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What Does "Hamsa Yoga" Mean?

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?
A graceful yogini holding a pose in class. Photo Credit: fizkes/iStock/Getty Images

Yoga is often considered an alternative form of medicine that syncs the mind and the body, focusing on self-discipline and self-control to develop peace of mind. The Cleveland Clinic explains that doing Yoga has a list of health benefits, including anxiety and stress management, increased fitness and weight loss. Hamsa Yoga, a particular variation of Yoga, is based on the symbology and characteristics of a beloved aquatic animal: the swan.

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In Sanskrit, the meaning for “hamsa” is swan. The practice of Hamsa Yoga is essentially “the way of the swan.” Himalayan Yogi Master from the ancient Indian Nath lineage, Yogiraj Siddhanath, spent his early years in the Himalayas under the guidance and influence of other Yogis. Having reached a special transformation of mind and body, with extensive experience in Hamsa Yoga and meditation, Siddhanath explains that “experience of the Hamsa still makes one know Divinity's will in the here and now truth alive.”

Physical Characteristics of Hamsa

The swan is often a symbol or representation of gracefulness, purity and peace. The swan is a quiet creature and can virtually move from place to place without disrupting its surrounding environment. Its quiet existence together with its graceful gliding and dignified posture inspire those who practice Hamsa Yoga to develop these attributes and qualities through the practice.

Other Characteristics of Hamsa

Those who practice Hamsa Yoga also feel that the swan represents perfect union, balance and life, in addition to discernment and transformation. These qualities can help an individual to develop greater self-control and to define mental, physical and moral boundaries for oneself. Additionally, as one repeatedly chants the word hamsa, the word eventually morphs into what sounds like “soaham,” or “I am,” leading to a connection between hamsa and Brahman, the Supreme Spirit. Ultimately, through a consistent and thorough practice and application of oneself, participants believe that Hamsa Yoga can to lead to a transformation of body, mind and spirit and a stronger connection to Brahman.

Theory Application

In Hamsa Yoga, those who practice believe that a swan represents the shape and sections of the brain. Through deep meditation and focused, suspended breathing, a Yogi can progressively stimulate different parts of the brain and transfer energy throughout the brain to advance through different levels of consciousness.

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