Defining Hatha Yoga
February 15, 2013
The term yoga means ‘to yoke’ or ‘unite’. However there are many different types of yoga in our modern world. There is a type of yoga for everyone, and it is amazing how yoga has blossomed around the world making it accessible to every body, for a realm of different needs.
Hatha yoga is the specific term used in reference to the postures, or asanas. Many branches or styles of the physical yoga practice stem from traditional hatha yoga. When I say ‘traditional’ I think of yoga before it was re-invented in the west. I think of traditional hatha yoga as a few basic postures that strengthen the spine and body for sitting in meditation for long periods of time. That is what yoga was for in ‘ancient’ times.
But what does ‘hatha’ mean?
Hatha is a Sanskrit word that we divide into HA-THA, and that translates into English as SUN-MOON. When you think about the sun and moon they are two opposite forces that combine to make a complete cycle. I personally define ‘hatha’ and ‘wholeness‘.
When we practice the asanas of hatha yoga we are bringing balance to our bodies and minds. Forward bends focus on ‘moon energy’ and are calming and soothing, while back bends focus on ‘sun energy’ and create vitality and heat in the body.
We create an equilibrium in life through practicing hatha yoga, we bring wholeness to the many cycles of life.