Hatha Yoga Poses
Hatha yoga is a type of yoga that was introduced by Yogi Swatmarama. Swatmarama was a Hindu sage that lived in India during the fifteenth century.
The word Hatha actually comes from the combining of two Sanskrit words, ‘ha’ and ‘tha’. ‘Ha’ refers to the sun, while ‘tha’ refers to the moon. Hatha yoga is thus said to unite these opposites, both the positive and negative aspects of our being.
The traditional asanas or postures for Hatha yoga involve techniques of breathing along with movements of the body. These asanas can be divided into various poses depending on the way in which the body is supposed to move. Thus, you have seated poses, twists, inversions, balancing poses, core strength poses, back-bending poses, forward bending poses, side bending poses, hip openings, prone yoga poses, supine yoga poses, and finally, standing yoga poses.
Depending on the part of the body you wish to focus on, these poses can be developed into a routine that suits your own needs. Below are some of the most common Hatha yoga asanas and ones that you can learn to do on your own at home.
Cat Tilt Pose: This pose is a basic pose that helps to stretch out the back. From a position of all fours, slowly round the shoulders. Make sure to keep the tail bone tucked in and round the spine reaching it towards the ceiling. Palms should be pressed into the floor and the shoulders away from the head. Breath in deeply and hold the pose for five or six breaths.
Downward facing Dog: Another important and very common yoga pose is the downward facing dog. In this pose, start again from a hand and knees position and then extend your body upwards into a triangle. From your hands and feet, press hands into the ground and lift your hips towards the sky. Keep toes tucked in and fingers wide apart. Try to press the hips under the back and stretch the chest towards your thighs. Legs should be straight, but not overextended or locked at the knees. Hold for 5 to 6 breaths and release.
Camel Pose: The camel pose requires a certain degree of flexibility. Begin by getting on your knees with your body upright. Keep knees hip width apart and begin to bed your torso backwards. Press your hips forward while your head extends backwards. If you can, reach your hands towards your heels behind you. If you can’t reach don’t worry, just keep your hands on your lower back. Breath, hold and release.
While there are many more yoga poses that compose Hatha yoga, adding just a few to your routine can help work different areas of your body and greatly improve flexibility. Choose the ones that are right for you, or take a Hatha yoga course to help you relax and unwind from life’s stresses.
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