Hatha yoga is one of the most popular styles of yoga, both among students and teachers! Let’s learn about the power of Hatha. The term hatha (हठ) means “force” in Sanskrit. A better way to think of it is the use of force to reach the blissful state of union, or yoga. The aim of this practice is to slow things down, staying mindful of each movement, and taking time to ground yourself. The practitioners accomplish this by making their movements slower and more defined, with longer holds and deeper breaths. During a Hatha practice, the mind-body connection is stronger than ever, combining the effort of various parts of the body. The power of the mind is essential in this practice because it controls the urge to exit difficult poses. It is only the breath and willpower that keep you going.
History of Hatha Yoga
Originally, the force of Hatha was used to “burn off” karmas from the past in an attempt to live at peace with yourself. This would lead some yogis to put themselves through extreme challenges that would test their endurance and focus. Some examples of these drastic measures are submersion in freezing cold water, abstaining from sitting, and hanging upside-down, just to name a few. This type of practice trained the brain to ignore pain or suffering. It also caused the entire body to act in unison for the same purpose, abandoning “normal” behavior and switching into survival mode. Some people still practice such extremes to this day, although it’s not as common. Modern Hatha yoga is very different. It mostly uses difficult poses and transitions to test your physical limits and make the mind more resilient. In an attempt to increase the benefits of the practice, many studios use additional stimuli to activate all the senses in the body. It’s common to use light, music, incense, and various textures to invoke more response.
Benefits of Hatha Yoga
Just like with many other yoga practices, Hatha yoga is a path to a clear mind and a more profound connection to the inner being. Because of the longer holds and deeper breaths, regular practice results in more flexibility and balance. It creates more space in the body, expanding ligaments and joints to move more freely, with better lubrication. Hatha has also been proven to diminish boundaries that we inevitably create within our own minds. In turn, that helps you realize the potential of your body’s capabilities. Finally, the power and control that you can feel after a Hatha practice have an instant calming effect. In conclusion, Hatha is a great way to challenge yourself. Give it a try and you’ll be amazed!