Yoga can be traced back 5,000 or so years to scriptures from roughly 3000 b.c. that were found in India. Hatha Yoga, more specifically, has been traced back to about the eleventh century a.d. Hatha yoga developed in India throughout the 1920s and 1930s, with the first hatha yoga school opening in 1924 in Mysore. In the mid-19th century when the first Indian gurus brought yoga to a western audience they took great pains to distance themselves from hatha. The practice of hatha was widely associated with wandering street mendicants called yogis. As the popularity of the physical culture movement took hold internationally later in the 19th century hatha yoga began to be integrated into the teachings exported from India to the west.
Yoga, generally speaking, is the practice of cultivating physical health and mental well being through a series of poses and controlled breathing. Hatha yoga uses varied bodily postures (asanas) and breathing techniques (pranayama) combined with meditation (dyana) to help achieve a sound, healthy body and clear mind. Yoga postures work to make the spine supple, while aiding circulation to all organs, glands, and tissues. Yoga postures stretch and align the body promoting balance and flexibility while also helping make the body stronger.
As a daily exercise program yoga can improve fitness, strength, and flexibility. This practice has been shown to benefit a variety of conditions like asthma, backaches, menopause symptoms,multiple sclerosis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. The mental component of yoga helps discipline and clarify the mind. Yoga can benefit any persons life in many ways, from physical well being to increased self-esteem and a more positive attitude.
There are many different types of yoga, some more intense than others. Hatha is widely considered to be more gentle by contemporary standards than some other modern forms of yoga. A typical hatha yoga session is made up of a variety of poses combined with controlled breathing. The three basic movements to expect are backwards bends, forward bends, and twists. Each variant of these postures are always balanced, meaning a back bend is always followed by a forward bend and so on.
If you are new to practicing yoga, or it’s been awhile since you last practiced you may experience some soreness or fatigue throughout the body. Yoga stretches and exercises muscles and tendons that are often forgotten with other exercise routines. It is best to wear comfortable clothing that allows you a full range of movement to allow your body to work freely.