Image of What are the origins of Hatha Yoga?

Patanjali was an indian sage who lived in the second century BC., he was venerated in indian tradition as the author of classical treatises.  Patanjali provided the earliest known written, comprehensive synthesis of yoga, a series of statements known as 'Sutras' (threads).  One section of these sutras presents the 'eight steps' , an eight step/limb structure known as the definitive frame of reference for the theory and practise of Yoga.  It was during this Classical period in Yoga’s history that the yoga masters belief in the body as a temple was rekindled, thoughts shifted towards health, longevity and maintenance.  Yoga masters demonstrated how yoga techniques fundamentally altered the body’s biochemistry making it immortal, this resulted in the reemergence of the importance of the Asana and the beginningof the Post Classical phase.


Yoga was introduced to the West in the nineteenth century when scholars translated ancient Hindu religious texts.  The most popular forms of yoga being taught today in the western world are a combination of yoga exercises (Asanas) and breath control (Pranayama) known as Hatha Yoga. 

‘Ha’ is the sun, the sun of the body, ones soul, it never fades, ‘tha’ is the moon, ones consciousness, it fluctuates, drawing its energy from the sun.  Hatha means balance, the balancing of the solar and lunar energies results in the soul pervading the entire body. ‘Yoga’ is the union of the mind, body and spirit.  Hatha yoga is known as the will power of intelligence, the path of physical discipline.  There exists three primary objectives; regulations for moral life, mastery of breathing techniques and the training of the body through postures and complete meditation via mental stillness and the control of the senses, all of which unite the individual with the Supreme Soul.