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What Is Hatha Yoga?

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

Apart from it being my favourite kind of yoga, I thought I'd do a series of blog posts all about Yoga since classes are BACK(very excited).

Hatha yoga is a branch of yoga primarily concerned with our relationships to the body.

The term is derived from the Sanskrit ha, meaning "sun," and tha, meaning "moon," leading to the common interpretation that Hatha practices are designed to unite and balance these two energies. However, the literal translation of Hatha is "force," alluding to the physical techniques used within this tradition.

Traditionally, Hatha yoga offered a total life philosophy, incorporating how we relate to external and internal experiences as a path to inner peace. One of the most prominent ancient texts on Hatha yoga is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, a series of 196 aphorisms written in Sanskrit around 400 AD.

Patanjali describes Hatha yoga as an eightfold path, consisting of eight mind-body disciplines to be mastered. All other physical practices of yoga such as Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Iyengar stemmed from the Hatha yoga tradition.


In modern terms, Hatha yoga has become associated solely with a physical practice, typically involving a sequence of asana (yoga postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques).

According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the eight limbs of the path of Hatha yoga are:

  1. Yamas - Five social observances: ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness) asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (chastity) and aparigraha (non-possessiveness).

  2. Niyamas - Five moral observances: saucha (purity), santosha (contentment), tapas (self-discipline), svadhyaya (self-study), ishvarapranidhana (devotion or surrender).

  3. Asana - Yoga postures.

  4. Pranayama - Breathing techniques as a means of controlling prana (vital life force energy).

  5. Pratyahara - Withdrawal of the senses.

  6. Dharana - Concentration.

  7. Dhyana - Meditation.

  8. Samadhi - Enlightenment or bliss.


What to expect from classes at Echo Yoga?

You'll be welcomed into the yoga space, shoes and belongings left outside of the studio. All props and mats are provided. The space is clean and spritzed with aromatherapy to clear the space energetically before your class.

+ Starting meditation, either seated on lying. Slowing down the breath, reflecting and calming the mind.

+ Breathwork/ Pranayama.

+ Asana practice, often we start with warming the body, waking up the lung capacity, spine, hips. gentle movement.

+ Moving into standing postures, the class may feature Sun Saltuations to raise the heart rate, but I always offer modifications and options.

+ Warrior poses(stronger standing postures, working on leg strength, focus and balance).

+ Standing Balancing postures.

+ Inversions: I often teach accessible inversion and give lots of options.

+ Seated postures and mat work. This can be looking at flexibility, core strength, twists and resting.

+ Shavasana and rest.

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