I completed Hatha Yoga training in India at Yoga Point Yoga Vidya Gurukul University in 2009. This school is joined to the great tradition of Guru Swami Satyananda Saraswati of Bihar School of Yoga.
The first morning looked like this in my journal entry; “The course started today, in the morning it was great to wake up early, went to the hall for yoga practice. The chanting was really nice, but I could hardly stay awake, In karma yoga it was very special that when the jobs were handed out, I got to clean the meditation room. Could not wait to have breakfast by 9 am.” From then on there was lots of learning, practice, exams and repeat day after day! A wonderful experience well worthwhile.
What is Hatha Yoga?
The term “Hatha” refers to “ha” the sun and “tha” the moon, this duality like yin and yang are the opposing governing forces that make up the body and mind. “Ha” also refers to the pranic, vital force governing the physical body and “tha” the chitta, mental force. Awaking and uniting these two energies through the practice of Hatha Yoga. There is a goal of harmonizing and purifying the body systems and focusing the mind.
Hatha Yoga includes ASANAS (physical postures) and SHATKARMAS (physical and mental cleansing techniques), MUDRAS and BANDHAS (placing of hands, fingers and other body areas in various ways to create a psycho-physiological state, and PRANAYAMA, which are breathing techniques. All these together aim to increase higher states of awareness.
How is Hatha Yoga beneficial and what to expect?
It is beneficial from beginners to advanced levels. This practice is where all yoga is derived from and it is a great place to start to learn basic poses and breathing techniques, which will also be useful in other yoga styles. You can usually expect a form of sun salutation then a slower paced practice with a diversity of poses with short to longer holds to stretch and strengthen deeply, including simple breathing exercises to help focus the mind throughout the practice and ending in relaxation.