Hatha yoga is the foundation of all yoga forms. It is the ancient, traditional yoga practice that was introduced thousands of years ago. In Hatha yoga, we aim to balance Ida and Pingala, the left and right energy channels (nadis) of our body to awaken the Sushumna Nadi, the main and central energy channel. This can be achieved through asana and later on pranayama. The asana practice in hatha yoga is very gentle and soft. By describing it as soft, we don’t mean “easy”. The postures can be very challenging, however, the approach to master them comes step by step. In the Hatha practice, we always begin with a good warm-up to prepare our body for the more advanced poses and prevent injuries and overstretching. A good warm-up is 10-15 min long and smoothens all joints, muscles, and tendons. After the warm-up, a class often begins with sun salutations and then goes over to 4-7 asanas with modifications. In the Hatha practice, the postures are often held over longer periods to improve flexibility and adjust the body in the various asanas. A posture can be held for approximately 1-3 minutes. This does not only help to get into the posture but also aims to focus the mind, make it more steady. Asana means “steady posture”. At the end of a class, you will be laying in Shavasana for 10 minutes, flat on your back with your eyes closed. During Shavasana, your body gets time to fully relax, let go of any tension, and fully sink into the ground. Overall, we can say that Hatha Yoga is the most effective, smoothest, and most balancing type of yoga.
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