Hatha Yoga and Recombobulation
by Annie Moyer
A friend recently posted a photo from the Milwaukee Airport directing people to the “Recombobulation Area.” I presume it’s the part of the airport where you can sit down, catch your breath, and take care of basic needs before embarking on your journey, or meeting your loved one as they return from theirs. When I saw this, I had an entertaining thought – this could be the new name of our yoga studio, highlighting both the nature and the necessity of our work.
I can’t recall a time when the world has felt more discombobulating. The national discourse is hot and angry. Natural resources are under siege and alarmingly diminishing. The international stage is a massive field of mistrust and rage. And, judging by conversations on the street and in the ether, it seems our hearts are tender and afraid.
“They” (and we here at Sun & Moon) say that yoga can help. But how? Of the many ways to describe what we’re doing in yoga, “recombobulating” sounds so apt, but it requires more than simply wandering into a designated area. It requires intention, practice, commitment, and (more than a little) applied effort.
In fact, this “applied effort” is the nuanced meaning of the Sanskrit word hatha, which designates all physical forms of yoga which use posture and breath to prepare the body for meditation. A popularized definition of hatha is that ha means sun and tha means moon, but it’s more interesting than that. The word as a whole means force, and more specifically, it’s the force created when opposing energies or actions such as active/receptive, masculine/feminine, light/dark, heat/cold, inhale/exhale, or sun/moon are brought together firmly and in equal measure, to bring things into a balanced state of peace. It works best when we assess whatever’s discombobulated, set an intention to apply the right mix of effort and ease, carve out the time and space to do so, and get down to the work of “recombobulating.”