Hatha Yoga is a fairly slow-paced, gentle and mellow form of Yoga which focuses on simple poses that comfortably flow from one to the other. It’s a good type of yoga for beginners to start with or for winding down at the end of a hard day.
There are several variations on the exact definition of Hatha Yoga. Some translate it as ‘forceful yoga’, while others define ‘Ha’ as sun/male and ‘tha’ as moon/female thus referring to the integration of opposites into a complete union. Like all forms of yoga, the goal of Hatha Yoga is to unite the mind, body and spirit.
Hatha Yoga is comprised of the following elements:
• Postures (asanas)
• Cleansing practices (dhauti or shodhana)
• Breath control (pranayama)
• Locks (bhandas)
• Hand gestures (mudras)
Hatha Yoga was originally introduced by Yogi Swatmarama, a 15th century sage from India. It is the basis from which many other styles of yoga developed, including Ashtanga, Bikram and Kundalini. Today, Hatha Yoga is one of the most popular and well-known styles of yoga in the West. It is primarily practiced for health and vitality, offering an excellent way to exercise and stretch the body and reduce stress.