What is Hatha Yoga?
With "ha" meaning "sun" and "tha" meaning "moon", Hatha Yoga is commonly translated as the Yoga that brings union "of the pairs of opposites". Hatha Yoga, known sometimes also as Hathavidya or referred to as "forceful" Yoga (because it requires physical effort), is the most widely practiced form of Yoga. It is the branch of Yoga which concentrates on physical health and mental well being. Hatha Yoga uses bodily postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and meditation (dyana) with the goal of bringing about sound, healthy body and a clear, peaceful mind. There are nearly 200 hatha yoga postures, with hundreds of variations, which work to make the spine supple and to promote circulation in all the organs, glands, and tissues. Hatha Yoga postures also stretch and align the body, promoting balance and flexibility.
"Hatha Yoga is spirituality of the body; it is the most perfect union of corporeal and incorporeal.
Why should I practice Yoga
To Feel Calmer
There are hundreds of reasons why we should all practice Yoga. To list them all here is impossible but here are a few of the many benefits that Yoga can give you;
Yoga increase flexibility, muscle joint mobility and strenght thus reducing the risk of injury. It can ease back pain, improves muscular-skeletal conditions such as bad knees, tight shoulders and neck. Practicing yoga is said to boost your immune response, decreases cholesterol and blood sugar levels and encourages weight loss. It can help heal or sooth health ailment or condition, alleviate chronic neck pain, anxiety, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, insomnia, sciatica and a host of other conditions. Yoga helps to align the body, breath and mind. It helps to develop balance, coordination and a sense of centeredness.
"Yoga teaches us to cure to cure what need not to be endured and endure what cannot be cured" (B.K.S. Iyengar)
What to expect from a class
Usually the class starts in a seated or lying down position with an introduction to breathing and settling the body and the mind. Following this there is a sequence of postures such as seated, standing, twisting, balancing, which have all been carefully choreographed to create a smooth transition into each pose. There is no set routine but all sequences are always easy to follow and different levels will be demonstrated and modifications will be offered where needed. Every class finishes in Savasana, relaxation pose with optional breathing exercises and/or Yoga nidra. It is said that for most of us, savasana is the only time we actually relax without feeling guilty or rushed. Instead we reflect on ourselves, restore, calm, pause and therefore reenergise, almost as if we are restarting our inner own little engine.
Most of the classes are 75 minutes long. Please do arrive a little earlier if possible and wear comfortable clothing. If and where possible please try not to eat a big meal just minutes before your class, just have a little snack instead. Have a drink of water before the class, but keep away from the temptation of drinking alcohol :). Always work within your limits and do what is right for you.
"Yoga is not about touching your toes, it is what you learn on the way down." (Jigar Gor)