The yoga that is widely practiced around the world developed from Hatha yoga.
The word 'hatha' is derived from Sanskrit and it means sun (ha) and moon (tha). The purpose of Hatha is to balance the body by uniting the breath with movement. In a Hatha yoga class, practitioners will focus on physical alignment and breath control. Over time, regular practice of Hatha yoga will result in physical endurance & strength, as well as improved physiological health and emotional well-being.
There is a common misconception that the movements practiced during class constitutes yoga.
However, there are eight limbs to the practice of Hatha yoga, as described by the sage Patanjali.
They are namely:
- Yama or behaviour
- Niyama or spiritual practice
- Asana or poses
- Pranayama or breath control
- Pratyahara or self confrol from influences
- Dharna or concentration
- Dhyana or meditation
- Samadhi or state of ultimate oneness/ connection
In Hatha yoga classes, the focus is mainly on asana and pranayama. Dharna comes into play as concentration is required to achieve many of the balancing poses. Some classes also incorporate dhyana.
Beginners to Hatha yoga will be introduced to the concept of pranayama, asana, dyarna, and dhyana. This will help them to calm their mind and feelings.
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