Even today Yogic knowledge is considered a mystical discipline. When people read and hear about the Yogi’s miracles and supernatural powers, they feel amazed. Even though they have respect for Yoga, they feel that yoga is not meant for ordinary people, and therefore they themselves keep away from it.
As the ancient Hathayogic text insist that Yogic knowledge be kept a well guarded secret (Hatha Vidya Parama Gaupya), the Yogis kept it secret for long. This promoted misconceptions about Hatha Yoga. Since the knowledge of Hatha Yoga has been kept secret, the erroneous notion has prevailed that Hatha Yoga is something which is done by forging oneself.
The original word ‘Hatha’ was misconstrued as ‘Hatta’ in Marathi and ‘Hatha’ in Hindi meaning obstinacy. Some think that Hatha Yoga involves painful fasts or the austerities.
Others think that it is an impossible means of God-realisation or self-realisation. Many believe that for gaining success in Yoga, one has necessarily to live in forests, shun society, have an awe-inspiring face with unkempt hair, wear a special costume, etc. However, all these are misgivings and do not have much of a scientific basis. Because of the present extensive propagation of Yoga as also the scientific attitude of looking towards it, the mystification and misconceptions about Yoga are waning.
Source : Yoga for health and peace by Sadashiv Nimbalkar.