What is Hatha Yoga

What exactly is Hatha Yoga?

There are many different forms of yoga. So many, in fact, that sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees. Or, your mat is out of options due to the styles….

Hatha yoga is one of the most popular forms of yoga. Book Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh to learn more about Hatha Yoga.

So in this blog, I want to give a little more attention to this form of yoga. Among other things, you will find out:

  • Where the name Hatha Yoga comes from
  • What exactly Hatha Yoga is and what purpose it serves.
  • The difference between Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga and Yin Yoga
  • What the popular Hatha Yoga postures are
  • What the benefits of Hatha Yoga are

Are you ready for it? I’d be happy to tell you more about it below!

FAQs about Hatha Yoga

1. what is hatha yoga?

Hatha Yoga is a very comprehensive form of yoga and the foundation for many other styles of yoga. It focuses on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of our existence.

What exactly is Hatha Yoga

2. What types of yoga are derived from Hatha Yoga?

Iyengar, Ashtanga, Anusara, Kripalu, Power, Integral Yoga and many other forms of yoga are all derived from the original Hatha Yoga.

3. What does Hatha Yoga mean?

When searching for the meaning of Hatha Yoga, the description of Ha & Tha is often given. Ha’ is the sun, the active, the masculine, yang. And ‘Tha’ is the moon, the feminine, the calm, the yin.

In this way, opposites are brought together, including body, mind and energy.

What does “Hatha” yoga mean?

As with many Sanskrit words, the word Hatha can have many different meanings and be interpreted in different ways.

When searching for the meaning of Hatha Yoga, the description of Ha & Tha is often given. ‘Ha’ is the sun, the active, the masculine, yang. And ‘Tha’ is the moon, the feminine, the calm, the yin.

So in this interpretation, Hatha Yoga is the union of the polarized dimensions of our existence – the masculine and the feminine. These include the body, the mind and our energy.

The analogy of Ha & Tha to sun and moon is correct, but sun and moon are not the literal meaning of these words.

Sun and moon refer to the energy channels called “nadis” in the yoga tradition. The energy channels to which the sun and moon refer are Ida and Pingala.

You can’t wait any longer and want to know now what Hatha Yoga is and what benefits it could have for you?

Hatha is powerful

Another meaning of the word Hatha is “powerful”. This is a reference to the physical and powerful asanas that are sometimes practiced in Hatha yoga.

It was called powerful because yoga used to be mainly an exercise for the mind. There were hardly any physical postures, with the exception of seated meditation postures.

It is interesting to note that hatha yoga classes today are not called very physical at all. Hatha yoga classes are moderately intense classes compared to many other styles.

Hatha Yoga

Yoga in the West has changed our perception of yoga so that a yoga practice is generally much more physical.

While Hatha yoga used to be described as powerful, today this is more true of styles like Power Yoga, Vinyasa, and Ashtanga.

Powerful doesn’t always refer to the physical aspect

However, “powerful” can also refer to the strength, energy or discipline required to move forward in the process of transformation.

In this regard, Hatha Yoga is incredibly powerful because it is a style of yoga that focuses on releasing energy.

Yoga is a path with many obstacles, and we need to develop personal strength to become stronger than the obstacles we face.

By the way, the term “strength” does not mean that hatha yoga classes are not focused on relaxation. The calm energy of the moon is as important in hatha yoga as the fiery energy of the sun.

Power generation is at its best when it is also controlled and balanced. We can then focus this power on our dreams, goals and personal development. Hatha yoga symbolizes this.

Purpose of Hatha Yoga

This also brings us directly to the “purpose” of Hatha Yoga. It is about balance, and ultimately, through effort and relaxation, we work towards a state of balance and equilibrium.

The goal of hatha yoga is to bring the body and mind together, to get in touch with oneself and achieve unity. This creates inner peace and harmony.

For many people in the West, hatha yoga is an important means of stress relief. Participating in yoga classes often makes you more flexible, but also has a very positive effect on the organs and nervous system.

Yoga is much more than just “relaxation” and “stretching”.

So what is hatha yoga?

What you may not have known is that most modern forms of yoga are a branch of Hatha Yoga.

As different as they may seem, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Anusara, Kripalu, Power, Integral Yoga and other forms of physical yoga are all forms of yoga based on the physical aspect and are all derived from the original Hatha Yoga.

Hatha Yoga can be described as a system for self-transformation. Balancing the body, mind and energy to reduce suffering (dukha) and increase happiness (sukha).

