What is the difference between Hatha yoga and Kriya yoga?
The difference between hatha yoga and kundalini yoga
There is an impressive list of different directions of yoga, by the names of which it is difficult to understand their essence and to assess whether they are suitable for a particular person.
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In particular, not everyone knows what distinguishes hatha yoga and kundalini yoga. But these are some of the most popular types of ancient Indian practice these days.
Hatha Yoga is one of the five main directions of yoga, which goes back to the beginning of the X-XI century. It is a system that combines physical exercises and psychological techniques to calm the flow of thoughts. Information on the result of this practice varies from source to source. Some people call hatha yoga classes a preparatory stage before raja yoga, a deeper practice of mind control, self-knowledge and freedom from illusions. Other sources consider hatha yoga as a self-sufficient direction, allowing to reach high levels of spiritual development, states of moksha and samadhi, which are the goal in the practices of Hinduism and Buddhism.
Kundalini yoga is the direction of yoga, whose tasks include raising spiritual energy (kundalini) from the lower chakra located at the base of the spine, through all the 7 chakras upwards. The theory says that if this goal is successfully achieved, the energy merges with the Hindu deity called Shiva. Practice is carried out through physical and breathing exercises, singing mantras and meditations. This direction of yoga has become widespread, including because of its popularity among famous personalities.
The key difference between hatha yoga and kundalini yoga is that the first direction pays more attention to the physical development of the body. According to his principles, the peace of mind and enlightenment are direct consequences of ideal health. There are many exercises that allow to restore the normal work of the body over time, to be cured. During the exercises, alternating tension and relaxation, which allows you to achieve better results, to strengthen health. Many Hatha Yoga exercises, designed not for beginners, require serious effort and good preparation. Thus, the philosophy and essence of hatha yoga implies spiritual growth through the development of the body.
In kundalini-yoga classes a lot of time is devoted to reading mantras and meditations. Her physical exercises do not contribute to the acquisition of such a trained, strong and enduring body, as in the case of hatha yoga. In addition, they are often used not as independent elements, but in combination with breathing techniques and meditation. Since here the main goal is to raise spiritual energy, then the activities themselves are less intense. They will not be very effective if the person’s tasks lie in the material plane, for example, he wants to restore the mobility of the joints.
It is believed that for purposes such as calming the flow of thoughts, finding concentration, balance, harmony with oneself, etc., kundalini yoga is more appropriate. It promotes a much faster development of personal qualities. However, it is difficult to say unambiguously that this is so.