Many of us are practicing Hatha yoga or any form based on it without actually knowing its meaning. But what does it mean? In its very basic usage Hatha means Yoga. It is also known as Hathavidya. This form is very famous and best known in the west. It is not an exercise and does not involve hurting your body by twisting it in different directions or holding your breath. It is a branch of Yoga and a generic term that refers to any Yoga that teaches Asanas/physical postures.
What is Hatha Yoga?
According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, Yoga has eight limbs:
- Yama (Universal Morality)
- Niyama(Personal observance)
- Asana (Body Postures)
- Pranayama (Breathing exercise)
- Pratyahara (Control of the senses)
- Dharana (Concentration and cultivation perceptual awareness)
- Dhyana (Meditation)
- Samadhi (Union with the Divine).
Only the limb Asana is concerned with physical poses. These are the poses what one refers to while referring to Yoga. It is the most commonly known aspect of Yoga. This limb of Yoga practice re-attaches practitioners to their body. Postures create a balance between the material world and spiritual experience, and as a result, one enters into the state of grace. And this, in turn, becomes a way to explore mental attitude and strengthen the will. In some teachings, Hatha yoga prepares you for the last four limbs. There are many forms of Yoga, and most of them can be classified as Hatha.
History and Origin
The word Hatha means ‘Forceful’ in Sanskrit. This type of practice means tenacity to reshape the body, in a way; to re-engineer the whole system. It focuses on physical practice and how this can help you achieve inner balance.
The more esoteric meaning of Sun (Ha) and Moon (Tha) was a later addition when elements of subtle body psychology gained prominence. According to this view, Hatha is the union of two opposites. One practice Yoga to unite mind and body, flexibility and strength, movement of bodies and stillness of mind. As per Hindu belief deity, Shiva is the founder of Hatha Yoga.
What does Modern Hatha include?
Any Hatha class you go to now days focuses on Asana (posture). It does not have the flow one might find in Vinyasa. But for a beginner, it is a great start. A Hatha Yoga class would most likely include Asanas, breathing techniques (Pranayam) and meditation. As the classes go at a slow pace, one gets more time to become familiar with poses. Hatha is the basis for all physical Yoga practices. If you do Iyengar or Ashtanga, as different as this may seem, it’s also Hatha.
Also Read: Surya Namaskar Poses and Benefits
Hatha For beginners
It describes the gentle and basic poses. It prepares your body to take higher dimensions of energy. The Asana/poses offer an opportunity to the practitioner to explore and control all aspects of emotions, faith, concentration, etc. Moving the body into Asanas, to open physical body; acts as a binding agent to bring one in harmony with all the unseen components of their being. Hatha classes are best for beginners to learn poses and relaxation techniques. This style helps them to get contented with Yoga.
Benefits of regular Hatha Yoga practice
Hatha Yoga comprises of a set of physical exercises, and sequences of asanas/postures that are designed to align your skin, muscles, and bones. The practice of physical postures has many benefits for the body. And among multiple benefits; the most underlying are improved health, flexibility, balance. The postures are also designed to open many of the body’s channels, especially the spine, for smooth flow of energy within the body.
- Make you flexible
- Calms the mind
- Release tension and stress
- Make body stronger
- Cure spinal problems
These are some of the benefits of practicing Hatha. If you wish to deepen your knowledge about Hatha or want to become a certified Yoga teacher, you can join our Yoga Teacher Training Course Goa, India.
Ek Omkar Yoga is not only in the path yoga teacher training, but it is also making much efforts to spread accurate knowledge of Yoga worldwide. Our course includes 200 hours Yoga Teacher Training Course, 100 hours Yoga Teacher Training Course and 7 days Yoga retreat course for beginners.