Hatha Yoga – What is it?
Hatha yoga is an umbrella term that includes many yoga practices that are derived from it. It is a Sanskrit word that can be translated into English in more than one way. Hatha means "stubborn" or "forceful" in Sanskrit. "Ha" in the word Hatha means sun, and "tha" means "moon.” So, hatha yoga can be defined as a continuous and powerful practice combining different yoga poses, breathing exercises, and meditation to achieve mental and physical harmony. It is also known as Hatha flow, as it requires you to change one posture into the next in a fluid motion without interruption.
Tools Used in Hatha Yoga
Hatha yoga is not just about maintaining rigid postures. Other practices are involved during its performance, including the following:
○ Asanas or posture to give you control over your body
○ Pranayama gives you control over your breathing
○ Mudras or symbolic hand gestures to help you manipulate and stimulate subtle pranas or subtle energies within your body
○ Bandhas open up your chakras or energy channels of your body
○ Kriyas to massage internal organs
○ Mantras to free your mind of useless thoughts and be in control
What are the benefits of Hatha Yoga?
By regularly engaging in hatha yoga, you can open the energy channels of your body and be in a state of emotional and spiritual well-being. In addition, this type of yoga carries a wide range of health benefits.
Physical Health Benefits
Physical benefits that you can expect from this yoga include:
Increased joint mobility
More flexible connective tissues
Increased balance and coordination
Improved blood circulation
Enhanced cell regeneration and early injury recovery
Body cleansing by promoting an active lymphatic system
An overall positive impact on every system of the body
Elevated energy levels
Deep and regular sleep
Optimal cardiac and pulmonary functions
A more balanced sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system
It can further help manage the symptoms of the following health conditions:
○ Rheumatoid arthritis
○ Low back pain
○ Hot flashes during menopause
○ Multiple sclerosis
○ Neck pain
Mental Health Benefits
Mental health benefits of Hatha flow include the following:
Reduced anxiety and depression levels
A greater sense of calmness
Enhanced focus and motivation
Improved learning abilities
A well-balanced emotional state
What should I expect from a Hatha Yoga session?
A typical hatha yoga session can take 45 to 90 minutes, depending on your instructor. It consists of different yoga styles, all of which come under this yoga. Your yoga session will begin with a warm-up period and consist of three main parts; breathing, poses, and meditation.
Breathing or Pranayama
Practicing deep and focused breathing is usually the first part of a yoga session. Next, the instructor will guide you to clear your mind of any thoughts and concentrate on your inhalation and exhalation, leading you to a relaxed state. They will also remind you to keep redirecting your focus on your breathing while practicing different poses.
Poses or Asanas
During this part of the session, your instructor will guide you about different poses that can be performed in various positions. These poses can be of varying difficulty levels, and your instructor can provide you support for the ones you find difficult to hold.
Meditation is the last part of a yoga session. In this part, your instructor will ask you to lie flat and guide you in a deep state of relaxation, which might make you fall asleep. Again, your instructor can use different tools like singing bowls to help you with guided meditation.
Hatha yoga or Hatha flow encompasses different yoga styles that can help harmonize your mind and body through deep breathing, poses, and meditation. It is a gentle type of yoga that is also suitable for beginners.
Check out our related articles: