Photo Credit: Mirta Yoga Photographie
The three classic texts on Hatha Yoga are Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, Gheranda Samhita and Shiva Samhita. Above 84,000,000 asanas in accordance with the number of living species including the man kind, only 32 asanas are considered useful in the world of mortals.
Unlike others books the Gheranda Samhita speak of a seven fold yoga:
- Shatkarma (body cleansing)
- Asana (body strenghtening)
- Mudra (body steadying)
- Pratyahara (mind calming)
- Pranayama (inner lightness)
- Dyana (inner perception)
- Samadi (self liberation and bliss)
From a postural point of view whatever the “style” of yoga we are practicing (underlying Asana) wether is Vinyasa Krama, Ashtanga Yoga Vinyasa, Vinyasa Yoga, Flow Yoga, Flow Vinyasa Yoga, Power Yoga, Yin Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga, Power flow yoga, Hot Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Cold Yoga (??), Shiva Rea Yoga, Liquid Flow Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Yinyasa Yoga, Therapeutic Yoga, Yoga for kids, Yoga for Seniors, Yoga Pre and Post Natal, Yoga with baby, Yoga Beer, Goat Yoga, Yoga with so cuuuuuute pets, Yoga dog, Pizza Yoga, Ganja Yoga, StéphanieVK Yoga, Super Dynamic Yoga by Myself, Booty Delicious Yoga, Bikini Yoga, Yoga Super Chakras, Yoga for dummies, Yoga for people who can not lengthen their legs, Yoga for those who lengthen too much their legs – and so on, imagination is the limit, we are all practicing HATHA YOGA.
In case you haven’t understand, Hatha Yoga is the base, the root of all Yoga in the world, wether it has been “created” or not.
The only thing that might differ is the way of teaching.
Therefore it is absolutely wrong to define Hatha Yoga such as “slow” Yoga, “soft” Yoga, “relaxing” Yoga, yoga more or less, yoga this or that…
Knowing as well that Hatha Yoga is also practiced with “Vinyasa” you might think that you have done everything wrong. Vinyasa Yoga is also “Hatha” Yoga, even though we are not jumping around while performing Chaturanga Dansana, Adho Mukhas Svanasana? Yes, absolutely.
Vinyasa is the action of moving with the breath; for instance if you need 5 breathes to achieve Trikonasana then you would have performed 5 vinyasas.
The main issue we are having right now is the so call diversity.
No one really know what they are teaching and those who think they know take the position of leadership of their own method.
One of the best example is the what I call the “Universal Flow”. All around the world, in all kind of Vinyasa yoga flow class, who has never ever practiced this sequence: “from Adho Mukha, Trikonasana, Virabhadrasana II, “THE” reverse Warrior, Ardha Chandrasana and from there jump back to Chaturanga Dandasana”…
From all 84,000,000 everyone (almost everyone) are teaching and practicing the same flow, the same asanas. What happened to the rest of it? We have absolutely no clue.
As well many yoga classes skip radically the sitting postures. All classes are taught from the universal unconditional love Adho Mukha Svanasana (but mostly known as Downward Facing dog) from here the leg go up, down, side, plank and so on.
Whatever is happening on the sitting posture we would never know because the sequence is only considering standing asanas. Therefore without any good preparation students start practicing all kind of hand stand, head stand, forearms hand stand and so on.
As a result for many students the practice of Hatha Yoga in its pure form is completely obsolete and not interesting.
Tradional Hatha Yoga is a demanding practice, asanas are held longer time, longer breaths, with longer concentration and better focus. It takes a lot of time to masterise any good Hahta Yoga sequence.
Keeping one asana for 9 to 12 breathes, starting the sequence from 12 Suraya Namaskaras, adding the practice of Bandhas through the Pranayama is something that takes a lot of commitment and desire of knowing ourself.
However Yoga studio and some Yoga teachers are so scared of not being original without all jump back and jump through, without the funky music, without beautiful sentence such as “open you heart chakra and smile” that they prefer to fulfil the request of many students coming for only sweating and having the sensation of doing something through a complicate figure they do not understand because their body is not physically ready and the mind is not steady.
It is a time to come back to the root, to the source. Instead of looking forward to create a “special” style of Yoga, just stay simple.
Teach students how to breathe, how to become calm and steady in one asana, how to understand the posture, how to translate it, how to move throughout the breathing, how to become awaken.
It is impossible to create a new posture, start digging into the 84,000,000 asanas before wanted to become more original than anyone.
Whatever you are teaching, as soon as you inhale arms up you are practicing Hatha Yoga.
Unless you can practice and teach asana above your mat in levitation then you are not creating anything new.
Everything has been done way before us!