Hatha Yoga – Principles and Foundations of the Practice of Natha Sampradaya (75)


Millions of people around the world cultivate the practice of Hatha Yoga, but very few are those who actually cultivate the authentic, original training of the Nātha (Guardians) school, as the Adepts of this excellent Yoga are called. The ancient Path of Hatha Yoga comes from INDRA DEVA through the line of succession of Tirthankaras (Ford Creators), incarnating every 3,000 years as Grand Masters of Yoga of the highest Perfection. The first Tirthankara was Rshabha Nātha, also called Adi Nātha, the Supreme Guardian of Hatha Yoga. According to ancient history, he must have lived some over 70,000 years ago, because Tirthankaras come every 3,000 years to renew and remind humanity of the Dharma (Science and Practice and its principles)   of the Hatha Yoga school, and the last Tirthankara from almost 3,000 years ago is mentioned as the 24th in a row. He is named after Vardhamana Mahavira Tirthankara. Popular teachings on Hatha Yoga in India also mention that Śiva Yogeśvara taught Hatha Yoga to his wife Devi Parvatī to make her eternally young and beautiful, and the history of the romantic transmission took place about 12,000 years ago near Mount Kailaśa in the Himalayas (Tibet). The history of Hatha Yoga is therefore very ancient, and the work is continued by the successors of Nātha Sampradāya – the Community of Hatha Yoga Guardians. Hatha Yoga training is an exercise of the body and psyche (mind) to achieve knowledge of all beings. The Guardians of the Path constantly remind us that the ultimate goal of Hatha Yoga is union with the Will of God, i.e. the so–called Samādhi Mahābodha – the Great Embodiment of Enlightenment!

Hatha Yoga is one of the four basic forms of Yoga recommended to spiritual students in the current era of Kālī Yuga, which began in 3102 before the Christian era, the other three systems of Yoga are Mantra, Laya and Rāja Yoga. It is worth mentioning that many of the original mystical and ascetic exercises that Rabbi Jesus introduced to Christianity come from Hatha Yoga. For many years until the Enlightenment, the Buddha practiced, among other things, Hatha Yoga, and to this day it is used in advanced stages of practice, the so–called fulfilment phase in Tantric Buddhism. While Nātha is an Adept of the Hatha Yoga Brotherhood, Jaina is a Victor who has achieved Liberation, Salvation, a Master or a Victor on the Path. Hatha Yoga is practiced in the East both by laymen and householders (Upasaka), as well as by monks and nuns (Bhikshu and Bhikshuni) in Monastic Yoga Brotherhoods from various Aśrams. Hatha Yoga literally means Union with Strength or Reconciliation with Power. Nātha Sampradāya, the Community of the Guardians of Hatha Yoga, comes today mainly from the transmissions of Rishi Parśva Nātha (23 Tirthankara) and from Rshi Nemi Nātha (22 Tirthankara) through the succession of Mahāsiddha Krshaćarya also known as Mahāsiddha Kanhapa Nātha.

Intensive sessions of Hatha Yoga practice usually last for about 3 days (starting on Thursday evening or Friday morning and ending on Sunday evening) and include fasting, meditation and breathing and body exercises. Adepts usually perform daily exercises twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, around sunrise and sunset (Sūrya). Longer Nātha Chillah – Retreats for Hatha Yoga Adepts – lasting up to 84 days – are also practiced, which is reminiscent of the period of practice loved by Parśva Nātha (23 Tirthankara). The Nāth Order is a typical Śaivite Brotherhood and belongs to the broadly understood Śaivite Community with over 300 million members around the world. The Intensive Retreat is devoted, among other things, to practicing many exercises every day related to one of the classic 84 Asanas (Āsana) introduced by the message of Adi Nātha, the Supreme Guardian, from whom they come. The set of 84 postures called Asana (Āsana) is divided into 7 Anghas, groups or parts with 12 Asanas (Āsana) in each part.

The second form of initiatory transmission next to Mantra Yoga, which is Hatha Yoga, uses concentration on the Light Centres in the body, i.e. the so–called glandular techniques on the Ćakrams, as its contemplative leitmotif. Hatha Yoga also develops the Power of Breathing (Vāyu), the Power of Mind (Mana) and the Power of Spirit (Virya). Breathing and developing the Power of Breathing, i.e. Vāyu Prāṇaḥ, is the absolute basis of practicing Hatha Yoga. Praṇa are small particles or balls of Light that we imagine during the act of conscious and deep breathing. The Perfect Teacher and Master of Hatha Yoga is called by the term Gomateśvara (Gomata Īśvara) and is idealized in our heart as Perfection, Īśwara. A simple practice, Sadhana of Hatha Yoga includes Paśupati Refuges, relaxation and breathing techniques, visualizations, Japas (Mantram) recitations, Pavanmuktasanas, special lessons in Asanas (Āsanas), Bandhas and Mudras, and offerings. Detailed instructions are received from the Yoga Teacher who is the Aćarya! Learning the Art of Breathing and relaxation is an absolute basis, as is the entire YOGODA message about tension and relaxation in process exercises with the body.

All those who perform Sādhana (Spiritual Practice) regularly twice a day and focus on Parampurusha (Supreme Spirit, Brahman) will certainly at the moment of death rise above their Mind and Self, achieving Liberation from the prison of the material worlds and ascending to the spiritual world called Devachan. The rule of practicing twice a day on a regular basis is God’s recommendation to the human race and applies to all souls who wish to achieve spiritual liberation, salvation and an enlightened state of mind.

An aspirant practicing Sadhana Yoga, especially Hatha Yoga, should practice daily washings and baths, i.e. water purifications known as Vyāpaka Śauća. Practicing Śauća is the absolute basis of all Spiritual Practice, and the Hatha Yogi should especially follow this practice. When starting to wash, you should first pour water and wash the navel and the area around the navel (Nabhi) and the lower abdomen below the navel, including the sexual organ, i.e. the water region responsible for accumulating and distributing energy in the body. The posterior umbilical area, i.e. the area around the water point on the loins (Apat Marma), should also be poured with water and washed. Then water should be poured on top of the head and it should be washed so that the water flows down ones back. Finally, we wash the rest of the body, starting from the upper parts of the body to the lower parts. In hot climates and hot seasons, it is better to bathe with cold water, and in cold seasons and cold climates, it is better to bathe with warm (warming) water. For good health, especially to regulate blood circulation, it is good to take alternating cold and hot baths, ending according to the season or climate. A full bath is most recommended, and if this is not possible, at least bathing in a sitting position. Bathing in a standing position is not recommended, and even in a modern shower, it is recommended to wash in a sitting or squatting position. Bathing at night around midnight is not recommended and should be avoided during the Muhurta period (48 minutes) before and after midnight!!!

If the entire cleansing Śauća Kriya is not possible to complete, partial ablution is recommended, performed as follows: wash your hands and forearms three times, then wash your face, feet and legs up to the knees, wash your neck and nape, and wash your genitals (pubic area). Then take as much water as you can fit in your mouth and rinse your open eyes with it 12 times to maintain good vision. Use such washing before Sadhana if a full bath is not possible and always before meals.

After completing the bathing or washing procedure, when we have not yet wiped our body, we recite the Hymn of the Sacrifice to the Ancestors, i.e. Pitr Yajna, along with performing 8 Mudras and looking at some shining object or light source (it may be quartzite, i.e. rock crystal or diamond, and the best light source is sun).

Pitr Purushabhyo Namah – Rshi Devebhyo Namah
Brahmārpaṇam – Brahmahavir – Brahmāgnau – Brahmaṇāhutam
Brahmaewa Tena Gantavyam – Brahmakarma Samādhinā!

We greet the souls of the Fathers – We greet the heavenly Sages!
Offering (is) Brahman and Sacrifice (is) Brahman
The Sacrificial Fire (is) Brahman and the Sacrificial Fire (is) Brahman
We immerse ourselves in the One Brahmanam, fulfilling with our hearts the task given to us by the Creator!
God’s act is Concentration in Light!

