As you’ve probably gathered, there are so many forms of yoga.
I see this as a benefit, though.
It can be daunting and confusing as to which path to take and what’s the best form for you but if you understand what each style is and the focus of each style, it becomes easier to understand what you should be doing.
So, without further ado, let me introduce you to Hatha yoga.
What is it?
Despite the rise and popularity of Vinyasa, I think you’re probably more intune with what Hatha is.
Technically speaking, Hatha is a bit of an umbrella term for more physical styles of yoga. In the west, it’s become known for a slower style of yoga in terms of pace than Vinyasa or Bikram.
The focus is on holding static poses for longer whilst transitioning from one pose to another. Typical poses include the Warrior poses, Cobra and Downward Facing Dog.
Although it’s not intended to get the heart rate pumping, depending on your fitness level, you probably will get a sweat on.
Most Hatha classes last for about 60 minutes, holding each pose for a minute before moving onto the next one. In each pose, use deep breaths to get deeper into the pose.
The meaning of Hatha
It comes from the Sanskrit term “Ha” and “Tha”, which means “Sun” and “Moon”.
In other words, Hatha balances both end of the spectrum. If Yin is calm and restorative and Vinyasa is more about strength and challenge, I see Hatha as been somewhere in between.
The philosophy is to bring harmony to the body through movement, breath and meditation.
Hatha yoga has been around for thousands of years so I won't rewrite the history of it here but if you do want to, follow this link.
What are the benefits of Hatha?
There are a huge amount of benefits to Hatha yoga.
Healthy Heart - Improved blood flow to the heart means a reduction in the risk of hypertension.
Better Bone Health - Some of the poses in Hatha, though low impact, are weight bearing (think triangle pose). You’ll often hear that weight lifting is great for creating more bone density (which it does) but it’s anything weight bearing, including your own bodyweight.
Build Core Strength - With the exception of Yin, I would argue that this is a blanket benefit of most styles of yoga. Since you’re working with your body through space holistically, your core will become stronger.
Improves Posture and Balance - Many poses challenge your balance (Despite the name, I’m anything but sturdy in tree pose!). A lot of us are either sat at our desks all day and/or sedentary. The constant posterior tilt of the pelvis leads to issues with the lower back and Hatha fixes this.
Joint mobility - Moving through the poses lubricate the joints and improves mobility. They work the joints through multiple directions, which is essential for long term health.
Clearer skin - ...apparently...because you are improving blood flow to the skin and organs, your skin quality will improve too. Now, I'm not saying you'll look like Ryan Reynolds after a month but I'm not saying you won't either! ;)
Try this Hatha flow from Fightmaster Yoga.
In a bit!