What Is Hatha?

What exactly Hatha yoga actually is hasn’t changed for thousands of years, however our thinking and perception of it certainly has. Language is a powerful thing, and in different cultures the same word can have a variety of definitions, throughout the evolution of yoga practice, the same word – Hatha – has come to mean different things too.

Popular thinking ‘in the West’ (an all-too-common expression now), is that Hatha yoga is about balancing the body and mind. With ‘ha’ representing the esoteric sun, and ‘tha’ the moon, and the practice of Hatha yoga aiming to join, yoke, or balance these two energies.

A yoga class described as ‘Hatha' will typically involve a set of physical postures and breathing techniques, practised more slowly and with more static posture holds than perhaps a Vinyasa flow or Ashtanga class.

Literally however, Hatha means ‘force’ and is more traditionally defined as ‘the yoga of force’, or ‘the means of attaining a state of yoga through force.

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