Hatha and Raja Yoga Principles

Updated on November 17, 2016

Western Yoga Originally Known as Hatha Yoga

Most Americans, here in the Western World or the United States, who practice yoga are only practicing the physical portion of yoga which is what is widely accepted as and referred to simply as "yoga" here. The physical portion of yoga is formerly known as Hatha Yoga. How yoga is utilized in the United States differs drastically from where yoga was originally used, taught and practiced. Of course, I would absolutely never discourage anyone who is trying to stay physical fitness or discourage anyone from using yoga as a way to stay physically fit. If yogis are satisfied with just the physical portion of yoga and want to leave the experience and learning to just the positions and physical health benefits, I completely understand and even encourage it. Sometimes, the mental discipline portion of yoga is really hard to obtain and even more difficult to sustain. My goal is simply to make people aware and explain the benefits of the second portion of yoga and to add more reasons to love yoga. I will provide information about the mental and spiritual portion of yoga, formally known as Raja Yoga.

Original Traditions of Yoga

Though there is always controversy over anything and everything that has happened in history and nothing can ever be proven, to start the process of explaining the mental and spiritual portion of yoga, I will first provide knowledge of what is considered to be factual background information about where yoga originated from for clarification. Yoga is believed to date back to 3 BC and was first introduced by the Hindu and Buddhist. Anyone who is aware of Hinduism and Buddism knows that in both culture, there is a discipline that many can only dream of achieving. After much time has passed, approximately 11 BC, yoga was eventually used and practiced in India. Indian culture is where the Western World learned yoga. The Western World, also referred to as the United States, was introduced to yoga in the 20th century as physical activity or a form of exercise to get or stay physically active and fit.

Balance of the Chakras System


Traditions from Original Practice and Displines

Yoga that's practiced today is nothing like original yoga. Mostly, only the Hatha parts of yoga or the physical poses of yoga are important here in the Western World. While Hatha Yoga was important in original yoga practices, Raja Yoga and being able to obtain Raja was the main goal and reason to practice yoga originally. The traditional name of being able to obtain and substain Raja is known as Samādhi. It required and still requires extreme discipline to obtain Raja. Raja is being able to obtain Meditative Consciousness. So, Hatha, which is physical techniques, is one tradition used, Raja is a tradition also used, but the two are not practiced together in a traditional setting any longer. Raja Yoga is referred to as Meditation here inow the Western World today. You usually have to find a separate class for the meditation portion of yoga and the practice is not as extreme as if you were studying to become a Buddhist, for example. Raja Yoga has been watered down for the practice in the United States.


The Benefits of Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is extremely beneficial for the body to continue moving freely without resistance. Some of the great benefits of Hatha Yoga is an increase in flexibility, muscle strengthening and muscle toning, it improves respiration, you obtain better energy levels, it assists with weight loss, your metabolism starts leveling and stays level, your cardiovascular health is strengthening, your circulatory health improves, you have improved physical performance, and this reduces possible injuries. Yoga is extremely challenging and this is why it is also extremely beneficial. It takes several weeks to propetly learn just one pose in some cases. Proper form and techniques are to be taken lightly. Not bing properly lined up, can actually cause injuries or back pain. You would definitely will not be disappointed in exactly just how physically challenging a class can actually be if you decide to give yoga a try. If you do not practice yoga currently, make sure that you sign up for a beginners class and not an advanced class.

The Benefits of Raja Yoga

Raja Yoga is equally important as Hatha Yoga if not more important. Raja Yoga was more important than Hatha when it originally practicedesigned in 3 BC. The whole idea was to be able to reach Raja and maintain Raja once you were able to reach it. Raja Yoga is extremely beneficial for the mind. Raja Yoga deals with The Chakra System, and meditation. Some of the great benefits of Raja Yoga include a reduction in stress levels and controlling stress, ability to concentratensure better, a healthier lifestyle in general, it assists in becoming self aware, it helps maintain happiness, it teaches you how to remain calm and calmness leads to acceptance, the aging process is slowed, your overall health is increased, and there is an increase in immunity health. Raja Yoga includes helps with complete balance in the Chakras. When the Chakra System is aligned, the mind is in complete balance, and when you are in complete balance, you are more happy and more disciplined.

A More Traditional Yoga Class Example

When Hatha Yoga and Raja Are Used Together

Now imagine if your body is in excellent physical condition and your mind is completely unshakable. When your body is in complete balance with your mind, everything seems to work better. Everything will flow better. No part of you is putting up any resistance. Your body is capable and ready to do whatever could possibly make the mind happy. A healthy mind is ready for adventure and ready to try new things. A healthy mind can not be discouraged. So, when you practice Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga together, your complete being is ready to go or deal with absolutely anything. Using Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga together results in a complete and healthy person.


Hatha Yoga deals with the physical portion of yoga and helps with achieving a complete physically healthy body. Raja Yoga deals with the mental portion of yoga that leads to having complete control over how you react to everything. When you are able to control how you react, instead of letting what happens control how you react, you have successfully gained complete control over your mind and you have successfully achieved Samādhi. Even if you can't maintain. Though it may be hard to find a traditional class that offers everything that you need all in one place, it is not impossible to be able to accomplish complete health physically and mentally. Raja Yoga is referred to as meditation in the Western World. So, to give complete control over the body and mind a try, you would need a yoga class and a meditation class. The results of combining Hatha Yoga and Raja together are beyond amazing. Your mind will be in the proper place to live and you will have a body physically fit enough to fulfill the minds desires.


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    • Jamie L Gordon profile image

      Jamie L Gordon 14 months ago from Paragould, Arkansas

      I really appreciate your comment. Thank you and I couldn't agree more.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 14 months ago from Australia

      Good to see a hub about yoga. Hatha Yoga has been a part of my life for decades. These ancient health practices of the distinguished religion of Hinduism are a huge asset to humanity.

    • Jamie L Gordon profile image

      Jamie L Gordon 14 months ago from Paragould, Arkansas

      Thank you all. Cheezin! :D

    • Gcrhoads64 profile image

      Gable Rhoads 14 months ago from North Dakota

      Very informative. Well done!

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      ladessa vail 14 months ago

      Great read. Very informative with a fresh perception.

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      ladessa 14 months ago

      Great read!