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What Does "Hamsa Yoga" Mean?

by
author image Henry Halse
Henry Halse is a Philadelphia-based personal trainer, speaker, and writer. He's trained a wide variety of people, from couch potatoes to professional athletes, and helped them realize their own strength, determination and self-confidence. Henry has also written for various fitness and lifestyle publications, including Women’s Health, AskMen and Prevention.
What Does "Hamsa Yoga" Mean?
Hamsa Yoga refers to a certain orientation of Jupiter when someone is born. Photo Credit 3quarks/iStock/Getty Images

If you thought that our Western version of yoga was narrow compared to the Eastern view of yoga, you don't know how right you were. Erase everything that you thought about yoga from your mind before you try to understand what Hamsa Yoga is all about. There are no poses, no breathing techniques and no meditation. Hamsa Yoga has more to do with astrology than exercise physiology.

Definition of "Yoga"

The most important thing to remember when talking about Hamsa Yoga is that "yoga" is actually a word, not a practice. The word comes from an ancient language called Sanskrit, and if translated exactly would be spelled "yuj."

The word itself simply refers to the joining together of different objects. Once you understand that yoga simply means "to come together," then it will be easier to understand that Hamsa Yoga has nothing to do with physical postures and breathing techniques.

Jupiter

In fact, Hamsa Yoga has a lot to do with a very big planet in our solar system, Jupiter. In Sanskrit, Jupiter is also known as "guru." This massive planet, the biggest in our solar system, was thought of as a symbol of good fortune and intellectual prowess in Indian Astrology. It's also a symbol of goodness, which is also known as "dharma."

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Astrology

Hamsa Yoga, which is an astrological concept, refers to a certain position of the planets when someone is born. Today you might better recognize this concept as a horoscope. India astrologers used the position of various planets and our own moon to give someone their horoscope, which is basically a prediction for the type of person they are destined to be.

If you were born during the Hamsa Yoga, you were born when the position of the planets was such that it favored Jupiter. It means that you are destined to have many of the same qualities as Jupiter, which was thought of as the teacher of the Gods. According to an article in Astrology, someone born in Hamsa Yoga was "destined to have a beautiful body, eat sumptuous foods and be of righteous disposition." In other words, it was a very good thing to be born during Hamsa Yoga.

Because the position of the planets is not very clear-cut or simple to keep track of, you can have varying degrees of different yogas. Each planet has different houses, or stages of orbit that the planet might be in. If you combine the different planets and different houses, there are thousands of different combinations that you could have, depending on the day and time you are born.

Hamsa Mantra

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While Hamsa Yoga refers to the ancient astrological phenomenon that brings good fortune to someone born at the correct time in Jupiter's orbit, Hamsa itself is a sanskrit word, and its symbol is the swan. It can be translated roughly as "the soul," according to an article from the Hamsa Yoga School.

"Hamsa" is also the sound you make during a certain breathing technique.
"Hamsa" is also the sound you make during a certain breathing technique. Photo Credit Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images

There is a breathing technique and mantra named after Hamsa because of the way the breath sounds. To practice the breathing technique, breathe out and make the sound "ham." Then, breathe in and make the sound "sa" with your mouth.

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