Hatha Yoga 101

by | Oct 25, 2022 | Yoga For Beginners

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Mindfulness is essential to living a healthy, everyday life. If you don’t have peace of mind, you cannot function properly, which is why yoga is often recommended. Hatha yoga is a good style of yoga to practice, and while some a familiar with it and practice it, you may not be as aware of what it is and what it entails during a class. 

Hatha yoga comprises practices that focus on mindfulness, appropriate breathing techniques, and using muscle strengths via various postures depending on the yoga teacher or online classes. However, knowing more about hatha yoga and its differentiation from other yoga styles is essential. 

As we continue throughout this article, we will learn about what hatha yoga is, by simple definition, its different characteristics, what happens during a hatha yoga class and its various benefits, and if a beginner can do hatha yoga. 

What is a Simple Definition of Hatha Yoga?

A simple definition of hatha yoga is the practice of mindfulness and using muscle strength via various postures. Hatha yoga is commonly practiced and is often favored in the United States because of its helpfulness in connecting your mind and body via its postures, breathing techniques, and meditation practices. But why is hatha yoga called hatha yoga? Where did it originate from? 

We will continue to read further to learn why hatha yoga is called hatha yoga. 

Why is it Called Hatha Yoga?

Hatha yoga is called hatha yoga because it originated centuries ago and began with Raja yoga, which is similar in nature. However it may be, Hatha yoga is the practicing of yoga without your five senses and mind interfering with your practice. The objection of Hatha yoga is to focus on your mind and body, have more awareness, and focus on your breathing more appropriately. 

There are many characteristics when it comes to practicing Hatha Yoga, and as we read further, we will learn about those main characteristics. 

What are the Main Characteristics of Hatha Yoga?

Hatha Yoga comprises six main characteristics that require more than physical strength. These characteristics include: 

  • Asana: having stable control over your mind and body. 
  • Pranayama: having more stable control of your breathing.  
  • Pratyahara: withdrawing you from your senses to have more control over how you react to scenarios that are externally beyond your control. 
  • Dharana: the ability to have your mind be brought to a single point. 
  • Dhyana: observance of the self. 
  • Samadhi: freedom from Maya. 

Let’s continue reading this article to learn more about how hatha yoga differs from other styles. 

How is Hatha Yoga Different From Other Styles?

In contrast to other yoga styles, hatha yoga is different because there is a more deliberate and purposeful slower pace and the poses are to be held a bit longer than in other forms of yoga. Yoga, overall, helps you to enhance your focus and focus on your breathing and requires you to be physically active. Still, the difference between hatha yoga and all other forms of yoga is the deliberate pacing.  

With hatha yoga being intimidating looking due to its physically demanding as it is, people often wonder if there is no point for a beginner even to attempt to practice this form of yoga. As we continue to read further, we will learn whether a beginner can do hatha yoga or not. 

Can a Beginner do Hatha Yoga?

A beginner can do hatha yoga. It is often found as the most beneficial form of yoga for beginners because there is a slower pace in performing the poses, which requires a lot of physical demand and focus. So, as long as someone is in good health and is up to trying in practicing, then, yes, even as a beginner, you can do hatha yoga. 

Hatha yoga classes can easily be found near you or practiced online via courses or videos. Although the poses differ from teacher to teacher, the format is still the same overall. So, continuing through this article, we will continue to learn about what happens during a hatha yoga class. 

What Happens During a Hatha Yoga Class?

Depending on your teacher, the Hatha class will begin with meditation, whether it’s a breathing exercise or having everyone sit in silence. Afterward, there are various poses that you will be guided into performing, and the class will end with some form of meditation. These classes can last anywhere from an hour and a half. 

While the format will be different depending on your teacher, the physical labor of it will remain the same throughout the class. For some, this can seem like too much work and not worth it, but there are significant benefits of practicing this yoga, even at home, for about thirty minutes a day. 

Let’s continue reading to learn about the benefits of practicing hatha yoga. 

Benefits of Practicing Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is demanding and can seem intimidating at best, but it can provide many benefits to anyone interested in practicing the type of yoga. Let’s continue to read further to learn more about the five benefits of practicing hatha yoga.

Healthier Immune System

Your immune system is more robust and healthier, preventing you from becoming sick or riddled with various infections and diseases. A non-healthy immune system consists of poor sleep, diet, etc. Still, hatha yoga helps to prevent that with mindfulness practice that helps to lower your stress level because it correlates with how it can affect your immune system and decision-making. 

Flexibility and Improved Posture

Practicing hatha yoga helps with flexibility and improving your posture. Since you have to utilize all of your muscles, for anyone who has stiff joints and are tense around their body, hatha yoga helps relieve that tension and stiffness. It also helps improve posture and prevents or relents easing any back pain currently there.

Improved Muscle Strength

Practicing hatha yoga is a commitment. One of the commitments when practicing is that it is physically demanding and requires you to use all your muscles. Strengthening your muscles is helpful in many different facets – exercising, walking, running, and using your upper body strength, among many others. Improving muscle strength ensures that you can perform everyday activities without issue. 

Lessens Stress

Hatha yoga helps to lessen your stress levels. When someone is excessively stressed, you are not, at that moment, mindful of how your nervous system is responding due to everything happening at the moment. Hatha yoga promotes a more cautious approach to destressing and promotes better and healthier skin by preventing various acnes, more healthy blood flow, etc. 

Healthier Weight/Weight Loss

Hatha yoga promotes healthy weight loss. Hatha yoga is physically demanding, so, in turn, you are bound to burn calories, burning up to 180 or more calories during your class, depending on your current size in weight. In addition to weight loss via your yoga class, you will become more mindful of what you put into your body, not overeating. 

Closing

Now that you are familiar with hatha yoga, you can implement these practices and your learnings into practicing it yourself. You have also learned about what hatha yoga is, what happens during a hatha yoga class, and the benefits of practicing this form of yoga. 

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