Introduction to Hatha Yoga
There are a number of different kinds of yoga, some ancient, and others modern inventions which emphasize different aspect of yoga.
Yoga means union, the union of mind, body and spirit. The best yogas will combine them all. However, many types of yoga focus mainly on the poses, or asanas, the physical side of yoga. Hatha yoga is an ancient form of yoga with thousands of positions to learn, but it also focuses on concentration union of all aspects of humanity, within ourselves, and in relation to all other living beings.
No man (or woman) is an island. Hatha helps us connect with our inner selves so we can open up to connection with others. This can be achieved through meditation, and meditation includes breath work, pranayama. Prana means life-force, ayama to regulate or lengthen. In other words, practicing Pranayama can improve one’s health and vitality through the breath.
There are a number of breathing patterns, each with different effects, which can all add up to better breathing. This breathing can lead to increased detoxification as you remove stale air from the lungs. You can also breathe out toxins being stripped from the body through improved blood circulation which the yoga movements offer.
Most of us think of the physical benefits of yoga, but Hatha has been shown to offer increased energy, less stress, better moods and sleep, and decreased anxiety. It is hard to be at our best when we are sick. Through improving our physical body, everything else will start to become easier.
Even those with health issues can benefit from Hatha yoga. When done carefully with the help of a good teacher, Hatha can help with a bad back, joint pain, muscle pain, bad knees, problems with circulation or digestion, and even with weight control or weight loss. The Pranayama can help with allergies, asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder, or COPD.
Meditation helps improve focus, concentration and memory, all ideal for seniors who want to maintain a busy, active lifestyle, especially if they are still working.
With all of these benefits, why not check out your local yoga studios to see which of the offer Hatha, and try an introductory class. Then see what a difference Hatha yoga can make to your life.