How Does Hatha Yoga Work? What Makes It Different from Other Forms of Yoga?

Hatha yoga is a physical discipline that involves a lot of ‘asanas’ or postures, which help to strengthen the body, stretch the muscles and make them lean and supple. These poses are held for varying amounts of time. Depending whether you are at a beginners, intermediate or advanced stage, you may hold the position for anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. The aim of hatha yoga is not just physical well being. It also endeavors to bring the mind and body into a perfect balance. By releasing the natural pain killers of the body, known as endorphins, it reduces stress and makes the body stronger and fitter.

How Does Hatha Yoga Work?

The three areas on which hatha yoga focuses on are breathing (pranayama), postures (asanas) and meditation (dhyana).

Pranayama, or controlled breathing relaxes and focuses the mind. Studies indicate that the slow and rhythmic breathing patterns are extremely beneficial for the body’s respiratory system. It increases the lung capacity and brings down the breathing rate.

There are several kinds of asanas, or postures, in hatha yoga, such as standing, backward and forward bends, twists, inverted postures, twists, etc. By holding these postures, you make your body stronger and a lot more flexible. With regualar practice of yoga, your blood circulation increases and you’ll find your posture improving.

Meditation is the last aspect of hatha yoga, though a lot of people these days do not focus as much on meditation as on the other two aspects. However, meditating regularly can increase your concentration and will power, giving you greater control over yourself and your emotions.

Other Forms of Yoga

Apart from hatha yoga, there are several other forms of yoga. Some of them are:

  • Ananda Yoga: This form of yoga is gentler in nature and lays more emphasis on aligning the body properly and controlling the breathing.
  • Ashtanga Yoga: This is one of the more intensive forms of yoga, which involves a series of continuous and progressive postures that detoxifies the muscles and the rest of the body. Ashtanga yoga is not advised for beginners.
  • Bikram Yoga: A more comprehensive form of workout, Bikram Yoga focuses on muscular strength and endurance, and cardiovascular flexibility. If you are interested in losing weight through yoga, most experts would suggest Bikram Yoga.
  • Iyengar Yoga: Here, the poses are maintained for much longer than any other form of yoga. It is slow paced, and uses a lot of props such as blankets, blocks and straps, making it ideal for older people or people who are recovering from an illness or injury.

What Makes Hatha Yoga Different from Other Forms of Yoga?

When compared with other forms of yoga, hatha yoga is easier to learn, and it is the pillar for all other styles of yoga. Both physical and mental fitness is given equal importance, and it tries to integrate the mind and the body. Since it has an even pace, neither too fast, nor too slow, it can be enjoyed by people of all age groups. The asanas of hatha yoga are so fluid that they do not run the danger of straining anybody. Even though hatha yoga is not an aerobic form of exercise, it puts to use every single muscle of the body.

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