The word hatha is a compound of the words ha and tha meaning sun and moon, referring to prana and apana, and also to the principal nadis (energy channels) of the subtle body that must be fully operational to attain a state of dhyana or samādhi. According to the Monier-Williams Sanskrit Dictionary, the word “hatha” means forceful. It is a strong practice done for purification. In other respects hatha yoga follows the same principles as the raja yoga of Patanjali.
I’ve always been sort of afraid of Hatha Yoga poses. I’ve heard that in order to master a pose, the practitioner has to hold it for three hours or more. I have two reasons now for getting serious about poses:
1. There is a Nanjing Bromie who has fallen from Yoga, a White/Black mix featured on my website, who is nothing short of a contortionist. He used to be a hardcore yogi and member of ISKCON but has lost his way. It angers me that HE can do these things and is enjoying the health benefits and blessings of what he describes as two years of hard practice on poses, yet brothers like us walk around like concrete blocks, and we’re sincere practitioners. If he can do it, why can’t we?
2. It stands to reason that since children are very flexible, being like children to enter the kingdom of heaven would include flexibility. Why do people become inflexible through childhood and especially after puberty? Perhaps it’s “adult tensions,” impurities, anger and lust which cause blockages in the tendons and create areas of the body which are just unable to relax.
The following is my log of doing the butterfly pose:
2011/04/23 18:05–>19:47 1’42”
2011/05/01 21:24–>22:11 46″
2011/05/02 20:00–>21:00 1′
2011/05/04 09:24–>10:24 1′ while talking to Elijah in the Jive Nest, done on a stool to maintain better back posture.
Impressions: To really get through the time, you have to live in the moment, from breath to breath and bead to bead. It’s a major issue on how to get out of a pose, just as much as it is to get in one. On the 1’42” run, it took three full minutes just to get out of the pose. Each day and time might be a slight variation on the butterfly pose. It can be done laying down, sitting on a stool, or against a wall. There’s been a good deal of pain in the pelvis area, which I’m aiming to open up, relax, and free of pain memory, sin and stress. As the feet are clamped together, they begin to get a hot feeling to them throughout the pose. In the longest pose time, they felt like they were on fire. Without support on the back, the back aches pretty bad. I can’t quite sit up straight in the pose yet. For the longest run, my knees were slightly propped up to prevent the stretch from going too far. Now in the same pose I don’t use the props and can be brushing the floor with my knees at about 30″. This pose helps me with the sitting Indian-style and getting both feet up on my legs. For poses past 30″ and without support, it’s necessary to breathe very deeply and I get great prana sensations in the head.