n Guru Pournami, we kicked off our 2nd annual Hata Yoga Teacher Training program at the ashram. It is wonderful to see over 85 people from different parts of the world come for this intense training for the next 21 weeks, and to acquaint themselves with Hata Yoga in its classical format.
Yoga means many things to many people. One thing is, it is a sure way to avoid going to hell. Because even if they send you to hell, you will think you are in heaven after Hata Yoga. Nobody can ever torture you again. (Laughter) It is not a small freedom. Hata is a phenomenal science – it is a way of building a platform. When I say a platform – your body, mind and energy system are essentially a platform to experience life. The question is just about how profound your experience of life is.
Changing your chemistry by whatever means is not the most profound thing. If you change your chemistry either by yoga or bhoga, you will have pleasant experiences. Looking for pleasantness itself is not a very profound thing. To build a system which is capable of handling all dimensions of life as an experience – where no experience will break this system, no experience will mess up this energy – is what Hata means. Ha-ta means to bring a certain cohesiveness between the two major players who make this body – the sun and the moon. Every moment of our life, everything that we do is being controlled by these two forces. Forget about asanas, take something as simple as walking – the volume of physical laws involved in walking is too complex for anybody to understand. If you take away a drop of fluid from your ears, which is playing a crucial role in keeping your balance, suddenly you cannot stand. Your legs may be strong, but still they will be no good because to walk on a round planet – which is spinning and travelling at a tremendous speed – involves too many forces.
Hata Yoga is a way of getting beneath these forces so that you use these forces as a way to deepen your experience of life, or to make a larger slice of life available to yourself, because ultimately that is the longing of every human being. It doesn’t matter whether you are running after money, knowledge, wealth or love, essentially, everybody wants to have a larger slice of life. If you want to have it all, if you want to eat the whole pie, you must have a stomach to digest it. That is the most important thing. Classical Hata Yoga is to prepare your body and your mind, and above all, to strengthen your energy system in such a way that your energy body is so strong and stable that it can take any kind of experience. It is capable of handling all this that you call life.
Whether pleasant or unpleasant things happen, Hata Yoga is to develop a system which will turn everything into your well-being. Because what life throws at you, you cannot determine. What you make out of it, you can determine. If this has to happen, you need an appropriate body, mind and energy system, otherwise the ways of life are such it can completely break and destroy you. You may think you are very nice and peaceful, but if somebody does one thing to you, you will crack up.
Another meaning for the word ‘Hata’ is adamant. You are adamant, you are not the kind to give up on anything. It doesn’t matter – there are people who will keep going only if you throw flowers in their path. If you throw filth, they will run away. But you are adamant; it doesn’t matter if life throws flowers or filth, you will go where you want to go. It doesn’t matter what the world does to you. If you want to become like that, Hata Yoga is a good method to get to that place. Hata Yoga is a powerful tool to determine and execute the course of your Destiny.
Excerpted from Sadhguru’s opening discourse with the Hata Yoga students on July 23, 2013.