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What is Hatha Yoga?

hatha yoga and yoga classes


"Hatha Yoga" can be simply translated as "the union of the sun and moon." One might say that when the forceful energy of the sun meets the reflective energy of the moon, the earth is in proper balance. This is a metaphor for balancing and harmonizing the energies of the body. Hatha Yoga is centered around an eight-limbed path leading to spiritual enlightenment. Most people in the west know Hatha Yoga in reference to the third limb, which is the practice of the poses, or asana.


Yoga classes in the United States generally focus on the postures and often incorporate breath control techniques. On the gross levels, performing the postures confers the benefits of strength and flexibility training; on the subtler levels, these postures positively influence the body's energies, bringing the body into greater balance. Many people feel happier, lighter, and more self-aware after a yoga class. People have many reasons to try yoga. Many try it for exercise or for stress relief. In addition, asana practice conditions the body for long periods of sitting, which many people do for career purposes and not just for meditation.