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Introduction

Our lives are filled with ups and downs, and we often have tons of things that require our attention. At times, we may feel as though we need direction. In such instances, yoga provides the perfect remedy as it helps reign in the mind, body and soul. This article seeks to shed light on the merits associated with one particular branch of yoga, i.e., Hatha Yoga.

What is Hatha Yoga?

Although there exist several different forms of yoga that are practised today, Hatha yoga happens to be one of the more popular forms of yoga. Hatha yoga can be understood to be the practice of physical yoga postures. This means that whether it is Ashtanga, Vinyasa or Iyengar, they each fall under the category of Hatha Yoga.

 

The Sanskrit term Hatha means ‘willful’ or ‘forceful’. It can also be interpreted to mean yoga associated with activity and balance. Hatha yoga poses seek to align and calm the body, mind, and spirit such that the yogi in question is adequately prepared for meditation.

Types of Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga includes all forms of physical yoga practice and is intended to balance the Sun and Moon energies that reside within each of us. Hatha yoga focuses on cultivating a Yoga-Deha or ‘yogic body’ which is immune to disease and not bound by limitations that ordinarily constrain human beings.

 

Primary practises that constitute Hatha Yoga include Asana, Bandha, Kriya, Mantra, Meditation, Mudra, Pranayama and purification rituals. Hatha Yoga may also be classified into the following types.

  • Bikram Yoga -

Bikram Choudhury is credited with binding together 26 yoga pose sequences that are ordinarily performed in a heated room (40 C) with 40 per cent humidity. This form of hatha yoga is geared towards removing toxins in the body and improving circulation.

  • Kundalini Yoga

Created by Harbhajan Singh Puri, this form of yoga involves meditation and breathing techniques aimed towards balancing the mind, body and soul.

  • Ashtanga Yoga

This form of yoga’s literal translation is “eight-limbed” yoga and involves a number of Hatha yoga poses that are synchronized with breathing. These poses aim to detoxify muscles and organs via sweat such that circulation improves.

  • Anusara Yoga

Hatha yoga poses incorporated here seek to align the physical body with the energy in the universe.

  • Sivananda Yoga –

This form of hatha yoga involves 12 postures that make use of meditation, breathing and exercise.

  • Iyengar Yoga

A number of props ranging from belts and blocks to blankets and bolsters are used such that perfect alignment is arrived at via each Hatha yoga pose.

  • Others -

Kripalu, Jivamukti and Viniyoga constitute the remaining types of Hatha Yoga that are equally popular.

Benefits of Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga asanas bring with them several benefits some of which have been examined below.

 

  • Hatha yoga helps increase flexibility and mobility.

  • You gain strength and your core becomes more stable.

  • You develop balance and proprioception.

  • Healthy joints are maintained with the aid of Hatha yoga.

  • The immune system is stimulated with this form of yoga.

  • Hatha yoga helps improve the quality of your sleep.

How to Practice Hatha Yoga?

Hatha yoga involves the practice of the following in varying degrees keeping in mind the form of Hatha yoga under consideration.

  • Breathing

You are required to focus on your breath (or “pranayama”) for a certain period of time. Even once you begin to practice certain poses you will be reminded to draw your attention toward your breath.

  • Poses

Also known as “asanas”, these poses are a series of movements aimed at improving balance, flexibility and strength. These poses have varying ranges of difficulty moving from lying flat on the floor to harder positions.

  • Meditation

Hatha yoga may incorporate meditation such that the yogi can reflect on the time gone by.

Beginner’s Tip for Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga allows practitioners to stretch their bodies, unwind, and release tension. In the event that any asanas are hard for a beginner to follow, there are often modified positions that can be used as a starting point before proceeding to more challenging poses.

How Often Should I Do Hatha Yoga?

Ideally, those interested in practising Hatha yoga should commit to practising it with regularity, say, 3 to 5 times each week for a period of 4 to 6 weeks. Following this time, re-evaluations can be made and provided Hatha yoga appeals to you, you can work your way upwards such that you pack in 5 to 6 sessions each week.

Precautions to Take to Perform Hatha Yoga

Prior to engaging in Hatha yoga, it is important to take into account the following considerations.

 

  • Form and posture are important and impact your experience with the practice. Furthermore, poor posture can lead to the risk of getting injured.

  • Advanced poses require to be proceeded with caution, particularly for beginners.

  • Seasoned instructors must be followed as they are accustomed to varied aspects of Hatha yoga and can teach the same with ease and without fear of injury.

Conclusion

As established above, Hatha yoga brings with it several benefits and helps harmonize mind, body and soul. What can also help you achieve ease of mind, however, is an adequate health insurance policy. This is because once you avail of a good health insurance policy you will no longer be worried about how you pay your medical bills if you suffer from an accident or fall ill as your health insurance plan will provide you with coverage for the same. 

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FAQs on Hatha Yoga

  • ✔️ What are three benefits associated with the practice of Hatha yoga?

    Three benefits associated with the practice of Hatha yoga include the following.

    1. You gain strength and your core becomes more stable.

    2. You develop balance and proprioception.

    3. Healthy joints are maintained with the aid of Hatha yoga.

  • ✔️Name three different forms of Hatha yoga?

    Three different forms of Hatha yoga include the following.

    1. Kundalini Hatha yoga

    2. Bikram Hatha yoga

    3. Ashtanga Hatha Yoga

  • ✔️Does Iyengar yoga qualify as Hatha yoga?

    Yes, Iyengar yoga qualifies as a form of Hatha yoga as it makes use of varied poses. 

  • ✔️What is the basic premise that must follow all forms of Hatha yoga?

    The basic premise of Hatha is that it includes under its fold all forms of physical yoga practice and is intended to balance the Sun and Moon energies that reside within each of us.  

  • ✔️ Who is credited with founding Bikram yoga?

    Bikram Choudhury is credited with founding Bikram yoga.