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.
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 – includiing 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.
We also often include short discussions about various aspects of Yoga practice including philosophy, home practice advice, anatomy, yoga therapy, chakras (energy centres), seasonal practices etc.