Hatha yoga is a system of yoga described by Yogi Swatmarama, a Hindu sage of 15th century India, and complier of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
"Hatha" means force, willpower or perseverance – characteristics reinforced by practice. “Hatha” is a blend of two concepts of “ha” (sun, prana, purusha) and “tha” (moon, apana, prakriti).
The system of hatha yoga is much more than physical exercise. Hatha yoga places an emphasis on attainment of Raja yoga and its spiritual goals achieved through practice, dedication, meditation, stillness of mind and control of prana. The wisdom of Hatha yoga is offered to those who cannot achieve Raja yoga.
According to Patanjali “practice and detachment are the means to still the movements of consciousness”. Practice consists of asana, pranayama, yama and niyama. Proficiency in asanas is a prerequisite for practising pranayama.