If you’ve ever attended a yoga class or even looked into trying yoga out, chances are you’ve seen the word hatha. But just what is hatha yoga? If you’re wondering what this common term means and whether you should incorporate hatha yoga into your practice, you’re in the right place. Hatha is a broad term that touches nearly all forms of yoga taught in the West. Understanding it can go a long way to helping establish a fruitful yoga practice.
The Meaning of Hatha Yoga
Hatha is best described as a general category that encompasses the most common types of yoga. Ashtanga, vinyasa, iyengar and power yoga all fall under the hatha umbrella. All share two main keystones:
- Asanas – yoga postures meant to improve physical being
- Pranayama – breathing exercises aimed at improving inner being
Overall, hatha yoga practice is meant to promote peace inside and out, and is considered the ideal preparation for deeper spiritual practices, like meditation.
What to Expect in a Hatha Yoga Class
Because hatha is a category that can include many different yoga types, it can be hard to know just what to expect from a hatha yoga class. Overall, hatha is rooted in bringing the mind and body into a state of peaceful balance. That means any type of hatha yoga will emphasize asanas paired with intentional, guided breathing. Expect gentle and basic postures, often held longer to allow for reflection and gradual improvement. Prepare to leave feeling longer and looser.
Should I Take a Hatha Yoga Class?
With their emphasis on gentle movement, hatha yoga styles are generally considered ideal for beginners. Anyone looking to build flexibility, promote mind-body alignment and slowly improve overall fitness could benefit from a hatha yoga class. Students interested in sweating it out in a fast-paced environment may want to explore other yoga styles.
For beginners looking to dip their toe in, to seasoned yogis, everyone can find something to enjoy with hatha yoga. Ready to give it a try? Check out some of our hatha yoga classes!