Posted by Administrator on 3/25/2012
When people in the West refer to “yoga,” they are often
referring to the ancient, pose-based practice of Hatha yoga. As far back as the 15th century, a
yogi from India named Swatmarama introduced Hatha yoga, and the practice remains
the most popular form of yoga today.
To understand Hatha, it helps to know that “Ha” comes from
the Sanskrit word for “sun,” and “tha” means “moon.” Hatha is all about bringing together opposing
forces – it joints forces that are naturally in opposition to one another. The poses are designed to help bring balance
between body and mind, flexibility and strength, power and surrender, energy
and calm. Through this process, Hatha
yoga removes obstacles that exist in participant’s minds and bodies, which
prevent achieving the best physical and mental states possible.
In addition to physical benefits, the less tangible
advantages of Hatha yoga are plentiful.
Concentration, the development and maintenance of will power, and the
discipline of self-withdrawal are all emphasized in Hatha yoga. Stress reduction, relief of tension, and
lessening of depression and anxiety are added benefits.
Hatha yoga includes positions and poses that are helpful in
preparing the participant for meditation.
Breathing techniques are learned that help the body feel relaxed for
extended periods of time, placing a person in an optimal psychological and
emotional space for meditation. Hatha
holds to the idea that if one can master their own breathing, they can master
their minds, as well.
A typical Hatha yoga class includes extended stretching and
breathing exercises as well as periods of quiet meditation. This type of class is usually slower paced
than more aerobic styles of yoga.
Through the consistent practice of Hatha, mind and body come together in
the most optimal ways, maximizing the potential of the whole person.