What is Hatha Yoga?
“Essentially, once we use the word “yoga” attached to anything, it indicates in the tradition that it is a complete path by itself. “Hatha” has the word “yoga” attached to it because Hatha Yoga is a complete path by itself. If it is a complete path by itself, how it should be approached is the question. If it was just a simple practice, you can approach it one way. If it was an exercise you could have approached it another way. If it was an art form it could be approached another way. Or if it is just entertainment, it could be approached another way.
I am using all these examples because all these things have been said about yoga, and they are still in usage in today’s world. People say “recreational yoga,” “health yoga”- people are referring to it as an art form. They think they are doing a service to yoga by saying it is an art form. No. The moment you attach the word “yoga,” it indicates it is a complete path by itself.
In most Indian languages, in common usage, the word “hatha” means being adamant. This is the quality that you will need. Your body says, “Enough, I had it.” But you are adamant. This is Hatha Yoga. Your mind says, “I give up, I can’t do this anymore.” But you are adamant, you simply do it. We want to take the physical form beyond its present levels of limitations. In a way, Hatha Yoga means you want to make your comfort zone universal. Right now, for most people, their comfort zone is a very small band. If you make your comfort zone universal, wherever you are, however you are, you are at ease. If I make you stand on your head, you are still at ease. Hell will not work for you; you are adamant enough to frustrate the devil.
So Hatha Yoga is about creating a body which is not a hurdle in one’s life. The body becomes a stepping stone—not a hurdle, not a roadblock—in one’s progress of blossoming into his ultimate possibility.”Yoga is a science. Yoga has nothing to do with any particular religion. As there are physical sciences to create external wellbeing, yoga is the science for inner wellbeing. This yogic science is of utmost importance now, like never before, because today we have tremendous power in our hands. With modern science and technology, tomorrow if we want, we can flatten a mountain or city. When we have this much power in our hands, it is very, very important that we have an inner sense, an awareness of life, and that we experience life and everyone as part of ourselves. Otherwise, we can create a calamity for ourselves and the world around us—which right now we are doing to some extent. This has happened only because we have attended only to the external science. We have never looked at the inner science within us. Just as there is an external science to create external wellbeing, there is an inner science to create inner wellbeing.
Yoga can be transmitted on many different levels. One is towards one’s physical and mental wellbeing which includes health and other aspects. Or it could be transmitted as a tool for ultimate wellbeing; in the sense, you can use this system as a stepping stone to go beyond. If you want, you can use this yoga just to get rid of your backache or you can use this yoga to get better mental focus and a little peace of mind and happiness in your life, or you can use this yoga as a way of climbing up to the highest possibility within yourself.
Using yoga just for health is not wrong, but it is a crime because it can be a ladder to the divine. It is a way of approaching the Creator through the Creation. It can take you to places where you have never imagined. It is my wish and blessing that you should know the joy of being truly well, not just physical well-being, but to know and exude wellbeing in all dimensions of your existence.”