The Ashtapitrmudram series, i.e. the eight–part basic Mudra of Hatha Yogis can be learned from any authorized or authentic Nāthāćārya – Teacher of Hatha Yoga. Also, accurate recitation of the Mantram should be learned by ear from Aćaryas of Hatha Yoga. The Mantram and the Eight Mudras are repeated in a series three times, always after bathing or washing, especially before further spiritual practice. The first Mudra and greeting of the Fathers (Ancestors, Pitrs) gives freedom from the power of the Spirits of the Ancestors, purifying the relationship with them. The second Mudra and Mantra greets all Rshis, i.e. Sages, Masters of Wisdom, allowing us to follow in their footsteps, i.e. follow the Spiritual Path towards liberation, salvation, or enlightenment. The remaining part of the Mantram and Mudra serve reconciliation with God the Creator – Creation, i.e. with the Creative All–Spirit, Brahman.

If one practices authentic Hatha Yoga, performing this ritual of bathing and Pitr Yajna is undoubtedly his daily practice and spiritual duty. You can even remember the ritual of general washing and Pitr Yajna well, and if someone claims to be an authorized Teacher or Instructor of Hatha Yoga, ask whether they can teach us the Mantram correctly and the appropriate eight–part Mudra for practicing Hatha Yoga. If he cannot do it, he has not learned authentic Hatha Yoga and has no idea about it, so you should immediately look for another teacher.


Sandhya are periods of regular practice from which beginner aspirants use the time of Sunrise and Sunset for Spiritual Practice, and advanced ones gradually also use the remaining ones, which, however, may be difficult in everyday life, so it is recommended only during Chilla – a retreat for Yoga practice, and only in the aśram phase of life, i.e. at the so–called retirement age, which is a common custom in India to devote oneself more deeply and intensely to spiritual life through cultivating Yoga in old age.

The first Sandhya is a period of one Muhurta before and after Sunrise, i.e. a period of two Indian teaching hours (2 x 48 minutes). The morning Sādhana of the Nātha Sampradāya adept is performed just around sunrise. More advanced people who practice in the morning start their practice two Hora before Sunrise, and Hora is a Vedic hour equal to 1/12 of the day or night, so it varies in different seasons. The period of two Horas before Sunrise is called Brahmamuhurta or the Hour of God and the period of dawn!

The second Sandhya is the period from 9 am to 12 noon, or more precisely, in local time, the period of 1/8 day, i.e. Yama until noon. The Southern Sandhya is usually used only during intense yogic Chillas (retreats) or on days off from work, i.e. holidays. Southern Sandhya is also the time of practice of hermit yogis living monastic life in their Aśramas, i.e. the time of practice of the Yogi Monk or Elder in the last phase of life. The time after this Yama practice is also time for the midday meal, especially if a full monk follows the one–meal–a–day rule.

The third Sandhya is the period of one Muhurta before and one after Sunset, i.e. it is the Evening Sandhya or Western Sandhya. Beginning adepts of the Hatha Yoga Order usually practice in Sandhya in the Morning and Evening, i.e. twice a day.

The Fourth Sandhya is a period of night practice around midnight, so that the adept begins 48 minutes before the actual local midnight and ends on Muhurta after midnight. The Midnight Sandhya is usually preceded by a period of sleep, as spiritual adepts usually sleep a little before this Sandhya and also after it until the morning Sandhya.

The four Sandhya seasons regulate the so–called monastic rhythm of the Spiritual Practice of Hatha Yoga adepts, and a good program of a longer retreat for practicing Hatha Yoga is recognized by the fact that it primarily takes into account the four Sandhya times for practice.


Each Natha and Nathini (Adept) of Hatha Yoga begins eating meals with ritual washing in a simplified way, i.e. with Vyāpaka Śauća. The meal should be eaten in a sitting position with the legs tucked under each other, i.e. in the so–called cross–legged position (Bhojana). It is better to eat a meal in a group, together, than alone. You absolutely must not eat a meal in a state of nervousness, anger or other severe confusion or shock. It is best to eat when energy flows stronger through the right nostril (Piṇgala). If the energy does not flow more strongly through the right nostril, you should breathe through the right nostril before and after meals, while closing the left nostril with the middle finger of your left hand. This stimulates the stomach fire, or Tejas, to work. When the left nostril is more active in breathing, there is no point in eating anything because the stomach digests poorly and will not absorb the vital energy from food. Eating when we are not clearly hungry is destructive and ruinous to our health. Therefore, the rule is that we eat meals only when we are clearly hungry. If you have no appetite, when you are not hungry or when your hunger is weak, you should not eat any meal. Immediately after a meal, we should rest a little and refrain from any intense activity for at least half a Muhurta (24 minutes). To properly feed your stomach, fill it half with food, a quarter with water (liquid), and leave the remaining quarter empty. Such nutrition promotes good digestion and proper functioning of the stomach. People eating an evening meal should take a short walk after eating and resting, which is extremely beneficial to health.

Food is divided into three categories generally called Āhārya, which are Sāttvika, Rājasika and Tāmasika Āhāra. The food suitable for a Yoga adept striving for Spiritual Purification is the food of Sāttvika Āhāra. This is nutrition that promotes good health and longevity. The most important products are cereals and vegetables, as well as fruit. The basic yogi grains are brown rice, wheat, barley (barley, pearl barley, etc.) and others. Be sure to include all legumes, i.e. peas, beans, broad beans, lentils, soybeans and others. All fruits (more in hot climates and seasons, less in cold climates and seasons) and all roots of plants or vegetables. All varieties of vegetables are especially recommended, because balanced or healthy nutrition is based on the greatest possible variety of cereals and vegetables consumed. Milk and its products are also recommended in yogic health nutrition, but the milk should be fresh, straight from the cow, i.e. not skimmed, because processed milk is usually a highly allergic, i.e. toxic, product and does not belong to the Sāttvika category. Especially yogurt and diluted yogurt are recommended food products. People who do not engage in sexual activity or are staying in celibate should not consume aphrodisiacs, at least in too large quantities, which seems obvious, and the most common aphrodisiacs are garlic, onion and many mushrooms, which, however, are recommended to adepts leading a sexual life. People who switch to a sattvic or yogic diet, and sometimes eat food inappropriate for spiritual life, should eat a piece of myrobalan (Haritakī) after each such meal. Food eaten by a Yoga adept should be thoroughly bitten and chewed, i.e. mixed with saliva, before it is swallowed for further digestion in the stomach.

Foods in the Rājasika category include all stimulants (psychostimulants), such as various stimulants and strong spices, which we sometimes consume as medicine or as a warming supplement in cold climates or during the cold season. Aphrodisiacs consumed in large quantities such as onion, garlic, mushrooms and stimulants such as black tea, cocoa or coffee fall more into the Rājasika category. Similarly, extremely spiced products, i.e. very salty, spicy, sour or bitter. Tāmasika is heavy and mentally incapacitating food, such as all kinds of meat, poultry and fish, especially meat of large animals. Alcohol, cigarettes, hashish, urine and other narcotic substances also fall into this darkening and Soul–destroying category. Foods that are obviously spoiled, mouldy and rotten also fall into the last category. Tāmasika foods bring bodily diseases and mental suffering and draw the person eating them into the influence of dark and gloomy forces, and from all this the adepts of the spiritual path are supposed to free themselves. The yogi must free himself from the forces of Darkness and Chaos, which in itself is a liberating and redemptive process.


