‘Most forms of yoga in the West can be classified as Hatha Yoga. Hatha simply refers to the practice of physical yoga postures, meaning your Ashtanga, vinyasa, Iyengar and Power Yoga classes are all Hatha Yoga. The word “hatha” can be translated two ways: as “willful” or “forceful,” or the yoga of activity, and as “sun” (right side) (ha) and “moon” (left side) (tha), the yoga of balance. Hatha practices are designed to align and calm your body, mind, and spirit in preparation for meditation.’
– Yoga Journal online: https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/types-of-yoga/hatha
Having a deeper understanding of the body, through Hatha Yoga means a deeper understanding of the mind. With Hatha Yoga we are not trying to philosophize, but simply trying to practice. Simply balancing the energy we have within us.
Hatha Yoga is an active practice. You become your ‘therapist’ and observe your process of healing.
HATHA YOGA IS:
Stillness and lightness in the body
Health; absence of illness in body (if we are doing it correctly)
Constant body awareness (when we are in the body. We are out of the mind!)
Understanding, not forcing! Be gentle with you…
Becoming friendly with your body – accepting where you are and knowing you are moving in the right direction: progress not perfection!
While Hatha yoga focuses mainly on the physical body, the mental benefits are endless, including; More gratitude as your body becomes more healthy, then in turn, your mind does too! It also allows you to get in tune with ‘being’ and not thinking (out of the mind as I mentioned). This allows us to be centered, with more clarity.
The 7 limbs (components of Hatha Yoga
(Not 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga, this is a different practice)
LIMB 1 SHATKRIYAS
6 cleansing techniques
- neti: nasal cleansing.
- dhauti: Cleansing of half GI tract – esophagus
- Kapalbhati: Active Exhalation.
- Nauli: Intestinal hygiene
- Basti: colon hygiene (yep cleansing the colon!)
- tratak: Eye gaze, without blinking eyes.
LIMB 2 ASANA
The physical poses. Hatha yoga focuses on only 15 main poses/classes of poses
Less is more in yoga!
Through the constant practice of asana we work towards becoming ‘bodiless’ in the asana. We drop the body for a moment in time.
Our goal of the asana is ultimately to remove pain from body to enjoy meditation
The physical benefits of asana:
Muscles and joins
Capillary movement of blood flows easily. Sufficient blood flow replenishes cells.
Improves the function of internal organs
Helps reduce diseases in the body
Increases vitality of the body
Allows you to regain health.
LIMB 3 MITAHAR
Yogic diet. Eating food and seeing how you feel after AKA mindful eating.
Mitahar also talks about the quality of food: Regional, Seasonal, Organic and the quantity: Eat as much as you can fit in your cupped palms!
Mitahar also encourages eating in silence and chewing more to produce more saliva. Chew 32 times as you have 32 teeth!
Mitahar then talks about eating for age
50+: 16 mouthful per meal
Family age: 32 mouthfuls
Students: according to need, not greed!
And finally, our mental attitude to food, and that we are encouraged to:
1 Grow food
2 Cook food
3 Set an intention while serving food. Serve with love
4 Set an intention while eating (if not serving/cooking):. Be thankful for those who are cooking. Gratitude!
LIMB 4 NADI SHODHANA
Cleansing of the nadis – the channels in which energy flows
This is alternative nostril breathing and works on the ‘ha’ and ‘tha’ energies (see introduction).
ANULOM VILOMA is a form of alternative nostril breathing with retention (holding the breath). This classes it as pranayama (life energy/breath work). See limb 5.
LIMB 5 PRANAYAMA
Life force/energy/breath: Retention of the breath
There are many different types.
- SURYA BHEDI
- UJJAI (you may be most familiar with this – Victorious breath – Contract glottis – Ocean sound)
- BHRAMARI (Bee breath)
- SITALI (Roll tongue. Cooling breath)
- SITKARI (For people who can’t do the tongue roll. Teeth together tongue behind teeth. Cooling breath)
LIMB 6 MUDRA
Mudra = Asana plus retention plus lock
Eg, shoulder stand, plow.
LIMB 7 NADANUSANDHANA
Sound research. Focus on different places sounds are coming from.