In ancient times hatha yoga was practiced for many years as a preparation for higher states of consciousness. Today, however, the real purpose of this great science has been forgotten altogether. The hath yoga practices, which were designed by the rishis and sages of old for the evolution of making, are now being understood and utilized in a very limited sense. Often we here people say, “Oh, I don’t practice meditation, I only practice physical yoga, hah yoga.” Now the time has come to correct this point, Hath yoga is very important science for humanity today.
The culling of hath yoga
By the 6th century A. D. a lot of spiritual evolution had already taken place in India over many centuries. Two great men were born in India in the 6th century B. C. One is known internationally as Buddha and the Other was Mahavir, the founder of the Jain sect, a tradition in Indian culture. Both of them performed severe austerities and both also preached ‘non-voilence’, ahimsa.
Finaly, Buddha formulated his teachings, which are known as the ‘Four Noble Truths’. Two of Buddha’s systems become widely known all over the world. One is known as vipassana and the other is anapanasati, ‘contemplation’. for this Buddha laid a basic foundation called the ‘Eightfold Path’, which was a system of ethics more or less like the yama and niyama of raja yoga.
Patanjali was a contemporary of Buddha and his system of yoga was influenced by the Buddhist philosophy of yama and niyama. In the Yoga sutras he divided raja yoga into eight steps. Yama and niyama are the first two, followed by asana and pranayama. Then come pratyahara, dharna, dhyana and samadhi, which are the final four, Patanjali’s contention is that you have to first perfect yama and niyam, otherwise asana and pranayama may fail to give desirable results.