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Hatha Yoga As A Branch Of Yoga Available At Punyah Yoga

The word Hatha means wilful or forceful. Hatha Yoga refers to a set of physical exercises (known as Asanas or postures) and sequences designed to align your skin, muscles, and bones. The postures are designed to open the many channels of the body — especially the main channel, the spine — so that energy can flow freely.

Hatha is also translated as a combination of words “ha” meaning sun and “tha” meaning moon. This refers to the balance of masculine aspects (active, hot, sun) and feminine aspects (receptive, cool, moon) within all of us. Hatha Yoga is a path toward creating balance and uniting opposites. In our physical bodies, we try to develop a balance of strength and flexibility. In Yoga, we also learn to balance our effort and surrender in each pose.

There is a lot of confusion over the term Hatha Yoga. To put it simply, originally, Hatha is a general category that includes most Yoga styles — Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Sivananda, Bihar, Bikram, and more. All these fit under the umbrella term of Hatha Yoga. It is an old system that includes the practice of Asanas (Yoga postures) and Pranayama (breathing exercises) which help bring peace to the mind and body. This then prepares the body for deeper spiritual practices such as meditation.

It is important to understand that Yoga is not limited to a mere physical exercise as it is often seen nowadays. It is an ancient practice originating thousands of years in Hindu tradition — a complete life path and a moral code. Yoga’s history has many places of obscurity and uncertainty due to its oral tradition of sacred texts and the secretive nature of its teachings. Early writings on Yoga were transcribed on fragile palm leaves that did not survive the passage of time. Still, we can find references to Yoga in some of the most sacred texts in the Hindu tradition.

Historically, Yoga was not identified as exercise at all. In Bhagavadg?t? (one of the key texts for the theory of Yoga written sometime between the 2nd c. BCE and 1st c. CE), Krishna, the embodiment of the god Vishnu, introduces various types of traditions. Among others: Yoga as a base of selfless action (Karma Yoga), an intellectual inquiry into the essence of reality (Jñana Yoga), and devotion and love to the god (Bhakti Yoga).

We owe the fairly fundamental change in the understanding of the role of Asana and its meaning in yogic practice to the sage Patañj?li — the author of the Yoga Sutras (around 400 C.E.). The collection contains what is thought to be much of the basis of classical Yoga philosophy, including the concept of the eight limbs of Yoga. The first detailed descriptions of Asanas (third limb) appeared in sixteenth-century — the Ha?haYogaprad?pik?.

Most modern approaches to Yoga blossomed from the teachings of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. The founder of the Yoga school under the patronage of Maharaja of Mysore in the 1930s’, Krishnamacharya was the teacher of, among others, Indra Devi, A.G. Mohan, B.K.S. Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois and T. K. V. Desikachar. Later on, each of those disciples developed the teachings of the master in their own ways. Although they all shared one guru, each of Krishnamacharya's students taught Yoga in their own unique way, emphasizing different elements and focusing on different aspects of the practice.

Hatha Yoga Practice and Modern Understanding

Nowadays, Hatha Yoga is rarely understood as an umbrella term but rather as another style of yoga. When compared to Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, it is less dynamic, more gentle, and static in routine. Its focus is placed on Asana deepening, encouraging the proper skeletal alignment and correct posture. The practice pays attention to relaxation while increasing flexibility, endurance, and muscle tone. It is a powerful tool to calm the mind and build the physical awareness of the body. This uniting of polar opposites is a beneficial way to view one’s practice and life in general.

To sum it all up, Hatha Yoga stems from a deep understanding of the mechanics of the body. It uses yogic postures to enable the body to sustain higher dimensions of energy. By practising this profound science, one can change and enhance the way they think, feel, and experience life. Hatha Yoga is about creating a body that is not a hurdle in your life. The body becomes a stepping stone in the progress towards blossoming into your ultimate possibility.

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Ashtanga Yoga As A Branch Of Yoga Available At Punyah Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga is an ancient system of Yoga that was taught by Vamana Rishi in the Yoga Korunta. This system was imparted to Sri T. Krishnamacharya in the early 1900’s by his Guru Rama Mohan Brahmachari and was later passed down to Pattabhi Jois during the duration of his studies with Krishnamacharya, beginning in 1927.



This small book by one of the great yoga figures of our time attests to the timeless nature of ashtanga yoga practice. In this book, Shri K.Pattabhi Jois outlines the ethical principles and philosophy underlying ashtanga yoga and explains its terms and concepts. He then guides us through the Sun Salutations and the primary series, which consists of forty-two asanas.

Jois introduced astanga yoga to the West in 1964 and was the driving force behind its worldwide dissemination.


This editions of the Gita conveys Lord Krsna's profound message as it is - without the slightest taint of adulteration or personally motivated change. It provides clear illustrations and step by step instructions, benefits and contra-indications to a wide range of hatha yoga practices, including the little-known shatkarmas (cleansing techniques).

Swami Satyananda Saraswati founded the interpreted the classical practices of yoga and tantra for application in modern society, inspiring an international yoga movement for the upliftment of humanity.


Lights on Yoga, first written 50 years ago, still remains one of the most authoritative texts on yoga in the world as it explains its philosophy, practical instruction and the effects of its practice. The book is divided into three parts; the first introduces the philosophy of yoga, the second deals with the methodology to perform 200 yogasanas [along with 600 photographs] and the third deals with pranayama.

The book ends with a detailed course structure of practice over years, along with guidelines on the curative asanas beneficial for various diseases.


Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha is internationally recognized as one of the most systematic manuals of hatha yoga available. First published in 1969, it has been in print ever since.

Translated into many languages, it is the main text of yoga teachers and students of BIHAR YOGA - SATYANANDA YOGA and numerous other traditions.


A large part of Swami Vishnudevananda's training was directed towards developing his remarkable talents in the field of Hatha Yoga. He was appointed the first Professor of Hatha Yoga at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy in Rishikesh.

At the same time, he continued his own practice, mastering many difficult and advanced Hatha Yoga techniques: asanas, pranayama, mudras, bandhas and kriyas. The author of the long-time bestselling The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga and Meditation and Mantras, Swami Vishnudevananda is the inspiration behind The Sivananda Companion to Yoga, Yoga, Mind and Body, The Sivananda Companion to Mediation, The Yoga Cookbook and many other books.


Anyone interested in the living tradition of yoga will find here an indelible portrait of a great teacher and an authentic account of the wisdom he conveyed.

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois was a rare and remarkable soul who became legendary during the course of his life by virtue of great service to others. In Guruji, we follow his journey from a simple teacher of yoga in a Sanskrit college to a world-recognized authority and an inspiration to tens of thousands. We discover how Jois's method of vinyasa, which he learned from the great yogi Sri T. Krishnamacharya, has deeply influenced other forms of yoga widely practiced today.