hatha yoga?
The word Hatha is made up of two Sanskrit words. Ha, which can be translated as sun and Tha which is the moon. Hatha yoga is then the union or the balance between solar and lunar energies.
"Prior to everything asana is spoken of as the first part of hatha yoga. Having done asana one gets steadiness (firmness) of the body and mind; diseaselessness and lightness (flexibility) of the limbs." ~ Hatha Yoga Pradipika
We are all made up of these two energetic forces of solar energy and lunar energy. Here are what they represent:
- Sun or Ha: day time, yang, masculine energy, vital, logic, hot, active, external, objective, the conscious mind.
- Moon or Tha: night time, yin, feminine energy, mental, intuition, cool, passive, internal, subjective, the subconscious mind.
We need both the solar and lunar energy in our life.
The solar energy is essential in the daytime, to take action, even just wake up in the morning. We need solar energy to interact with other people.
In our modern world, solar energy is celebrated as being busy, continuously active and on all the time. It can, however, lead to stress and eventually burn out.
The lunar energy is naturally what we need to rest and sleep. To rejuvenate and to take time out to digest, think and contemplate.
It’s important to introduce a bit of lunar energy into our lives to balance out the business of modern life. It’s the basis of meditation and rejuvenation. But too much can also create a sense of feeling low, depressed or overthinking.
Hatha yoga helps us to create this balance through its philosophy and practises including the asana, yoga poses, and pranayama, breathing practises. One of our favourite balancing breathing practices is Nadi Shodhana. This practice specifically works on the lunar and solar energy system in our subtle body. Read about it here.
how balanced are you?
Create a layout of your week from Monday to Sunday. Then write down how much you are in your solar active extroverted energy zone on each day. When we are at work we are usually expected to be very solar. Practising high-intensity workouts, going out, being on transport and watching the news can also be very solar and even create a stress response in our body and mind.
- Make notes of when you are truly in your lunar energy. When do you take time to go for a walk, daydream, engage in soothing meditative activities?
- If you notice that most of your day or week is in the solar energy how can you introduce a little more lunar to balance it out?
- Can you create time to practise some yoga, a breathing practice or meditation? Can your commute be a meditation or simply daydreaming? Maybe you need a digital detox?
- Or are you feeling stuck, depressed and in need of activities?
Taking a moment to notice your habits, contemplate and then create balance as part of your yoga. Share in the comment box below how solar or lunar your life is!
We would love to support you on your wellness journey. We created The Yogandha Year specifically for this. You receive timely Yogandha products to your door and get wellness support and inspiration in this course. Learn more here.
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