Natha Yogis – The Perfect Yoga Masters

The phenomenon of Natha Yogis (नाथ योगी) the Nātha tradition is much more complex than described in this article. From the time of its foundation by Guru Gorakṣhanāth until now. The Yoga Lineage of Nāthas has exercised an enormous influence on the spiritual life of India and beyond its borders. The Nātha yogis played a prominent role in the propaganda of Shaivism all over India and influenced the development of the country’s later Shaiva and Shakta traditions. Many Saints of the medieval Bhakti movement became influenced by the ideas of Gorakṣhanāth, and through them wide masses of people all over India. Numerous yogis of the Lineage have realized the state of Siddha and contributed to the spreading and protection of Sanatana Dharma and the spiritual ideals of life through the examples of their own lives.

Meaning of Natha and Natha yogis

“Natha” is a term associated with the Natha tradition, a religious and spiritual movement in India. The word “Natha” itself means “Lord” or “Master” in Sanskrit. Natha yogis are practitioners of Natha Yoga, a form of yoga that originated within the Natha tradition.

Yogi Gorakh Nath – ॐ Hinduu Nation ॐ
One of the Famous Natha Yogis is Gorakshanath

Primary Natha yogis

The Natha tradition has been associated with several prominent yogis who have played key roles in its development. Here are some of the primary Natha yogis:


Macchindranath is an important figure in the Natha tradition and is often considered a guru alongside Gorakshanath. He is credited with being one of the early proponents of Hatha Yoga and is said to have received teachings directly from the mythical serpent deity, Lord Shiva. Macchindranath’s influence is significant in the development of yogic philosophy and practices.

Gorakshanath (also known as Gorakhnath)

Gorakshanath is one of the most revered figures in the Natha tradition. He is often considered a guru and is credited with codifying Hatha Yoga practices. Gorakshanath’s teachings emphasize the integration of physical and spiritual practices to attain self-realization. His contributions to Hatha Yoga have had a lasting impact on the broader yoga tradition.

These two figures, Macchindranath and Gorakshanath, are often referred to as the founders or primary teachers of the Natha tradition. Their teachings and contributions to Hatha Yoga have had a profound impact on the spiritual and yogic landscape in India. The Natha tradition, with its emphasis on the synthesis of physical and spiritual practices, continues to influence various forms of yoga and spiritual traditions worldwide.

Natha yogis of the Natha Lineage

Yogis of the Natha Lineage developed a complex system later known as Haṭha Yoga. Those practices of Haṭha Yoga, which were purposed for maintaining the health of the human body, proved themselves as very effective alternative medicine.

In today’s world, millions of people are implementing the principles of Yoga in their lives and practicing the basic Haṭha Yoga exercises as a way to maintain good health and get enlightened. The ideas and practices introduced by the Guru Gorakshanath were much ahead of his time, and his teaching did not lose its actuality until the present moment.

Siddhas – Natha yogis the perfect Yoga Masters 

Vedic and Hindu belief

Siddha (सिद्ध) means “one who is accomplished” and refers to perfected masters who, according to Vedic and Hindu belief, have transcended the ahamkara (ego or I-maker), have subdued their minds to be subservient to their Awareness (Chittam), and have transformed their bodies (composed mainly of dense Rajo-Tama gunas) into a different kind of body dominated by sattva. This is usually accomplished only by persistent meditation. According to Jain belief, Siddha is a liberated soul who has destroyed all the Karma bondings. Siddha does not have any kind of body, they are souls in their purest form.

A siddha has also been defined to refer to one who has attained a siddhi. The siddhis as paranormal abilities are considered emergent abilities of an individual that is on the path to siddhahood and do not define a siddha, who is established in the Pranava or Aum (Om) – the spiritual substrate of creation. The Siddhi in its pure form means “the attainment of flawless identity with Reality (Brahman); perfection of Spirit.” In the Hindu philosophy of Kashmir Shaivite (Hindu tantra), siddha also refers to a Siddha Guru who can by way of Shaktipat initiate disciples into Yoga.


In Jain, Cosmology Siddha-Shila is situated at the very top of the universe. The Siddhas (liberated souls who will never take birth again, who have gone above the cycle of life and death) go to the Siddha-Shila after being liberated and stay there till infinity. Siddha is a level of the soul above Arihanta who possesses kevala jnana. In Hindu, cosmology siddhaloka is a subtle world (lokam) where perfected beings (Siddhas) take birth. 

Hindu theology about Natha yogis

In Hindu theology, Siddhashrama is a private land deep in the Himalayas, where great yogis, sadhus, and sages live siddha life. The concept is similar to the Tibetan mystical land of Shambhala. 

In Valmiki’s Ramayana, it is said that Vishwamitra had his hermitage in Siddhashrama, the erstwhile hermitage of Vishnu-Shiva when he appeared as the Vamana avatar. He takes Rama and Lakshmana to Siddhashrama to exterminate the rakshas who disturb his religious sacrifices (i.28.1-20). 