Nāthas, or Hatha Yoga adepts, also cultivate regular fasting, i.e. the practice of Upavāsa. Fasting means staying close to Īśvara – God in the Heart, because Īśvara is the image of God reflected in every human heart. People who spontaneously feel the Presence of God in their hearts have a habit of not eating on days called Ekādaśī, i.e. 11 days after the new moon and 11 days after the full moon. Īśa is the Soul, the Higher Self, and Vara is the Guardian, the Controller. Together we have Īśvara, i.e. the Guardian or Controller of Souls. This is the image of God in the hearts of creatures, which reveals itself to average people as the voice of a good conscience! Īśvara is the Person of God – the Guardian and Controller of the Logos, i.e. the Planet, or in other words, the Soul of the Planet guarding its laws and the souls living on it. Upavāsa means that we do not eat any food from sunrise on Ekadāśī until sunrise the next day. No fluids are consumed on a fasting day, unless it is part of a medical treatment. Samnyāsins of Hatha Yoga (the last lesson of the student) and Brahmaćarins also fast on the days of the Pūrnimā (Full Moon) and Amāvasyā (New Moon). The result of fasting is the destruction and removal of all poisonous substances and deposits from the body.

The principle is that clean and fresh air has the power to heal diseases and suffering. People who do not have contact with clean and fresh air are more likely to get sick and suffer mentally. That is why sanatoriums are built in healthy places with healthy, fresh air and other healing properties. It is recommended to breathe as deeply as possible so that the lungs can fully absorb the energy penetrating with the air. It is therefore beneficial to go for walks often in fresh and clean air. It is much better to take longer walks than to ride a vehicle, even a bicycle, which is better than a closed vehicle where we are cut off from the air. If the body does not work at its best and does not give pleasure, we must know that we are not breathing properly. For obvious reasons, longer and more intense Hatha Yoga training is only possible in a place with appropriate conditions, such as an abundance of fresh and clean air.

The general rules of conduct for adepts of the yogic Path, or Marga, include various rules that help maintain good health and live a long life. The body and clothing must be kept clean, as well as the place of our life and practice. After urinating, wash the urinary organ with clean water to restore its cleanliness and freshness. Pay attention to regular intestinal cleansing. One should not sleep on a soft bed, especially one that bends into an arch under the influence of our weight. Sleeping flat and not too soft is more suitable for good health. Body hair, especially on the forearms, pubic area, calves and breasts, should not be cut or shaved. Before morning and evening Sadhana, we always perform Vyāpaka Śauća or full bath as we have described it. Washing is also used before and after meals. You should drink an appropriate amount of fresh and clean spring water every day, but do not drink too much at one time. You drink spring water often and in small portions, a total of 4–6 sīr per day (1 sīr = 0.93 litres), less in the cold season and more in the hot season, depending on the climate. This amount of spring water per day guarantees the effective removal of Amas (Poison) from the adept’s body. It is not beneficial to sleep during the day and stay awake at night, except during periods of practice. All stupefying substances (drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.) belong to Tāmasika and must be considered harmful poisons and strictly avoided. There is no drug–addicted yogi who smokes hashish or is enslaved by nicotine addiction or alcoholism or carnivorism.

During ablution, men should wash their glans by rolling the foreskin back. Women, in particular, should spend some time each day outdoors and, if possible, in the sun. Giving birth to a child should take place in the best room of the apartment or house. Women during menstruation should not perform work involving lifting or carrying heavy objects, and playing wind instruments, singing loudly or making long speeches are inadvisable. Also, being too close to a strong fire is not recommended. If the mother is not in good health, her baby is usually not in good health either. Therefore, the future mother must take great care of good health. Young children up to five years of age should be fed mainly with milk, fruits and roots. Alkaline food is healthy and suitable for young children.


As soon as Nātha wakes up, he practices Utkshepa Mudra while lying in bed on his back. He brings his arms and legs and head to his chest and then puts them back into a stretched position. This practice is repeated 3–4 times, and then you sit on the bed and drink a glass of cool water (1/4 sīr) prepared for you when you wake up in the morning, so that the water does not touch your teeth. It can be Soma, i.e. honey water, or water with honey and lemon juice. After drinking the morning healing water that cleanses the digestive tract, the umbilical area should be exposed to air, preferably next to an open window.

Asana (Āsana) is one of the basic practices of the four–step path of Hatha Yoga as an important part of the practice. Asana (Āsana) should be practiced in such a way as to achieve the state of Stirasukhamāsanam, i.e. the state of constancy and pleasure. Asanas (Āsanas) are practices thanks to which the body becomes healthy and durable, and many ailments are healed. Asanas (Āsanas) are not prescribed for the general treatment of any diseases, because for the treatment drugs and typically medical procedures are generally used, i.e. naturopathy known as Ayurveda. Asanas (Āsanas) cure only those ailments and diseases that create problems on the path of meditation so that Sadhana can be cultivated with ease. The practice of Asanas (Āsanas) is sometimes called healing the soul from its Vyadhi, i.e. diseases that are obstacles on the path to spiritual realization. The Āćārya must be able to recognize the appropriate category of ailments and prescribe the appropriate set of Asanas (Āsanas). Clothing for Asana practice should be loose and airy, and in men it should cover the pubic or hip area. Asanas (Āsanas) should be practiced on a blanket or a special mat.

Asanas (Āsanas) are practiced only when the left nostril is more active or when both work equally, never when the right nostril is more active. You can activate the lunar energy of Ida by breathing specifically through the left nostril before starting the Asana practice. Asanas (Āsanas) are not practiced on a full stomach right after eating, except for a few meditation Asanas (Āsanas). You need to wait until you digest the stomach contents. Immediately after intensive Asana practice, you should massage your arms, legs and the rest of the body, especially the joints. After finishing the massage, you should stay in the relaxation position for some time, i.e. in Śavāsana, after which you should never come into contact with water. After practicing Śavāsana, you should wait at least half a Muhurta (24 minutes) if you want to take a bath. Prāṇayāma techniques should not be practiced immediately after intensive practice of Asanas (Āsanas), with the exception of meditation Asanas (Āsanas). Prāṇayāma should be practiced at the beginning of the session, before practicing more Asanas (Āsanas), and if at the end of the session, then after a much longer rest, e.g. at the end of a long relaxation session in Śavāsana. Sports games, fighting techniques or running immediately after practicing Asanas (Āsanas) are not allowed. During menstruation, women should not practice Asanas (Āsanas) intensively or strenuously, but only lightly and gently. Restrictions on practicing immediately after a meal, with the right nostril active and during menstruation do not apply to meditation Asanas (Āsanas) such as Bhojanāsana (Cross), Sukhāsana (Beneficial), Svastikāsana (Auspicious), Siddhāsana (Miraculous), Padmāsana (Lotus), Vīrāsana (Victorious, Kneeling), Vajrāsana (Diamond), Praamāsana (Saluting), Yogāsana (Unifying Mudra, Lotus Bow) and Bhūjangāsana (Snake). From the 3rd month of pregnancy and up to 1 month after the birth of the child, a woman generally does not perform asanas (Āsanas), except for meditation and preparation for childbirth.

An adept admitted to the path of Hatha Yoga must learn to breathe deeply and while practicing Asanas (Āsanas) must regulate the deep rhythm of breathing as a preliminary practice. From his Teacher (Āćārya) or Guru (Guide) he must receive a Mantram consisting of two syllables to practice during Asanas (Āsanas), which will support his efforts to achieve a state of purification. The mantram harmonizes and unites the energies of the Moon (Ida) and the Sun (Piṇgala). Practicing Asanas (Āsanas) without paying attention to the deep rhythm of breathing and without the Mantram of Hatha Yoga is pointless and even proves that the one who teaches has no preparation or competence for it. The sound and content of the Nātha Mantram is the concentration of the mind during the practice of Asanas (Āsanas) and is absolutely necessary for making any spiritual progress. The basic Mantram consists of two syllables and we practice it primarily mentally, so that we think intensively about the first syllable while inhaling and the second when exhaling. When we draw our limbs towards the body, we inhale, and when we move our limbs away from the body, we exhale. When we lean back we inhale, and when we lean forward we exhale. Bending means inhaling and straightening means exhaling. Contraction and squeezing of the body is usually an exhalation and expansion is an inhalation. These are the general rules for coordinating body movement with deep breathing. The pace of performing Asanas (Āsanas) must be adapted to the rhythm and depth of the adept’s breathing.

