Hatha Yoga is what most people in the West mean when they say they practice yoga. It generally refers to the practice of the physical postures, or asanas, as well as the breathwork, or pranayama. There’s some focus on alignment, some classes may offer flowing from one posture to another, while other classes might be more gentle and relaxing. The goal of any asana practice, no matter how rigorous or gentle, is to prepare the body and mind for meditation.
If you look into yoga’s history and philosophy, you’ll find a deeper meaning of Hatha Yoga, which is a Sanskrit term. Hatha is defined as force or determined effort, which is where the focus on the physical practice comes from. If you break Hatha down, “Ha” means sun and “tha” means moon; sun being masculine energy, moon being feminine energy; yang and yin…opposing forces uniting to cultivate balance. The practice of Hatha Yoga allows us to build strength and flexibility with a sense of softness and surrender. The next time you unroll your mat I invite you to notice how you can connect to those opposing forces within and create your own balance.
Jamie Annette, ERYT500