The Roots Of Hatha Yoga
Hatha yoga is a broad term which refers to an Indian tradition of spiritual and physical practices to prepare the yogi (student) to achieve a higher state of consciousness.
Encompassed within are a set of ethical guidelines and correct behaviours to help the practitioner ascend to an enlightened state.
The goal being to finally free oneself from the wheel of birth and rebirth (re-incarnation and karma).
Hatha yoga practice therefore has many elements; behavioural, spiritual and physical.
In our westernised culture, Hatha yoga is mostly understood as asanas (physical postures) and is largely practiced as such.
In Indian and Tibetan traditions Hatha yoga is however much more, extending well beyond a sophisticated set of physical exercises to ideas of ethical living, physical and spiritual cleansing, breath control, meditation and ascention to a higher state of being.
Hatha Yoga Classes Today
The practice of Hatha yoga as we experience classes today have evolved away from being an ethical way of life and being to a practice of the physical postures with some styles emphasising the more energetic aspects such as breathing exercises, chanting and meditation practices.
Hatha yoga does remain about bringing balance to both body and mind, with ‘Ha’ representing the energetic elements of the sun while ‘tha’ represents those of the moon. The sequence of poses and counterposes within most Hatha yoga classes, opening with a Sun Salutation (Suryanamaskar) and closing with Relaxation (Savasana) aims to bring balance to the opposing energetic forces within us.
A yoga class described as ‘Hatha’ will usually involve a set of physical postures (yoga asanas) and breathing techniques, practised more slowly and with more static postures than for example a Vinyasa flow or Ashtanga class.
Hatha yoga is therefore a more traditional presentation of postures taught in a methodical way and less stylised than modern varieties which have emerged over recent decades.
Classes advertised as Hatha may be a more appropriate starting point for those new to yoga and exercise to ensure they have grasped safe and proper technique before advancing into, for example, Vinyasa Flow or Power Yoga style classes.
Yoga Classes in Glasgow For All levels and Abilities
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