What is Hatha Yoga?

What is Hatha Yoga?

Hatha Yoga can be translated as "physical yoga" or "yoga of the body", and is the form of yoga practised in the West involving postures or asana. It is what most of us mean when we simply use the term yoga.

In more general terms, the word Yoga means union and may be interpreted as the union of mind, body and spirit or the integration of the personality with the inner self. The word indicates the goal as well as the journey to reach that goal and, with Hatha Yoga, this is achieved through respect for and work on the body.

Hatha Yoga can take many forms or styles such as Iyengar, Shivananda, Ashtanga, which come from the teachings of specific gurus.

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!