Taking Up Yoga: Hatha

Once again, it’s great to take up yoga but there are so many different styles, which one would you choose? Last time I talked about trying Flow Yoga, a very popular sort in the US consisting of doing several poses one after the other in a choreographed “flow”. Hatha is a little different.

I would like to start by saying there is considerable disagreement about the definition of Hatha. I think it’s really the entire idea of movement, breathing, periods of rest, and the marriage of opposites. However, it was clearer to me when it was described as each pose being for itself and not one into the other like flow. However, there is a strong component of opposites to it, I have noticed. So, you could do a forward folding pose (like Child) then go in for a backward bending pose, like Cobra 2. Sometimes each pose is done for its own sake without overwhelming emphasis on an opposite sort of pose to go with it. That will follow along eventually.

Hatha used to be the most popular form of Yoga but the vigor of Flow has surpassed it. However, if you are interested in getting a very good stretch one way and then the other, Hatha might well be the best choice for you. I find that theory VERY useful and highly recommend it to anyone with particular problems, like back or leg troubles.

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