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What Is Hatha Yoga, And What Are Its Different Asanas?

The word ‘Hatha’ is a Sanskrit word which means ‘force’, thus signifying a system of physical techniques. In India, hatha yoga was found by Matsyendranath and has been traditionally practiced by the yogis. It was found around the 11th century and has been modified since then. This form of yoga came in the 20th century and paid more attention to the Asanas. 



History of the Yoga:

Yoga as an exercise had been greatly influenced by the Tirumalai Krishnamacharya school, who had been teaching yoga from 1924 to 1989. He had combined the asanas from Hatha Yoga with gymnastics, developing both the physical exercises as well as Hatha Yoga’s spiritual goals. Krishnamacharya-linked schools have become very popular in the Western world since his students started popularizing yoga in the west.


Other types of yoga that include hatha yoga techniques are Kundalini yoga, Anusara yoga, Integral yoga, Kripalu yoga, Kriya yoga, Bikram yoga, Sivananda yoga and Jivamukti yoga as well as Vini yoga. In both developed as well as developing countries, after 1975, yoga techniques became incredibly famous. In the west, hatha yoga is the most popular type of yoga for physical exercise. Still, in India and Tibet, hatha yoga includes not just the physical exercises, but also the ideas of ethics, diet, cleansing, pranayama, meditation and a system for the spiritual development of the yogi. 

Types of Hatha Yoga and its benefits:

There are mainly two types of hatha yoga according to the Dattatreya Yoga Sastra. One is practised by Yajñavalkya which consists of the eight limbs of ashtanga yoga and another practised by Kapilawhich consists of eight mudras.

Beginner’s Power Yoga

This type primarily focuses on breath, basic body strength building and warming of the muscles, which can free the muscles. The poses are linked by various postures with rhythmic breathing.

Gentle Hatha Yoga

Practicing this helps in overcoming the limitations of the body by doing harmonious poses sequentially combined with conscious breathing practices. This allows the restoration of various body limitations.

Pregnancy Hatha Yoga: 

This is for second or third-trimester pregnant women. It is scientifically developed to prepare the body for giving birth and nourishment with a positive thought process. The main focus is given on breath, spinal alignment; developing self-consciousness and mother’s intuition and connection with the baby. 

Restorative Hatha Yoga: 

This emphasizes breathing and supports the holding of postures. This helps to relax and reset the nervous system. 

Retreats: 

This helps in integrally reconnecting one to one’s self. During each retreat, there are periods of free time to allow for reflecting on one’s self. 

Mantra and Meditation Yoga: 

This is an advanced form of yoga which helps in training the mind to develop a higher level of consciousness. 

Different Asanas Included in Hatha Yoga

The various types of asanas (postures) in Hatha yoga are:
  • Bhadrasana
  • Bhujaṅgāsana
  • Dhanurāsana
  • Garuḍāsana
  • Gomukhāsana
  • Gorakshasana
  • Guptāsana
  • Kukkutasana
  • Kūrmāsana
  • Makarāsana
  • Mandukasana
  • Matsyāsana,
  • Matsyendrāsana
  • Mayūrāsana,
  • Padmāsana
  • Paschimottanasana
  • Sankatasana
  • Śavāsana,
  • Vajrāsana
  • Virasana
  • Vrikshasana.
The Bottom Line

So, now you have understood what is hatha yoga and how it helps in the all-round development of the mind and the body. Opt for it if you have not yet but make sure to have an expert guidance!

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