Hatha Yoga is a series of asanas or postures that seek to open up the channels in the body for free flow of energy, thereby creating harmony and balance between two opposing forces. The result is that the body develops a balance between strength and flexibility along with surrender and submission in each pose.
All the poses for this 60-minute sequence for a beginner Hatha Yoga class come from the books Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati and The Yoga Bible by Christina Brown.
The descriptions following the poses in this list are critical to performing the postures properly and not a detailed description of how to perform them. I recommend acquiring the above books, which are excellent texts, or searching the Yoga Journal Pose Finder for that information.
Hatha Yoga For Overall Fitness
When practiced regularly, Hatha yoga poses improve multiple aspects important to physical fitness. As revealed in a study published in a 2001 issue of Preventive Cardiology, a minimum of two yoga classes attended per week — these included 10 minutes of dynamic warm-up poses and 50 minutes of asana — for eight weeks improved oxygen uptake, muscular strength and endurance and joint mobility.
The first point to remember is that if you feel sharp pain in the joints or muscles, you must immediately stop the asana. It may be that the pose is not right for you or there is something wrong with your body alignment. If your body just feels the exertion of the exercise you can continue to push yourself to maintain your posture.
A basic Hatha yoga class consists of :
Pranayama (breathing exercises),
Sun Salutation, and
13 asanas (postures). Variations of these postures are usually included, and others added according to the standard of the students.
5 Basic Hatha Yoga Poses:
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Upward-Facing Dog Pose — Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (OORD-vuh MOO-kuh shvan-AHS-uh-nuh) — is a back-bending yoga posture that lengthens and strengthens the spine, torso, and arms. Its name comes from four Sanskrit words:
- “Urdhva” — meaning “upward”
- “Mukha” — meaning “face”
- “Svana” — meaning “dog”
- “Asana” — meaning “pose”
Like most yoga poses, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana must be performed at least 3-5 hours after a meal and it is preferable that your stomach and bowels should be empty at this time. Even though Urdhva Mukha Svanasana is an easy yoga pose, you can perform a few preparatory asanas as this will prepare you both physically and mentally to perform this pose. You can learn a few Urdhva Mukha Svanasana prep poses such as Bhujangasana (Cobra pose), Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose), and Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand pose) before you learn how to do Upward Facing Dog Pose pose
Let go of that silly, silly belief that you need to lift your chin. Let that be the icing on the cake. Think this pose more of a chest opener than backbend. Drawing the nose into the face helps to lengthen the neck and melt the shoulders away from the ears, creating more space to open up.
Oh, and BREATHE! Otherwise, you will die…which, if you think about it, kinda misses the point of all this stuff.
Upward-Facing Dog Step-by-Step
- From Table pose, slowly drop the hips forward toward the floor.
- Press palms down into the floor, drop the shoulders down and back, press the chest forward, and reach the crown of the head up towards the ceiling.
- Inhale and lift thighs and legs off of the floor by pressing the tops of the feet down and engaging Mula Bandha.
- Breathe and hold for 1-3 breaths.
- To release: bend the knees and lift the hips back up into Table Pose.
Benefits of Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
- Best exercise for your wrists.
- Beneficial for lower back coz this pose stretches the lower back muscles.
- Stretches the muscles of the shoulders and chest also.
- It tones and stimulates the abdominal muscles and organs
- It improves the posture of the body.
- Beneficial for chest, heart and lungs.
- It stretches the upper back and front of your body
- Gives strength to your shoulders, wrists, arms and back bone.
Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
Trikonasana or the triangle pose is a good stretching exercise which gives flexibility to the spine and pelvic region. In Sanskrit ‘trikona’ means ‘three corners’ or a ‘triangle’.
Trikonasana is an excellent posture to develop strength and balance. It also gives flexibility to the legs, waist and knees. It gives a sense of expansiveness as the arms and torso are bent and reaches for the toes. It gives a sense of balance for the whole body. Those who have stiff legs, knees and waist can use this posture to regain their flexibility and strength.
