Hatha Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word ha, meaning “sun,” and tha, meaning “moon.” The practice of Hatha Yoga aims to balance these two energies (masculine/feminine, strong/soft, yin/yang) to achieve an equilibrium in the body, mind and the spirit. A Hatha Yoga class involves a set of physical postures (asana), progressive relaxation (savassana) and breathing techniques (pranayama).
Hatha Yoga is accessible to all levels of experience, given that a variety of poses are offered to students depending on their level of practice. The poses are practiced individually with more static holds, and the class is a lot slower than Vinyasa or Ashtanga Yoga.
The majority of poses are done seated and held for a couple of breaths to up to three minutes. According to yogic philosophy yoga asana (“asana” means a firm and comfortable posture) should always be held for some time, and when carried out slowly with great awareness, the practice will bring about physical well-being, mental clarity and concentration.
Hatha Yoga aims to lubricate the joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. It increases flexibility and stimulates the circulatory system. Emphasis is placed on the health of the spine, building strength and increasing mobility. The spine contains the central nervous system, and is considered to be direct extension of the brain. While maintaining the spine’s flexibility and health, the blood circulation is intensified, the nerves are supplied with nutrients and oxygen promoting health and well-being.
What you will need
You will need a smooth soft surface to practice on (yoga mat, carpet or a big towel), one yoga block (book or brick), strap (belt or scarf) and a firm blanket or a towel.