04 May Hatha Yoga Teacher Training
All You Need to Know About Hatha Yoga
Yoga is a discipline that has been around for centuries. In the Vedic Age, when it started, yoga was the monopoly of the ascetics, who left their families and worldly lives to live in remote places. Their objective was to let go of all ties to the material world so that they could achieve moksha or freedom from the cycle of life. They developed yoga as a method to aid in the process of attainment of moksha. The purpose of every component of yoga was to direct the spiritual energy or prana in the human body in a manner that would ultimately lead to this goal. There were twelve ways to do that, divided into three tetrads, with Hatha yoga being in the second group. Each component concentrated on different parts of the self. This form of yoga is focused on the physical side of the attainment of moksha.
It is true that nowadays, most of the forms of yoga that exist do not follow such a spiritual cause. For example, power yoga and hot yoga are optimized to cause weight loss. Restorative yoga helps in relaxing and healing the body. Whereas Yin yoga helps to increase flexibility. But Hatha yoga is one of the few yoga types that still follows the ancient yogic principles. Hatha yoga teacher training classes focus strictly on these principles to achieve oneness with the self. Thus, if a person wants to learn yoga as a philosophy and lifestyle, Yoga teacher training should be their choice of style. One of the advantages of starting with Hatha is that most other modern yoga styles are derivatives of Hatha yoga. Thus, if you master this style, it will be easy for you to learn the others too.
What is Hatha?
Hatha is the most commonly known and practised form of yoga. If your yoga class does not spell out what style it is teaching, chances are, you are taking a yoga teacher training class. Hatha is one of the seven traditional forms of yoga. Thus, it is the oldest form that is popularly practised as what we know as yoga in the modern-day. As we mentioned earlier, yoga used to be the monopoly of the yogis at one point in time. The form they practised was an archaic style of yoga. When yoga spread to the common people, the form that precipitated to them was Hatha yoga. This is the form that is still most popular in India as well as the world.
Hatha means “force” in Sanskrit. Thus, Hatha refers to the form of yoga where one physically moves the body into a certain posture or alignment to move the prana. This might make you think Hatha poses are painful, but they are not. Force does not mean pressure. Rather, it means a force of will. That is, Hatha yoga is a means to use the body to direct or “will” the pranic energy to take the desired path. Hatha yoga is quite a relaxed form of yoga, unlike, Vinyasa yoga or Bikram yoga. When you take Hatha yoga teacher training class, you will most likely learn Hatha yoga along with the other forms, especially Karma, Jnana, Bhakti and Mantra. This helps you unlock the holistic benefits of yoga and produce better results for yourself.
What Are the Components of Hatha Yoga Teacher Training
Since Hatha yoga is closest to the traditional yogic principles, its practice relies greatly on incorporating these principles. They are based on Ashtanga or the eight limbs of yoga. Every Hatha yoga class incorporates these to ensure the all-round development of a student. These are:
- Postures Without a doubt, this is the most important component of a Hatha yoga teacher training class, especially since Hatha yoga deals with the physical aspects of yoga. There are several asanas or poses that the student must do in succession to achieve a certain effect within the body.
- Gestures – Gestures, known as mudras, can use the entire body or just the hands. In Hatha yoga, they also include the bandhas or energy locks. The main aim of these is to manipulate the vital energies to flow in a particular direction to a particular point.
- Breathing – Breathing exercises in yoga refers to the practice of pranayama. Pranayama helps direct the blood flow, according to the biological interpretation, or prana, according to the yogic explanation, to activate certain parts of your body.
- Meditation – Meditation, or dhyana, helps one calm one’s mind through quiet contemplation or reflection. In Ashtanga, this is the seventh stage before one attains samadhi, ie, internal harmony or union. Meditation is the final step in the achievement of samadhi as it helps one focus the mind to that point.
- Cleansing – In yoga, cleansing of the body is an important step in the cleansing of the mind. The Shatkriyas or Shatkarmas are six in number. They are kapalbhati, trakata, neti, basti, dhauti and nauli. They aim to rid the body of gross impurities.
- Diet – A proper diet is necessary to achieve the aims of yoga and enjoy its benefits. One should have a healthy, balanced and tasty diet, that caters to one’s needs and not desires. Moderate eating is a must. One should eat food and drink water only up to three-quarters of their capacity.
- Knowledge – Hatha yoga classes will require you to read and learn about the history and practices of yoga. This is essential because if you know the origin and working of anything, you gain a deeper and truer understanding of it, reducing the chances of mistakes.
What is the Best Place to Learn Hatha Yoga
Learning Hatha from anywhere will not cut it. You must choose a place that respects the traditional principles of yoga and applies them in their yogic teaching. Rather than going to a corner yoga studio, you should take your yoga teacher training from an ashram-based school like Pokhara Yoga School. Not only will you learn better, but you will also be able to teach better.