If only the physical aspects of hatha yoga are used, it is called ghatastha yoga (ghata means “physical effort”). Modern expressions like “fitness yoga” and “power yoga” that flourish within gym classes are within the same category, even if they do not derive from the original exercises’ rhythm and succession. In many instances “power yoga” has a positive effect on physical health; but if there is no aim to ease the mind, to gain self-insight and control of your thoughts, and to experience the divine within you and within the universe, the deeper meaning of yoga and – possibly life – is lost. On the other hand, it can be argued that the yoga styles that exclusively focus on a devotion to a God or knowledge (bhakti and jnana yoga) lack emphasis on the physical aspect. In the end it all comes down to finding a healthy balance.
The ultimate purpose is to gain complete bodily control, especially control of the breath, through strict discipline and the study of the scriptures over time. When the energy of life, prana, flows harmoniously and in complete balance between the two nostrils and the rest of the body, it is united with mind and soul in the divine. For prana to flow freely, it is necessary to cleanse the channels of energy (nadis), which directly correlate to the blood vessels, the lymphatic system, nerves, intestines, glands and spine.
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