What is Hatha Yoga?

Hatha Yoga: the art of pausing the mind, connecting with the body and being present.

What is Hatha Yoga?

Hatha Yoga is one of the most practiced styles in the world: its accessibility explains, in large part, its popularity . Unlike more dynamic styles like Vinyasa , Ashtanga, or Power Yoga, Hatha Yoga is more leisurely and calm . By holding the positions for a longer time and not chaining them with complicated transitions, this style is ideal for any person ; especially for those who start .

In Sanskrit, 'Hatha yoga' means discipline of force, a force that seeks the balance between the opposites that are within us . "Ha" means sun and represents the most active and masculine energy and "tha" represents the moon, a more feminine energy linked to relaxation and rest. Both energies symbolize the stable duality between solar energy and lunar energy , between action and relaxation. Energies found in the outside world and within us. During the practice of Yoga, we also experience this dual journey because many times we start the classes with Salutations to the sun and end the practice with Savasna, relaxation.

The best known classical text on this style dates from the 15th century and is titled Hatha Yoga Pradipika . It was written by the teacher Swatnarama .

Hatha Yoga is characterized by being a style where postures are held for at least 5 full breaths. The postures are not chained with complicated transitions, but rather through easy and leisurely movements. The main focus of this style is the union between body, mind and spirit through conscious breathing. Its goal is to reduce stress, calm the fluctuation of thoughts and live with more calm and content .

Hatha Yoga Principles

This practice offers numerous benefits, both physically and mentally:

  • It improves the physical condition of the individual, their resistance, their strength and their flexibility: it is not necessary to be flexible or meet any other type of physical requirement to start Hatha yoga. Through regular practice and repeated rest, the mobility of the joints increases, flexibility increases, the muscles tone up, the back becomes stronger... Anyone, of any age, sex, nation or religion can practice this discipline. , because its purpose is to bring more life and joy .
  • Improves balance, refines the senses: through the practice of Hatha Yoga, the use of the senses is perfected, providing greater control over the body, over the mind and over the desires of the ego. This discipline is purifying : it not only helps us to eliminate physical toxins from the body through sweat and exhalation. Mental toxins and enormous desires are also eliminated. The Yoga practitioner usually experiences different phases within his own evolution: one of them is to feel more at peace and satisfied with oneself . Greed decreases; the desire to “always want more” is diluted. The senses no longer govern the being; being uses them to understand . Understand the meaning of your existence. And serve the whole humanity.
  • Decreases anxiety, fatigue and stress , improving the practitioner's quality of life. The balance provided by the practice of Hatha Yoga translates not only into physical but also emotional well-being: each posture works certain areas of the body, organs and energy centers (also known as "chakras"): this generates, in the long run, , a state of integral harmony .
  • Boosts brain functions immediately: Yoga practice not only relaxes the mind, it also focuses and repositions it . When leaving class, the practitioner usually feels more calm, focused, active and enlightened. Ideas are clearer; the least unreasonable desires. The meditative state that is achieved through the practice of yoga generates this feeling of presence and serenity, of awareness and tranquility. And this helps us make decisions more accurately; to communicate from a place of love and compassion; to live together and feel more alive .

Finally, by attending a Hatha Yoga class, we invite you to experiment. To modify the postures if your body requires it. To feel free to stop whenever you want. Don't compare yourself, don't punish yourself; to respect yourself, breathe and enjoy each step taken. Yoga is not a competition. Yoga is union.

Mae Knapnougel

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