An introduction to Hatha yoga

Fit & Training door thijs

You've probably heard of 'Hatha yoga' before as it is the most common yoga style in the West. But do you actually know what Hatha yoga means? I will explain it all to you! 

Hatha yoga describes the physical practice of yoga and as said, it is the type of yoga that is best known in the West. It is a quite general category that includes most yoga styles. Literally, the name Hatha comes from Sankrit and stands for sun (ha) and moon (tha). It is about creating a link, balancing energy in the body and mind, through postures (asanas) and breath control (pranayama). Hatha yoga is part of the raja yoga path, teaching awareness and connection of the body and breath.

Hatha yoga relies on two important objectives. The first objective is to prepare to practice real meditation (dhyani). To do this, we have to be able to relax our bodies and focus for extended periods of time. The practice of postures helps us to prepare for meditations. The second objective is to bring health and energy to body and mind. By practicing Hatha yoga, you will develop awareness, strength and flexibility. It can reduce stress and provide you with a sense of well-being.

What can you expect in a yoga class?
A basic Hatha yoga class runs through a sequence of simple asanas and breathing exercises. You can expect a slower-paced, 'not-so-flowing' practice, which makes it a great place for beginners to start. The class usually ends with silent meditation, either in lotus or in sivasana (corpse pose). Popular Hatha yoga styles include Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikram and Kundalini yoga.

If you're new to yoga, I would recommend trying a Hatha yoga class first because you will get familiar with typical, basic yoga movements and terminology. Hatha yoga is accessible to anyone and will help you to develop a better connection between body and mind.

If you have any questions about Hatha yoga or want to share your experience with me, please to do so!

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