Welcome back to my blog, you beautiful yogis! 😀
For the next 8 posts, I’m going to dedicate them all to the different types of yoga. If you haven’t read my post on the 8 different types of yoga, in summary, you can read it here. But right now, I want to dive in a little deeper in each type so we can both learn in detail of each type of yoga that you can learn and practice.
So, let’s start with Hatha Yoga 🙂
When I first joined the Hatha yoga class, I was told that it will be focusing more on breathing. Though not wrong, I kinda think all types of yoga put pretty heavy emphasis on breaths and flow :/ There are different types of breathing exercises in yoga – which I will write more in detail soon!
So, if you’re in the hunt of learning more about Hatha yoga, let’s get into it! Below are a few basic things of Hatha yoga for beginners to know 🙂
P/s: To read on where I do my daily yoga practice, check out my review on Alo Moves here.
Read More: Different Types of Yoga And Their Benefits
History of Hatha Yoga
I would like to think Hatha yoga to be, well, basically the godfather of yoga. That the different types of yoga out there right now stem from Hatha – which means “physical posture of yoga“.
From what was written by Patanjali Maharishi‘s yoga sutras back then, he describes that there are 8 limbs of what had constructed Hatha yoga. There are also other transcripts out there describing or referring to Hatha yoga but basically, Patanjali is the famous one.
I know for sure that when I started yoga, I didn’t even try to learn the history of yoga :/ I was seeking more of the pragmatic function of yoga to fit it into my life. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. This kind of texts or learnings will probably be taught to you only when you’re taking the teacher training programme or well, reading on the internet.
But I think there is some kind of satisfaction of knowing where are all these poses that you’ve been doing originated from. Hatha yoga and well, yoga itself hasn’t been like this, how it’s been with walk-in classes and yoga studios mushrooming all around town. They are a lot more in-depth and they value the spirituality side of it. Though there is no harm in practicing yoga when you need it, as a physical thing, it’s a lot more holistic when we try to learn the spiritual side of it as well – the 8 limbs.
I will go deeper on the 8 limbs in another post! 🙂
How is Hatha Yoga Class Like?
Hatha yoga class is usually more slow-paced, gentle and pretty basic yoga class that beginners can always try. Again, breathing exercise will usually be incorporated with Hatha yoga like pranayama. Some Hatha classes do meditation as well – but I personally have never gone to one.
Since it’s pretty slow-paced, I would always recommend starting with Hatha class, just to soothe your yoga journey in the beginning.
However, Hatha yoga classes can differ greatly from one studio to another, from one teacher to another. Some classes that I went to only focus on asanas and pranayama, while others can try to incorporate all the 8 limbs – which can actually be great as you get to learn a lot more on yoga in-depth even when you’re just starting out!
With that being said, try to go to different classes and teachers and see which one speaks to you best 🙂
5 Basic Hatha Yoga Poses For Beginners
1. Mountain Pose
- Feet hip-width apart, toes are pointing forward.
- Tuck in your tailbone/pelvis.
- Head over heart, heart over pelvis, pelvis over feet.
2. Tree Pose
- From mountain pose, feet come together
- Bring your hands to Anjali Mudra
- Shift your weight to your left feet
- Bend your right knee, feet touching left ankle
- Once you’re stable, bring your right feet to your left calf
- If you can go higher, bring your right feet to your left thigh
- Your arms from anjali mudra at your sternum reach out to the sky
- Relax your shoulders
3. Forward Fold
- From mountain pose, bring your hands down and bend down
- Fingers touching the yoga mat
- Bend knee as necessary
4. Downward Facing Dog
- This is probably the pose that you’ll hear the most when starting with yoga.
- Hands and knees hip-width apart. It’s also okay for hands to be a bit further away from each other.
- Palms pressing into the earth, keep your spine long and nice.
- Shoulder blades are in together.
- You can peddle your legs first before getting them to a nice long sturdy pose.
5. Cobra Pose
- Lie with face down, palms wide on the mat below your shoulder
- Engage the muscle in the buttocks, core area and push the pubic bone down
- On an inhale, gently lift the head and chest up (avoid depending on the arms), keeping the spine long
- Elbows on your side, press your palms away from the yoga mat
- Keep your shoulder down, to the back and bring your chest forward. Open up your chest
- Remember to keep the buttocks, core muscle strong.
- Do at least 5 breaths here
- On an exhale, slowly lower your chest and head to the floor
- To rest, you can turn the head to one side
Is Hatha Yoga For You?
I personally would like to think that Hatha yoga is for everyone. Well, yoga is, for everyone 😀
Hatha yoga again can be a great type of yoga when you’re first starting out. However, that does not mean the class will not be a challenge to you. As some poses can be held for a period of time, it can be challenging especially when you’re just dipping your toe into yoga.
I’m not trying to scare you haha :p please go and have a try first and see whether Hatha yoga is for you or nah. If it’s too easy, hey, there are always Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga waiting for you to try out 😀
Just know that Hatha yoga is The Godfather of yoga and it’s a great type for you to start with, with yoga. If you don’t like it, I wouldn’t suggest to just drop Hatha straight away, try different classes and teachers.
Also, know that yoga is not just about the physical exercise. If you have more time, try to read more about the history of yoga and how modern needs have shaped yoga today.
Anyway, let me know if Hatha yoga will be your first choice of yoga? And why? Would love to hear your thoughts on this! 🙂
Till my next post, Namaste 🙂