Yoga nourishes my creativity. When I need it, I practice vinyasa flow (a faster-moving, strong yoga), and most of all I turn to hatha yoga for my wellbeing.
People often ask me what it all means and they talk in terms of stereotypes (being flexible, for example), so here are my thoughts on hatha yoga.
SLOWING DOWN IN A BUSY WORLD
It amazes me that word ‘hatha’ represents over 5000 years of human evolution in just 5 letters. Hatha is the root of all yoga. It is a slow-moving style where the poses (known as ‘asana’) are held for longer. Hatha yoga promotes balance in every area of life.
Many people find slowing down a challenge, however great things can happen through mindful movement. Developing core strength, slow stretching, and focused breathing are the physical fundamentals of hatha.
WHAT DOES THE WORD ‘HATHA‘ MEAN?
In SouthEast Asia, where yoga orgininated, the Sanskrit language was used to transmit wisdom. ‘Ha’ means ‘sun’, and ‘tha’ translates as ‘moon.’
It’s all about balance; not just the standing-on-one-leg kind of balance! Daily activities demand energy and dynamic actions (represented by the sun), however we also need to rest, relax, and replenish (moon). Sustained wellbeing requires us to constantly alternate between being active and passive. We don’t benefit from a a sluggish lifestyle, but we don’t want to burn out either.
ANCIENT TEACHING, MODERN CONTEXT
My first teacher was from India. He passed on the essence of his knowldege to me, one-to-one, in the ancient way. Mostly we practiced yoga outside, surrounded by the sounds of nature.
Many years later it dawned on me just how pure and powerful those transmissions were.
Yoga has to be felt to be known. Body and mind are one, and hatha nourishes that connection. Through movement and breathwork we induce a heightened physical awareness.
Ongoing studies and research prove that yoga enhances overall physical fitness, strength, flexibility and lung capacity. It also reduces heart rate, blood pressure, and back pain.
Hatha yoga is a safe, mentally soothing, and great for the body. It improves digestion and addresses back problems. Evening yoga brings better quality sleep to many practitioners, and the regulars in my classes love it for stress relief.