Hatha Yoga Poses | The Basics | The Practice of Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga Poses | The Basics | The Practice of Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is one of the Six (6) Branches of Yoga [i.e. Hatha, Bhakti, Raja, Jnana, Karma, and Tantra]. It was first presented by Yogi Swatmarama [1]fr.wikipedia, Yogi Swatmarama during the 15th century A. D., who wrote the epic Hatha Yoga Pradipika. [2]wikipedia, Hatha Yoga Pradipika Hatha yoga is primarily engaged into by yogis alike, yoga practitioners, yoga beginners, and other similar yoga enthusiasts for fitness, health, vitality, strength, and peace of mind. Hatha yoga poses are yoga asanas.

As an old practice, hatha yoga mainly centers its objective and purpose on the cleansing of corporeal existence. This will eventually result in the distillation of the mind and/or purification of core vitality. The examination and study of these existentialism [corporeal to esoteric connection] and mortality-focused movements resulted to the conception and eventual discipline of Hatha Yoga.

At present, and as adopted by the Western Culture, hatha yoga has become immensely famous as a physical fitness workout routine rather than a pure mind-spiritual-body practice, as it was before.

Krishnamacharya

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya [3]wikipedia, Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (18 November 1888 – 28 February 1989) was an Indian yoga teacher, ayurvedic healer, and scholar.

Often referred to as “the father of modern yoga”, he became as such for his gargantuan impact on the growth of postural yoga. Similar to past forerunners predisposed by actual body positioning deportment such as Yogendra [4]wikipedia, Yogendra and Kuvalayananda, [5]wikipedia, Kuvalayananda Krishnamacharya influenced the renewal, and contributed to the revival, of hatha yoga.

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, parallel to historical yoga viewpoints and specifics and whatever they are, has been widely acknowledged as the patriarch of the contemporary hatha yoga. His inceptive tutorials on the revived hatha yoga, according to him, came from his own father and grandmother. These scepters of knowledge were passed on through generations of practice and discipline.

Hatha Yoga Poses and Postures | The Fundamentals

The practice of hatha yoga trails that generational knowledge.

In that pattern, the renewed hatha yoga discipline magnificently exceeds the foundational exercise of religion, thereby, segregating itself as a class among others, devoid of any spiritual, fanatical, and esoteric aggrandizement.

Now, Hatha yoga is mainly a postural workout; yet, it is still included in the realm of its fundamental traditions. Albeit, hatha yoga sessions deal mainly on how to physically master the art of asanas.

While hatha yoga entails difficult asanas when a yogi progresses in his yoga journey, here are, however, the fundamental and basic poses, which a yoga enthusiasts must learn in the first place.

Mountain Pose [Tadasana]

First, stand tall. Your feet should be close to, and proximate with, each other. Your arms at your side. You should evenly distribute your body weight across your ankles and feet. Your tailbone tucked-in. Breath, inhale. Put your arms over your head. Position them in a prayer like fashion. Relax while breathing. Keep calm and smoothly breathe. Set your eyes at something in front of you. Keep this posture for one (1) minute.

Mountain Pose

Gains

Correct mountain pose utilizing all the muscles of the body will improve one’s posture. It will, likewise, reduce back pain. It will strengthen, as well, the ankles, thighs, hips, and abdominal muscles.

Tree Pose [Vrikshasana]

After starting with Tadasana [Mountain Pose] with your feet parallel with each other only having hip-distance away from themselves, settle, now, your feet firmly onto the ground. Then, gradually raise your left leg. Put your left foot on the edge of your inner right thigh. Make your right and left posterior straight and align them. Keep still. Inhale deeply, then, exhale smoothly. Balance your body and coordinate it with your breathing sequence. From this position, clasp your palms in Namaste position [6]wikipedia, Namaste Position in front of your heart and gaze softly in forwarding direction. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds.

Tree Pose

Gains

Vrikshasana [Tree Pose] necessarily flexes and stretches the thighs, shoulders, and groins. Consequently, it helps to tone the abdominal muscles. Likewise, its correct practice may have been found to be a therapy for sciatica. [7]Mayo Clinic, Sciatica, Symptoms and Causes

Standing Forward Bend Pose [Uttanasana]

You indulge first in a standing position. While in this pose, maintain an erect spine. Your hands should be on your hip. Inhale deeply, then, flex your arms up as if trying to reach the ceiling. When you exhale, slowly bend down at the hips. Afterwards, place your arms on the floor next to each foot. In this posture, you may also rest your hands at the back of your ankles. Then, simultaneously yet gradually, rest your chest, nose, and forehead on your thigh. Keep this position for at least 15-20 seconds.

Standing Bend Pose

Gains

A properly executed standing forward bend pose necessarily stretches the hamstrings and calves. Thus, constant and consistent flexes like these will undoubtedly strengthen your thighs and knees. It can relieve headaches and worries, let alone anxiety.  More likely, this pose may also be a first aid for sinusitis, high blood pressure, and/or asthma.