Alignment & Anatomical Focus:
At either end of the spine lie the triangular shaped bones of the sacrum (at the base) and the occiput (at the base of the back of the skull).The asana has two lines of energy radiating outward from the centre pelvis. The first line of energy moves down the legs and into the feet. The second line travels through the spine and arms into the hands.
In satanic ritual, conjuring demons requires that three black animals are sacrificed. The three primary gods (Anu, Bel, and Ea) of ancient Babylon represent Heaven, Earth and the Abyss.
The symbolic importance of triangles and the number three can be found throughout history and across all cultures. We can find it in the following well-known grouping of concepts such as:
1. Body, mind, and spirit.
2. Past, present, and future.
3. Art, science, and religion.
Benefits Of Uthitha Trikonasana (ExtendedTriangle Pose)
- Strengthens and stretches the legs
- Stretches the hips, hamstring and spine
- Opens the chest to improve breathing, this helps with the treatment of asthma.
- Relieves mild back pain
- Stimulates the abdominal organs and aids with digestive problems.
- Improves sense of balance
salamba = with support (sa = with
alamba = support)
sirsa = head
Headstand is referred to by some as the “king” of all yoga poses due to its multitude of benefits. As with all inversions, headstand flips your perspective and alleviates pressure on the heart because it doesn’t have to work as hard as it normally does to get blood to the upper body. It is a full upper- and mid-body workout that strengthens your arms, shoulders, and core. Among many other benefits, headstand is said to stimulate digestion, calm the brain, reduce stress and mild depression, and be therapeutic for sinusitis, asthma, infertility, and insomnia.
How to do headstand
How to Do a Headstand includes step-by-step sequence of exercises to get you ready for this inverted yoga pose.
So how do you stay balanced while lifting up into yoga headstand with legs straight? It helps to understand that the legs have weight. As you lift them to horizontal they are going to tip you in one direction. So you need to move your hips in the opposite direction to stay balanced.
- Draws fresh blood into the upper body while stimulating drainage and circulation to the legs
- it quietens the mind and so prepares you for meditation
- Strengthens the arms, legs and back
- Strengthens the core
- Warms up the upper back, so Headstand is a great preparation for backbends
- Improves mood for many people
Bharadvajasana is a seated twisting yoga pose as well as a binding pose.
One of the reasons that I like this yoga pose so much, especially when grabbing my foot from behind my back, is that it tends to “release” my lower back. (Another good pose for “releasing the lower back” this is triangle pose.)
In Bharadvajasana one leg is in hero position with the shin folded to the outside of the thigh. The other leg is in lotus with the top of the foot on top of the other thigh.
As a beginner, it might be hard for you to perfect laying the weight of your entire body on the twisting side. You might end up tilting on that side, which will lead to compression of the lower back. To avoid this, raise your buttock using a blanket that is folded thickly. Then, consciously sink your buttocks towards the floor.
Benefits of Bharadvajasana
Bharadvajasana stretches the spine, torso, shoulders, and hips. It is a belly-open pose, which makes it a safe twist for women who are pregnant. Twisting your torso in this pose massages and positively stimulates the organs of your torso, which improves digestion, regulates metabolism, and aids the organs in detoxification. Bharadvajasana also helps to relieve lower back pain, neck pain, and sciatica.
Like all twists in yoga, Bharadvajasana helps to relieve stress by “squeezing out” the anxiety and negative emotions of daily life, just like wringing out a sponge. It restores balance and equanimity to mind, body, and spirit — leaving the practitioner in a calmer, more graceful state of mind, even off the mat.
How to do Bharadvajasana
- Begin sitting in Staff pose (Dandasana). Shift to your left, bend your knees, and swing your legs to the right. Rest your right ankle in the arch of your left foot.
- Lengthen your spine. Exhale and twist to the left.
- Tuck your right hand underneath your left knee. Then grasp your upper right arm with your left hand by placing your left arm behind your back. Exhale and continue twisting the torso to the left.