Siddha Sampradaya of Natha yogis

Whenever siddha is mentioned the 84 Siddhas and 9 nathas (Navnath) are remembered and it is this tradition of siddha which is known as the Siddha Sampradaya. Siddha is a term used for both Mahasiddhas and Natha Yogis. So a siddha may mean a Siddha, a Mahasiddha, or a Natha. 

The eighty-four Siddhas

A list of eighty-four Siddhas (though, actually only 76 names are mentioned) is found in a manuscript (manuscript no 48/34 of the Asiatic Society of Bengal) dated Lakshmana Samvat 388 (1506) of medieval Maithili work, the Varna(na)ratnākara written by Kaviśekharācārya Jyotirīśvara Ṭhākura, the court poet of King Harisimhadeva of Mithila (reigned 1300–1321). An interesting feature of this list is that the names of the most revered Nathas are incorporated in this list along with the Buddhist Siddhacharyas. The names of the Siddhas found in this list are:

  • Minanātha,
  • Gorakshanātha,
  • Chauranginātha,
  • Chāmarinātha,
  • Tantipā,
  • Hālipā,
  • Kedāripā,
  • Dhongapā,
  • Dāripā,
  • Virupā,
  • Kapāli,
  • Kamāri,
  • Kānha,
  • Kanakhala,
  • Mekhala,
  • Unmana,
  • Kāndali,
  • Dhovi,
  • Jālandhara,
  • Tongi,
  • Mavaha,
  • Nāgārjuna,
  • Dauli,
  • Bhishāla,
  • Achiti,
  • Champaka,
  • Dhentasa,
  • Bhumbhari,
  • Bākali,
  • Tuji,
  • Charpati,
  • Bhāde,
  • Chāndana,
  • Kāmari,
  • Karavat,
  • Dharmapāpatanga,
  • Bhadra,
  • Pātalibhadra,
  • Palihiha,
  • Bhānu,
  • Mina,
  • Nirdaya,
  • Savara,
  • Sānti,
  • Bhartrihari,
  • Bhishana,
  • Bhati,
  • Gaganapā,
  • Gamāra,
  • Menurā,
  • Kumāri,
  • Jivana,
  • Aghosādhava,
  • Girivara,
  • Siyāri,
  • Nāgavāli,
  • Bibhavat,
  • Sāranga,
  • Vivikadhaja,
  • Magaradhaja,
  • Achita,
  • Bichita,
  • Nechaka,
  • Chātala,
  • Nāchana,
  • Bhilo,
  • Pāhila,
  • Pāsala,
  • Kamalakangāri,
  • Chipila,
  • Govinda,
  • Bhima,
  • Bhairava,
  • Bhadra,
  • Bhamari, and
  • Bhurukuti.

The Siddhas in the Hathayogapradipika

This list has several names common with those found in the list of the Varna(na)ratnākara:

  • Ādinātha,
  • Matsyendra,
  • Śāvara,
  • Ānandabhairava,
  • Chaurangi,
  • Minanātha,
  • Gorakṣanātha,
  • Virupākṣa,
  • Bileśaya,
  • Manthāna,
  • Bhairava,
  • Siddhibuddha,
  • Kanthaḍi,
  • Koraṃṭaka,
  • Surānanda,
  • Siddhapāda,
  • Charpaṭi,
  • Kānerī,
  • Pūjyapāda,
  • Nityanātha,
  • Nirañjana,
  • Kapālī,
  • Bindunātha,
  • Kākachaṇḍīśvarā,
  • Allāma,
  • Prabhudeva,
  • Ghoḍā,
  • Chholī,
  • Ṭiṃṭiṇi,
  • Bhānukī,
  • Nāradeva, and
  • Khaṇḍakāpālika.

Siddha yogis in South India

In South India, a siddha refers to a being who has achieved a high degree of physical as well as spiritual perfection or enlightenment. The ultimate demonstration of this is that Siddhas allegedly attained physical immortality. Thus siddha, like siddhar or cittar (indigenization of Sanskrit terms in Tamil Nadu) refers to a person who has realized the goal of a type of sadhana and becomes a perfected being.

Natha tradition

The Natha tradition (Natha Sampradaya) is a timeless lineage of spiritual masters, connected with Infinite Consciousness through the greatest Yogi of all ages, Babaji Gorakshanath, the same introduced in Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi. These ancient yogis discovered that the secret of cosmic consciousness is intimately linked with breath mastery. The life force, which is ordinarily used for bodily functions, can be channeled for higher activities by a method of calming and stilling the ceaseless demands of the breath. We get only a glimpse of the lineage of the Natha Yogis. It began from Adi Natha, Lord Shiva himself, who gave it to his consort, Parvati Nathi. She gave it to Shanmuka Natha, Ganesha and Nandi Natha.

