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Hatha Yoga- A Guide to India's Most Ancient and Sacred Yoga Practice

When we think of yoga, more often than not, we imagine complex poses and associate weight loss with it. Some people think of yoga pants while others contemplate joining the bandwagon to appear cool. The truth is that the real essence and meaning of yoga has long been forgotten. Authentic yoga has been overshadowed by fancy terms and complex poses. 

We can connect to the roots of yoga by understanding its origin and history. The origin of yoga came from Hatha Yoga- India’s ancient and sacred practice. Let’s explore more about this magnificent form of yoga in depth.

Meaning of Hatha

If we begin to break the word ‘Hatha’, ‘Ha’ means sun and ‘Tha’ means moon in Sanskrit. The aim of this yoga practice is to form a balance between our feminine and masculine energies. It also helps in purifying your energy and making you more disciplined. Hatha Yoga is known to be the origin from where other branches of yoga came into existence. 

According to Sadhguru, Hatha yoga prepares an individual for true yoga which means experiencing everything as oneness in your consciousness. He further mentions that it is important for your body, mind, and breath to work as a single unit to incorporate all the aspects of who you are. 

A typical Hatha Yoga class consists of Breath, asanas, mudras, bandha, mantras, relaxation, and visualization. In recent times, most people miss out on the real meaning of yoga and simply perceive it as an exercise. Yoga is about making your mind flexible and not just your body. With a strong practice you can reach deeper states in meditation and unblock your energy. 

History of Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga has its origin way back in the era of the founding father, Patanjali who is the author of Yoga Sutras. Hatha yoga was practiced back in the day as yoga asanas are a preparation for deep meditation. Thus, it can be said that Hatha yoga has been there for a long time and one must understand the true practice and purpose of yoga. You can find more information about Hatha yoga from ‘The Hatha Yoga Pradipika’ which is an influential text discussing everything that you must know. 

It talks about Yoga asanas, Shatkarma, Pranayama, Mudras, Chakras, Meditation, Kundalini, Nada Yoga, and much more. The book is divided into four chapters. The first chapter talks about how each yoga posture must be performed for making the yoga effective. The second chapter talks about Pranayama followed by Shatkarma and Kriyas. While the third chapter is about Mudras, fourth one talks about the final aim of Hatha yoga i.e. to reach Samadhi. 

How is Hatha Yoga Different from Vinyasa Yoga?

The Vinyasa yoga can be described as the flow of yoga where the asanas blend seamlessly within each other. You hardly pause after a movement or pose. It is a fast paced practice and known as power yoga by many people. 

Vinyasa also offers similar benefits as Hatha yoga such as flexibility and strength but is relatively fast-paced and considered modern form of yoga. It can feel dancy and flowy. However, you must not undermine Hatha Yoga as holding the poses using Pranayama breathing techniques can be challenging both mentally and physically. 

Hatha yoga pays more attention to slowing down the breath in each movement helping you reach a higher state of meditation as you open up nadis and chakras. The main goal of Hatha is to awaken the Kundalini energy through asana and Pranayama. 

Both styles have their own benefits and you can try them both to decide which form of yoga works better for you. 

Hatha Yoga Poses for Beginners

  • Tadasana- Mountain pose
  • Vrikshasana- Tree Pose
  • Uttanasana- Standing Forward Bend
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana- Downward Facing Dog
  • Setu Bandhasana- Bridge Pose
  • Paschimottanasana- Seated Forward Bend

Benefits of Hatha Yoga

  • Promotes cardiac health
  • Helps in getting rid of anxiety and depression
  • Promotes emotional health and well-being
  • Helps in managing stress
  • Promotes flexibility of mind and body
  • Induces better sleep
  • Helps you achieve healthy lifestyle
  • Leads to healthy and glowing skin
  • Strengthens your core
  • Improves your balance and posture

Hatha Yoga Retreats

If all the interesting insight on Hatha yoga has got you excited to immerse yourself in it and witness its benefits, join some amazing yoga retreat. Here’s a few of them for your reference.

  • 5 day immersive Hatha yoga retreat in Pokhra, Nepal
  • 8 day ‘laugh with your inner child’ yoga retreat in Austria
  • 10 day life transforming Hatha yoga retreat in South Africa

You can find more information about these retreats online and make bookings on their website by connecting via email or telephone. The retreats are a great way of experiencing any form of yoga without committing for a longer duration which is demanded by yoga teacher training courses. Learning yoga amidst beautiful and serene surroundings is a unique experience which relaxes and rejuvenates your mind and body. 

Hatha Yoga Teacher’s Training

If you wish to ace the nuances of Hatha Yoga and aspire to spread the true essence of yoga to others, the Hatha yoga Teacher’s Training Course is an ideal choice for you. Irrespective of whether you are a beginner or advanced practitioner, the YTTC will offer everything you need. In fact, the training will improve and enhance your regular yoga practice. And after the training you will be entitled to make a career as yoga tutor in any part of the world. 

You can join the following programs for your YTTC:

  • 200-hour Hatha & Ashtanga Vinyasa flow teacher training- Goa, India
  • 27 day 200-hour Hatha/ Vinyasa YTT - Rishikesh, India
  • 30 day 200-hour Hatha yoga teacher training - Bali, Indonesia

The above mentioned facts and information might have changed your perception about yoga and how its ultimate goal is to attain peace and oneness. 

This blog post is written by Chinmay Yoga in India-

Chinmay Yoga is a Yoga School in Dharamsala, India which works to spread yoga knowledge by providing free drop-in classes, conducting yoga teacher training in India (Yoga Alliance) for 799 USD with amazing homemade food, great accommodation with air conditioning and very knowledgeable yoga teachers from India. Chinmay Yoga also works for the nature and surroundings around it by planting trees and installing dustbins in the city. Learn more about them from www.chinmayyoga.com and on Instagram 

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Tags: 200, 300, alliances, certification, courses, dharamshala, hours, in, india, teacher, More…training, yoga, yttc

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