With so many different yoga styles nowadays, if you are new to the practice, it can be difficult to know exactly what is involved in each different class. In this blog series, we are going to introduce you to the different styles of yoga that we teach here at Sanya, what a typical class will look like, and it’s benefits. And we will start off with Hatha Yoga.
A yoga class described as ‘Hatha’ will typically involve a set of physical postures (yoga poses) and breathing techniques, practised more slowly and with more static posture holds than perhaps a Vinyasa flow or Ashtanga class.
Whilst in the West yoga has been rather divorced from it’s spiritual root, and become a practice more focus on physical fitness, Hatha yoga grounds the practice back closer to it’s original aims.
Hatha yoga is about balancing the body and mind. With ‘ha’ representing the esoteric sun, and ‘tha’ the moon, and the practice of Hatha yoga aiming to join, or balance these two energies. We can understand this better by looking at the two different sides of our brain (left, right)…how one is more logical, rational and structured, and the other more creative, and expressive. When we rely too much on just one of these sides, we tend to struggle. Hatha yoga aims to promote mental and emotional equinity through the physical body. Each of the practice use the physical body as a means to calming the mind and helping us to detach from our neurotic thoughts.
Hatha yoga can be considered as anything you might do with the body, including:
A typical hatha class at Sanya may look like this:
Our hatha classes will start off with some pranayama breathing exercises. Breathing is one of the most important component of any physical yoga practice. The goal of pranayama is to strengthen the connection between your body and mind.
The warm up in a Hatha class is usually very gentle. The aim is to release any tension in key areas of the body like the wrists, neck, shoulders and ankles.
The typical asanas (physical poses) in a hatha yoga class will include;
Standing poses to help feel grounded and tall, and strengthen and stretch all the muscles in the legs, particularly the thighs, hamstrings, glutes, calves and ankles.
Balancing poses to help build deep core muscles and also find stillness, both physically and mentally;
Seated postures like forward folds and twists to help massage our internal organs, improving blood flow and digestion;
Backbends where you stretch the abdomen and open the heart space helping to improve posture and alleviate back pain;
Inversions which can assist the flow of lymph around the body, which helps to cleanse internally
Our hatha classes will finish with another one of the most important yoga poses, savasana. This is the final resting pose. Here you are lying down on your mat, totally relaxed, with your eyes closed. It’s the time for the physical body and nervous system to process the practice. Savasana will help to release any tension in the body and mind, and it will teach you to completely surrender and make space for peace and serenity within. It could be a silent savasana, or else a guided one including visualisations.
Experiencing Hatha Yoga
Hatha yoga is great for beginners at it is not too strenuous but still gives an amazing impact on the body and mind.
Through a hatha practice, you are essentially strengthening your physical, mental and emotional awareness. You are coordinating movement with the breath, paying attention to the sensations in your body without judgement or expectations and respecting your boundaries with self-compassion and kindness. Hatha yoga will help you to become aware of your current state, allowing you to create space and balance within and ground yourself.
The main benefits of a hatha yoga class are:
Meet our hatha yoga teacher, Larissa.
I always yearned for something deeper in my life and I never felt I received that until I discovered the practice of Meditation. A technique I found at Sanya which is truly powerful and have been practicing ever since. The more connected I got to my meditation practice the more I understood the meaning of Yoga. Not just in the asana form but also in our daily lives. To be more conscious with everything that crosses our path. To bring peace to our body and mind and to others. Trained in house, my classes are for anyone who would like to take a step back from their daily lives and find time to go within. Whether you are a beginner or you would like to experience a gentle Hatha flow, I look forward to meeting you.
Larissa teaches a Hatha beginners class every Tuesday at 9am and a gentle Hatha for all levels on Saturday at 9am. You can book through the mindbody app here or else call us on 21436936.