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What Is Hatha Yoga?

Hatha Yoga is a type of yoga which leads to realization of God. According to Yogasvarodaya, it is so called because of fulfillment of the objective through some Yoga practices. In hatha yoga, one practices and masters the different asanas, postures for practicing Yoga exercises. During meditation one regulates breath and concentrates till ultimately seeing the light.

One who wants to practice hatha yoga has to purify first by bathing in holy waters and abstaining from all bad deeds. One should then start practices under the supervision of an expert teacher. He should act as ordained by his guru, otherwise he would not be able to obtain the desired goal. It is believed that such practice causes yoge rogabhayam (maladies), but one should not feel afraid to continue the practice. If any malady strikes him, the preceptor will take care of that because that malady can be subdued only by certain exercises and cannot be removed by medicines administered externally. Also one should have control over the senses before following such practice. Copulation and eating uneatable food is particularly forbidden. Eating less is helpful in Yoga exercises. Early bath or taking bath with cold water is also not advised. Rather a bath at noon with hot water is suggested. Sleeping during the day and keeping awake during the night, anxiety, and all those things which afflict one are to be avoided. One should, however, take some rest when feeling tired while practicing. There are certain methods of mastering the breath, and one has to learn them through practice. He masters the breath by controlling it, slowly and deepening it. It is said that one can attain a very long life or even eternity by mastering the process of keeping the breath in the body. There are technical processes like kumbhakas (Sitali, Bhastrika, Bhramari, Morchchhana, Samhita, Kevala, etc.), asanas and bandhas (like Khechari, Mahamedha, Mulabandha, etc) which the hatha yogi has to master completely. A hatha yogi can attain a stage of transcendence and attain the desired fruit. They reach a stage when they are not afflicted by the ideas of birth or death, disease, old age, anxiety, pleasure, pain, etc. and attain the highest bliss.