Authentic Yoga: Is There Such a Thing? ~ Amanda Fraser

Via elephant journal
on Feb 23, 2013
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Photo: Ian Bothwell
Photo: Ian Bothwell

Few people know that when Hatha (yoga associated with physical postures) yoga was originally taught by its creators, it was immensely powerful.

Via elephant partner, Isha Foundation.

It was designed to align the human system with the cosmic geometry—to enable man to accelerate the process of reaching his ultimate potential.

According to Sadhguru, profound mystic, visionary, humanitarian, and the founder of Isha Institute of Inner-sciences, “The word “ha” means sun; “ta” means moon. Without the sun and the moon, there is no Hata Yoga.” For example, Surya Namaskar (sometimes referred to as the sun salutation) essentially acts “to activate the ‘solar’ plexus, to raise the samat prana, or the solar heat in the system.”

He adds, “Everything is run by solar power… If you take a piece of wood and burn it, it is only releasing solar energy. The only exception could be the breaking of the atom…” “When we activate the sun in the system, the body begins to glow and shine.”

Referring to the five-month Hata Yoga Teacher Training program that was recently introduced at the Isha Yoga Center in South India, Sadhguru says, “we will start teaching a certain form of sun-related practice which is very much like Suryanamaskar, but is called “Suryakriya” because it involves a certain level of breath and powerful activation of energy.”

Here’s a little background: Suryakriya was reduced to Suryanamaskar when the ancient masters of India decided to make it available to the larger public. Suryanamaskar itself involves postures that are preparatory in nature if you do it one way, and balancing in nature if you do it another way. Generally, if certain types of health problems occur, usually in the form of excess mucus throughout the system—Suryanamaskar will correct and balance these conditions. Significantly, glandular secretions are also balanced, dramatically affecting our physical health, psychological health and spiritual possibility.

By comparison, Suryakriya contains powerful elements that come with cautionary guidelines. When it was taught to a contained community, it was introduced with a careful system of follow-up and correction. Associated with the nature of its powerful potential, Suryakriya carries the possibility that if it is done improperly, it can cause harm. Therefore tremendous care is provided when it is taught under Isha auspices, just as when it had been taught in in limited circles in ancient India.

Sadhguru shares, “There was a time when I was doing two-day Hata Yoga programs. In that place—two days of asanas, people would be going crazy with ecstasy. Just doing asanas. That is how Hata Yoga should be. Just if you do this. This should explode. That’s how the body is made.”

So authentic, classic yoga certainly exists, in ancient times and in various locations on the planet today. It is one path of yoga—“yoga” actually meaning “union with all that is.” If you have an interest in classical Hata Yoga, here we are providing a short description of the curriculum being offered through the Isha Hata Yoga Teacher Training program at Isha Yoga Center in South India.

Upa Yoga: is a simple yet powerful set of 10 practices that activate the joints, muscles and energy system. The term “Upa Yoga” is commonly used to denote “usefulness.” Based on a sophisticated understanding of the body’s mechanics, it creates an instant sense of alertness, liveliness and brings ease to the whole system.

upa yoga

Surya Kriya: is a potent 21-step yogic practice of tremendous antiquity, traditionally available to a select few. “Surya” means “Sun,” and “Kriya” means “inner energy process.” Designed as a holistic process for health, wellness and inner wellbeing, Surya Kriya is a complete spiritual process by itself.

Angamardhana: is a series of 31 dynamic processes to invigorate the body, and reach peak physical fitness. The word “Angamardhana” means gaining complete mastery over the limbs, organs and other parts of the body. It revitalizes all the systems of the body such as muscular, skeletal, nervous, circulatory and respiratory systems.


Yogasanas: are offered as a set of 36 powerful postures to transform the body and the mind into a possibility for ultimate wellbeing. They are not taught merely for physical fitness and strength. They are a way of aligning the inner system to the celestial geometry, becoming in sync with the existence, thereby naturally achieving a state of health, joy, and bliss.

Bhuta Shuddhi: is the most fundamental practice in the yogic system. “Bhuta” refers to the five elements and “Shuddhi” means “to cleanse.” This purificatory process helps one to achieve a state of harmony and balance which prepares the body for higher levels of sadhana, or spiritual practices.Students will also be trained in various aspects of Mantra Yoga, Nada Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Pranayam, Kriya, and Bandhas.

Other features of the program include:

Anatomy/Physiology, Yogic Physiology, Science of Siddha, importance of diet, visits to sacred places, and participation in festivals/celebrations at the Isha Yoga Center.

The Isha Hata Yoga Teacher Training Program offers classical Hata Yoga in its full depth and dimension. Devised by Sadhguru, a realized master, yogi and a profound mystic, this 21-week program is an unparalleled opportunity to be trained in Hata Yoga, derived from a yogic tradition which has been maintained in its full sanctity and vibrancy for thousands of years.

In order to effectively impart yoga, the program first focuses on establishing awareness and experiential understanding of the yogic practices in aspiring teachers. They will subsequently undergo a step-by-step rigorous training in methodology and in conducting programs.
On successful completion of the course, the trainees will be equipped to teach 1-day, 3-day, 5-day, 1-week, 2-week, 1-month and ongoing yoga sessions, which amount to over 48 unique modules.

Sadhguru will also be conducting a special three day program: Inner Engineering: April 19-21, Atlanta, Georgia. Join us for this rare opportunity to learn authentic yoga directly from Sadhguru. Enter this code (EJ0218) to receive a $25 discount when you register online.

Convenient venue location, shuttles, and discount rates on nearby hotels. For event details please click here.

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5 Responses to “Authentic Yoga: Is There Such a Thing? ~ Amanda Fraser”

  1. This is an advertisement – and offensive (the only “authentic” yoga).

    This venue is for articles, not solicitations or ads for Trainings – what’s up, Editors??

    Continuing to see an erosion of values just to get some posts – really sad…

  2. Barb says:

    Intriguing – I am fascinated with yoga and am curious about this. Thanks for sharing the information.

  3. Amanda says:

    Dear Barb and Chrispy,

    Thanks for your comments. We are so fortunate to have strong yoga and meditation programs more readily available in the world today.

    A note to Chrispy – I certainly agree that authentic yoga is taught in numerous locations by various groups. You may recall a statement in my article that reads, “So authentic, classic yoga certainly exists, in ancient times and in various locations on the planet today.” I am really excited about the potential of yoga and meditation to dramatically shift people's lives and the world in which we live!

    Warm regards!

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