Hatha Yoga Training Module 1: Shatkarma

From 24 to 30 September 2016, the first module of Hatha Yoga Training was held at Ganga Darshan as part of the new series of training initiated by Swami Niranjanananda. Swamiji spoke on the history and purpose of hatha yoga. The meaning of hatha yoga contained in the syllables Ham and Tham, refers to pingala and ida nadis. Through the practices of hatha yoga, the prana and chitta shakti are liberated from blockages and are able to function in a balanced way.

With the perfection of hatha yoga the optimum level of the five koshas is attained and ultimately ajna chakra is awakened.

Swamiji described the two major Hatha Yoga schools of Sage Gheranda and Sage Swatmarama and explained the differences of intention and structure.

The shatkarmas, the practices of purification, are meant for the body, mind and senses. They rectify any imbalance in the three humours, vata, pitta and kapha, detoxify the area from the head to the perineal region, stimulate manipura and ajna chakra and lead to concentration.

Along with Swamiji’s in-depth exposition, the classes put theory into practice. Each asana was explored carefully with variations, each one having a specific purpose. After the session of practical shatkarmas, the participants felt that they had experienced the practices of shatkarma in a novel manner.

Swamiji said that each practice has three distinct applications: one is to maintain general good health, the second is to correct a specific imbalance and thereby regain health, and the third application is for sadhana. In this manner, Swamiji opened the doors to a deeper understanding of hatha yoga which allows a personal experience of this vidya.

Impressions by participants

Let me begin by saying that the Hatha Yoga Training was flawless. It exceeded my expectations of just doing asana and improving my physical abilities.

Having come from a corporate setup and having a very hectic social life, this was just what I needed. My purpose of achieving physical and mental well being is completely met. The highlight of the training was being able to spend quality time listening to Swamiji and understanding the actual meaning of yogic life.

I look forward to Hatha Yoga Training Module 2 and also to other yoga training for maintaining a good healthy life.

—Ratin Menon, Kolkata

Like everything in life there are moments. For me this has been one of the biggest of my life so far.

I today am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for the amount of detailed information which we received. I have a mind brimming with excitement at the possibilities that may lie ahead.

I will be back home practising my shatkarma and the sequence of the limbs of hatha yoga. I imagine the process will continue to unfold many things and clear the pathways to take me to where it is supposed to.

—Eilish Murray Brady, Ireland

This Hatha Yoga Training has been an eye-opener for us. Every householder suffers from pitta, vata and kapha imbalance, but the purification process Swamiji has shown now makes sense. We have perhaps understood 1% of hatha yoga and all these 35 years of doing yoga which we treated as an exercise was perhaps only 0.1% of yoga. Swamiji is doing a great service to humankind by spreading these teachings which may help millions of people worldwide. We will definitely come for all the future modules to experience yoga and we will try to implement it in our daily life.

—Taroon Vaswani, Mumbai

During the Hatha Yoga Training I realized what a ‘living tradition and Master’ means. The ancient science of hatha yoga was transmitted to us in a simple and understandable way. Behind each word of Swamiji I can feel deep knowledge and personal experience. The most important thing for me was that the ancient texts are valid and applicable today and everyone can be benefited by this wisdom.

—Sannyasi Sumitra, Bulgaria

Swamiji is amazingly flexible to switch between gross and subtle aspects of hatha yoga. He made it a complete sadhana for us covering the whole range from the physical to the vital dimension, thereby tuning the mental dimension.

I observed, admired and was inspired by Swamiji’s ways to impart very intricate knowledge through smile, joke, philosophy, analogy and living examples.

—Jignasu Atmavishwas, Patna