The Hatha Yoga Philosophy
One of the keys to a great yoga workout is learning the theory behind the poses and stretches you’re doing. Hatha yoga philosophy is an interesting subject that takes you beyond simple breathing exercises and teaches you why you’re doing these things. Here are a few fun facts about the Hatha yoga philosophy:
- What’s in a name? “Ha” means sun and “tha” means moon – so “Hatha” can literally be translated as “sun moon.” The deeper meaning is that Hatha yoga brings opposites together to work as one. In order to truly understand the Hatha yoga philosophy, you need to use both your brain and your mind. Hatha yoga is also focused on balancing different types of energy in your body.
- Do you need eight limbs for a yoga workout? Although in the US, most people know yoga as simple stretching and breathing exercises, there are actually eight fundamental parts of yoga, known as the “eight limbs.” These span everything from morality to spirituality – although you don’t have to follow all eight limbs to practice yoga, especially if you’re just looking for a yoga workout.
- “It’s just breathing and stretching.” Hatha yoga mostly focuses on the third and fourth limbs of the traditional eight limbs: asanas, or poses and pranayama, or breathing exercises. These two limbs are the most physical and are what give you a great yoga workout.
- Most yoga is Hatha yoga. With a few exceptions, when you do a yoga workout, you’re practicing Hatha yoga. From Iyengar to Ashtanga, most types of yoga practiced in the US are Hatha yoga variants. Vinyasa and power yoga are two types of yoga that aren’t derived from Hatha practices.
- What does “yoga” mean? The word “yoga” literally means “to yoke,” referring to uniting your mind and body. Hatha yoga is therefore the union of opposite energies within your body.
Learning a few facts about yoga can help enhance your yoga workout experience. Before you head to the gym or yoga studio, you can wow your yoga instructor with your knowledge of the hatha yoga philosophy? At the very least, it’ll give you something to think about next time you’re trying to do an impossible stretch on your yoga mat.