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Happy February 4, 2023 – Asana Styles: Hatha Series
Good morning Yogis! We have talked quite a bit about working various techniques into your Asana practice and discussed Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations). However, I realize many of you may be new to Yoga, and there are many kinds of Asana styles. I have covered these in the past, so for the next week we will take a brief detour and revisit or introduce some of the variance Styles of Yoga. Hopefully you will find one or a few favorite Asana styles to integrate into your daily practice, and be more informed to select between class offerings at a Yoga studio. Today we will cover Hatha Yoga and try a Hatha Yoga Series.
Branches vs Limbs of Yoga
We have talked about the 8 Limbs of Yoga, a number of practices that build upon each other. We will now be focusing on the Third Limb – Asanas or Poses, covering quite a few Asana styles. There are also 6 Branches of Yoga, which come to us from the Bhagavad Gita.
I consider different Branches of Yoga to be different Paths of Yoga. In my understanding, different Branches of Yoga give different weights and priorities to particular practices from the 8 Limbs of Yoga. For example, I believe Ghandi’s Karma Yoga emphasizes the practice of certain Yamas – particularly Ahimsa, Satya, and Aparigraha.
My particular approach with Daily Yogi focusing on practicing all 8 Limbs of Yoga, is quite similar to the Raja (also called Ashtanga) Branch of Yoga. However Raja Yoga places much more emphasis and focus on the Upper Limbs and Meditation, and we are taking a more practical approach with more focus on the Lower Limbs for our daily practices. Remember, I discuss that my personal practice usually includes daily Asanas and Meditation, so please consider adding daily personal practice focuses or intentions each month with me if you would like a more traditional Raja Yoga approach!
We will start with Hatha Yoga, which is both an Asana style and a Branch of Yoga. The Hatha Branch of Yoga actually covers all styles of Asana (from fast-paced Vinyasa to calming Restorative), since Hatha Yoga is the Branch that focuses on Asanas or poses and movement.
Hatha can be translated to English as either “Sun and Moon” (implying balance) or “Forceful”. Even though all Asana Styles and Asana Practices are technically Hatha Yoga, you can typically expect a Hatha class at a Yoga studio to be a more slow paced class than a Vinyasa class, and to have more detailed instructions. Often Hatha classes at studios are the beginner / intro Yoga classes.
Today’s Positive Practice suggestion
Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is a beginner Hatha Asana series. I am a huge fan of Rodney Yee. I practice at home with videos or apps far more than I do at Yoga Studios. The first Asana Yoga practice I ever tried was in college, with my roommate and a Rodney Yee DVD. So, I feel it is appropriate to start with a couple video options from Rodney Yee‘s Hatha and Beginner series.
Recommended Hatha Yoga Videos
Check out a sped up version of the first video above, to get a quick idea of what Hatha style is like! You will notice beginner poses held for a longer period of time with more instruction.
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Please comment to share your experience with this Hatha series! Which version did you try? What did you think? Always remember, be kind!