I am often asked by people coming to my classes what type of yoga is Hatha yoga?
I really like using the word Hatha as a description for the practice I teach because it allows for the possibility of anything!
“Hatha” is a Sanskrit word (classical language of Indian) and it is said to translate to “force or exertion”. I have also heard it defined as Ha = the Sun, Tha = the Moon, (joining of the two to achieve balance and harmony). It was also described in 14th century texts as a physical purification practice.
Hatha is one of six branches of yoga, the others being Raja (Yoga of Meditation/Mind), Jnana (Yoga of Knowledge), Karma (Yoga of Service), Bhakti (Yoga of Devotion) and Tantra (Yoga of Ritual). Hatha yoga is the yoga of the Physical and Breath and considered the most popular form of yoga in the West.
Hatha yoga includes physical movements of the body (asana) and breath techniques (pranayama) through the joining of the two aspects, it allows the body to prepare for the stillness of the mind, mental clarity, to elevate to a state of higher awareness, and ultimately preparation for meditation.
Any style of yoga that includes movement and breath is therefore considered Hatha yoga. It’s a very large umbrella and encompasses many styles of yoga including Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikram, Vinyasa, Restorative and Yin just to name a few of many. My practice and style of classes generally have a wide sampling from many of these styles.
I like to explore many aspects and styles of yoga because we are not static beings.
Hatha yoga is about healing and balancing the body and the mind. It’s recognizing and trying to find balance between the dualistic aspects. By finding that balance, we will find the space for clarity and focus of the mind as well. For me, yoga is not just a series of physical practice of poses. It’s a synergistic merging of the mind and body to bring ourselves to wholeness. The body can act as the barometer to whatever is happening or has happened within the body energetically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. By exploring movement using the physical body we can feel what may be manifesting at the physical plane and give us the opportunity to turn inward and heal.
Our physical needs, emotions, moods, life situations, are ever changing so too our practice should change and evolve to meet these needs. That being said, our own personal practice, really is about exploring and attuning to what our body and mind may need in that particular moment.
Be open, be willing to explore, have fun and let your body and mind open to the possibilities!
Intro to Hatha Yoga begins Thursday May 26th – 7:30pm – 8:30pm.
Drop-In Exchange: $20
4 Session Exchange: $69
Bring awareness to body, breath and mind in a positive, supportive community with Jennifer Mackie at The Hive.