|The Yoga of Technique : Hatha Yoga
The most basic of the technical Yogas is Hatha Yoga, what we could call "the Yoga of the
physical body". Its main tools are postures (asanas) and breath (pranayama). It
aims at physical health, vitality and longevity, not necessarily spiritual
It is the most popular form of Yoga known in the West. Indeed many of us think that Yoga
is nothing but a series of strange physical postures. We should note
carefully that no classical text describes Yoga in terms of posture or asana. The main classical text on
Yoga, the YOGA SUTRAS, only discusses postures in three out of its two hundred verses.
Nevertheless, the science of asanas is important. For many it is the first step on the path of
Yoga, the easiest point of entry. Seeing the yogic wisdom in treating the
physical body often helps us to pursue it into the realms of the mind. The principles of right action
and conscious movement we learn in Hatha Yoga can be applied on the deeper levels of our being with
similar harmonizing effects. The body is not only the beginning of the path of Yoga, it is often the end.