The book ‘The Hatha Yoga Pradipika’ describes the basics of Hatha Yoga and explains a fourfold system in four different chapters:

  • Asana
  • Purification, Pranayama
  • Bandha, Mudra, Kriya and Kundalini
  • Meditation, relaxation exercises, Samadhi

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is actually a compilation of many previous writings on yoga, bringing together different ideas about yoga.

So it can be considered as a kind of summary of the essence of important different sides of yoga. This makes it one of the fundamental books in the world of yoga.

Yogas Chitta Vritti Nirodha

Important in this method is the element of prana. Once you google the meaning of yoga, you quickly come across the following definition:

‘Yogas Chitta Vritti Nirodha’.

Translation: “Yoga is the calming of the fluctuations of the mind”.

The Hatha Yoga tradition, on the other hand, says: ‘Prana-vrtti-nirodhah’.

Rather than trying to control the mind, the Hatha Yoga tradition focuses more on controlling prana. Our life energy, prana, and our mind are interconnected.

When one is disturbed, so is the other. Hatha yogis believe that it is easier to work with prana (including breathing) than with the mind.

Imagine: Many people find it much easier to control their breathing than their thoughts.

If we can control the breath, we can control our life energy and thus get a handle on our changeable mind.

What is Hatha Yoga

Difference between Hatha Yoga and Yin Yoga

Where Hatha Yoga is associated with the term “powerful”, that is basically everything that Yin Yoga is not.

Yin is a much newer form of yoga that emerged in the 1970s. Yin Yoga is the answer to the increasingly physical Hatha Yoga with branches like Power Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga.

In Yin Yoga, you focus on a specific area in a posture that you tense. If you hold the posture for a long time, you often notice that your body releases more and more of this tension.

So you find more and more space in a posture and your body can often relax down to the connective tissue.

Yin yoga is all about finding relaxation and bringing calm to your everyday life. Something that many people need in this day and age.

This is also the reason why Yin Yoga is becoming more and more popular. One good thing.

Read More: 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Rishikesh

Hatha yoga is a more comprehensive style of yoga

If you compare Yin to traditional Hatha Yoga, it is less transformative. It’s mostly about relaxation and finding peace. This is not the case with Hatha.

Hatha yoga is more comprehensive in that sense, focusing on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of our existence. In Yin Yoga, you see this less.

Yin Yoga is also a form of yoga that originated in the West and is therefore less traditional.

So although Hatha and Yin Yoga are fundamentally different, they sometimes come quite close.

What does a hatha yoga class look like?

Hatha classes often start in a seated position, with a short mindfulness meditation. Then you do various asanas and sometimes pranayama exercises. You end with savasana and sometimes do another meditation before or after.

In Hatha classes you learn to stay longer in one posture, one asana.

In the beginning this can sometimes be uncomfortable, for example because you get into postures that are difficult (physically or mentally). But it is here that you can gain and grow, for example by becoming stronger or learning to find more balance.

Asanas also provide you with a lot of energy and bring health to the body.

Pranayama exercises are not covered in detail in every class, but they are very important in hatha yoga. They play a role in regulating breathing, energizing and releasing the breath.

Structure of Hatha Yoga Exercises

Hatha yoga exercises can be done individually (i.e., as a single exercise), but they can also be combined in a series.

You or the yoga instructor then make a logical progression during a series of asanas. For example, think of exercises in standing, followed by exercises in sitting, and concluding with exercises in lying down.

You can also do opposite exercises. For example, after a forward bend, you do an exercise backward.

A preset series has a different effect at each different time. After all, you feel different every day and every moment of the day.

Positive effects of hatha yoga exercises

Hatha yoga exercises have a positive effect on many different areas of the human body. For example, you can concentrate better and your memory works better.

They also clear your head and reduce stress.

Hatha yoga exercises are also good for your nervous system and organ functions. In addition, it builds muscle strength.

Your body and mind are connected and make you more balanced.

What should you look for in hatha yoga exercises?

In hatha yoga, it is very important that you do not force yourself. It is not a competition.

Do what feels right, and if it doesn’t, adapt the exercise to your needs. Especially for beginners, it might feel a little uncomfortable at first. In that case, adjust the exercises.

The breath guides the movement. It is very important to inhale and exhale properly and use the full lung capacity. This improves blood circulation and allows more oxygen to enter the blood. This creates more energy.


Contact Us: Rishikesh Yoga Gurukulam, Tapovan, Laxman Jhula, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, 249192, India
+91-9300987000 [email protected]


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