Differences between Hatha Yoga vs. Classical Yoga

Conscious TV

May 23, 2021

Contrary to what many people believe: Hatha Yoga is not the only Yoga . In reality, Yoga is a very wide range of possibilities that encompasses many other trends: like Karma Yoga, which is made up of good actions; the Bhakti Yoga that is more devotional and religious or the Raja Yoga that focuses on the mind, among many others.

Classic Yoga

Classical Yoga first appears in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali , more than 2,000 years ago and no sequence of postures is mentioned. In fact, only the sitting posture is mentioned for meditation. However, this Yoga and all the styles that have been practiced since then have one thing in common: they seek to awaken the knowledge that we are one with The Universe .

Yoga spread in the West emerged in the Middle Ages hand in hand with tantric philosophy, as a revolution to all of the above, which dispatched the body as an obstacle or as a mere illusion and rather decided to take the body as a vehicle for realization. In this way, Hatha Yoga or "Physical Yoga, of the body" emerges as the ideal way to prepare this vehicle: for a person with a healthy body, which does not cause distractions, it is easier to meditate.

Hatha yoga

Currently there are many currents of Hatha Yoga : if you go to a shala you will find Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Iyengar, Bikram, Hatha and many more styles. But then what style do the Hatha classes belong to ?

The Hatha that is known in Europe and America usually refers to the Risikesh series , created by Swami Sivananda. This style has its own characteristics, like any other. For example, although it does not have a specific order of postures, it does have a sequence that must be followed: it begins with greetings to the sun to warm the body; then inverted postures are made; spinal push-ups like Paschimottanasana; spine extensions like Dhanurasana, the bow; twists and ends with standing postures. This series in particular, is the only one that begins with inverted postures such as Sirssasana or headstand, the most common is that they are left last.

Other characteristics to highlight of the Rishikesh series are natural breathing, never forced, seeking spaciousness and calm; the relaxation between each pose to keep the heart rate smooth and posed and the long time during which the Asanas are usually held to obtain all their benefits.

Many people can approach a Hatha Yoga class to lose weight or lead a healthier lifestyle. However, remembering and applying the spiritual nature of this discipline will make the practice more complete and enriching.