Yoga is the practice of quieting the mind - Patanjali
What is Hatha Yoga?
Hatha yoga is the style of yoga that most often springs to mind when we imagine a class or practice. The practice involves a series of asana or poses, pranayama or breathing and sometimes meditation.
The practice aims to connect the mind, body and soul by connecting movement, breath and mindfulness.
I often theme my classes around the moon cycles, chakras or to connect us to a theme that feels relevant for the month and we work through a series of poses using whatever props and supports we may need and build on them over the course of a month.
The classes do stand on their own too, so you can dip in and out as much as your schedule allows!
One of the translations of the word Hatha is the balance between the Sun and Moon, "Ha" representing Sun and "Tha" the Moon. We can dig a little deeper into that thinking as balancing the masculine and feminine within us all. Blending slowing down and looking inwards, with an external expression of strength.
The postures are typically held for a few rounds of slow, deep breaths to help us to build that strength in the body as well as teaching us to slow down and tune into the body rather than racing through our movements and missing what the body is trying to tell us.
All of our postures can be adjusted to meet you where you are, to honour the body as it actually is on the day using blocks, straps, blankets and bolsters and with lots of different options for each pose you have space to explore and find out what works for you.
Yoga as a practice is meant to be lived on and off the mat, to be integrated into our daily lives.
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5 Benefits of Hatha Yoga
1. Increases core strength
Our core muscles are important to our overall health as they help to improve posture, prevent back pain and lowers our risk of injury.
2. Helps you to get a better nights sleep
Hatha yoga can reduce your levels of cortisol, which is a hormone that is connected to your sleep cycle. Low cortisol levels signal to your body that it's time to sleep, so doing yoga before bed can help you fall asleep more quickly.
3. Helps to reduce the effects of depression and anxiety
Yoga can increase the levels of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin helps to regulate your emotions, which can help us to feel happier and more in control of life.
4. Can be a stress management tool
Yoga affects your nervous and endocrine systems, which control bodily functions like the release of hormones and blood pressure changes.
5. Enhances mindfulness
Studies into a regular yoga practices have shown that participants attributed greater mindfulness, as well as motivation to engage in other forms of physical activity and eating healthier.