When it comes to a fitness form that can be done within the confines of the home, with much ease, yoga tops the list. Today, yoga is available to us in different forms, and it can be very difficult to decide which form of yoga would be the best suited for them. In that case, one may start with Hatha yoga, since it is a very mild and gentle form of yoga.
The word “Hatha” comprises of two words, “ha” meaning sun and “tha” meaning moon. Therefore hatha yoga is the union of two opposite energies.
The yoga is also known as Hatha Vidya. The yoga has been around since the 15th century in India. Ancient philosophies state that this yoga is a way to purify the body making it fit and suited for higher meditation. While Hatha means sun and moon, yoga, on the other hand, decides to join the two forces of energy, ie, the sun – considered to be active and masculine; and the moon – considered receptive and feminine.
[Read: Integral Yoga for Beginners]
Practice Of Hatha Yoga:
Hatha yoga, as per Indian tradition, is one of the four chief traditions of Tantra Yoga. Hatha yoga focuses on the practice of asanas (physical poses) and pranayama (breathing exercises). This helps in vitalising the subtle channels in the human body called the Nadis. Hatha yoga, hence, concentrates on the 3rd and 4th steps of the Ashtanga Yoga. Hatha yoga helps to remove the obstacles, so that an individual may be able to go to further steps, i.e.
1. Pratyahara (sense-withdrawal)
2. Dharana (concentration)
3. Dhyana (meditation)
4. Samadhi (Balance)
The Asanas In Hatha Yoga has Two Essential objectives:
1. In order to practice meditation, you must be very good at performing one pose, in which you would be able to remain comfortable for a long time. The more poses you master, you could get better at meditation.
2. The asanas impart health and energy to the body and mind of the individual, as a result of which the Nadis are opened. If done regularly, the path of Hatha yoga would be opened to you of its own accord.
Pranayama is very crucial in Hatha yoga because it helps a person to master breathing. If one learns to master their breathing, then mastering the mind becomes much easier. Breathing exercise helps you to regulate the flow of life force, caller prana, throughout your body and mind.
To Master breath control, practice this first step to proceed to pranayama:
1. Begin by lying down on your back, on a flat surface. Relax and start to follow your breath.
2. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
3. Practice belly breathing by inhaling deeply, such that the hand on the belly goes up but the one on your chest remains still. Exhale such that the hand on the belly goes down, but the hand on the chest remains still. Repeat this exercise at least 5 – 10 times.
4. Now for chest breathing exercise, inhale in a way that the hand on your chest goes up, but the one on the belly remains still. Exhale, such that the hand on the chest descends and the hand on your belly remains still. Do the same for at least 5 – 10 times.
Do this exercise for ten minutes, alternating between chest and belly exercise. Continue to do this exercise every day until you master this thoroughly. You would get much better by doing this exercise for at least two or three times a day. This is the most basic of breath control exercise and henceforth important to do this before proceeding to the next steps.
Basic Asanas In Hatha Yoga:
1. Mountain Pose / Tadasana:
2. Child Pose /Balasana:
3. Cobra Pose / Bhujangasana:
4. Warrior Pose / Veerabhadrasana:
5. Tree Pose / Vrikshasana:
6. Triangle Pose / Trikonasana:
7. Corpse Pose / Shavasana:
Benefits Of Hatha Yoga:
Hatha yoga has lots of physical and therapeutic benefits. The major physical benefits are listed below:
1. Hatha yoga can help one boost their immune system.
2. It improves the blood circulation in the body.
3. Doing hatha yoga can improve body posture.
4. One may also feel their spine strengthen on regular practice.
5. It improves the digestion process and also aids in eliminating waste from the body.
6. Problems like tight shoulders and neck, scoliosis and swayback can be healed by doing Hatha yoga.
7. It helps to improve the posture of the body.
8. Like any other yoga form, Hatha yoga aids in making a person more flexible and aids in muscle joint mobility.
9. It helps to lower the cholesterol and blood sugar levels in the body.
10. It encourages weight loss and improves stamina.
11. Since it stresses on Pranayama, it improves breathing disorders and heart conditions.
12. It rouses the endocrinal glands and also relieves back pain.
The mental benefits that one can gain by doing Hatha yoga are listed below:
1. It makes a person more aware of his body.
2. It frees the spirit.
3. The mind and body are relaxed by doing Hatha yoga
4. Chronic stress patterns of the body are relieved by doing Hatha yoga
5. Hatha yoga relieves muscle strain and hence refreshes the body.
6. It sharpens a person’s concentration and makes a person centre his attention to what he puts his mind to.
Hatha yoga is also said to ease symptoms of several diseases that may be fatal. Some of them are chronic fatigue, diabetes, asthma, arthritis and arteriosclerosis. There is also a belief that certain conditions with respect to old age may also be controlled by performing Hatha yoga.
Hatha yoga can be considered as one of the perfect fitness routines that can cater to people of all age groups. One can easily stay fit and in shape by performing Hatha yoga. It also develops coordination balance and creates a sense of self-awareness. Stretching and toning various muscles and stimulating the internal organs and regulating their functions are some of its benefits. The styles in Hatha yoga may focus on either concentrating on the alignment of the body or synchronising the body movements and breathe control. When one starts to perform Hatha yoga, they near a state of complete bliss and mental equilibrium called Samadhi.