Hatha Yoga is one of the key poles in Sampoorna Yoga. According to the treatise of S. Swatmarama, “Hatha Yoga Pradipika”, Hatha Yoga is intended to lead us to the highest level of internal evolution by waking up the energy situated at the base of the spine (Kundalini Shakti), enabling it to reunite with pure consciousness from which it originates. This discipline therefore does not only involve the physical body but also cleans our “astral”” body (energy, emotions, mind and intellect), and gives us a glimpse of our causal or “blissful” body.
If you were thinking of taking up Hatha Yoga in order to relax or lose weight then perhaps you are disappointed You would be wrong! Practicing Hatha Yoga can indeed improve ones health, bring interior peace and reshape the body. One must simply be aware that these benefits are not the purpose of the practice: they are just by-products of the profound transmutation which comes about in those who take it up with regularity, patience and perseverance.
This transmutation is accelerated in Sampoorna Yoga™ through the integration of other yoga disciplines, Nada Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Karma Yoga.
The Hatha Yoga taught by Yogi Hari, whilst remaining accessible to all, is totally rooted in tradition. A typical session features:
A brief invocation reminding us that Hatha Yoga does not only address the external, but also the most sacred part of ourselves.
Breathing exercises to awaken our energy, prana, in order for us to gain awareness of its subtle presence and to cleanse the energetic body.
Warming-up exercises, notably the Sun Salutations which, for the more advanced levels, include the inexhaustible and joyous variations, that Yogi Hari has introduced.
A series of perfectly balanced postures, which limber up and strengthen all the muscles as well as the mind. Here again the variations are limitless and adapted to all levels of flexibility. The work is done within the physical limitations of each individual. However, highlight is placed on what is possible: in this way the mind remains in a positive state and the impossible retreats. The practice is a sort of game, a joyous challenge.
The synchronization of movement and breathing is an important part of the practice. This technique harmonizes the energy flow, develops concentration and mental peace.
As a musician Yogi Hari also places a lot of importance on rhythm.
The movements follow the rhythm of the breath, which enables the physical, energy and mental body to harmonize. The rhythm of the whole session is also modulated somewhat like in classical Indian music: from the introduction through to the session’s conclusion, different rhythms succeed one another permitting the body to breathe, both figuratively and literally, as well as to function to the maximum of its capabilities without tiring or falling into inertia.
The relaxation brings the final touch to this internal journey. This part of the session is conceived to keep the mind alert and to develop an awareness of the subtle body which exists beyond the physical body. This enables us to touch the inner most part of ourselves, where beyond the masks and roles of life, radiate peace and serenity.
Deciding to get onto one’s mat in order to practice is taking responsibility for one’s health and one’s internal harmony. Far from being selfish, this act has positive repercussions on the immediate environment. In the same way that an angry individual can ruin the atmosphere of a group, a person in good health, with a positive and balanced mind, will radiate positively. This person will also be more apt to fulfill his professional and family duties. In this sense practicing Hatha Yoga becomes Karma Yoga.
The audio and video cassettes from the “Yoga at Home with Yogi Hari” series give a good idea of the richness of this approach. Those who use them regularly appreciate more and more their subtlety and see their practice progress in leaps and bounds.
The presence of Yogi Hari, his calm, focus, clarity, and soothing voice, make these yoga sessions a privileged moment.
Here is a brief outline of the different aspects of this practice :
It always starts with some invocation to remind the practitioner that Hatha Yoga does not just address the physical body. It is a spiritual discipline.
Breathing exercises are done at the beginning to wake up the energy and make it flow smoothly. Then the body is ready for the postures.
The practice of postures is based on different series of warm-ups and asanas that are perfectly balanced. However it is not limited to those series, as variations are infinite. This encourages the practitioner to explore the whole scope of the practice of asanas.Thus it gives a complete workout of the body, done with total respect for the physical limitations, without being obsessed by them. The focus is more on what can be done rather than on one’s limits.
The practice then becomes a joyful, playful challenge that keeps the mind in a positive state.
Breath is life! Great attention is given to the coordination of breath & movement : the physical body is nourished and healed, concentration of mind is developed.
The session’s unfoldment follows a rythmic pattern which helps to reorganize and heal the physical and mental sheaths of our being.
Through this practice, the physical body becomes strong and healthy. The astral body, made of the energy sheath, the mental sheath and the intellectual sheath, regain balance and harmony. When health, balance and harmony are restored, we access the causal body, which is made of bliss.
This is how Sampoorna Hatha Yoga™, when properly practiced, can bring so much energy, joy and happiness!
Yogi Hari has written a book on Sampoorna Yoga™. There you find a lot of more information about Hatha Yoga in general and also a complete Sampoorna Hatha Yoga™ session with detailed instructions for your personal Yoga practice.