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Meditation (Dhyana) - An extreme level of Yoga

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Meditation (Dhyana) - An extreme level of Yoga
After having successfully mastered all the preparatory cleansing, 'asanas' and 'pranayama'; one is ready for 'proper meditation'.
The 'Hatha Yoga Pradipika' text dedicates almost a third of its verses to meditation. Similarly, other major texts of Hatha yoga such as 'Shiva Samhita' and 'Gheranda Samhita' also discuss meditation. 
The ultimate goal of meditation is attaining liberation('moksha'). This is achieved, through the awakening of 'Kundalini' (or seven-chakras of divine energy) that are present in the human body.
'Kundalini', is a form of divine energy (or 'shakti') supposedly located at the base of the spine ('Muladhara'). The term along with practices associated with it was adopted into Hatha yoga in the 11th century and other forms of Hinduism, as well as modern spirituality and new age, though.
But what to meditate upon? How to awaken '…

Pranayama - Ancient breathing techniques in Yoga

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Pranayama - Ancient breathing techniques in Yoga Hatha yoga is much more. It extends well beyond being a sophisticated physical exercise system and integrates ideas of ethics, diet, cleansing, pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation and a system for the spiritual development of the yogi.

Proper diet: The Hatha yoga texts place major emphasis on 'mitahara', which connotes "measured diet" or "moderate eating".
Several Hatha Yoga texts like 'Hatha Yoga Pradipika', 'Gheranda Samhita' and 'Shiva Samhita' includes 'mitahara' as an essential part of a Hatha yoga holistic practice.
According to Hatha Yoga Pradipika, verse 1.57,
"A Brahmachari, practicing 'mitahara' (moderate diet) and 'tyaga' (renunciation, solitude), devoted to yoga achieves success in his inquiry and effort within half a year."
Verses 1.57 through 1.63 of the critical edition of Hatha Yoga Pradipika suggests that taste cravings should not…

Hatha Yoga - Traditional style of Yoga Asana

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Hatha Yoga - Traditional form of Yoga
'Hatha' in Sanskrit means 'force/persistence' and thus alludes to a system of persistent physical techniques(or mental techniques)

Hatha Yoga is said to be popularized by Yogi Matsyendranath, who also laid the foundation of 'Natha Sampradaya'(Natha Sect).
Matsyendranatha, also known as 'Macchindranath' or 'Minanath' is said to be born around the 10th century CE around Bengal(although there are diverse opinions about his place of birth). He is revered in both, Hinduism and Buddhism and is sometimes regarded as an incarnation of 'Avalokiteswara' (a Bodhisattva) in Buddhism. There are many legends about Matsyendranath; most popular being the one which says, "Matsyendranath was born under inauspicious stars. This warranted his parents to throw the baby into the ocean. It was there that the baby was swallowed by a fish. The fish swam to the bottom of the ocean where Shiva was imparting the secrets of yog…

Yoga History - Origin of Yoga

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Yoga History - Origin of Yoga Yoga, today, is the fastest-growing practice worldwide. But how much do we know about the origin of Yoga? Not very much, I guess. So let us just get the basic knowledge about it in this article.
Yoga is said to be originated in Indus Valley Civilization (3300-1900 BCE) and Vedic-Period (1500-500 BCE).
The word 'Yoga' is first mentioned in the Rigveda. The Rigveda, however, does not describe yoga, and there is little evidence as to what the practices were. Earliest references to practices that later became part of Yoga are made in 'Brihadaranyaka Upanishad', the earliest Hindu Upanishad. For example, the practice of 'Pranayama' (consciously regulating breath) is mentioned in hymn 1.5.23 of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (c. 900 BCE) , and the practice of 'Pratyahara' (concentrating all of one's senses on self) is mentioned in hymn 8.15 of 'Chandogya Upanishad'(c. 800–700 BCE).
The first known appearance of the word 'Yo…