This is a transcript of a class given by Ashutosh Sharma during the February retreat "Feel the Love and Wisdom of the Himalayan Masters" in Thailand and has kindly been provided by AHYMSIN Thailand. The transcript is preceded by an introduction provided by the Thailand sangha. The Thai centre is an AHYMSIN affiliate.
Hatha yoga or Asana is one of the eight limbs of yoga (Ashtanga). In ancient times, the yogis used Hatha Yoga as one of the tools to support their meditation practices (also one of the eight limbs), with the goal of controlling the modifications of the mind, gaining wisdom and eventually reaching enlightenment. There is a subtle interconnection between mind and body. Therefore, a healthy body is very useful for most people to undertake the job requiring a high level of mental discipline such as meditation.
In the modern world, most people think of the word "yoga" only as hatha yoga or asana, whose original value has been overshadowed by the motivation to seek one of the forms of material gains (i.e. beauty and money). Several people started doing yoga with these alloyed motives. For some strange reasons, however, these people have come to realize the real and pure purpose of the practice, which has finally led them to tread the spiritual path more seriously although in varying degrees. Thus, it seems irrelevant how and where people start. Many yoga teachers now teach hatha yoga as spiritual practice to some of their students who yearn to make progress on their spiritual journeys or to find happiness from within.
One of Swami Veda Bharati's inspirations in his life-long mission as a pure service to the Himalayan Yoga Meditation tradition is to preserve and restore (where there is need as such) the purity of yoga teachings handed down to him in the long line of Guru-Disciple lineage. These include the teaching of hatha yoga as a way to help people attain happiness in daily life, and eventually, enlightenment. He is a strong magnet that has attracted many disciples who, over the years of learning, experiencing and absorbing his teachings (formal or informal) in their daily lives, have devoted themselves as instruments, spreading the pure teachings of Himalayan Masters. Ashutosh Sharma is one of those beautiful souls. In the following paragraphs, he has shared his understanding of hatha yoga with many Thais during his visit in February 2012.
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