The Yoga Tutor

What Makes Up A Yoga Practice?

[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page vi ]

Components of a Yoga Practice

For simplicity sake, I'll refer to our structured physical practice of yoga as hatha yoga, and we will continue to discuss the broader spectrum of yoga as we proceed. Any hatha yoga session consists of three parts:

1    The warm-up exercises (known as jattis),
2    The contents or practice (asanas, pranayamas, kriyas, bandhas, mudras, etc),
3    The relaxation.

Warm-up and relaxation are essential elements of any practice and should never be skipped!

Jattis: the warm up exercises

The word jatti, pronounced 'jaa-tee', literally means "small unit of movement for a specific purpose." They are simple movements used to loosen the body and enable the body to move safely and effectively into asanas, the various body positions, and through other physical practices.

The benefits of jattis, however, are not limited to merely warming up the body. Jattis also help to cleanse out 'psychic toxins', promote circulation, stimulate nerves, and release tension on many levels.

The physical, mental, and emotional bodies are all interconnected--a subject that we will explore in greater detail later. We are able to reach the more subtle energetic bodies via the physical body and release psychic and mental tension via these shaking movements.

Thus, Jattis also help to establish awareness of body and to re-integrate the physical and the energetic bodies, combating nara. Nara is the condition which occurs when there is mal-alignment of the pancha kosha, the 5 bodies of man, which will also be discussed in later lessons. Any one or more of the 'five bodies' may become misaligned with the others for some reason or another. This can lead to a whole host of problems on the physical, mental and emotional levels.

The Practice

Hatha is a word that can be translated to mean "force," or "forceful". In hatha yoga this refers to the solar prana (ha) and lunar apana (tha) forces (energies) and the practice of achieving balance between them.

Therefore, hatha yoga is the spiritual science of creating a perfect balance through proper body positioning and breath control, between the two mighty energies of the universe, prana and apana, as they manifest within the human organism.


NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.

"The Science of Yoga is a course worthy of

leather binding and an honored place in the
finest libraries in the world 
... It is indeed a masterful work."


Dr. John Michael Christian


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