Hatha Yoga is an ancient practice used even today for physical purification. The word Hatha is a combination of two words – Ha (sun) and Tha (moon). The sun and the moon here are two forms of energy, the masculine and the feminine. A hatha yogi is supposed to achieve equilibrium between these two forms of body energy, which eventually leads to enlightenment. This is the reason why hatha yoga is so much popular not just in India, where it originated, but in many countries, wherein people love to practice it for the sake of their mental and physical health.
Yogi Swatmarama, a 15th century sage of India compiled Hatha Yoga Pradipika, which introduced hatha yoga in the lives of people. The Pradipika contains details about hatha yoga, like the asanas, breathing patterns, shatkarma (purification), chakras (the energy centers in body), kundalini (enlightenment energy), kriya ( purification techniques), mudras (energy gestures), nadi (energy channels), and bandhas (energy control). If you get the hang of all these poses and patterns, you can become a perfect hatha yogi and can enjoy the bliss of the mind and body.
Hatha yoga teaches you to find happiness within yourself, rather than wandering from place to place in search of happiness. In yoga, human body is considered as an onion, a peel over peel. They are the peels of tension, stress, anxiety, insecurity, jealousy, and all the negative feelings that make it tough for an individual to lead a happy and a healthy life. Hatha yoga enables a person to conquer all the negative feelings and help him emerge as a happy person. Not just this, hatha yoga enables a person to conquer every fear, thirst, sleep, hunger, heat, cold, and enables a person to preserve youth even as age advances.
Hatha yoga is a wonder but it is a difficult path to follow, as it requires a lot of determination and the will to go by rules and regulations in order to become an expert hath yogi. A person who wants to start this practice has to follow stringent diet patterns, as in foods and drinks that are too hot, sour, or spicy like the pepper, flesh, mustard, liquor, onion, garlic, fish, buttermilk, and curd should not be eaten. Once the food is cooked, you cannot reheat that because reheated food is hard to digest, and it should not be high in salt. A hatha yogi can take wheat, rice, barley, butter, milk, sugar, and honey. Hatha yoga teaches a person to consider everything that one eats, as in; it should be clean and well cooked.
Another strict guideline for a person practicing hatha yoga is not to stay in a place that is over heated, should inhale fresh air, and drink clean water. They should not take any type of artificial stimulants like coffee, tea, beer, or wine. All the artificial stimulants affect the nervous system badly over a period. Hatha yoga through different postures, breathing exercises alongwith a combination of strict diet and healthy habits enables a person to take control over his life and the happenings.
In order to become perfect at hatha yoga, you should seek the help of an instructor who himself has an expertise in this form of yoga. You should follow every instruction that your master gives you. Be a vegetarian, leave all bad habits, have control over your senses, keep your mind and body clean, and be kind to everybody around.