- Gaze over your left shoulder
- Stay in this pose for up to one minute. Exhale to release and repeat on the opposite side.
Strengthen the Body, Calm the Mind, Open the Heart. A Hatha Flow class is taught with unique sequencing to promote a dynamic + relaxing experience. This class incorporates all aspects of a traditional Hatha yoga class – breath, meditation and postures – while challenging your co-ordination through movement. This class is Level 1-2 and is suitable for beginner and intermediate students.
Hatha Yoga Flow classes incorporate traditional Hatha Yoga with a beautiful flow of movement from one posture to the next, creating a meditative flow of sequencing whilst using the breath.
Hatha yoga is a path toward creating balance and uniting opposites. Practicing Hatha Yoga with a Vinyasa flow, we develop a balance of strength and flexibility and align our mind, body, and spirit so that energy can flow freely as we learn to balance our effort and surrender in each pose. A guided mindful meditation concludes the class before resting in awareness.
Hatha Flow Yoga classes at Om Yoga Academy
Our yoga flow classes is a fluid, strong and graceful hatha yoga creatively sequenced to mindfulness of breath while incorporating proper alignment, playfulness and daily inspiration. These classes are suitable for all experienced yoga practitioners. A perfect mid-week fun, strength and awareness cultivation!
Both the Hatha Yoga and the Hatha Flow Yoga classes will start with an initial relaxation, followed by a breathing exercise (pranayama) and end up with a deep relaxation. In conclusion, a cup of tea will be drunk on the yoga mat. Classes are renewed each week but do follow up. That way new postures are being integrated and scholar postures come back regularly. This not only ensures dynamic classes, but gives participants the opportunity to feel and experience progression. The Hatha Yoga and Hatha Flow Yoga classes can be combined well and are suitable for everyone. However, if you are new to yoga or suffering from respiratory problems, Yoga Sanchara recommends to start with Hatha Yoga.
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise and way of living that focuses on your mind, body and soul. It’s a holistic practice for all ages. The word ‘Yoga’ has been derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yug’ which refers to the union of our individual consciousness and the universal consciousness.
Yoga is a great way to lose weight if practised regularly using the right form. It is light on the joints and the chances of injury – if done initially under the guidance of a trained professional – are minimal. Moreover you don’t have to waste thousands on that expensive gym membership; yoga can be practised from the comfort of your home.
According to her, before we target weight loss, it is important to understand the various factors that contribute in weight gain. Apart from faulty dietary habits, one should identify that weight gain also stems from inefficient functioning of various bodily functions. Yoga has some of the most basic breathing practices at its base which aims at cleansing, balancing and rejuvenating our inner organs and their functions. Various breathing exercises and basic asanas help in increasing metabolic and heart rates. Once you are healed from within, the focus then shifts towards the outer body.
Here are 10 more tips to lose weight even faster:
- Eat a high-protein breakfast. …
- Avoid sugary drinks and fruit juice. …
- Drink water a half hour before meals. …
- Choose weight loss-friendly foods (see list). …
- Eat soluble fiber. …
- Drink coffee or tea. …
- Eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods. …
- Eat your food slowly.
Yoga Poses For Weight Loss:
- Surya Namaskar
- The warrior pose orVeerabhadrasana
- Triangular pose orTrikonasana
- Upward plank orPurvottanasana
- The boat pose:
Holding poses for a longer period of time is an extremely beneficial addition to your practice.
Holding a pose for a longer period helps build strength and stamina. For example when you hold Warrior II for a longer period, the muscles of your legs and arms have to work harder to maintain the pose.
When you hold a pose, you have time to actually feel, to adjust and to readjust. Watch out for allowing your mind to become completely occupied with this. While it’s fine to take some time to focus on your alignment don’t allow it to become your sole focus in the pose.
Holding a pose for longer then you are used to can often give space for emotions to arise. You go beyond the point that is comfortable (obviously you come out of the pose if it feels painful or does not feel ‘right’). Going beyond the comfort zone can bring up fear and other emotions.