Downward Facing Dog Pose [Adho Mukha Svanasana] 

Start to position yourself in a tabletop manner. First, you wrists must be on your shoulders; your knees parallel with your hips. Deeply exhale, then, slowly curl your toes inward. Simultaneously, raise your knees above the floor. Now, you have to extend your legs outward. Lift your posterior up as if your back is tying to reach the ceiling. Coil your body into an upside down posture. At this point, try to align your head straight with your arms Kindly, do not let your head hang. Fix your eyes onto your belly. Stay still in this position for at least 20-30 seconds.

Downward Facing Dog Pose | Adho Mukha Svanasana

Gains

This is an efficient asana exercise. It can power you up and rejuvenate your body. It can give an extensive and exhaustive stretch to your calves, hamstrings, and most especially your hands. It can fortify your shoulders and legs.

Bridge Pose [ Setu Bandhasana] 

Lay on the floor. Adjust yourself in a supine position, a position that is flat on one’s back. While in this stance, you should bend your knees and your arms on the floor. Pull your heels towards your butt. At this juncture, you must securely press your feet into the ground. Exhale, then, raise your butt and your lower back. You also have to lift your chest, in short, chest up! Twirl away your shoulder blades from your ears. Afterwards, rest your neck and head on the floor. Clasp your hands together below your back. Keep this position for about 30-60 seconds.

Bridge Pose | Setu Bandhasana

Gains

The constant and consistent execution of this pose will benefit your muscles in your shoulders, chest, and heart; they will open up and become more flexible. Moreover, it will tenderly  massages your neck, spine, back, and thighs.

Locust Pose [Salabhasana] 

Lay prostate on the ground.  Your belly with the floor and your arms at your side and elbows rested and relaxed. Extend to straighten your legs. You must keep both your legs apart, at hip-width length. Breathe out then raise your upper body, chest, and arms, veering away from the floor. Hold now your arms equidistant and lateral to the ground beside your body. Lift up your legs above the floor. Try to raise them as high as you can in an upward direction. Keep still this position for at least 30-60 seconds.

Locust Pose | Salabhasana

Gains

Doing this pose constantly and correctly will give flexibility to your muscles surrounding your upper body, much less your thighs, hips, and spine. It will help you in your other upper body workout as part of your warm-up stretching exercises.

Hatha and Yoga

Being a beginner to extensive physical exercise and progression, hatha connotes power, strength, energy, and force. On the other hand, we all know that yoga is union.

Incidentally, “ha” means “sun”, while “tha” is known as “moon”. The seemingly synergic opposition or integration of unlikeliness conforms to the attribution of balance in “hatha”.

It is undisputed that when individuals engage themselves in yoga workout, be it traditional, modern, or both, they can get valuable learnings about the aspects of yogic life such as physical, mental, psychological, emotional, and spiritual abundance.

Termed as union of the opposites, hatha yoga signifies and embodies contrasting energies. Well known comparison would be fire and water or hot and cold. The yin and yang, male and female, or positive and negative principles are also applied.

The balancing theme and attribution of hatha yoga attempt to espouse equilibrium between the mind and body.

We can draw this objective on the fact that hatha yoga’s balancing purpose results from the two levels of its practice: the physical poses/postures, known as “asanas” and the strategies of breathing and meditation, recognized as “pranayama”.

More on Pranayama

Pranayama denotes breath control in yoga workouts. Consequently, in this approach, yoga is considered as the practice of integrating and controlling the act of breathing and the cerebral function of the mind. Utilizing the syllable “Om”, [8]wikipedia, “Om” or “Aum” this integration of the body and mind is put in place.

Pranayama Pranayama

One form of yoga is breathing, coupled with proper meditation technique. Hence, when you embark on yoga and you strategize to control your breath to attain a specific purpose in yoga discipline, you are practicing pranayama.

In this scenario, yoga may have been testing its limits. Hence, the yogis or advanced yoga practitioners, at this extreme stage, may practice fasting, somewhat boundless breath control, and difficult postures and poses to overcome the limits of the body or to rise beyond that.

However, when at this level, your body has already been tested to the limits. Thus, these advanced asanas, which are meditative in character are created to coordinate the body within its structures and align the latter to bring to surface the optimum heights of meditative state.

References

References
1 fr.wikipedia, Yogi Swatmarama
2 wikipedia, Hatha Yoga Pradipika
3 wikipedia, Tirumalai Krishnamacharya
4 wikipedia, Yogendra
5 wikipedia, Kuvalayananda
6 wikipedia, Namaste Position
7 Mayo Clinic, Sciatica, Symptoms and Causes
8 wikipedia, “Om” or “Aum”

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