WHAT IS YOGA?
Yoga is an ancient scientific discipline which prepares the individual for obtaining higher stages of self and universal consciousness.
The word 'Yoga' comes from the Sanskrit root term 'Yuj' which means 'to join'. This unity or joining is described in spiritual terms as the union of the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness. On a pracitical level, this can be seen as a journey of conscious connection with our true self, with our body, mind and emoions and with our community and the world around us.
There are many paths of Yoga, including Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga - of which Hatha Yoga is one branch.
The word 'Hatha' is a Sanskrit word literally meaning 'effort', 'force' or 'exertion'. As such, the path of Hatha Yoga can be seen as a path which requires physical and mental effort through a range of practices including Kriyas (cleansing practices), Asanas (physcial postures), Pranayama (breathing techniques), Yoga Nidra (deep relaxation) and meditation.
The word Hatha is also associated with the sounds 'Ha' and 'Tha' which mean Sun and Moon respectively, or the forces of solar energy and lunar energy - the union of which bring balance physically, mentally and emotionally.