Hatha yoga is one of the most widely practiced styles of yoga in the United States, according to LiveStrong.com . It emphasizes uniting the body, breath and mind into one entity. The practice originated in Northern India more than 5,000 years ago. At the time, the Brahmans and mystic seers of the civilization taught yoga as an exercise for the mind, rather than the body.
Before it became popularized, yoga was a disorganized practice with contradictory beliefs and techniques. It wasn't until the second century B.C. that a man named Patanjali organized yoga into one focused idea. His yoga techniques focused on the physical aspects of the practice, leading to the mind-body connection that hatha yoga is known for today, according to the article.
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, hatha yoga continued to develop in India, and the first hatha yoga school opened in 1924 in Mysore, according to the article. Hatha yoga finally emerged in the United States in 1947, when the first hatha yoga studio was opened in Hollywood. Since then, it has expanded across the country. The hatha yoga school stresses mastery of the body to withdraw the mind from external objects. Hatha yoga practice encourages purification, breathing regulation and specific body postures, known as asanas, according to LiveStrong.com .
The word "hatha" is a combination of the words "ha," which means "vital life force" and "tha," which means "mental force." The traditional meaning of "yoga” is union.
Hatha yoga is great for beginners who are interested in giving yoga a try. The hatha practice is where all yoga is derived from. In hatha, you will learn basic poses, relaxation techniques and terminology that you will find in almost every other style of yoga, according to LuluLemon.com .
In Hatha, you can expect a slower-paced practice that focuses on breathing and learning poses. Hatha yoga is not only for beginners,however. Intermediate and advanced students can also push themselves by holding poses deeper and longer. In hatha, you can expect simple breathing exercises and possibly some seated meditation. It is important to note,though, that classes will vary based on the class and the instructor.