If you are considering taking up a new form of exercise or finding an activity that will improve your overall well-being, then you may consider yoga as one of your options. However, you may be surprised to learn that there are many types of yoga rather than just one singular form. One such variety that you may come across is Hatha yoga.
What is Hatha Yoga?
While some forms of yoga are very specific in their practices, Hatha yoga is more of a general category that encompasses many other types of yoga. Some of these include Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Vinyasa, although there are many other types of yoga that fit into the category of Hatha yoga. Most yoga classes in the western world are Hatha yoga. This means that Hatha yoga can vary greatly. There are some varieties that are very calm and suited to beginners. Others are more advanced, dynamic and challenging.
It is possible to interpret the word ‘Hatha’ in two different ways. The first is the direct translation as this word means willful or forceful. This represents the activity of yoga. The second interpretation involves breaking down the word into two parts. ‘Ha’ means the sun and ‘tha’ means the moon. This is representative of yoga balance.
The Aims of Hatha Yoga
The aim of Hatha yoga is to calm and align your mind and body. It is designed as a preparation for meditation. A further aim is to elevate your consciousness. Your posture often reflects your emotions. The postures, or asanas, used in yoga will elevate your consciousness and free you of external factors impacting on your well-being.
Physical Health Benefits
The physical benefits of practicing yoga are many. Hatha yoga is fantastic for improving posture, flexibility, and suppleness. Each of these will contribute to good bone and muscle health while also preventing problems with joints.
It is also good for cardiovascular health. Not only does it improve circulation, it can also keep your heart rate steady and lower blood your pressure. The latter is associated with having reduced levels of stress and keeping calm. There are also some more unexpected physical benefits, as certain postures are proven to help people with specific ailments and health conditions. Some of these include sinusitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, insomnia, and sciatica. There is some evidence to suggest that Hatha yoga can even benefit problems with menstruation and infertility.
Benefits to Mental and Emotional Health
One of the major reasons why people choose to practice yoga is to reap the rewards that this activity will provide in terms of improved mental and emotional well-being.
Hatha yoga relaxes the mind and releases tension in the body. When people practicing it focus on their breathing, it helps them to focus and they are less distracted by external influences. As it is external factors that often cause people stress, removing these issues from the mind can leave you feeling a lot calmer.
People who have cravings can also benefit from practicing Hatha yoga. Food cravings have a detrimental effect on physical health, but it is often mental and emotional health that is the crux of the problem. Many people who have cravings have stated that once they have begun practicing Hatha yoga, the cravings have vanished.
Similarly, unhealthy behavioral patterns are also usually caused by mental or emotional difficulties, but the effects of these behaviors are often physical. Some examples include oversleeping, smoking and taking drugs. This yoga yoga helps these people to calm their minds and break their unhealthy behavioral patterns.
People who suffer from mental health conditions, such as stress, depression, and anxiety, may find Hatha yoga particularly helpful, as it will help to alleviate some of their symptoms. The relaxation and calmness provided by Hatha yoga are at the root of this as it helps to promote positive thinking. Becoming more self-aware and avoiding the distractions of external influences are other reasons why people with stress, depression or anxiety will benefit from Hatha yoga.
If you start yoga classes, the probability is that it will be Hatha. It’s the most popular form of yoga. Choosing to practice it has many benefits to physical, mental and emotional health.