What is hatha yoga?
Hatha yoga is the ancient and most common yoga followed around the world. It is a more generalized form of yoga. The different forms of yoga which have evolved with time like the ashtanga yoga, power yoga and bikram yoga have originated from hatha yoga. In Sanskrit, the word ‘Ha’ means sun and the word ‘tha’ means moon. This yoga means a combination of the fierce sun and the silent or calm moon and represents the unification of these two worlds within an individual.
It focuses on the eight limbs within the body especially on the third limb and the fourth pranayama steps. It focuses on both the physical and spiritual elements of the body. The physical element is established by the practice of various asanas and the spiritual element through pranayama and meditation. It is a lighter form of workout in comparision to the other vigorous workout methods
Benefits of Hatha yoga
There are several benefits of hatha yoga. Some of the benefits listed may be common to the other forms of yoga, but the ultimate aim of yoga is to work on the physical, mental and spiritual forms of an individual.
- Hatha yoga works on an individuals body, mind and soul.
- It is known to be a hip and chest opener and works on the flexibility of the hips.
- Helps develop concentration and self control.
- The breathing techniques, assist in promoting a calm mind and a relaxed body.
- Physically the body develops toned muscles and endurance.
- Mentally, it helps release tension and stress. This yoga helps cope better during anxious situations.
- Hatha yoga is another form of yoga that emphasizes on meditation. This helps concentrate better and leads an individual towards divine enlightenment.
- Regular practice of this yoga eases and prevents back pain.
- Helps aged patients to maintain physical and emotional strength.
- This is yet another yoga that increases the lung capacity and strengthens the heart muscles.
- It promotes a sense of well being.
- It fights insomnia and low blood pressure.
Thus there are several benefits of hatha yoga that work towards a better physical, mental and spiritual self. It completely depends on the individual to choose an area of focus and work on it.
Poses and positions of hatha yoga
Like the iyengar yoga, hatha yoga due to its commonality, is mostly practiced by beginners. There are different positions practiced in this form of yoga. The session starts with meditation and breathing, followed by seating poses, twists, inverted poses, poses that enhance balancing, Core strengthening poses, Back, forward and side bending poses, Hip and chest opening poses, prone and supine yoga poses and finally the standing poses.
There are certain specific poses followed by hatha yoga practitioners, which are specific to this yoga. They are:
The cat stretch pose – relaxes the shoulders and loosens the back
Sitting pose – promotes awareness and patience.
The cow pose – works on the hips and legs, increases blood circulation and helps establish a clear mind
Triangle pose – improves posture and lung capacity
The tree pose – helps improve balance and poise
Meditation pose – promotes peace, tranquility and a calm mind.
Each session ends with a relaxation pose called the corpse pose. This is a lying pose where the individual relaxes every part and muscle of the body for the best effect.
It is very important and advisable to focus on breathing and not on the pain that follows during the initial practice sessions. The individual should aim at increasing the ability to hold each pose for the best results. It is also very important to maintain a calm and relaxed mind for better mental benefits.
So, if you are a beginner and you are looking for a yoga that develops the mind, body and soul, then hatha yoga is the most ideal form of yoga.