The practice of Trikuti should also be learned and developed over the course of many Asanas (Āsanas), and this is the concentration of Ājńām on the special Sign that is the focus of the Hatha Yogis. This sign, i.e. Nātha Yantra, harmonizes the energies of the three Guas, three divine forces: creative, conservative and destructive. A competent Hatha Yoga Teacher will certainly introduce you deeper into this basic practice of Hatha Yoga and you can test the candidate whether he is authorized and knows what to teach the Hatha Marga adept. The longer, 6–syllable Mahāmantra of Hatha Yoga should also be learned by an Āćārya (Teacher), as it is necessary for practicing Praṇamāsana and Yogamudra and similar exercises.

Asana (Āsana) in the four–stage Hatha Yoga system belongs to the first level of practice. In the system of siddhas (fakirs), a seven–stage vehicle is used, where Asana (Āsana) is practiced only in the second stage after prior more thorough cleansing through the six purifying Shatkarman exercises. As preliminary practices introducing the appropriate Asana (Āsana), auxiliary exercises are practiced to soften the body in order to best enter the Asana (Āsana) and maintain it for some time, which are called the general term Pavanmuktāsana – tension–relieving positions. Traditionally, 84 Asanas (Āsanas) are considered to be the Root of the entire Hatha Yoga system, and their incomplete or half–hearted versions, with different details of execution, are treated as variations of the core posture. Of all these Asanas (Āsanas), 32 are considered the most important to be considered a practitioner, of which, again, the most important are meditation Asanas (Āsanas), mainly lotus ones. Padmāsana, or Lotus, is the King of Asanas (Āsanas) (Rājāsana) and the purpose of practicing Asanas (Āsanas) is, in particular, to master the Lotus so as to be able to meditate freely in the Lotus position for a long time. When practicing, you should always remember the basic goal of Hatha Yoga Asanas (Āsanas), to achieve the Īśvara Shape as quickly as possible, which always means removing material obstacles to synchronization with God.

Nowadays, there are incompetent yoga imposters who omit exercises in their pseudo yoga therapies to help master the Lotus position, and sometimes even hypocritically claim that Padma is not for Europeans or other such anti–yogic heresies. They themselves prove that they lack any competences to teach Yoga, because they are so confused in their heads that they do not even know what is important and what is the basic goal of the Hatha Yoga practice system. Pavanmukta series aimed at mastering at least Half Lotus (Arthapadma) as quickly as possible are a mandatory part of every group lesson of Asanas (Āsanas) and individual practice in both Hatha Yoga and Rāja Yoga. Particularly authentic Rāja Yoga encourages its adept to practice meditation in the Lotus position!!! So while it is said that Hatha Yoga is supposed to lead to Rāja Yoga, the point is that the adept can undertake deeper spiritual practices for which Lotus is the necessary basis. In the traditional, oldest Yoga Aśrams, a candidate for a Yoga Teacher (Āćārya) is tested to see if he can meditate calmly in the Lotus for at least half a Muhurta (24 minutes)! This is part of the traditional examination for the degree of Teacher in the Hatha or Raja Yoga systems.

Each original set of Asanas (Āsanas) given to students for practice has its own name and if we learned from competent teachers, when teaching us sets of Asanas (Āsan) for individual daily practice, we received their names along with these sets, allowing us to better understand the meaning, purpose and the effect of practicing a given set of asanas (Āsanas). The most important, core Asanas (Āsanas) are those that require the Lotus position. This is the vast majority of Asanas (Āsanas). We can consider the first level of Hatha practice as mastered if we have already learned to perform lotus versions of Asanas (Āsanas). For example, Sarvagāsana (Eternal Candle) in the version with legs straight up is only a simplified variant practiced only when the adept is unable to perform the proper version, i.e. the one in which the legs are up but with the knees because the rest is intertwined in Lotus! In the seven–step method, we master the second level of teaching in the same way. Anyone who has not mastered the Lotus in Indian reality would not be allowed to teach Hatha Yoga by any authentic Teacher!!! Of course, this is not the only condition required from the Teacher, who must first of all be able to provide individual sets of practice and initiate Hatha Yoga. Otherwise we always remain at the level of an interested person who does not practice properly.

There is also a special Asana (Āsana) of the Teachers of Hatha Yoga, which should be practiced during the Sandhya night time, and one may ask the alleged Teacher whether he has received such a special Asana (Āsana) of the Teachers and the corresponding meditation as well as conditions of the practice. This is, of course, Dhruvāsana, also called Gomatāsana. In this Asana (Āsana), the appropriate Mudra, body direction and object of concentration, as well as practice attire are important. Adepts duly introduced to the Path of Hatha Yoga, and we only mean the Indian original that has always been practiced in the great India, begin their practice sessions not only with preparatory ablution but also with concentration on the Ćaturnāthavrata, i.e. the Four Nātha Vows recited in the Praṇamāsana position to begin the practice session. These are otherwise called Paśupati Vrata and concern the development of the four Nātha perfections, which are the goal of Hatha Yoga.

The most interesting form of promoting an absolutely introductory set of Hatha Yoga exercises in the monastic version are the so–called Tibetan exercises, usually five or six in number, hailed as almost an elixir of youth and longevity. Well, the main propagator of these exercises spent some time in a certain Tibetan monastery, where he had the pleasure of watching monks practicing in the courtyard of this monastery. He had a talent for painting, so he wrote down the exercises and even painted them to remember. Unfortunately, his knowledge is only the knowledge of an external observer and is devoid of basic data regarding concentration or breathing rhythm appropriate to these exercises, and does not contain the mantrams that are most important. And the author forgot to write that what he saw and wrote down was only a set of exercises for beginner monks, candidates for the monastery and that you need to get acquainted with more advanced sets after just a few months!!! Unfortunately, this level of skill and knowledge about Hatha Yoga seems to be demonstrated by the vast majority of so–called Instructors and even “Masters” of the alleged Hatha Yoga, who were clearly completely mistaken, claiming that it is only health gymnastics. Moreover, proper health exercises in the form of therapy are offered by Ayurvedic specialists and do not resemble the spiritual training of Hatha Yoga in any way, but only a series of Pavanmukta exercises.


The external symbol worn in India by real adepts of true Hatha Yoga is Śrīvatsa, most beautifully performed in its Tibetan version of the double Vajra, i.e. on the plan of an isosceles cross. It symbolizes the state of absolute harmony and balance of the elements and control over the matter of the body, and also means the highest knowledge of the divine essence. A variation of this sign is the symbol known as Svastika, drawn in the shape of an isosceles cross. A variation of Śrīvatsa is also the very ancient sign of the Nāths of Indian Hatha Yoga, where we have a six–pointed star, in its centre, inside it the sun rises from the bottom, and in the sun there is a Vajram (Cross) or Svastika sign. Yantra (Sign) is, of course, also one of the subjects of more advanced concentrations. All those initiated into the Path of Hatha Yoga are called Nātha (Nāthinī), which means “Guardian”, and the entire community of practitioners of Hatha Yoga methods, including in particular Asana (Āsana), is called Nātha Sampradaya. The last word means Spiritual Association or Spiritual Community. So we have the Spiritual Association of Guardians. The term Sampradaya for associations and communities suggests a very close and profound degree of unity and community, a group of people very closely connected together in something eternal. The Yoga Master among the Nāthas is called Jina or Jaina (Conqueror), and the Avatara who comes every 3,000 years is called Tirthankāra (Ford Maker).

