The Relevance of Hatha Yoga

Luke Robinson (Australia, BYB Yogic Studies, 2006-2007)

Growing up in the West, I was exposed to many shining achievements of technology. Health for most people was a secondary concern as it could always be ‘fixed’. I was born with eczema and asthma. Luckily, the doctors were able to provide a cure and prevention - medicine for my asthma and a specialized diet and environmental constraints as a secondary solution for my skin. After many years of suffering, I became motivated to seek my own solution as I figured much more could be done, and felt that the medicine being prescribed was creating a problem. (Strangely enough, I recently discovered that the medicine for preventing asthma causes eczema.)

I discovered yoga accidentally while attempting to find a fitness solution more conducive to my body as I am also allergic to excess sweating. Initially, I practised asanas which purified the physical system by allowing the endocrine and digestive systems to function more efficiently thereby increasing the ability to process allergens and toxins. The increased flexibility also brought a deeper state of relaxation.

Going further, I discovered shatkarmas which helped purify my internal workings in a more specific and intense manner. By bringing my doshas closer into balance, I have been able to remove excess bile, a major problem for many people due to high-fat, high-protein diets, and a cause of eczema. Also, it has removed excess mucus from my system, allowing me to breathe a more complete breath and destroy my asthma.

Although these practices were quite powerful in bringing awareness of the inner being, it was pranayama which began my awakening of the spiritual self. The cleansing of the nadis appeared to have energized my chakras. This brought about a calmer state of mind, allowing me to observe the being that is ‘I’. With the incorporation of mudras and bandhas, I have been a witness to the subtle redirection of energy flowing through ida and pingala, and maybe eventually sushumna. This has opened up the awareness of my energetic being and the possibility of my spiritual interaction with the One and all being/beings of this realm.

A complete transformation has taken place, not only of my physical ailments, but my emotional, mental and spiritual ones as well. I have been able to avoid diseases that I may have been susceptible to in the past. My emotions have been brought under control by bringing awareness to them and letting them go.

I have a greater thirst for life; it is not the drudgery experienced by many people due to a lack of purpose. Now I feel God breathing thorough my veins, and I see Her in the entire spectrum of life. I feel love for existence in every form. By cultivating this love inside myself, I have now found health, happiness, motivation, determination, compassion, serenity and, ultimately, spirituality. This has led to harmony within family life, working life and personal life.

This change in me is not an individual phenomenon. It is happening and can happen everywhere a breath is being breathed. This little idea of hatha yoga has the ability to change the world for the better, and it all begins by selfishly trying to save yourself from the ‘dis-ease’ within you.