There is no Yoga practice without following the tradition, on the first hand. Yoga has always been the technique offered by the teacher to the student. Hence, first of all, every Yoga practice is always backed by its tradition.
As there are so many varieties of Hatha Yoga practices unlike Ashtanga Yoga, the quest to know what is traditional Hatha Yoga is valid.
Every Hatha Yoga practice is different
Hatha Yoga, the foundation of all the Asana-Pranayama practices has been an individual practice. It has to be understood without the influence of the modern fitness perspective. Yoga teacher always teaches the student in front of him, not the techniques the teacher has learned. A Yoga teacher can not present just what he knows, instead, he should have the ability to adapt, modify and make it accessible to the student based on the abilities – limitations of the student. Of course, in this situation, Hatha Yoga classes do vary from person to person, place to place.
Basic Framework for Hatha Yoga practice
But there is a basic framework to be followed in the Hatha Yoga tradition. Hatha Yoga tradition emphasizes the Kriya – Asana combination as the first step supported by the sattvic food. Kriya doesn’t necessarily mean only Shat Kriyas (six purification techniques). But every purification technique which removes the toxins from the body-mind.
Therefore, you will have mantra chanting, Japa (repetition of a specific mantra), Jala neti, Trataka, Kirtans (inculcating humbleness), traditional meditation techniques for the initiation to Pratyahara, etc as part of the Hatha Yoga practice. These support the traditional Hatha Yoga asana practice.
What is traditional Hatha Yoga asana practice? we will see in the next blog.