Shaivita Natha Sampradaya

Then Lord Krishna as a member of Shaivita Natha Sampradaya initiated Lord Vivasvat, the Spirit of our sun living on Earth. Then Vaivasvat Manu, King Ikshavaku down to Harishchandra, then to Lord Raghunath (Rama), 47th in descent from Ikshavaku, who is the 8th Rudra, esoterically connected with Shiv Goraksha Babaji. It is through this grand lineage of the Natha Yogis that the royal science of Kundalini Yoga has been preserved and handed down through the corridors of time by the ever-living Shiv Gorakshanath. There is very a lot of mysticism in the spiritual lineage of Nathas. 

कान छिदाने और बिना सिले कपड़े पहनने वालों का नाथ संप्रदाय, जिसके प्रमुख हैं योगी आदित्यनाथ – News18 हिंदी
Natha Sampradaya of Natha Yogis

Teachings of Natha yogis

The teachings of Natha yogis, rooted in the Natha tradition, encompass a wide range of spiritual and yogic principles. Here are some key aspects of their teachings:

Hatha Yoga Practices

Natha yogis emphasize the practice of Hatha Yoga, which includes physical postures (asanas), breath control (pranayama), and various cleansing techniques (shatkarmas). The purpose of these practices is to purify the body, balance the energy channels, and prepare the practitioner for higher states of consciousness.

Kundalini Awakening

The Natha tradition places significant importance on the awakening of Kundalini, the dormant spiritual energy believed to reside at the base of the spine. Through specific yogic practices, Natha yogis seek to awaken and channel this energy upward through the central energy channel (Sushumna), leading to spiritual awakening and enlightenment.

Integration of Physical and Spiritual

Unlike some other yogic traditions that may focus solely on meditation or ascetic practices, Natha yogis advocate for the integration of physical and spiritual aspects. They believe in the harmonious development of the body, mind, and spirit, recognizing that each aspect influences the others.

Tantric Influences

The Natha tradition has strong connections to Tantra, a diverse range of esoteric spiritual practices. 

Guru Disciple Relationship

The Natha tradition places a high value on the relationship between the guru (spiritual teacher) and the disciple. 

Non-dualistic Philosophy

Natha yogis often adhere to non-dualistic philosophies, such as Advaita Vedanta, which emphasize the oneness of the individual soul (Atman) with the universal consciousness (Brahman). This non-dualistic perspective is central to their understanding of the ultimate reality.

It’s important to note that the teachings of Natha yogis can vary, and individual teachers within the tradition may emphasize certain aspects more than others. The core principles, however, generally revolve around the holistic development of the practitioner on physical, mental, and spiritual levels.


In conclusion, Natha Yogis, following the Natha tradition, embodies a holistic approach to spiritual and yogic practices. Rooted in the teachings of revered figures like Macchindranath, and Gorakshanath, Natha Yogis emphasizes the integration of physical and spiritual dimensions through Hatha Yoga. Their teachings include the awakening of Kundalini energy, the practice of non-dualistic philosophies, and a deep reverence for the guru-disciple relationship. With a rich tapestry of practices encompassing asanas, pranayama, and Tantric influences, Natha Yogis aims for the harmonious development of the body, mind, and spirit, offering a path towards self-realization and spiritual enlightenment. Their contributions have had a lasting impact on the broader yogic landscape, influencing various traditions and fostering a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of physical and metaphysical realms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are Natha Yogis?

Natha Yogis are practitioners of the Natha tradition, a spiritual and yogic movement in India. They follow the teachings of prominent figures like Gorakshanath and Matsyendranath, emphasizing the integration of physical and spiritual practices.

What is the primary focus of Natha Yogis?

The primary focus of Natha Yogis is the harmonious development of the body, mind, and spirit. They engage in Hatha Yoga practices, including asanas and pranayama, aiming for spiritual awakening and self-realization.

What is the significance of Kundalini in Natha Yoga?

Kundalini, the dormant spiritual energy believed to reside at the base of the spine, is of great significance in Natha Yoga. Practitioners aim to awaken and channel this energy upward through specific yogic practices for spiritual enlightenment.

How do Natha Yogis view the guru-disciple relationship?

Natha Yogis places a high value on the guru-disciple relationship. 

Are there specific rituals associated with Natha Yogis?

Natha Yogis integrates Tantric influences into their practices, including ritualistic elements. They may use mantras and recognize the divine in various aspects of life, contributing to a holistic approach to spirituality.

What philosophical principles do Natha Yogis adhere to?

Natha Yogis often adheres to non-dualistic philosophies, such as Advaita Vedanta, emphasizing the oneness of the individual soul with the universal consciousness. This philosophical foundation guides their understanding of ultimate reality.

How have Natha Yogis influenced the broader yogic landscape?

The teachings of Natha Yogis, particularly in the development of Hatha Yoga, have had a lasting impact on the broader yogic landscape. Their emphasis on the integration of physical and spiritual practices has influenced various yoga traditions worldwide.

Can anyone practice Natha Yoga?

While Natha Yoga is open to practitioners of varying levels, it often involves advanced practices. 


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