Welcome to BLOGanga

It's All Hatha Yoga

January 3rd, 2015

I was just reading yet another article that listed common forms of yoga practice saying, “some of the popular forms of yoga are Hatha, Bikram, Ashtanga, and Iyengar”. The word Hatha translates to vigorous or intense. It is believed the practice got this name referring to the physicality of practice being contrasted to quieter, more “passive” branches of yoga such as meditation, inquiry, and philosophical study. For centuries most practices including asanas and pranayamas were usually referred to as Hatha Yoga. The other aforementioned names are brand or lineage names that still fall within the umbrella of Hatha Yoga. Now days many teachers, and magazine articles, are referring to Hatha as a separate type of practice. Perhaps this is not a big problem since meaning and usage, like everything else, change and evolve over time. But if the name Hatha was lost so would a beautiful metaphor. Probably not by coincidence, Hatha was used to refer to physical yoga because the syllables ha and tha imply the sun and the moon and have a related and informing symbology that reminds us of balance and polarity. That is why it’s useful to keep the broader meaning of Hatha as the umbrella term for all the physical practices of yoga. With the metaphor of sun and moon we are reminded that a central principle of yoga practice is balancing ourselves and the many polarities of living such as inner and outer, vigorous and relaxing, heating and cooling, strength and flexibility, upward and downward, and many more. Enjoy your dance in the many polarities of 2015!


As usual, stimulating and inspiring Ganga. Thanks for keeping us on our toes and in touch with the deeper meaning of life and love!


I like the way you write. I work at home on your tapes, but not regularly enough. My Q is if there is a slow Yoga? I know little about Yoga, just a few classes and at home. I feel everything more when allowed to proceed slowly. It also helps balance my whole life being in Los Angeles! Now living in the noisiest place, not by choice. (I’m an artist who needs to work other jobs.

Thank You
Thank you each and both for the work you do.

I still teach these meanings that I learned in my WLF teacher training (quite a few suns and moon ago!) and students are often surprised and interested. It offers context and helps frame their practice, which is always a good thing. Thank you Ganga!

Add new comment