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The Complete Guide to Hatha Yoga

The Complete Guide to Hatha Yoga | Ana Heart Blog

The Complete Guide to Hatha Yoga | Ana Heart Blog

Most budding yoga enthusiasts will know that there’s more than one type of yoga out there. Each of these focuses on a particular aspect of the exercise and emphasise it through practice. One of the most popular yoga types is Hatha Yoga, which is an in-depth practice that takes into account everything from diet to daily exercise.

For those that are looking for quick and impressive results, Hatha Yoga can be the answer to generate swift changes. The term “Hatha” originates from ‘force’, and many believe that this forces their body and mind to change. Although this can be strict, it is also an easier way of life once the participant is fully immersed, as there are clear rules to keep them on track.


The Basics of Hatha Yoga

There are a lot of elements involved with following the Hatha Yoga teachings. The main goal of Hatha Yoga is to create an environment in which the body and mind can thrive. By eating a restricted diet, practising meditation and using breathing practices, yogis believe this form of yoga can force changes in your life.

Moderate eating is a cornerstone of this yoga type, which means not overindulging or eating too many rich foods. Those practising this kind of yoga should only eat when they are hungry and never eat to excess. The holistic practice also emphasises treating the body as a temple for worship. Body cleansing is also important, which you should regularly undertake for the best results. Simple washing and cleansing rituals as a part of the overall lifestyle change can place more importance on this daily tradition. They don’t need to be incredibly in-depth or intensive but should be a mindful process.

The breathing exercises that are a part of Hatha Yoga are also essential for success. There are specific inhalation, exhalation and retention exercises for those practising Hatha Yoga. These are slightly different to those outlined in other types of yoga practices. Texts for the practice outline processes and patterns for breathing exercises.

Posture is also essential in Hatha Yoga, which teaches how to enter postures known as asanas. Asanas should be an effortless position far from other distractions; lending itself to a meditative state of mind. From there, the meditation aspect should focus on ridding the body of negative energies and cleansing the vital energies.

While these practices are similar to other yoga teachings, some key differences make it unique. It’s one of the more intense forms of yoga that can have a huge effect on the life of those undertaking the changes. It’s all about effortless transformation, for beginners this may be a hard task to master. Over time, it can become easier to live by these teachings, especially when the benefits begin to appear.


The History of Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga dates back to ancient Sanskrit texts that appeared back in the 11th century CE. There has been a wide range of texts based on these principles throughout history, with translations and later editions changing the principles slightly. Small fragments of the teachings can be found earlier in history, though the name Hatha Yoga isn’t used until later.

Throughout history, Hatha Yoga has been popular with those in rural India. As with most yoga practices, it has also been adopted in the west by yogis and casual users in recent years. Branded forms of yoga, such as Bikram and Vinyasa Yoga pick up on areas of this practice and use it within their processes. This can be seen as a slight dilution of the principles of Hatha Yoga, as this was originally intended as an entire lifestyle movement, rather than something you can learn in a single session.

Most often, modern versions of this type of yoga purely focus on the breathing, posture and meditation aspects of this holistic practice. However, without the eating and cleansing parts of the process, it is not as effective for most. There are still benefits none the less, but these can be enhanced further by following the teachings as a whole.


The Goals and Benefits

As with most forms, the idea of Hatha Yoga is to extend the lifetime of the practitioner and make them feel more in tune with nature. By creating a stress-free, meditative environment the blood pressure drops and our mental health benefits. From the diet aspect, the user does not over eat, and this also has a positive effect on the body. Most in the modern day have a diet of excess, which can have both short-term effects as well as resulting in a shorter life span.

Liberation and enjoyment are among the main focuses of Hatha Yoga. The participant should feel liberated after meditation and a sense of universal enjoyment. Many report managing stress and even enjoying better sleeping patterns when practising yoga as a whole. This fuels the idea that yoga makes for a lifestyle change that will completely change the way you live. When practising this type of yoga on a regular basis, these benefits are enhanced further.

The goal is to live an overall healthy life with Hatha Yoga, though it can also be used for weight loss, too. Those that wish to control their eating habits and lower their blood pressure can find this practice very useful. It can also help with a range of mental health issues, such as depression or addiction. As it is so strict, there’s very little room for negative influences in the process.


In Summary

The force behind Hatha Yoga is the overall changes and lifestyle movements that it condones. Taking the time to meditate and breath are significant benefits to bring into your life, even if you don’t choose to use the full process. For those that do practice each element of the teachings, the improvements and health benefits can be massive.

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