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[[In the West, outside of Hindu culture, "yoga" is usually understood to refer to Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga is, however, a particular system propagated by Swami Swatamarama, a yogic sage of the 15th century in India.

After the Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras, the most fundamental text of Yoga is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, written by Swami Swatamarama, that in great detail lists all the main asanas, pranayama, mudra and bandha that are familiar to today's yoga student. This line of yoga is dedicated to Lord Adi Nath, a name for Lord Shiva, who is believed to have imparted the secret of Hatha Yoga to his divine consort Parvati. It is common for yogins and tantriks of several disciplines to dedicate their practices to a deity under the Hindu ishta-devata concept (see Patanjali's Yoga Sutras) while always striving to achieve beyond that: Brahma. Hindu philosophy in the Vedanta and Yoga streams, as the yogi will remember, views only one thing as being ultimately real: Satchidananda Atman, the Existence-Consciousness-Blissful Self. Very Upanishadic (scientific) in its notions, worship of Gods is a secondary means of focus on the higher being, a conduit to realization of the Divine Ground. Hatha Yoga follows in that vein and thus successfully transcends being particularly grounded in one religion.

Hatha is a Sanskrit word meaning 'violence' or 'force' (according with the Sir Monier-Willians Sanskrit-English Dictionary, on page 1287), nevertheless, there are other common misundertandings to this term, such as: 'sun' (ha) and 'moon' (tha), that would represent opposing energies. Hatha yoga attempts to withdraw the mind from dfamsdfmkasmdfkmaklsmdexternal objects, through vigorous physical exercises, or "asanas" and controlled breathing, or "pranayamas". Asanas teach poise, balance & strength and were originally (and still) practiced to improve the body's physical health and clear the mind in preparation for meditation in the pursuit of enlightenment. "Asana" means "immovable", i.e. static, and often confused with the dynamic 108 natya karanas described in Natya Shastra and, along with the elements of Bhakti Yoga, is embodied in the contemporary form of Bharatanatyam.

By balancing two streams, often known as ida (mental) and pingala (bodily) currents, the shushumna nadi (current of the Self) is said to rise

[edit] Today

In the West, hatha yoga has become wildly



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