What is Hatha Yoga?
Yoga has become more mainstream over the years with studios on every corner advertising various styles. Hatha yoga specifically is one of the more familiar branches of yoga in the west, but what exactly is it? Here is an introduction to Hatha Yoga and why it is so popular and important.
What is it?
When broken down “Ha” translates to “sun” and “tha” to “moon”. The idea behind Hatha yoga is to bring balance between the sun and moon that lies within you, balancing the body and mind, feminine and masculine, yin and yang. Rather than being a style, hatha is the set of physical postures (asanas) and the sequence of asanas.
In practice, these asanas are often focused on stretching the body with an emphasis on postures and breath control (pranayama). Pranayama brings the yogi to be present and helps them concentrate and be mindful on the here and now. As it is easy to let the mind wander, it can be tricky to stay focused at times.
The class structure usually includes a combination of slow paced movements focused on stretching, breathing and meditation. Going through these postures slowly and intentionally is the perfect way for beginners to be introduced to yoga or for anyone who is looking for a way to take a break from the fast-paced life.
Not only do these asanas benefit the self internally by bringing peace and focus, but they can also help the physical aspect by creating more muscle tone, outer strength, and increase energy levels. It is a great way to do low impact activity and feel great afterwards.
One of the great things about Hatha Yoga is that there is always room to grow. Whether you are just starting out or have been practicing for years, new challenges in postures can always be found. When you are expermenting with new postures though, each one should be guided by a qualified instructor to prevent any injury.