All About Hatha Yoga
This is your ultimate guide to Hatha Yoga—what it is, how it’s evolved, why we practice, and an in-depth look at how to move through the postures.
No matter your level of yoga or how much time you have, the classes and tutorials on Practice with Clara will support you in developing a safe and strong Hatha Yoga routine.
The Basics of Hatha Yoga
Hatha yoga is the most basic form of yoga. It takes its roots from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. To understand Hatha yoga is to observe the Yoga Sutras and their wisdom.
Hatha Yoga is the asanas (postures) that encourage discipline, self-awareness, and concentration. Hatha yoga was taught to calm the body before taking a seat for meditation. It is a tool to burn off excess energy before sitting for long periods. The goal was meditation, not the practice of Hatha Yoga as we know it today.
Much has changed; today, Hatha Yoga is practised and observed worldwide to strengthen and stretch the body. It is a popular method to decrease mental stress and emotional anguish and enhance physical wellness. The instruction in a Hatha Yoga class will vary, depending on the studio, teacher, and studentship.
Benefits of Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga is used to balance the contrasting elements and energies of the body, such as Ida and Pingala. Preserving the individual’s mental, physical, and emotional health is the aim of Hatha Yoga.
Advantages of a Hatha Yoga Practice:
Enhance mental clarity and sharpness
Lessen mental angst
Release emotional turmoil
Strengthen the body
Lengthen tense muscles
Reduces blood pressure
Supports the joints and connective tissues
Encourages lymphatic drainage and fluid removal
Observe bodily sensations and mind fluctuations
The Hatha Yoga How-To Guides on Practice with Clara provide you with short tutorials on how to get in and out of basic Hatha Yoga postures.
The How-To Guides include an extensive list of videos to support your practice, no matter your level.
Hatha Yoga How-To Guides for You:
Common Hatha Yoga Asanas:
Down dog and modifications for tight hamstrings
Chaturanga and modifications for beginners
Breakdown Peak Yoga Poses:
Crazy eights transitions with eight angle pose and compass pose
The Hatha Yoga Series provides 30-days of yoga with classes to honour the sun, moon, fire, and spirit.
Week 1: Ha = Sun Collection – Inversions
Week 2: Tha = Moon Collection – Hip Opening
Week 3: Agni = Fire Collection – Arm Balancing
Week 4: Jiva = Spirit Collection – Heart Opening
Participants will receive:
- 3 classes to choose from each day.
- 20-60 minute sessions.
- A calendar to track your progress.
The Energies of Hatha Yoga
The source of energy in the body is the spinal column, known as Shusumna in Sanksrit. Sushumna is home to the seven main energy points, the nadis known as the chakras.
We have over 72,000 nadis in the human body. Two energy lines traverse the length of the spine, from the tailbone to the crown of the head. The energy lines are called Ida and Pingala.
Pingala is ‘Ha’ from Hatha, and represents Surya/sun, hot, yang energies.
Ida is “Tha” from Hatha and represents Chandra/moon, cooling, yin energies.
We need both properties and opposing energies to maintain the health and longevity of the body.
Hatha Yoga Classes to Take on Practice with Clara
The Hatha Yoga classes on Practice with Clara are short and nourishing. They stay low to the ground and focus on movement as well as breath.
The primary element featured in the Hatha yoga classes is earth. Strong, stable, slow, and calming qualities describe a Hatha Yoga class on the Practice with Clara Apps.
The Hatha Yoga classes work within the Practice with Clara Program—a seven-day series of classes that helps you make it to your mat every day.
Clara themes each class around a particular Bhav (mood) to create a unified experience in body and mind. Philosophy, prose, subtle body practices, elements, and chakras are expressed to connect the individual to more than just the physical practice.
Hatha Yoga is featured on Day 3 of the Practice with Clara Program to offset the rigour and dynamic qualities of the Vinyasa and Lila Flow yoga classes. The Hatha Yoga classes tend to bring the energy down for you to feel anchored in your body as you explore the different asanas and pranayamas.
5 Popular Hatha Yoga Classes on Practice with Clara:
Hatha Yoga and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali are one of the first mentions and applications of Hatha Yoga. The Sutras were compiled around 400 AD and contain 196 aphorisms written in Sanskrit.
Patanjali’s work inspired two of the teachers who significantly impacted how yoga was received in the West: Tirumalai Krishnamacharya and Swami Sivananda. The modern styles of yoga, such as Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Jivamukti, Kundalini, and Moksha, are rooted in the teachings of Krishnamacharya and Sivananda.
The Sutras refer to the eightfold path, which contains philosophical instruction on relating to the world and balancing our private and public worlds. It is a guide to discover inner peace here on earth.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga
About the Eight Limbs of Yoga
The five Yamas are how we relate to the world. The Yamas express moral constraint.
Ahimsa (non-harming/radical self-love)
The five Niyamas are how we relate to ourselves. The Niyamas express personal observances:
Isvara Pranidhan (surrender)
Asanas are the poses. Hatha yoga helps us develop the discipline and tenacity to sit for extended periods of concentration to master the body and mind.
Pranayamas are breathing techniques. Hatha Yoga often includes subtle body practices such as Pranayamas to move the prana (life-force/energy). Breathwork helps clear stagnancy, create heat, shift the mental state, and encourage calm in the body.
Pratyahara refers to the withdrawal of the senses. This is to remove ourselves from the sensory world and external distractions. It allows us to become more aware of our inner processes and how we move through emotions.
Dharana is mental concentration. Once we shift from the outer world to the inner world, the mind has more space to focus on one thing. Drishti Vinyasa and Focus Lila Flow are two classes to take on Practice with Clara that work with the idea of shifting away from the outer world to the inner landscape.
Dhyana is meditation. This is distinct from concentration as it is awareness without interruption. Dharana teaches us to focus on one thing where Dhyana is aware of the entire landscape. It is the widening of the lens. Check out the Meditation Collection on Practice with Clara for short, simple meditation classes.
Samadhi is Nirvana. It expresses enlightenment in connecting to the divine, which is global consciousness, the inner teacher, or God depending on your beliefs.
The eight limbs of yoga may be practiced and observed out of order. Hatha Yoga is simply one aspect to aid you in your process of self-discovery as you move through the world.