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S T R I K E a Pose with Hatha Yoga

What is Hatha Yoga? What are the benefits of practicing this path? How does movement help us when we’re stressed or anxious?

According to the book, Hatha Yoga Illustrated, Hatha Yoga is called “the forceful yoga”, meaning physical. Throughout this practice, you focus on mind, body and soul to achieve and maintain flexibility and peace in your daily life. You also partake in meditation practices to begin, and end, the Hatha Yoga sessions to place yourself in a space away from stress, noise and other negative situations.

On the website, Yoga Journal, the word “hatha” is also defined as:

“‘sun’ (ha) and ‘moon’ (tha), the yoga of balance”

You will see the words “sun” and “moon” again if you ever try the Sun and Moon Salutations. The Sun Salutation helps you warm up and build your “stamina, strength and flexibility” (Hatha Yoga Illustrated, 210-11). Whereas, the Moon Salutation utilizes back-, forward- and side-bending poses (212-16).The key for each is concentration on your breathing and repeating the Salutations with each leg.

Image: Mukti Yoga School

Besides breathing, movement is another crucial key to Hatha Yoga. As you move, you are stretching, stressing and strengthening your muscles, especially in the arms and legs. Your focus turns to improving your poses instead of things plaguing your mind. When you’re concentrating on something else, your mood can change. As you’re moving in Hatha Yoga, there are pauses in-between where you’re holding a pose that you can take a deep breath and focus on the present moment. Studies show exercise helps with stress and moving around can keep you healthy. But that’s beside the point.

The point is that by utilizing movement, particularly with Hatha Yog