What is Hatha Yoga?

What is Hatha Yoga?

The Yoga that we practice in the West is more properly called Hatha Yoga, which encompasses all the different styles you will find at any Yoga studio, such as Iyengar, Shivananda, Ashtanga, which each come from the teachings of specific gurus. But whereas many classes you will come across focus on the physicality of the postures (asana) and on achieving flexibility and strength, these aren’t the only things Hatha Yoga is intended for.

Hatha Yoga can be translated as Forceful Yoga and is ultimately about self-realisation through perfecting the body. Looked at another way, the practice of asana, together with other techniques, can lead to improved self-awareness through turning the attention inward and quieting the mind. The ultimate goal of Yoga, therefore, is to work upon the mind by means of working with the body.

Hatha Yoga is practised by millions of people worldwide, and by anyone, irrespective of age or sex.

Why practice yoga?

The practice of Yoga is concerned with techniques which help us to achieve a state of inner stillness, mindfulness and self-awareness. In bringing this goal about, we gain the additional benefits of developing a strong, flexible and healthy body.

The practice includes various approaches such as breathing techniques, diet, relaxation and meditation alongside the standard work with postures. The effects of practising yoga can be both curative and preventative in terms of physical and mental health.

Different forms of yoga focus on different aspects of the above techniques, some on relaxation and mental well-being, others on physical exercise and strengthening and toning the body. You may tend towards one approach more than another, or vary your practice over time, but, in essence, regular practice of Yoga makes you feel good!