Note: In this blog, Hathayoga means Classical Hathayoga as described in the Classical Hathayoga texts. Not what is called as Hathayoga class in the 21st Century.
Tonight is a Mahashivaratri Festival night. Since, Mahadev Shiva is considered the Primal God of Hathayoga (Re: Hathayoga Pradipika, an universally accepted Classical Hathayoga text), the title of this post came to my mind.
Classical Hathayoga is a very disciplined practice. Hathayoga Pradipika states the environment essential for such a practice and also qualities of a student for the same. It also states the disciplines that a student should follow in order to succeed in Hathayoga. Hathayoga is supposed to put the student at the entrance of Meditation, which shall further lead to Samadhi state. Hathayoga practice should result in a particular appearance of a practitioner and also his/her features should change with time. At advanced stages of practice, the practitioner should be able to hear the sounds that arise from within the body. All these details can be known by reading a good translation of Hathayoga Pradipika.
When we look around, we find hardly anyone who is depicting the qualities stated above. Does this mean it is impossible to practice Classical Hathayoga in today’s life?
If you look for yogis who depict qualities mentioned above in the recent times, you will find only a few rare examples. One of the example is: Prof. T. Krishnamacharya of Mysore. None of his students depict the same qualities as his. Why so?
Hathayoga practice requires one to dedicate one’s entire energy to the practice at least in the study period. If you study the life of Prof. T Krishnamacharya and any other successful or even semi successful Hathayogis, you shall find they did ONLY Hathayoga study during that study. They had no other activities such as working for income, studying for scholastic examinations, traveling for food/home/clothe, etc.
To dedicate one’s entire energy to the practice, one has to like that practice or desire that practice intensely. It is almost impossible to find such a student in today’s times. The reasons may be many.
However, in my opinion, today’s life provides daily necessities in a much easier fashion, if one only considers what is essential. One can also save money by working for a short period of time so that rest of the entire life can be dedicated to such a study. In my opinion, a teacher shall appear if the interest of the student is intense. And, one can practice Hathayoga in a classical way. Of course, there are many distractions such as availability of attractive things. One has to pass on these attractions if one is interested in the Classical Hathayoga!