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.
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