The word Hatha means willful or forceful in Sanskrit. Whereas the “Ha” means Sun and the “tha” means Moon. Therefore Hatha Yoga can be called the yoga of the Sun and Moon, to bring about a desired balance within. This balance could be referred to the balance of the masculine and feminine aspects within all of us.
Nowadays, Hatha yoga is said to be the basis of most forms of physical yoga postures that there is. It is a term that can be used to describe every kind of yoga asana practice, such as Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Power Yoga and more. Many of these contemporary types of physical yoga can be more accurately described as Hatha Yoga, as the basis of these practices are derived from it.
Today, Hatha yoga is often used to describe a gentle, basic kind of yoga with no flow in between the postures. There is no set sequence in Hatha Yoga like there is in Ashtanga Yoga. Therefore, Hatha teachers may create their own sequence when giving their classes, making each class different, depending on each individual teacher. In a Hatha yoga class, you can expect a slow pace with a focus on stretching the body. The class may begin with some pranayama exercises, in order to find balance in our equilibrium and may end with a seated meditation.
Many yoga studios these days also offer a Hatha Vinyasa Flow class (or Hatha Flow class) which is when you move from pose to pose in a non-stop sequence. This of course makes a basic hatha class more dynamic because of the fluidity from posture to posture. In this case, you may see both Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga on the schedule at your studio. For more clarification, it is best to ask your studio how the classes differ or to try them out for yourself to see which is best to your liking.
Classical Hatha Yoga also has its own Sun Salutation system, which differs from the traditional Ashtanga Yoga Sun Salutation method. You can take a look at the photo below:
The main difference between the two sun salutation methods are the postures and the order of sequence they are in. There are many benefits in the daily practice of Sun Salutations. It strengthens the digestive system and improves the functioning of the whole body. The whole process purifies the blood and improves blood circulation throughout the entire body. Usually sun salutations start at the beginning of a class in order to warm up the body and blood flow for your yoga session.
We hope you have learned a little bit more about Hatha Yoga, it’s qualities and it’s benefits. We suggest that if you are a beginner to yoga, Hatha yoga is a great introduction for your personal practice. Hatha classes are good for working on your alignment, learning relaxation techniques as well as finding comfort in practicing yoga. Though it may be considered a gentle yoga, do not confuse it for being an “easy” yoga. The practice may be just as challenging, both physically and mentally. Finally, always remember to enjoy the process of your yoga journey.