What is ‘Hatha’ Yoga?
Hatha Yoga, which focuses on physical comfort, is one of the elementary forms of yoga. It is derived from a Sanskrit word which literally translates to ‘a union of opposing forces.’ If you’re wondering whether your body houses two divergent forces, you’ve hit the nail on the head! Hatha signifies the duality in life — yin and yang, masculine and feminine, darkness and light. The human body is in fact composed of two opposing forces: the solar and lunar channels.
These two opposing forces are similar to the concept of Yin and Yang. The solar channel is defined as the active masculine energy and the lunar channel, as the receptive feminine energy. The word "hatha" refers to the forceful union of these two energies, which help you to achieve a strong, focused body and a robust mind.
Tradition explains that Hatha Yoga is comprised of four interconnected elements: It encourages the purification of the body (shatkarma) via a healthy lifestyle; it contains meditative postures that improve the body's flexibility and energy circulation (Asanas); it consists of focused breathing exercises to regulate the circulation of the body's vital force (the Pranayama) along the energy centers of the human body (the Chakra); and it guides followers to the path of self awareness and inner strength (Kundalini).
It is actually ‘Hatha Yoga’ that majority of the world refers to as ‘Yoga’ – it is that popular! Practice Hatha Yoga to achieve unwavering physical focus and a firm resolve to stick to the path of self-improvement!
Health Benefits Of Hatha Yoga
- Hatha Yoga helps to relieve the body from stress and fatigue.
- By reducing stress, Hatha Yoga also protects the body from stress related diseases such as Hypertension.
- The ‘Asanas’ – Yoga Poses, of Hatha Yoga are designed to target all the muscles in your body. This helps to alleviate bodily aches and pain!
- ‘Pranayama’ instructs you to focus on your breathing. This steady breathing pattern increases blood circulation and organ function.
- Hatha Yoga is great during pregnancy! Indeed, it is often prescribed to pregnant women to ease the process of childbirth.
- Hatha Yoga strengthens the core and helps to tone the body.
Health Concerns – Just To Be On The Safe Side
As a Hatha Yoga beginner, remember to wear comfortable clothes and practice the postures on a mat or thick sheet. Build up your exercise pace gradually and slowly to avoid unnecessary muscle strains. Pause for 10 seconds before practicing the next posture. Remember, yoga is not about speed, it is about flowing movements at the end of which you are left with a tranquil mind and a stress free body!
Getting A Good Start
People who are new to yoga are advised to practice ‘simple yoga’ or ‘basic yoga.’ Did you know that they are actually referring to Hatha Yoga? Yogi Swatmarama, a wise yogic who resided in India in the 15th century, was the pioneer of this style of Yoga. This particular yoga style is one of the most popular ones, and it is from this that several other yoga variations originated including Power Yoga, Bikram Yoga and Ashtanga yoga. Hatha Yoga is identified as the branch of Yoga that unites pairs of opposites, with a particular reference to the positive (sun) and the negative (moon) currents in the system. It focuses on the third (Asana) and fourth (Pranayama) steps in the Eight Limbs of Yoga. Hatha