Then there are prone poses such as Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) and Shalabhasana (Locust Pose) that even adepts do not hold for more than a minute. On the other hand, certain poses such as Sirshasana (Head Stand) and Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) may comfortably be held with practice for up to ten minutes. Here again, different schools of Yoga have differing views. It actually all depends upon a variety of factors including your gender, age, physical fitness, medical health, flexibility and needs.
All of the meditative poses, however, can be held for longer periods of time, without any complications. For these types of postures, it is actually beneficial to retain the asana without needing to take a break. These poses include the Easy Pose (Sukhasana), the Corpse Pose (Shavasana), and the Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana). Asanas are meant to strengthen the mind and spirit, while toning the body, in a safe progressive manner.
Hatha is a Sanskirt word of two parts: ‘Ha’ for sun and ‘tha’ meaning moon. Characteristics related with the sun are passion, masculinity and strength, while moon qualities are freshness, femininity and surrender. Together (sun, moon, male and female) contain physical qualities of hot and cold, firm and fluid. It is in our physical bodies that we strive to cultivate a balance of strength and flexibility, learning to balance our effort and surrender in each pose through breath and mind control. The knowledge Hatha expresses is that both sun and moon energy exists within us all. Hatha is a unification of 2 opposites to illuminate all existence into totality and create balanced harmony from within.
Today, hatha is most often used to describe gentle, basic yoga classes with no flow between poses. Expect a slower-paced stretching-focused class with some basic pranayama breathing exercises and perhaps a seated meditation at the end. Hatha classes are a good place to work on your alignment, learn relaxation techniques, and become comfortable with doing yoga while building strength and flexibility.
A hatha yoga routine consists of a series of physical postures and breathing techniques. Routines can take anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours, depending on the needs and ability of the practitioner. Yoga should always be adapted to one’s state of health; that is, a shorter and easier routine should be used when a person is fatigued. Yoga is ideally practiced at the same time every day, to encourage the discipline of the practice. It can be done at any time of day; some prefer it in the morning as a wake-up routine, while others like to wind down and de-stress with yoga at the end of the day.
Today, the term hatha is used in such a broad way that it is difficult to know what a particular hatha class will be like. In most cases, however, it will be relatively gentle, slow and great for beginners or students who prefer a more relaxed style where they hold poses longer. It can vary a lot, so it is a good idea to call the studio before attending the class.
Popular hatha classes include:
Yoga for Hips, Hamstrings and Back.
Hatha Yoga For Beginners: Better Balanace.
Seated Hatha Yoga.
Hatha Yoga to Release the Lower Back.
When I first started practicing yoga I took a class. We opened with sound of om and then again sealed in our practice with the sound of om. I remember thinking to myself, “what is om and why are we doing this and more importantly how can these people hold this for so long?!”. Years later I still practice yoga, and still open and close my practice with om.
Om is a mantra, or vibration, that is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions. Coming from Hinduism and Yoga, the mantra is considered to have high spiritual and creative power but despite this, it is a mantra that can be recited by anyone. It’s both a sound and a symbol rich in meaning and depth and when pronounced correctly it is actually AUM.
Why do we chant it?
Everything in the universe is pulsating and vibrating – nothing is really standing still! The sound Om, when chanted, vibrates at the frequency of 432 Hz, which is the same vibrational frequency found throughout everything in nature.
As such AUM is the basic sound of the universe; so by chanting it we are symbolically and physically tuning in to that sound and acknowledging our connection to all other living beings, nature and the universe.
“The syllable OM, which is the imperishable Brahman, is the universe. Whatsoever has existed, whatsoever exists, and whatsoever shall exist hereafter, is OM. And whatsoever transcends past, present, and future, that also is OM.”
Yoganand says that chanting om also creates a link with those who have practiced before us. “It’s a sound that validates oneness and harmony,” he says. “We chant it because yogis have for thousands of years. And when we chant it, we’re connecting with those yogis in a ritual way, and drawing upon the support of the practices they’ve been doing for a long, long time.”