Hatha yoga belongs to India’s ancient cultural heritage. Yoga in Sanskrit means ‘to unite.’ Thus Yoga is an exercise that enhances physical and psychological well being. Hatha Yoga promotes good health (Arogya), contributes to longevity (Chiraya) and the total intrinsic discipline culminates into positive and perennial happiness and peace. It is has since time immemorial proven that Yoga is indispensable to the ultimate accomplishments in life. Hatha Yoga is a deep rooted subject. It is a philosophy and it is an art. It is a science that affects not only the conscious self but the subconscious as well.
The main philosophy of Yoga is simple – that mind, body and spirit are all one and cannot be clearly separated. Yet there is a multitude of philosophical ideas developed by looking into the deeper dimensions of the body, mind and spirit. The early writings on Yoga were transcribed fragile palm leaves that were easily damaged, destroyed or lost. The development of Yoga can be traced back to over 5000 years.
Yoga is ancient, it is a sacred art which has proved to develop both the human mind and body. Qualities as sincerity, honesty, straightforwardness, cheerfulness, courage, patience, endurance, perseverance, calm, serenity, self control, self mastery, truth, harmony and liberty are all strengthened and markedly enhanced with the practice of Hatha Yoga.
Thus Hatha Yoga completes a being. It nourishes the body and the mind.
The benefits of Hatha Yoga
Yoga means unity. It means connecting with the universe. It enables one’s mental and physical self to tune up and draw strength from the universe. “Hatha yoga is for the mind and the body and it is for all. Hatha Yoga slows down ageing and adds a radiance,’ says guru Nanda Siriwardene. “The mind is the secret of physical strength and well being and Yoga helps to strengthen and protect the mind,’ says Guru Nanda Siriwardene.
Our modern day lifestyles have given us many ailments and Yoga is the answer for all these ills. Yoga has proven to be beneficial in back pains, spine problems and arthritis and conditions caused by stress. “Yoga soothes one’s being and there is no doubt that Yoga arrests ageing,” says Siriwardene.
Hatha Yoga and illness
According to Guru Nanda Siriwardene, the only way out of the illnesses of these modern times is to keep moving. “With the ancient techniques of Hatha Yoga there is a guarantee – a guarantee that your fat will burn, that your pancreas will be saved an d your heart will continue to beat at the rhythm it is used to. With equipment to assist the elderly and the disabled to attain the Isthira or perfect Asana, Guru Nanda Siriwardene says that Hatha Yoga is not only for the healthy but for the ailing too.
Yoga is not only to burn fat, it is a proven way of warding of disease. WE ought to practice Yoga to make our asanas perfect. Wrong postures and imperfect alignment will not bring any benefits. “In Sanskrit, it is called Isthira. We ought to align our body. An Isthira body will not fall. Achala means not to shake, is also important. Hence if our body is Isthira and Achala, then our asans will be suka or comfortable.
‘Today to attain all this I have equipment which are exact replicas of the ancient equipment ogf yogis. WE use ropes and these equipment are made from wood and iron to perfect the asans.Thus there is no struggle, no difficulty. It is the only way to achieve good health,” says Guru Nanda Siriwardene.
He goes on to say that this is the only way to practice Yoga properly. It will enhance the four factors in our body. In yoga we have our physical body which consists of skin, flesh and bones. Then we have our fine body which consists of organs, glands and nerves. These are a very essential part of our body. Next is the psychological body which consists of our thinking power and our power of concentration and fourthly we have the spiritual body which we cannot see but is a great invisible strength.
Hatha Yoga Guru Nanda Siriwardene says that the most important of all is the power of concentration. If this is strong then we will not give up – our determination will be strong too. We cannot see our spiritual body but it give us invisible strength and when we get this invisible strength our brain gets activated to its highest state.
Hatha Yoga for all
When one passes one’s youth, one needs to take care of his or her organs. Violent exercises tax the heart and ought to be avoided. Violent exercises, haphazard do it yourself jogging and exercise and the strain it can have on one’s knees, spine and body as a whole can have a devastation effect in the future.
There is a misconception that Yoga is for a certain category of people only. This has arisen due to some advanced postures that we commonly see. On the contrary, Yoga is for all. Like with everything else in life, in Hatha Yoga too, we start at the beginning where one is guided through the first postures.
Yoga is not for a people of a certain age, it is for both men and women – for the young and for the old. In fact there is no age barrier for Yoga.
Hatha Yoga is becoming more and more popular about women today because it helps to fight fat. Unlike aerobics which is solely restricted to the physical body, Hatha Yoga fine tunes both the mind and the body.
It is not that Guru Nanda Siriwardene is against aerobics. On the contrary he has his own routine of aerobics – power aerobics formulated to attack fat and has been proven to be a 100 per cent effective way out of the fat menace.
Guru Nanda Siriwardene’s advise for al women is to practice Hatha Yoga or good exercise under proper guidance every day. ‘Otherwise there will be problems very soon. People have a notion that yoga is difficult. Anyone could think anything they want, but equipment which also includes sandbag and cotton props, ropes wooden blocks, special benches, bolsters and other special equipment would give a fuller life to all. It would help one to achieve beauty by way of a healthy system sans fat and sans disease,” says Guru Nanda Siriwardene.
Hatha Yoga is ideal for those ageing and the old, for it is both for the mind and the body. We see many senor citizens in temples. They are in search of purity of mind. Meditation is common among the ageing. Hatha yoga gives strength of mind and mental clarity till the last stages of life, says guru Nanda Siriwardene.
“But this does not mean that Yoga is only for senior citizens. In fact the younger one begins, immense are the rewards. If one begins Yoga at a younger age it slows down the process of decay. I am ageing, but my does not show it, my body, just like anyone else’s is deteriorating but the process is very, very slow,” says this confident guru of Hatha Yoga who has chosen a way of life – a way of life in which he shows us all the path to good health and good living – without worry, disease, ill health and the debilitating effects of ageing.
Today however there are many kinds of Yoga shops everywhere. This is why one must be careful when choosing. Yoga ought to be practiced under guidance of a qualified guru.