Hatha and Vinyasa

Warrior 1

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is more than a series of physical exercises. Yoga in Sanskrit means union and is intended to be a holistic practice. Holistic means whole; involving the body, the mind and the soul. Hatha yoga gives you a set of skills,  the power and knowledge to be able to press the re-set button. Hatha incorporates Pranayamas, which are different types of breathing techniques. Being able to help others realise that they too can take steps towards self-care and self-awareness is the very reason I love to teach Hatha yoga. We may not all be able to live the yogic lifestyle 24/7, but I will aim to guide you back to the breath, which will in turn take you back to reset mode. In this busy World, we all need Hatha yoga to help us slow down the mind and create the space to think and see more clearly  

 

What is a Hatha Yoga class like?

A Hatha yoga class involves a set of physical postures (yoga poses) and breathing techniques, practised more slowly and with more static posture holds than a Vinyasa flow or Ashtanga class. Hatha yoga is designed to align and calm your mind, body and spirit. This class is suitable for all levels and modified moves are always offered to help those with mobility issues. Yoga is not about being good at poses, it’s about being good to your body and showing yourself care on any given day. To show up on the mat is how develop a good practice in yoga.

Breathing Techniques

Breathing techniques also known as Pranyama’s are a part of Hatha yoga. ‘Prana’ means life force and ‘yama’ means to regulate or lengthen the breath. As a student, I used to find this aspect to yoga boring. It was only when I found myself in stress and pain that I discovered the power of the breath. It really must be something you choose in your own time including the relaxation part at the end known as Savasana.  When students arrivee before class I can see the tension and stress they are carrying that has built up over the day. It’s great to see the students feeling calmer after class and physically notice the difference in their body language and facial expressions.  When we learn different types of breathing techniques, we create a tool set for ourselves. We can use these tools to deal with life a whole lot better. Breathing techniques are proven to calm and cool the mind and nervous system. So, to focus on controlling the breath can make us happier and healthier. One of the most challenging parts of life is to take control of our negative thoughts .Yoga takes us back to the breath, here we learn to observe our thoughts without judgement. We can tune in to a more neutral state of mind as we slow the breathing down and begin to feel more balanced.

 Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa yoga means breathing and movement system. For each movement, there is a breath. For example, as we inhale, we raise our arms into tall mountain, this is our first Vinyasa. Vinyasa is a great physical practice that can really get you moving and feeling the energetic. It’s a style of yoga characterized by stringing postures together so that you move from one move to another using breath. A Vinyasa yoga class has a faster pace than Hatha as you are moving relatively quickly through poses.

How is it different to Hatha Yoga?

The main difference between a Hatha and Vinyasa yoga is the pace and the goal of the practice. Hatha yoga is designed to align and calm your mind, body and spirit.  My Vinyasa classes often repeat series of poses and involve increasing body heat and building strength and endurance. Don’t be put off by this style and know that you can choose your pace and control, which movements you do, and how you do them with guidance from myself. By having a set series, you can really build confidence and a sense of accomplishment.

Slow Flow Vinyasa

Slow flow Vinyasa Yoga allows beginners to create their own synchronized dance, while learning poses and how to move, breathe, and stretch between poses. Slow flow brings the element of time into the practice. It’s not all about speed, in this busy world we are too good at going 100 miles per hour without connecting to our breath. All levels can benefit from a slow flow tuning into the breath and body sensations.

Is Vinyasa Yoga hard?

Generally, in my Vinyasa classes I tend to run through similar moves (Asanas) so that we can all have a form of familiarity and build up confidence. In these classes I tend to go over the classic sun salutations Surya A and Surya B.

What an earth is Surya A and B?

Surya A and B are set sequences, a series of movements.  I enjoy teaching these to empower students to take on home practice. It warms and invigorates the whole body. Surya Namaskar, the Sanskrit name for the yoga sun dancesalutation to the sun. The Hindus have revered the sun they call Surya, as both the physical and spiritual heart of our world, the creator of all life.

Benefits of Vinyasa

Vinyasa can be a good way to get your body active. Studies have shown that long term practice of Vinyasa yoga can lead to improved muscle tone and a higher metabolic rate.. Meditation- Movement meditation is how I would describe Viinyasa yoga. The mental health benefits are one of the most important benefits of Vinyasa yoga, to calm the mind and reduce stress. Increased body awareness and respect – I encourage you to journey in to your physical body, noticing how it feels during these sequences. How can you best serve your body? I will give options so that we can all feel comfortable in this dynamic sequence of movements. In this flow, you can drop to your knees instead of holding a full plank pose or you can use blocks to assist in half lifts and forward folds. I encourage you to not worry about elegance and form, as you become more body aware and confident the rest will all fall in place.