What Is Hatha Yoga and Why You Need to Try It
Hatha Yoga is a general category of yoga that encompasses most forms of yoga. It is the yoga that focuses on physical yoga poses or “asanas” and breathing control techniques or “pranayama.”
In Sanskrit, Hatha means “force.” This translates to the way of achieving the state of yoga through the use of force.
It aims to align and prepare one’s mind, body, and spirit before meditation. The practice of hatha yoga purifies the body and strengthens one’s physical endurance in preparation for meditating. When both the mind and body has reached its ideal state of peace through the hatha yoga, the body can now be ready for deeper spiritual practices.
The benefits of hatha yoga
There is a variety of yoga styles you can practice, and most likely, you will see improvements in lots of areas, whatever the yoga style you are doing. However, here are the benefits you can get from practicing hatha yoga
The regular practice of bodily motion promotes mobility—making you improve your flexibility.
The core refers to the center of the body consisting of abs, spine, and hips. Doing hatha yoga strengthens the muscle and core through abdominal poses.
Promotes healthy heart
Some hatha yoga poses focus on exercising cardio and enhancing both respiratory and cardiovascular functions. As yoga promotes tranquility, relief comes next, which decreases risks of heart problems.
A study proves that hatha yoga can be used for the treatment of anxiety. With additional treatment and other components, hatha yoga contributes to improving anxiety symptoms.
Increases bone density
Another study shows that yoga increases balance and coordination—protecting you from falling, which is one of the causes of osteoporotic issues. Also, one study in 2009 concluded that yoga has a direct impact on scaling up bone density.
Boosts immune system
Hatha yoga supports the lymphatic system, helping the body deflect any kind of disease and infection. It significantly lowers anxiety and stress, which both weaken the immune system.
Facilitates better sleep
Yoga cultivates relaxation and calmness, making it easy for you to get better quality of sleep.
Helps get clear skin
Stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation are causes of wrinkling and acne-prone skin. Yoga helps combat all these, improving the blood circulation that impacts how the surface of the skin appears. The promotion of blood flow paves the way for achieving glowing and healthy-looking skin.
Promotes weight loss
Yoga is a form of exercise that burns calories making it easy to burn fat and lose some weight.
Instills discipline and self-control
As yoga promotes mindfulness, you become aware of your daily habits. This leads to controlling oneself and instilling the discipline needed in pursuing every endeavor you have in your life.
Who is Hatha Yoga for?
Hatha yoga is perfect for budding yoga enthusiasts. Beginner or not, Hatha is recommended for people who want to ease the difficulty in concentration. Given the benefits, anyone seeking to improve on those areas can practice hatha yoga.
Having a good health condition will allow you to practice hatha yoga effectively. Thus, if you have any underlying health conditions like pregnancy, heart illnesses, blood clots, or more, it would be best to consult first with a doctor. This way, you will know your capacity and what certain poses are suitable for you.
Beginner-friendly Hatha Yoga poses to try
Here are some hatha yoga poses you can try for starters.
This pose aims to improve body posture, which reduces back pain along the way. It also targets to strengthen the thighs, ankles, and core.
- Stand straight on a yoga mat with feet close together and arms by your side.
- Distribute your weight evenly across the balls of feet.
- Tuck in your tailbone.
- Inhale, then raise your arms above the head and fold them in a praying position.
- Keep a relaxed and smooth state of breathing.
- Keep your eyes trained at one point in front of you.
- Hold the position for one minute.
This pose aims to flex the thighs, shoulders, and groins. It also provides relief from sciatica.
- Start with a mountain pose with your feet hip-width apart.
- Firmly rest your feet on the ground and lift the left leg with the foot placed on the edge of the inner right thigh.
- Align both your right and left posterior.
- Keep your position and breathe deeply as you keep your balance.
- Then, fold your arms in the Namaste position in front of your chest.
- Gaze in the forward direction as you hold the pose for 30-60 seconds.
The cobra pose stretches the front line of the body, which opens the chest, shoulders, hip flexors, and intercostal area.
- Lie down on your belly using a yoga mat.
- Place both hands next to your ribcage.
- Bend your elbows slightly.
- Straighten legs more than hip-width apart and top of the feet at the ground.
- Engage abdomen in supporting the lower back.
- Press your pubic bones firmly onto the mat.
- Inhale and start lifting your chest with sternum rising and both arms straightening.
- Keep your core engaged and breathe in and out.
The locust pose aims to improve and strengthen your flexibility of the spine, hips, legs, and core muscles.
- Lie down on your belly with arms by your side and bent elbows.
- Stretch your legs and have them hip-width apart.
- When exhaling, lift your torso and chest with your arms raised away from you.
- Ensure arms are parallel to the ground.
- Raise your legs up from the mat.
- Gaze forward and hold the position for 30-60 seconds.
Downward facing dog pose
This position promotes blood flow and oxygen levels in the brain. It opens your chest and shoulders while strengthening your arms and shoulders. Lastly, it stretches the back of the legs and spine.
- Place hands and knees on the ground, hip-width apart. Ensure your knees are below your hips, and your palms are under your shoulders.
- Spread your fingers with the middle finger pointing forward.
- Straighten your neck and gaze down to an area between your hands.
- When exhaling, engage your core and slowly lift your knees away from the mat.
- As you do this, press your palms firmly onto the ground, lifting your torso and opening your chest and shoulders.
- Keep your legs bent and let your chest open even deeper as you continue engaging your core.
- Slowly straighten legs more and let your heels touch the floor while maintaining an open chest.
- Straighten legs to a level you are comfortable to avoid overdoing it.
- Draw the navel towards the spine and lift pubic bones high.
- Gaze towards your legs and press your palms onto the ground.
Want to discover more hatha yoga you can try? You can take a more in-depth look at this online personal development, Hatha Yoga Made Easy, to immerse yourself even more with the practice and reap some wonderful health benefits.