Four–stage Hatha Yoga consists of increasingly advanced Initiation Circles, where the first level is primarily involved in developing and awakening of Fohat. Fohat is the energy and strength of the body that comes from the coordination of body and mind. Fohat means patience and perseverance, constancy of striving and the ability to make great effort, as well as resilience and endurance. Together, Fohat means the same as the term Hatha itself – Strength or Power. The second stage works on developing Praṇah, i.e. Vitality, Liveliness, and this is the breathing energy necessary to achieve longevity. The third degree is intensively concerned with awakening Kuṇdali – the Serpent Fire, and the root Ku itself means Trust, Faith. The training at each level is slightly different and sets increasingly higher, more lofty and more difficult to achieve goals. In a physically weak body, Praṇa does not want to flow, so it needs to be strengthened in order to develop and master Praṇah. When the Vital Energy develops, conditions may arise for awakening and developing Kuṇdali – the Fiery Power of Faith.

The Buddhist path, as seen in the example of the monks of the Tibetan monastery, also practices intensive methods of Hatha Yoga, but it is called Anuyoga, i.e. atomic, fulfilling yoga. It is cultivated when the adept is able to achieve communication with the Divine Being and, more importantly, become like it through mastery of the Lotus Form. Sooner or later it is necessary on the Spiritual Path, and the Buddhist tradition believes that becoming like occurs in the more advanced phases of the Spiritual Path, so it does not need to be cultivated at the beginning. Not in this incarnation, maybe in the next one.


The introduction to the Asanas (Āsanas) exercise is the practice of Pavanmukta, i.e. various circular movements of the joints, hips and torso, as well as exercises that stimulate circulation such as Śaktićalana or Loma Viloma. We then need to teach beginners relaxation Asanas (Āsanas) such as Śava (Mṛta) and Adva as these are mutually opposite, and Jyestika and Makara, which are variants of Adva. Matsyakrida, i.e. the yogic sleeping position for the practice of Sleep and Dreaming Yoga (Nidra Yoga), must also be learned at the beginning of yoga education. Bhoja is generally a sitting cross–legged position, and within it we have increasingly better versions for meditation, such as Sukha, Svastika, Siddha (Mukta), Ardhapadma and Padma and Baddhapadma (Bhadrapadma), Bhaddhayoni or Siddhayoni with closing the senses and Yoga (Mudra). From kneeling positions, there are the Vīra and Vajra varieties, including Ardhavīra, Brahmaćarya, Ānandamadadira, Padadira and Bhadra (Manduka), especially each in the Pranam version for deeper meditations. Of the standing Asanas (Āsanas), the most basic are Pranam, Tada, Aśvasanghala, and also those standing on one leg (Ekapadapranam) such as Aśvatta, Natarāja, Natavara (Krishna), Vṛksha. All these simplest Asanas (Āsanas) are also used in the meditation practice of Laya Yoga. When we say in yoga to adopt Asana (Āsana), under the term Asana (Āsana) we always mean some simple version of Bhoja, i.e. sitting with the legs tucked under one another, and in this sense Guru Patañjali uses the word Asana (Āsana) in the first verse of the Yoga Sutras that to practice Yoga, you need Asana (Āsana) (Bhoja). Asanas (Āsanas) such as Tada, Katićakra (Samakona) as well as Śaśanka and Vīra are the basic positions of all Muslim and Sufi prayers in the schools of SUFI TARIQA (Sufi Order) or Middle Eastern Yoga. As part of the exercise of a given Asana (Āsana), its versions are performed, if possible, such as Urdhva – rocking or bending to the right and left, Uttana, i.e. lifting the body on the fingers (Pada) or on the hands (Hasta), Uttita, i.e. falling, bending, Vakra i.e. twists and turns.

Typical lotus asanas (Āsanas) include: Bhoja (Crossed), Sukha (Good), Svastika (Auspicious), Siddha (Wonderful, Mukta), Padma (Lotus) and Baddhapadma (Bound Lotus), Yoga (Oneness, Śaśanka), Simha (Lion), Gupta (Hidden), Lola (Rapture), Sarvānga (Eternal), Tolangula (Balance), Matsya (Fish), Hala (Plow), Kukkuta (Rooster), Garbha (Pubic), Mayūra (Peacock), Kurmaka (Turtle), Goraksha (Shepherd), Maṇḍuka (Frog), Makara (Crocodile), Bhujanga (Snake), Śalabha (Cricket), Vyaghra (Tiger, Cat, Maryari), Hansa (Swan, Baka Bird), Śirśa (Head, Urdvapadma). Each Lotus Asana (Āsana) also has its simplified version, which is practiced by people who are not yet able to practice the Lotus series of Asanas (Āsanas).

Typical non–lotus Asanas (Āsanas), so in their essence easier to learn and practice, include: Śava (Dead, Mṛta), Adhva, Bhastrika (Garbha, Embryo), Pādahasta (Probation), Viparitakarani, Matsyendra, Vīra (Victorious), Śaśa (Hare), Vajra (Diamond), Brahmaćarya (Temperent), Khandara (Bridge), Ćakra (Circular), Dola (Swing), Katika (Ramp), Nauka (Ship), Akarna Dhanura (Bow), Parvata (Mountain, Sumeru), Śiva (Grace, Karnapida), Paśćimota/na (Bows), Gomukha (Cow), Vṛshabha (Ox), Utkata, Januśira, Tulādaṇda, Bhadra (Jatila Utkata), Padahasta, Karma, Jñāna (Wise), Bhāva, Granthimukta, Garuda (Eagle), Natarāja, Gopala (Shepherd), Dvisamakna, Tejasa (Fire), Tada (Fixed), Trikona (Triangular), Aśvatta (Ficus), Vṛksha (Tree of Wish Fulfillment), Ṛshi (Sage), Ushtra (Camel), Nāga (Ascending Serpent), Samkata, Anjaneja (Tribute), Bilika (Kitten or little Maryari), Maṇḍuka (Toad, Bhadra), Fatinga (Butterfly), Tolangula (Scales), Nāva (Ship), Bhūma, Tittira (Partridge), Nikunja (Bush), Ćandra (Moon), Daṇḍa (Staff), Uttana (Raising), Dhanva (Archer), Ananta (Vastness), Aśvasanghala (Rider), Griva, Vṛśćika (Scorpion), Hanumana and others. Many of these Asanas (Āsanas) have their easier and more difficult versions, which a teacher well versed in Hatha Yoga can teach, but the versions always belong to the family of the appropriate, proper Asana (Āsana).


According to the tradition of Indian Siddhas (miracle workers), beginners should first master Asanas (Āsanas) in the lying position, i.e. Śava and Adhva, Matsyakrida, Jyestika, Makara or Garbha and others performed lying down, first the simplest ones and then more and more difficult ones. From the Śava lying position, easy Asanas (Āsanas) are also Paśćimota, Hala, Viparitakaraṇa, and from the lying Adhva position we have Nauka, as well as a simplified version of Śalabha and Bhujanga. The next, second level to master are Asanas (Āsanas) in a sitting position, divided into the easier Vajra (Diamond) series and the more difficult Bhoja (Cross) series. Vira, Vajra, Brahmacharya, Gomukha, Suptavajra or Śasankavajra as well as Vyajra (Cat), Ushtra (Camel), Anjaneya (Homage), Matsyendra and Simha are probably the basic sitting Asanas (Āsanas) in the Diamond series. The Lotus Series, of course, requires developing a decent level of the lotus seat, i.e. Padma or Arthapadma, in order to be performed, and this is the most important series and even fundamental from the point of practicing Hatha Yoga in the right way. Pavanmuktapadma or the exercises leading to the Lotus are the basis here, and Bhoja, Sukha, Svastika and Siddha (Mukta) must be mastered as the positions that mark the stages of our growth towards the Lotus Īśvara! Lotus Positions are the very Heart of all Hatha Yoga Asanas(Āsanas).

