Hatha yoga is the most widely recognized and practiced form of yoga and is known as a forceful yogic style. Hatha represents opposing energies - hot and cold, male and female, positive and negative. Practice of Hatha Yoga can result in achieving a balance of your nervous system, circulation, digestive and endocrine systems. It is described as a preparatory stage that prepares the body for higher aspects of meditation.
It is claimed that Hatha Yoga is a branch of knowledge that had its origins from Lord Shiva (the Chief God from the pantheon of Hindu mythology) himself. Hatha yoga is also known as Hatha vidya. Historical records reveal that it was sage Yogi Swatmarama who introduced Hatha yoga system during the fifteenth century in India in his compilation Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
Practice of Hatha Yoga
Traditionally Hatha Yoga comprises asanas or physical exercises, pranayama and meditation. The current trend is to emphasis on the physical part of Hatha Yoga practice. It is noticed that more emphasis is placed on asanas or postures. As a form of physical exercise, hatha yoga offers postures that encompass various complexity grades and aid in toning up internal organs and adding to body flexibility. It helps to release the endorphins in the brain like any other exercise program.
Hatha yoga poses seek to align the body, mind and spirit and calm the entire system. Holding each pose and paying attention to breath is at the core of each Hatha yoga asana. When we pay attention to our breath, we can help calm the mind. You inhale as you stretch out and open the body and exhale when you contract the body or lower your hands. When an asana or pose is held, you need to breathe normally. These are some asanas or poses often used in Hatha yoga sequences:
Adho Mukha Svanasana: Downward dog
Tadasana: Mountain pose
Baddha konasana: Cobblers pose
Paschimottanasana: Seated forward bend
Sethubanda asana: Bridge pose
Bhujangasana: Cobra pose
Benefits of Hatha Yoga