Hatha Yoga in Practice: Asana and Pranayama
The word “asana” is Sanskrit for “seat,” which refers to both physical body position and the position of the body in relation to Divinity. Originally, asanas were performed for the purpose of meditation wherein one held a position for a long period of time; today yoga poses are more often associated with increasing muscle strength and flexibility. Most importantly, Hatha yoga postures are designed to open up blocked meridians or channels for the free flow of energy in the body. On a less tangible level, rewards of asanas include increased mental power, concentration, and breath control.
Pranayama, another key concept in Hatha yoga, is comprised of the Sanskrit terms ‘Prana,’ meaning life force, and ‘Ayama,’ meaning to prolong or regulate. Pranayama is thus the science and practice of regulating the breath. Learning to control one’s breath is among the most fundamental principles in yoga and is considered by the ancient yogis as the secret to controlling one’s mind. Furthermore, Pranayama is said to help activate dormant energies in the body.
Hatha Yoga Class
Hatha yoga classes a great fit for beginners and are also popular amongst more advanced students who push themselves by holding their poses longer and deeper. You can expect a slow-paced practice which focuses on breathing, poses, and meditation. Through the removal of blockages and improved flow of the life force in the body, the practice of Hatha helps fight disease and illness and promotes balance and harmony in the system.
Benefits of Hatha Yoga
- Reduced Stress
- Better physical fitness
- Improved balance and flexibility
- Increased range of motion
- Improved posture and proper body alignment
- Better lung capacity
- Decreased risk of physical injuries
- Better management of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure/heart disease
- Alleviation of depression and anxiety
- Greater peace of mind
- Improved sleep