Spotlight on Yoga; Hatha
Although Yoga Tree has a specific “Hatha Flow” class, the term “Hatha” is occasionally considered to be interchangeable with the word “yoga”. It is a physical, usually active type of yoga that helps to integrate breath work (i.e. pranayama breathing) into the practice. Since it places a strong emphasis on the flow of the breath, it is an excellent practice for beginners.
Originally introduced by Yogi Swatmarama, “Hatha” is a combination of two Sanskrit words; “Ha”, meaning “Sun”, and “Tha”, meaning “Moon.” Because of the two words being brought into one, the idea of duality and their integration is powerful in practice. As a result, Hatha is an excellent way to combine your essential yin and yang principles; the slow, steady flow and the active strength required to both build and stabilize the body. With the meditative aspect of breath work, there is an active component that helps to tone and stretch the muscles, a thing that can be both blissful and challenging simultaneously.
Although it is recommended for beginners, intermediate and advanced practitioners will get just as much from their Hatha practice. With experience comes depth, and people who have more experience with yoga will enjoy going deeper and longer into their stretches. The beauty of Hatha is that there is always an opportunity to have more or less of a challenge, depending on the practitioner. Although there are basic principles, there is no “wrong way” on the yogic journey, and Hatha is definitely proof of that!
If you have never tried Hatha before, you will find a class to be both enlightening and diverse. Since Hatha is so open in its approach to its structure, all teachers will have very different concepts of how it should be taught. On your first experience, you may find a practice that is very gentle and focused on the flow of breath. Other times, you may discover a series of “flowing” postures that will focus on building any numbers of the major muscle groups. Some may even find a series of slow moving stretches that work to increase flexibility. Whatever the practitioner finds in their first class, Hatha will deliver a unique experience that is easily catered to their individual needs.
So, how do you know if it’s time to try a Hatha yoga class? First of all, since it is so broad in its scope, Hatha is not to be missed! It’s an essential for anyone who wants to deepen their yoga practice, and even more essential for someone who wants to get a better understanding of their body. However, if you are someone who prefers a quick-paced class, this may not be for you. Hatha tends to be slow and steady with many held postures, active in a passive way as opposed to a more immediate way.
As the springtime approaches, it becomes increasingly desirable to “wake the body up.” If you haven’t had the opportunity before, consider this an invitation to try one of our Hatha Flow classes. We promise that you won’t be disappointed!