The third level of mastering Asanas (Āsanas) are all standing postures, which begin and end with concentration in Pranama, and the Tada, Trikona, Vṛksha, Nataraja and Garuda postures can be mentioned as the most important for standing practice. The next, fourth step is to master the art of walking and running, in particular the so–called trance running, i.e. Padahasta, and floating on the water surface, i.e. Plavini. The next, fifth lesson and level of Strength (Hatha) is only the art of Lifting, i.e. Levitation, known as Laghimāsana (Lifting Pose, Uttanāsana). All Asanas (Āsanas) with arm raises, such as Bekasa, Mayura, Kukkuta, are an introduction to this level. The fifth level of Strength (Hatha) is strangely not very popular, and yet it would be worth remembering what the goal of the Asanas (Āsanas) is to achieve and the significantly higher level of Hatha Yoga practice. For Europeans, Laghima art could significantly reduce the cost of visiting their Gurus in the Himalayan Hermitages! When Kundalini begins to awaken, no psychedelic phenomena occur, as some pseudo–yogis sometimes claim, and instead the body begins to float and glide in space. This is the only sure sign that the Kudali (Kuṇdalini) has actually awakened, if one were to test oneself. Indian fakirs have the custom of practicing Laghiman with their yoga rug. Only a person who is sufficiently Purified (Śuddha) in the image of Īśvara (Perfect, Watcher, Guardian) can float freely in space, because he must be Light (Laghi).

The secrets of longevity include appropriate and comprehensive physical exercise so as not to stagnate the body, long walks and breathing fresh, clean air, eating only when you are hungry, sleeping when you want to sleep, regularity in spiritual practices, fasting at appropriate times, clean living and regular water washings, fresh vegetarian food, plenty of spring water, drinking fresh milk and yogurt, getting up before sunrise and contemplating lunar energy. Here is a factual summary of the basic precepts of authentic Indian Hatha Yoga.


The mental attitude of Bahubalin (Hatha Master) must also include first removing all kinds of feelings of error, sin and guilt, because Yoga is the Way of Purification and Purity. The idea of ​​I Am Pure, I Am Becoming Pure must be planted in the mind of the adept and must develop and take root. Criticism and criticism, including self–criticism, disappointment and a sense of failure, shyness, any sense of failure, loss or the impression that one is not good enough or cannot do anything well must be removed from the psyche first. The yogi must transform his mind until he awakens from within an attitude of full maturity and a sense of security, the awareness that his life always goes in accordance with Divine Law and that only Good results from every life experience. The yogi develops an attitude of self–acceptance and self–trust, faith in one’s own strength and possibilities, as well as an attitude of acceptance and trust towards other people, especially the Guru and the Sangha (Community). Defeatism and anxiety must give way to care for yourself and your own affairs, as well as care for your spiritual Path and everything that is needed on it, and deep peace of mind and spirit. The sense of security, courage and awareness of divine Protection should be particularly strongly developed. The feeling of rejection by parents, the environment or the world must also be destroyed and give way to a sense of community and closeness, as well as the sweetness and joy of life. Without these elementary corrections of the human psyche, practicing Hatha Yoga will be very difficult or even impossible, and at best it will not bear proper fruit.

In the Śiva Samhita, Guru Śiva says to Devi Parvati about the Hatha Path: “Just as the path to knowledge begins with the alphabet, so the path of Yoga begins with physical exercises.” Guru Svātmārāma says that haste and excessive effort kill the Yoga adept. Guru Vivekānanda (previous incarnation of Swami Premānanda) taught: “This is the cornerstone of truth: throw away everything that weighs you down physically, mentally and spiritually! It’s all venom. There is no life in it. There is no truth in this. Truth is strength, truth is purity. Truth is light, truth is a source of energy. Get rid of the mysticisms that weaken you and be strong! The greatest truths are the simplest, as simple as your existence.” Guru Somadeva said not to talk much to someone who despises good advice, because then he offends himself, and for a fool, his own understanding is better than someone else’s advice. The answer was given in the context of responding to spiritual advice from various Gurus and Rishis. Guru Satyānanda said that Yoga is the heritage of the past and the culture of the future. Talking about love and wisdom, Guru Thakur said that we do not love because we do not understand, and we do not understand because we do not love. Pandita (Scholar) Albert Einstein said: “I am of the opinion that vegetarianism, if only by its physical influence on human nature, can be beneficial to the majority of humanity.” As you can see, to be a physicist like Einstein, you must first be a vegetarian like a Yogi. Guru Śankārdevānanda, in the context of diet and treatment, said that modern man suffers primarily from diseases of EXCESS, digging his own grave with his own teeth.

The mental and moral attitude that you should work on is, first of all, freeing yourself from all worries and anxieties and practicing regularly according to the recommendations and instructions of your Guru. It is said that a Yogi perishes (go to waste) by overeating, i.e. by cultivating gluttony, by working too hard and exhaustingly, by talking (gossiping) excessively and blaspheming without reason, by staying in the wrong company of people with bad tendencies and hostile to spirituality, and above all, by unsatisfied stomach. Moderation and abstinence in eating, workaholism, talkativeness, blustering, contacts with opponents of spirituality and evil beings are extremely important for the success of the spiritual practice of Hatha Yoga. A Yoga adept achieves success by cultivating Joy (Mudhita), Perseverance (Sahan), Courage (Viraga), Wisdom (Jnana) and Faith (Śraddha). It is necessary to rely firmly on the words of one’s Guru heard with one’s own ears. The ten moral principles of Yama given by Rishi Dattatreya constitute the generally accepted basis for shaping the character of a Yogi. Here we have Non–doing evil and harm (Ahimsa), Speaking the Truth (Satya), Not reaching out to others (Asteya), Temperance (Brahmaćarya), Tolerance and Mercy (Dayā), Strength of will and honesty (Aryava), Compassion for others including forgiveness (Kshamā), Modesty and constancy (Dhṛti), Following a yogic diet and moderation in eating (Mitahara) and Purification or rather Purity (Śauća). The last six principles are summarized in the concept of Aparigraha meaning Non–adherence, introduced by shi Agnideva. Apari means to be fluid like water (Apa) or washed like water and to have the ability to flow around material objects Graha. So the yogi flows through life without stopping or attaching to objects of the material plane of existence. Aparigraha is cultivated through six principles starting with Dayā.

Mitahara, or a moderate diet, involves eating sweet and tasty foods. Of course, we use naturally sweet products, and if we sweeten them, we use honey or natural unrefined brown sugar. White sugar is a poison that is deadly to your health. Naturally sweet or sweetened with Soma (Honey) foods increase the strength and endurance of the body, i.e. support the earth element, which is essential in the practice of Hatha Yoga. The fourth part of the stomach must be left empty and the food is offered to Śiva, the founder of all authentic schools of Yoga. The offering of food is made by reciting the phrase Om Namaśśivāya Adīśvarāya three times out loud or mentally! “Glory to God the Gracious, the Supreme Perfection!” before starting the meal. This mantram is usually written at the beginning of all major authentic treatises on Hatha Yoga.

Excessively spicy and excessively sour foods, too hot (scalding) and too cold (from the refrigerator), excess fat (oils) except Ghī, large amounts of sesame, mustard, as well as alcohol, fish, animal meat, poultry, excessive amounts of cottage cheese (cheese) and cream, jujuba fruits and garlic are unsuitable for the Yogi. A carnivorous person who switches to a yogic diet should first avoid fish and poultry, as well as the meat of female animals and large animals, and eat only the meat of small, wild, natural animals and seafood that is not fish, such as crabs or shrimps. Foods that are harmful to health are meals that are repeatedly reheated, very salty or very acidic, foods that are difficult to digest (mainly meat, as well as cheese and cream, oils, alcohol) and foods seasoned with quasia leaves (a drug). Rice, wheat and barley, fresh milk, yellow sugar, Ghī butter, honey (Madhu), dried ginger, cucumbers, green legumes (beans, peas, broad beans and others) and good spring water (Apa) are recommended. It is best to live near a spring. Above all, a yogi should eat sweet and thick food, mixed with milk, nutritious and pleasant to the palate. The mentioned foods that are beneficial for a Yoga practitioner should not be missing in the daily diet.

