Hatha Yoga is not a style of Yoga, it is the term which describes all styles of physical yoga which include postures (asana) and breathing exercises (pranayama).  Although the postures which feature in Hatha Yoga classes are all pretty similar, the way in which they are practiced differs depending on the style of yoga and the teacher’s background.  There are many styles of Hatha Yoga – some of the the most familiar are Ashtanga, Iyengar and Sivananda.  Very often a Hatha Yoga class will include elements of the different styles the teacher has studied or practiced.

Classes vary but a typical class will include the following:

Beginning relaxation and breath awareness

Flowing  movements to warm up the shoulders and spine

Sometimes we will practice Surya Namaskar (sun salutation) sequence – click here  for a demonstration on Yoga Journal.  Different teachers will practice different variations.

A series of standing postures which generally focus on strength, stability and balance, or we may focus more on flow to create heat and energy flow.

Seated postures – including forward bends and twists to promote the health and flexibility of the muscles and joints.

Backbends and  inverted postures.

Breathing exercises (pranayama).

A deep relaxation to finish.

A short seated meditation – often  rounded off with a chant of OM.

A class may also include short discussions about various aspects of Yoga practice including philosophy, home practice advice, anatomy, yoga therapy, chakras (energy centres), seasonal practices etc.