Hatha yoga is the most practiced form of yoga in the west. Hatha yoga is a somewhat slower form of yoga in which the yoga postures (asanas) are held for a number of breaths. By standing in a posture for a longer amount of time, you have more time to deepen the posture and also work with the breath. This makes it a great yoga form for beginners as the posture is carefully built up from the base and you have time to get to know the postures. But also for more advanced students hatha yoga is a beautiful form because you get the time to go deeper into the postures. Hatha yoga can therefore vary quite a bit in terms of difficulty, depending on which postures are done in a class. In general, the lessons of Bridge of Life studio are suitable for beginners and for more advanced students, extra options are given to go a step further.
In hatha classes a combination of the postures (asanas), breathing techniques and a bit of meditation is often used. That said, hatha yoga can also be a beautiful challenge because you stay still in a pose. Most yoga forms that you see today are derived from hatha yoga. Iyengar, yin and ashtanga are in a way forms of hatha yoga.
The word hatha can be interpreted in two ways. As one word, "hatha" can be translated as "effort", "strength" or "will power". By looking at the translation in this way you can conclude that hatha yoga is a yoga form in which physical exercises are the starting point. Spiritual depth can then be gone into from those physical postures. In addition, the practice of hatha yoga requires willpower if you want to progress and delve into the underlying yoga path, with samadhi as the goal.
In Sanskrit, "ha" means sun and "tha" means moon. You can see this as the opposites in life such as light and dark, yin and yang, rough and soft. Hatha yoga is about finding a balance between all these things. For example, both the more powerful and challenging postures and the softer and more relaxed postures are done in a class. All the while using the breath to find balance between work and relaxation in each posture.
If you would like to learn more about specific yoga postures, take a look at the asanbook.
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