In modern society, the most common and accepted form of Yoga practice is āsana practice. The practice begins with the body and is known as Hatha Yoga. “Ha” refers to the moon, the essence of the Self, the subordinate side; the intangible, receptive and feminine side of the Self, the negative side of energy. “ṭha” refers to the sun, the form of the Self, the dominate side; the physical, expanding and masculine side of the Self, the positive side of energy.
Śrīmān Tirumalai Krishnāmachārya and Swami Sivananda Saraswati, these two figures have had great influence on modern Yoga. They spread Yoga through their teaching and books. Their students have made Yoga accepted and popular in the western world. Now different Yoga styles such as Ashtanga Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Viniyoga, Sivananda Yoga and fitness Yoga are being practiced all over the world.
We can choose the style of Yoga we like to practice. When we practice āsanas, the two fundamental principles are breath and balance. Yoga Sūtra (2.46) says,
“Āsana must have the dual qualities of alertness and relaxation.”
We practice an āsana to improve the ability to stay in the āsana with a smooth and deep breath. The external pose is not what we are concerned with; instead, we focus on the condition of breathing. When we are able to handle any āsana with smooth breathing, then the āsanas will become naturally perfect in due time.
Yoga practice allows us take a break from daily life and unwind. The simplest poses can be the most rewarding if we can focus on breathing. We can close our eyes to enjoy the poses and become wholly present in the moment and let everything else slip away. Balance includes balancing left and right sides of the body, back and front of the body, and the movement of up and down, expansion and contraction, extension and retraction.
No matter what form of Yoga we practice, the aim of āsana practice is to improve body flexibility, strength, balance and vitality, and through movement awareness to recognize the pulse of the mind and at last recognize our true nature.
Wishingtree Yoga offers a 200H Traditional Hatha Yoga Teacher Training in 2019 beginning Jan. 20. Ivy’s geography background and travel have given her a unique perspective. Her book A Complete Yoga Manual is the manual for the Teacher Training. It is a bridge between east and west, modern and ancient, theory and practice. The book is available at Singing Pebble Books.
For more information please visit www.wishingtreeyoga.ca or contact Wishingtree Yoga at email@example.com
Ivy - A Yogi from China since 2006. A home-based Yoga Studio Co-founder in Kanata, ON, Canada. A Yoga book writer. A mom with a teen-age son.