Hatha yoga is usually a slower-paced practice where poses (asana) are held for a few breaths. A Hatha class will often include breathing techniques and meditation as well as asana.
This is a great place to start if you are new to yoga or if you want to deepen your practice because you get the time and space to become familiar with yoga poses. This style can still be challenging too!
In Sanskrit, “Ha” represents sun and “tha” represents moon. This alludes to the opposites in our lives, such as yin and yang, light and darkness, hard and soft, vigorous and gentle.
A yoga class described as ‘Hatha’ will typically involve a set of physical postures (yoga poses) and breathing techniques, practised more slowly and with more static posture holds than perhaps a Vinyasa flow or Ashtanga class.
Hatha yoga is about finding balance. Through working with the physical body, releasing tension and trauma stored in the body, you create space in yourself and, through that space and balance, the opportunity for spiritual growth.
Benefits of Hatha yoga
- Makes the body stronger and more flexible.
- Releases tension stored in the body.
- Calms the mind.
- Creates space in body and mind and in that space you find ‘balance’ and the opportunity for spiritual growth.
Read more about the history and evolution: What is Hatha Yoga?