Guru Goraksha says that one should avoid the bad company of people with demonic, evil tendencies and aspirations, as well as people who hate the three Jewels: Guru, Sangha and Dharma, i.e. Spiritual Masters, Spiritual Communities and Spiritual Practice. Bad company has a bad influence and makes it impossible to make spiritual progress. Excessive basking in the fire during winter is also not advisable, as it is better to practice Tumo, a fire that warms you from the inside. Excessive sexual life and excessive, exhausting amounts of sexual intercourse are also not recommended for people on the Path (Margin). Long and very tiring journeys are also not recommended. A full and long bath before dawn, i.e. in complete darkness, is also not recommended, and if we start the practice so early, we only use partial washing described at the beginning. A starving lifestyle, i.e. fasting and undereating due to lack of resources, is also not conducive to spiritual development, just like extremely exhausting and too hard work. In a word, Moderation in everything and Prudence, i.e. the Middle Way (Medhamarga).


Among the Asanas (Āsanas), there are the so–called Kandhāsanas, i.e. four cardinal positions, the pillars of Asanas (Āsanas), and these are preferably in the lotus versions: Siddha, Padma, Simha and Bhadra. First, in the Kandha series, we assume the Wonderful position, i.e. Siddha, then we move to the Lotus, and from the Padma position we move to the lotus version of Simha (Lion), and after practicing in Leo we return to the Bound Lotus, i.e. Bhadra (Bhaddhapadma). Lord Śiva, the source of all Yoga, mentions that these four Asanas (Āsanas) are the most important! Of course, in each of them appropriate spiritual exercises prescribed by the Teacher are performed.

In the treatment of all diseases and ailments, Matsyendra, Paśćima, Mayura and Padma provide the greatest services. The first two are relatively easy to make because they do not require Lotus. Mayura in particular is a very powerful healing position that removes excess Vata (gas), Pitta (bile) and Kapha (phlegm), the main toxins that cause most diseases. Mayura also removes Hālahala, or the Essence of Darkness, and therefore heals and frees one from demonic tendencies and karmic connections with the schools of the black path of Darkness and Chaos. Padma is a healing position and removes all ailments, so what could not be removed with other Asanas (Āsanas) should be removed by practicing Padma. Matsyendra is used to combat all serious and sudden diseases. Paśćima and Padma remove all ailments and diseases, but Padma is more powerful. Mayura cures diseases and demonic complications and balances and harmonizes the body by removing the excess of the three mentioned organic substances, together called Dośa. Siddha perfectly removes all obstacles on the path to spiritual liberation and realization. Bhadra is also a posture that destroys all ailments, which is understandable as in its full version it is a deepened Lotus! In its simplified version, it strongly promotes balance, stability and harmony, which is also healing, and also helps to control the body, i.e. control any disorders.

Guru Svātmārāma says that out of 84 Asanas (Āsanas), one should always practice Siddhāsana, because it cleanses the 72 thousand Nādis (Energy Channels) that make up the subtle human body. This Asana (Āsana) cannot be missing in the serious practice of Hatha Yoga! You have no Asana (Āsana) above Siddha, no second Kumbhaka as Kevala (Natural cessation of breathing), no second Mudra as Khećari, and Laya equal to Nādas (Sounds).

Yogis such as Guru Vasitha or Guru Matsyendra practiced and recommended primarily such Asanas (Āsanas) as Svāstika (Auspicious), Gomukha (Cow), Vīra (Victorious), Kurma (Turtle), Padma, and from it Kukkuta (Rooster), Uttanakurma, then Dhanura (Bow), Matsyendra, Paśćima, Mayura (Peacock) and finally the Śavāsana series. The series clearly begins with the Svastika meditation position, then 3 diamond–type postures, 3 lotus postures with Padma, then four easier postures ending with the Śava lying down practice. If necessary, we precede each position with appropriate Pavanmukta to achieve or deepen it. We usually call the set after the name of the first Guru who taught it, i.e. Vasitharūpaka.

Śivānandarūpaka is another recommended set of Asanas (Āsanas) for daily practice for beginners who have already started practicing yogic Asanas (Āsanas). We start with concentration in the Siddha position, then move to Śava, and after a while we adopt the Sarvanga position, then we move smoothly to Hāla, and then we return to Śava, after a while we assume Matsya, return to Śava and move to Paśćimottana, from which we smoothly move to Adhva from which next we take Bhujanga, return to Adhva and move to Śalabha, rest again in Adhva and perform Dhanura, from which we go to Vīra to rest and smoothly enter Matsyendra, after finishing one to the left and right side we return to Vīra to rest and we move to Śirsha (or Ardha Śirsha), then return to Vīra to rest and rise to Aśvasanghala to perform the purifying practice of Uddiyana or Nauli, after which we return to Śava. Beginners can practice simplified versions of the Asanas (Āsanas) of this set, and advanced ones can practice lotus versions of some of them! Exercises for reaching Asanas (Āsanas), i.e. appropriate Pavanmukta for each Asana (Āsana), also need to be practiced if necessary.

Guru Gerandha, the eminent Rishi of Hatha Yoga of the Natha Order, recommends in particular 32 essential Asanas (Āsanas). Siddha, Padma, Bhadra (Bound Lotus), Mukta (Svastika), Vajra, Simha, Gomukha, Dhanura, Mṛta (Śava), Gupta, Matsya, Paśćimotta, Utkata, Mayura, Kukkuta, Kūrma, Uttanakūrma, Uttana/maṇḍuka, Vṛksha, Maṇḍuka (Bheka), Vīra, Śalabha, Makara, Ushtra, Bhujanga, Yoga, Vīrabhadra (Warrior), Goraksha (Shepherd), Samkata, Garuda. The mentioned 32 arts of Fakir Asanas (Āsanas) practiced by Indian Siddhas, if practiced properly and with devotion to their Gurus, bring 32 classic Spiritual Powers, i.e. Siddhis. The mentioned Asanas (Āsanas) in their respective versions constitute the essence of the system of 84 body postures given by Lord Śiva to his wife Parvati for the development of spiritual strength, i.e. a powerful will, and the will of the spirit is nothing else than the Will of God. Hatha Yoga is the Way, Marga of the union of the human will, weak by nature, with the Divine Will, which by its nature is powerful and omnipotent. Jesus Christ perfectly expressed all the faith and perseverance of a Hatha Yoga adept by saying that nothing is impossible for someone who believes. God’s Will, achieved gradually through regular Body and Mind Training, which is Hatha Yoga, is an Overwhelming Power. Whoever does a lot and his action is powerful and overwhelming shows that he practices the Yoga of the Ray of Will, i.e. Hatha Yoga.

Guru Kuvalayānanda, one of the greatest contemporary Aćaryas of Hatha Yoga, lists as the most important for healing and balancing purposes the following Asanas (Āsanas) to master at the beginning: Śavāsana, Bhujanga, Śalabha, Dhanura, Hala, Matsyendra, Paścimata, Mayura, Yoga, Śaśanka, Śirsha, Viparitakarani, Sarvanga, Matsya, Suptavajra, Padahasta, Trikona, Pavanmukta (Garbha), and for sitting meditation Vajra, Sukha, Siddha and Padma and Uddiyana sitting and standing as a therapeutic treatment. So we basically have 21 Asanas (Āsanas) recommended for medicinal purposes by the Guru and one typical breathing treatment with abdominal muscle work, i.e. Uddiyana. Half–asanas, or versions of Ardha, are only part of the training to achieve the full version and proper form of Asana (Āsana), and are of course not considered as separate Asanas (Āsana). In fact, they are only part of the training aimed at achieving proper, complete Asana (Āsana). Guru Kuvalaya also first teaches Asanas (Āsanas) performed in a lying position, then Asanas (Āsanas) performed in a sitting position and only then Asanas (Āsanas) in a standing position, i.e. methodically in accordance with the authentic way of teaching Indian Hatha Yogis!!! An example of a simple healing (therapeutic) set includes the following postures: Śava with a moment of relaxation and deep breathing, Bhujanga, Śalabha, Hala, Śaśanka, Paśćimata, Śava with relaxation and deep breathing. This simple set of Asanas (Āsanas) is called Sukhajūti (Easy Series) by the Nāthas. Another example for more demanding adepts may be the following Series: Śava, Bhujanga, Śalabha, Dhanura, Hala, Paśćimata, Matsyendra, Śaśanka, Sarvanga and finally Śava again but a little longer with relaxation. Purnajūti (Complete Series) is the name of both this shorter and the next, longer set of Asanas (Āsanas) and Hatha Yoga exercises: Śava, Bhujanga, Śalabha, Dhanura, Hala, Matsyendra, Paśćimata, Mayura, Śaśanka, Śirsha, Sarwangha, Suptavajra or Matsya and Śava with relaxation and deep yogic breathing, and finally Uddiyana, Nauli and Ujjayi breathing. Uddiyana and Nauli are performed in a sitting cross–legged position or standing with legs apart, i.e. in Aśvasanghala. Meditation postures are used initially for the practice of Jñāna Mudra, Jalandhara and Mulabhanda. We cannot imagine learning Hatha Yoga at its core without these exercises.

