The majority of the extant texts of hathayoga are associated with the sect of the Kanphata Yogis, sometimes called Naths or Nath Siddhas. In the South the so-called Tamil Siddhas of about the tenth to fifteenth century wrote poems grounded in the concepts and vocabulary of hathayoga.
The various techniques employed by the practitioners of hathayoga include the parallel immobilization of breath, semen, and mental activity. The term hatha, in fact, means “forceful suppression.” Thus, hathayoga is that yogic technique that involves the forceful suppression of one’s sense and control of one’s bodily processes. These techniques are described in such texts as the Hathayoga Pradipika of Svatmarama, the Gheranda Samhita , the Goraksa Sataka, and the Siddhasiddhanta Paddhati.
The fundamental objective of Hatha Yoga is the same as that of any authentic form of Yoga: to transcend the egoic consciousness and to realize the Self, or divine Reality. However, the psychospiritual technology of Hatha-Yoga is particularly focused on developing the body’s potential so that the body can withstand the onslaught of transcendental realization. We are prone to think of ecstatic states like samadhi as purely mental events, which is not the case. Mystical states of consciousness can have a profound effect on the nervous system and the rest of the body. This is what Hatha Yoga prepares us for.