Hatha Yoga (Hatha Vidya) was first advised by Shree Parameswara (Lord Shiva) to his wife Shree Parvathi (Goddess Parvathi) in a lonely island. A fish (Matsya) listened the entire discourse. Lord Shiva feeling mercy on that fish made him a Sidha later knowned as Yogi Matsyendran.
Yogi Matsyendran was the first master of Hatha Yoga. Yogi Matsyendra taught this vidya to Yogi Chourangi, who was a limbless man. Yogi Matsyendra gave hands and feet to him by just looking at him. Swami Swathmarama Yogi compiled these guru's advises to a book called Hatha Pradipika (written in Sanskrit language). Yogi Matsyendra and Yogi Goraksha were the gurus of Yogi Swathmarama in Hatha vidya.
Hatha Yoga is a stairway to Raja Yoga and is not for any sidhis (materialistic achievements). Raja Yoga is aimed to control a person's mind using meditation to further acquaintance of materialistic world and lead to Moksha (liberation). Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breath control) in Hatha yoga purify a person's mind and train his body for long period of meditations.
In Hatha Pradipika Yogi Swathmarama states that 33 Yogis named Sri Aadinatha, Matsyendra, Shabara, Aanadabhairava, Chourangi, Meena, Goraksha, Virupaksha, Vileshaya, Manthana, Bhairava, Sidhi, Budha, Kanthadi, Korandaka, Surananda, Sidhipada, Charpadi, Kaneri, Poojyapada, Nithyanatha, Niranjana, Kapali, Bindunatha, Kakachandeeshwara, Allama, Prabhudeva, Ghoda, Choli, Tindini, Bhanuki, Khanda and Kapalika is still traveling in this universe with their power of Hatha vidya. There are more of them.
Basically there are three types of sorrows in one's life. They are:
Adhi-daivikam - literally means "mental disturbances that come from God"—i.e. things that are utterly beyond our control: hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, tsunamis, etc. We have no control over these types of disturbances.
Adhi-bhautikam - literally means "disturbances that come from the world." That means anything stemming from the world around us like materials, animals etc. Compared to the first category, we have some control over this second category of disturbances.
Adhyatmikam – literally means "disturbances stemming from the self." The third type of disturbance is the most powerful and, at the same time, the only one over which we have total control. For one who is still identified with the ego, the people, places and things of this world stimulate one of two reactions in the mind—attachment or aversion. Lust, jealousy, anger, sorrow, hatred destroy our peace.
If we look at any of our sorrows it will be connected to any of the above three (Thaapa Thrayam). Hatha vidya is the solution for the beings suffering from any of these sorrows.
How to start Practicing Hatha Yoga:
Guru: A person wishes to practice Hatha Yoga must have a suitable Guru (master).
Never practice by reading books or hearing some thing from some where. For learning Hatha Yoga Guru's presence and guidance is required.
Janasangacha Loulyam cha
Following ar the six reasons which may cause failure in achieving Yoga. They are:
Over eating, Over working, Over talking, stick to unwanted rules, Unwanted relationships and Unstable mind.
Yama & Niyama:
Ahimsa: Do not hurt anybody by thought, word or deed.
Satya: Honesty or truthfulness.
Asteya: Not attain anything not owned by us (Not to steal, not desire other's property and not be in debt).
Brhmacharya: Celibacy, control of all senses.
Dhriti: Firm determination.
Arjava: Straight forwardness.
Mithahara: Eat nominal food.
Shaucha: Purity in mind, word and deed.
Thapas: Personal endeavor of discipline, undertaken to achieve a goal without thinking of suffering and pain.
Santhosha: Happy with what in hand not desiring more.
Ishwara vishwasa: Believe in God.
Dana: Giving without thought of reward.
Ishwarapujana: Daily worship of God.
Sidhanta Sravana: Desire to listen spiritual talks.
Vinaya: Respecting others.
Karyagrahana Shakti: Grasping power.
Japa: Recite or chanting mantra.
Vrata: Sacred vows, fulfilling religious vows, rules and observances faithfully
Patanjali Maharishi in "Yoga Sutra" defined Yama and Niyama by listing only Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya Brahmacharya & Aparigraham (non-appropriation of things not one's own) as five Yama and Shaucha, Santhosha, Thapas, Swadhyaya (self study of spiritual scriptures) & Ishwrapranidhanam (Self surrender) as five Niyama. According to Patanjali Maharishi Yama is the first limb and Niyama the second limb of total eight limbs of Raja Yoga.
Swathmarama Yogi insisted that a person must have all twenty basic qualities listed in Yama and Niyama.
Matam (Ashramam): Selecting Matam is also very important in practicing Hata Yoga. There must be no disturbance – mentally or physically to the Yogi. Such disturbances may stall the success of Yogi. Ashramam (House of Yogi) must be small with small entrance door preferably without windows, with leveled floor, without disturbance from any type of animals, creatures or materials. Ashramam must be in a quiet silent area. There must be a small hall with a raised platform to sit in front of the ashramam. There must be a small well nearby the ashramam. Above are the basic needs of the Ashramam, but can be modified according to the time and place requirements.
"Evam vidhe Matae Sthithwa
Staying in the above type Ashrama and with guidance of a suitable Guru (Master) you can start practicing Hata Yoga daily.
Raja Yoga is aimed to control a person's mind using meditation to further acquaintance of materialistic world and lead to Moksha (liberation). Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breath control) in Hatha yoga purify a person's mind and train his body for long period of meditation.
Eight Limbs of Raja Yoga
The eight Limbs are a progressive series of steps or disciplines which purify the body and mind, ultimately leading the yogi to enlightenment. These 8 limbs are:
1. Yamas – Code of conduct. They should all be practiced in word, thought and deed.
Ahimsa: Do not hurt anybody by thought, word or deed.
Brahmacharya: Celibacy, control of all senses.
Asteya: Not attains anything not owned by us (Not to steal, not desire other's property and not be in debt).
Aparigraha: non-appropriation of things not one's own.
2. Niyamas - Religious observances and commitment to practice.
· Saucha or purity - this internal and external cleanliness.
· Santosha or contentment
· Tapas or austerity
· Swadhyaya or study of the sacred texts
· Ishwara Pranidhana which is constantly living with an awareness of the divine presence (surrender to God's Will)
3. Asanas - Postures
4. Pranayama – Breath control.
5. Pratyahara - Abstraction of the senses in order to still the mind.
6. Dharana - Concentration. One pointed ness in the mind.
When Dharana is achieved, it leads to the next step:
7. Dhyana – Meditation.
When mastered Dhyana leads to the last step:
8. Samadhi - The super conscious state. The quiet state of blissful awareness.
In Samadhi non-duality or oneness is experienced. This is the deepest and highest
state of consciousness where body and mind have been transcended and the Yogi is
one with the Self or God.
Om Tat Sat