Śava practice at the beginning and end of the session should last at least a quarter of a Muhurta, i.e. 12 minutes, and at the end it is better if it lasts even half a Muhurta or more. The Śava between the more difficult Asanas (Āsanas) lasts 1/24 Muhurta, or 2 minutes. It is better to practice Bhujanga, Śalabha and Dhanura in series at the beginning, so that in the next approach we hold the position as completely as possible for 1–3 deep breaths. Beginners are recommended to do 3 approaches and then go up to 7 more approaches. Hala, Yoga, Śaśanka, Viparitakarani, Sarvangha are recommended to be maintained for at least 10–20 deep breaths at the beginning, and eventually reach a session of 80–100 deep breaths in one approach. Matsyendra, Paśćimata, Mayura, Matsya, Suptavajra and Śirsha are recommended to be held for 3 deep breaths at the beginning, and eventually up to 10–20 breaths, and in some cases even more. It is especially recommended to master the royal position of Śirsha for periods longer than 80–100 breaths or 1/4 Muhurta in a session. Viparitakarai is also recommended for such longer practice, and we should always try to do one of these two long–distance Asanas (Āsana) slightly longer than the others. The teacher positions the body in the starting position for the Asana (Āsana) and shows the direction of movement and Pavanmuktasana that deepens the Asana (Āsana), as well as the final effect, preferably a full version of the Asana (Āsana), and the students do it to the extent they can achieve and maintain, and if necessary repeat series the appropriate number of times. Having finished the Asana (Āsana), they lie in the Śava position to relax and deepen breathing, and then the Teacher moves on to the next Asana (Āsana). In this way, more advanced people can practice more by shortening and sometimes skipping Śava between subsequent Asanas (Āsanas). Guru Śivānanda recommended that Asanas (Āsanas) such as Viparitakaraṇa, Sarvanga, Śirsha should be mastered to such a degree of perfection that one can maintain them for a period of up to 1 Yama, i.e. 1/8 day (3 hours) for an intense yogic practice of longevity.

Hatha literally means Power, Strength, Willpower, Overpowering, Forcing, Power coming from the combination of the energy of the sun and the moon, or rather through the radiance of the Sun reflected and transmitted by the Moon to the Earth. The syllable Ha symbolizes the Sun and the Power of the Spirit. The syllable Tha symbolizes the Moon or the Soul in the sense of Psyche, and Yoga means the Union of the Higher Solar Self (Svāhā) with the Lower Lunar Self Svah. Unlocking the connection between the Spirit and the Soul causes the transmission of the Power of Will into the corporeal, earthly sphere of existence, which is indicated by Siddhis, i.e. Charismas, Miracles, which appear very often among Yogis. In practicing Hatha Yoga, two sets of exercises are undoubtedly very important. The first is the solar set of Sūrya Namaskarama, i.e. 12 positions of Sun Salutation. It harmonizes with the solar, source energy of Ha. The second is, of course, the lunar set of 15 exercises popularly known among Hatha Yogis as Ćandra Namaskarama. It cleanses the Lower Soul, i.e. the subconscious (Svah) controlled by the Moon. The number of solar positions corresponds to 12 zodiac signs, and the number of lunar positions corresponds to 15 lunar Tithi, i.e. phase houses. Before we start learning Hatha Yoga with someone, it is better to make sure that they know both sets of yogic exercises well, in fact very simple Asanas (Āsanas), good for beginners because they do not require advanced body positions.

The set of Moon Salutation exercises is also practiced particularly intensively by adepts of Kalarpa Marga, i.e. the Path of the Shambhala Warrior. Likewise, Asanas (Āsanas) such as Vīra, Vīrabhadra, Aśvasanghala, Parvata, Bhujanga, Danda, Tejasa, Bhāva, Karma, Padahasta, Vajra, Suptavajra, Simha, Ćakra, Sarvāunga, Kurmaka, Utkata, Trikona, Januśira, Fatinga, Vyajra (Bilika), Tolangula, Nāva, Dola, Paśćimottana, Dhanva, Bhūma, Tanda, Katika. Especially alternating Asanas (Āsanas) such as Bhujanga and Parvata (Sumeru) or Padahasta (Back–Front), Trikona (Vama–Krama), Paśćimottana and Suptavajra are intensively practiced. Sets of Asanas (Āsana) are practiced in a smooth and harmonious way, because they are beautiful movement forms for developing Willpower and Strength.

Sets of Asanas (Āsanas) in their simplest methodological form are selected so that the Asanas (Āsanas) are practiced in pairs as opposing Dyads, i.e. twos. Practicing opposing Dyads causes the clash of opposites and entry into the non–dual level. For example, after bending forward, we practice bending backward, and after bending to the left, we practice bending to the right. If we do the Asana (Āsana) standing after it, we can do the Asana (Āsana) inverted with the legs up. Typical pairs are Nauka and Dhanura or Bhujanga and Parvata, Ushtra and Paśćimottana, Vṛksha and Śirsha. Traditionally, we first practice Asanas (Āsanas) performed easily from a lying position, for example Paśćimotta and Hala from the Śava position and Bhujanga and Śalabha from the Adva position. The entire quartet is a double dyad, i.e. a Vajra harmonizing each other. Then, after Asanas (Āsanas) from a lying position, we practice Asanas (Āsanas) from a sitting position, for example Vajra, and from it Śaśanka and Suptavajra or Vyajra and Ushtra. Finally, we move on to Asanas (Āsanas) in a standing position, such as Trikona, Padahasta or Karma. We usually start the entire lesson with a seated lotus asana (Āsana) such as Sukha or Siddha in order to enter focus and concentration. We usually end up in the Śava (Mṛta) position for a quarter or half of a Muhurta. We master the art of Padani, Plavini and Laghimana in separate sessions for advanced students.

Therefore, the only thing left for adepts interested in practicing authentic Hatha Yoga is to look for a good Teacher (Nathāćārya), or even better, a Guru, undertake the appropriate Initiation (Dikshan) and persistently complete the increasingly advanced lessons received. This esoteric lesson on the study and practice of Hatha Yoga can be very helpful in understanding the authenticity of various schools and nurseries of alleged Hatha Yoga or even Yoga Therapy, often compiled, unfortunately, from several available textbooks of not the best or even no substantive level. The most pathetic ideas are modern European yoga and similar nonsense, which clearly shows that the author has no idea about yoga, and he doesn’t know in what other way he could make money off people. Swindlers love to fool interested but naive people, and the best way to check a cheater is to ask him about Initiations in Hatha Yoga! Unfortunately, even the best looking Indian, even a master, who has not been authorized through Nātha Sampradāya Hatha Yoga initiations and cannot initiate into Hatha Yoga himself, is nothing more than a self–proclaimed Trainer of Hatha–like Gymnastics, which is not so bad, because it is better to move at all rather than stiffen to death.

Many Blessings! Om Śivakṛpam!

Āćārya Nāthāćarya Paramahansa Lalit Mohan


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