A Deeper Look: The Versatility of Hatha Yoga, What Does it Entail?


Hatha Yoga is based on psychophysical exercises and practices, the aim of which is to control the mind and dominate the body. Whoever manages to achieve the set goals is considered a "Siddha", that is, a person who has achieved perfection, thanks to the fusion between the universal consciousness and the individual consciousness of man.

HATHA YOGA: WHAT DOES IT ENTAIL? MAIN FEATURES AND ELEMENTS

The positions of hatha yoga are very close to those of traditional yoga but are particularly demanding. However, this variant is also often used by beginners, to gradually approach the practice, as it allows you to easily learn the basic principles of meditation, breathing and, finally, concentration.

The main characteristics of hatha yoga can be explained through four closely related elements:

- asana;
- relaxation techniques;
- meditation techniques;
- breathing techniques.

ASANA

Asanas are the positions that the body must assume during practice.

The latter are specially designed to allow those who perform them to collect their energy through specific movements and channel it into the desired areas of the body.

MEDITATION TECHNIQUES

Meditation is the technique used to better master the mind.

The purpose to be achieved by learning and practicing these techniques is strictly personal. For some it may be a spiritual purpose, for others it may take on a religious character, and so on.

In this variant two types of meditation are mainly used: reflective and receptive meditation. With the first, the object of the practice is only one and can be represented by anything. With the second there is no defined object as it aims at the liberation of the mind from any kind of thought.

RELAXATION TECHNIQUES

Another characterizing element of strength yoga is represented by relaxation techniques.

The exercises dedicated to this specific phase are represented by moments of the lesson entirely dedicated to the pure regeneration of the forces necessary to move from one exercise to another.

BREATHING TECHNIQUES

Pranayama is the most used breathing technique in hatha yoga, thanks to which the rhythmic control of the breath is implemented through four phases.

The first is that of inspiration (called "puraka") followed by the phase of the respiratory pause (called "antara kumbhaka"). The third phase is that of exhalation (called "rechaka") followed by the last phase of the respiratory pause (called "bahya kumbhaka").

Specifically, pranayama constitutes the fourth stage of yoga and aims to teach to control breathing, as well as the mind, as a tool to free ourselves from the bondage caused by the objects we most desire.

HATHA YOGA ASANAS

We have already said that the asanas of strength yoga are simply the positions that the body must assume in combination with the main breathing and meditation exercises.

But what are the most common asanas? Below is a short list of hatha yoga exercises to include in a sequence.

BHUJANGASANA (COBRA POSE)

To perform the cobra pose, lie down on the mat in the prone position and bring your palms to the ground below your shoulders. Keep your elbows bent and close to your torso.

Inhale and stretch your arms slightly to allow your chest to rise. Make sure that the navel area remains attached to the mat and contract the buttocks to preserve the lower back.

ADHO MUKHA SAVASANA (DOWNWARD-FACING DOG)

To perform the exercise correctly, start from a quadrupedal position, extending your arms and positioning your feet so that they are slightly detached from each other.

From this position you need to form an inverted V. To do this, you need to lift yourself up trying to put your heels on the ground and stretch your back and arms.

The dog stance, along with the cobra stance (which you can find below), belongs to the Sun Salutation sequence.

NAVASANA (BOAT POSE)

To perform the position of the boat you start from sitting, thus positioning yourself on the yoga mat with your back straight. Continue by bringing your knees to your chest and placing your feet on the ground. From here, tilt your back and raise your legs until they form a 45 ° angle with the floor.

Lift your arms making sure they are parallel with the floor and bring them to the sides of your legs. The navasana is one of the positions of balance because - in fact - it has the purpose of improving the ability to maintain balance. The latter affects the spine, as well as the abdominals, significantly increasing their strength.

UTTHITA TRIKONASANA (TRIANGLE POSE)

Begin the exercise standing, keeping the pelvis in front and spread the legs bringing the toes on the same line.

From here, rotate the right foot 90 ° outwards and turn the left one slightly inwards. Then stretch your torso to the right while remaining perfectly in line with the pelvis and legs and, finally, place your right hand on the ankle.

Extend the other arm upwards and always form a straight line between the legs, head and arms. Repeat the exercise on the other side. The triangle position is a side stretch position.

VRKSASANA (TREE POSE)

The tree pose is performed standing, on the yoga mat. Lift one leg by bringing the sole of the foot to the level of the ankle or thigh. The palms of both hands must be joined and can be placed either at chest height or over the head.

The vrksasana is also one of the positions of balance and has a very unique meaning. In fact, in this asana, the legs represent the trunk of the tree while the arms represent its branches.

To maintain balance, the sole of the foot must adhere to the mat and therefore take root to be stable.

HATHA YOGA: BENEFITS FOR BODY AND MIND

Constantly practicing a discipline such as strength yoga, ensures psychophysical benefits of great importance, not only for the body, but also for the mind.

From a physical point of view, the body changes by acquiring flexibility, elasticity and muscle tone. Joints become much stronger and bones regenerate thanks to slow and healthy movements.

Back pain is greatly reduced because yoga allows for a noticeable improvement in posture.

From a mental point of view, greater tranquility is acquired thanks to the respiratory and meditative action, which help to calm the mind.

In addition to greater calm, thanks to hatha yoga you can work on yourself and your personality. This discipline pushes anyone who practices it to constantly improve, abandoning negativity and stress!  Namaste 

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