Exercising postures or Asanas in Hatha Yoga has two essential objectives.
The first is that to practice any real meditation, one needs at the least one asana in which one can be perfectly comfortable for a longer period of time. The more such postures one can master, the better the basis for developing the inner meditation techniques.
The second objective of exercising asanas in Hatha Yoga is to bring health and energy to body and mind by opening the nadis. When such exercises are regularly performed, the path of Hatha yoga is opened automatically, though one still has to follow it further.
The mere mastering of postures is no objective in itself, though mastering various postures certainly strengthens the power of will and concentration and the habit of not paying too much attention to the information input by the senses. Thus practicing asanas in Hatha Yoga directly opens the path to Prathyahara and Dharana.
Following are a series of main yoga asanas performed by Ganga Puri of the Santoshpuri Ashram – click for larger asana pictures :