Hatha yoga offers much more than simple gymnastic exercises which aim only at creating better flexibility & health for the physical body. When Hatha Yoga is approached as traditionally taught by the Tantric tradition (where the universal principles of correspondence and resonance are applied) the asanas (postures) actually represent very accurate and complex procedures of accumulating certain types of energy at specific levels of our being, allowing you to completely open towards the Universe and gain total access to the energetic environment.
Often when people think of hatha yoga (and yoga in general) they imagine some form of gymnastic exercises which aim only at creating better flexibility & health of the physical body. Many styles do approach Yoga in this way. Yet in the practice of Hatha Yoga as traditionally taught according to the Tantric tradition, where the universal principles of correspondence and resonance are applied, the hatha yoga asanas (postures) actually represent very accurate and complex procedures of accumulating certain types of energy at specific levels of our being.
According to the Yoga tradition, the human body is a field of pulsating energy which constantly receives energy (through resonance) from the Universe. When we place our bodies in certain hatha yoga positions, not only do we beneficially stretch our muscles and compress certain glands, but various subtle macro-cosmic energies are channeled through specific ‘nadis’ (called meridians in Chinese acupuncture) and come together accumulating in key energetical vortex’s called chakras.
‘Chakra’ is a Sanskrit word literally meaning wheel. They were called this by the great yogis because with clairvoyant vision they are perceived as whirling wheels of light, spinning at different frequencies. We receive different types of energy from the macrocosm through different chakras, according to the frequency of vibration of that energy (for example, we receive the energy of Love, which has a specific vibration frequency, through the heart chakra).
The chakras are like energetic flowers which can be closed, budding or fully open. Thus, although everybody has chakras, in many people they remain in a latent state, closed. Only when they are open (through a sufficient activation) and purified can the corresponding energies of the Universe be attracted and accumulated in our aura, triggering specific effects and qualities which can be felt on all levels (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual). This transfer of energy from the macrocosm into the microcosm of our being occurs through the process of resonance. The mind is very important here because our attention is the attuning device.
From this perspective, it is the harmonious energizing of all the chakras which is the fundamental key for having perfect physical and mental health, for awakening the latent powers of the mind, and for accelerating the spiritual evolution. In this way, one gradually realizes a complete opening towards the Universe and gains total access to the energetic environment. And from then on, the human being participates in the Eternal Life of the Universe in the same way that a drop of water participates in the life of the ocean.
The hatha yoga techniques represent amazing tools for energizing the chakras, and through the energizing of the chakras you have a complete system of self development in the widest sense of the word. What is essential to know is which asanas will lead to the energizing of which chakras, and in what order the postures should be practiced to achieve the greatest harmony.
see also: Hatha Yoga – the Union of the Sun & Moon