Friday, June 19, 2009

Benefits of Hatha Yoga Asanas and Yoga Postures

What is Hatha Yoga?


Yogi Swatmarama founded hatha yoga in the fifteenth century. The primary aim of hatha yoga is to prepare the body and mind advanced meditation; its basis purpose is to strengthen and purify the body. The word hatha is made up of two words meaning “Sun” and “Moon.” Hatha yoga comprises asana and breathing exercises known as pranayama. While hatha yoga is extremely popular in the West for its asana, in India, it considered to be a way of life. Simply put, hatha yoga is a calm and slow paced form of yoga. It is suitable for those who just want to relieve stress and also for those who want to prepare themselves for higher levels of meditation.

Hatha Yoga Poses and Positions

Hatha yoga is more commonly known as simply yoga. Most hatha yoga poses or hatha yoga asanas can be performed by anyone, regardless of the level of flexibility and fitness. A standard session ranges from 90 to 120 minutes, but beginners can start with 30 to 45 minute sessions. It is important to focus on relaxation while practicing any of the hatha yoga postures.

Hatha yoga can be practiced anywhere; the essential requirements are a quiet room and comfortable clothing. On the other hand, the benefits of hatha yoga are multifold. Apart from improving flexibility and strength, hatha yoga also helps to develop muscle tone and acquire correct posture. In fact, it has been touted that regular practice of hatha yoga positions can help in alleviating aches and pains as well as PMS.

Hatha Yoga Benefits

Hatha yoga has several physical and mental benefits; after all, it was originally developed with the sole purpose of preparing the mind and body for higher levels of meditation. Listed below are just some of the physical as well as mental benefits of hatha yoga:
  • Increased flexibility and strength
  • Improved muscle joint mobility
  • Correction of posture and strengthening the spine
  • Alleviation back pain
  • Improvement of muscular-skeletal conditions, including weak knees, sore neck and shoulders, and scoliosis
  • Enhanced balance, stamina and grace
  • Improvement of the body’s endocrine, digestive, respiratory, circulatory, and immune system
  • Weight loss
  • Increased awareness and relief from stress
  • Improvement in concentration and attention
  • Relaxation of the body and mind
  • More recently, western doctors and researchers have been attempting to determine the benefits of hatha yoga with respect to serious life-threatening illnesses such as arteriosclerosis, chronic fatigue, arthritis, AIDS, asthma, diabetes and obesity.