15 Hatha Yoga Poses for Beginners
Hatha Yoga is a traditional holistic term used for a combination of physical poses and breathing exercises what we today know as contemporary yoga. In ancient times, yogis used to perform difficult physical poses and repetitive breathing in a particular pattern for long stranded hours, days or even years to isolate themselves from worldly pleasures in order to attain discipline or balance in their lives. They were often seen barely clad, meditating while performing complex poses for days together without any break, sometimes under harsh climatic conditions which otherwise was difficult for other people to withstand! Since the word Hatha translates to ‘force’ in Sanskrit, these yogis who practiced ‘discipline through force’, came to be known as Hatha Yogis.
Eventually, their style of yoga practice came to be known as Hatha Yoga. It is noteworthy that the sight of Hatha yogis is common yet equally astonishing in many parts of India even today.With the passage of time, Yoga found a place in common man’s life alongside everyday activities as a way to keep healthy and fit. Soon, Yoga gained popularity in the west and its concepts gained various interpretations across different parts of the world. Something similar happened with the term Hatha Yoga, and thus popped a widely accepted definition of the term. It is said that the word Hatha is a conjunction of the Sanskrit word ‘ha’ which means the sun and the word ‘tha’ which means the moon.
Hence Hatha together means balancing the very opposite solar and lunar energies through various hatha yoga poses (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama). Since the primary aim of all yoga practices has been to channelize various forms of energies in order to balance one’s mind and body, the theory of solar and lunar energies only add more substance to this definition.
What is Hatha Yoga?
Yoga has had a significant presence in the Indian Sub-continent for many years and after globalization, it gained a recognition even in the west. As more people are getting aware of their health and their bodies, Yoga is slipping into everyday lives at an amazing rate. With so much outspread, it is important to understand the meaning of the traditional terms so as to avoid losing their authenticity. Out of these, the term ‘Hatha Yoga’ has gained a lot of buzzes. So what is hatha yoga? Amongst most of the yoga styles, Hatha Yoga is the most widely performed type of yoga with a range of benefits to offer.
It is a style which requires practicing of poses known as yoga asanas with a rhythmic control of breath known as pranayama. It is a process to increase the level of concentration while meditating. All the physical poses and breathing patterns aim at establishing a balance in the body and mind. The word Hatha itself breaks into ‘ha’ which represents the sun and “the” which represents the moon. The word together is about balancing such diverse and poles apart energies.
Hatha Yoga Poses
Asanas are nothing but postures in which a person sits or stands. We often come across the term ‘Body Language’, which means movements and postures by which attitudes and feelings of a person are communicated. If our bodies are so powerful to convey our state of mind merely through postures then it is very much possible to practice the reverse science of it. This is exactly where the idea of practicing hatha yoga lies. Although there could be innumerable poses that a body can perform, there are a certain number of poses which tend to benefit our body and shape our attitude in the best possible way.
These poses are known as hatha yoga poses or asanas and are tried and tested methods to regulate the flow of energy in one’s body. The ultimate goal of a yogi is to attain an aware state of mind. Consider our bodies as channels to this elevated state, and now consider hatha yoga poses as the tool to break through the barrier which is keeping us away from this state. Practicing the right asanas are a guarantee to lead a healthy life, both physically as well as mentally.
As stated earlier, the word Hatha literally does translate to force, but this should in no way be confused with deciding the difficulty level of performing the asanas. Hatha yoga is a gentle practice which when performed consistently leads to astounding results. The asanas can be performed by people of all ages and gender alike. In today’s fast-paced world, hatha yoga tends to bring peace and balance to our bodies. In fact, there is a dedicated set of hatha yoga poses for beginners which we shall cover later in this article. Before that, let’s talk about the benefits of hatha yoga asanas.
The first aspect of fitness is strengthening our bodies. Different asanas tend to target different body parts and hence there is definitely one or a combination of multiple asanas to tackle any problem related to any specific part of the body. For instance, back pain is a commonly occurring problem with not just aged people but also the younger ones due to everyday activities that require a lot of sitting.
Hatha yoga poses such as Dhanurasana and Bhujangasana tend to increase the flexibility of the spinal cord manifold and relieve people of back pain. There have been many cases where medical surgeries were successfully ditched for the regular practice of yoga. Likewise, the entire body can be benefitted with consistent practice. What’s even better is that one can achieve a fit and toned body without investing in any of the expensive equipment.
The second aspect of fitness is that along with looking toned from the outside, we also feel healthy from the inside. Hatha yoga is one great process of detoxification since it improves the digestion system and regulates the metabolism in our bodies. Hatha yoga poses have a dynamic impact on our circulatory system and ensure that the inside of our bodies functions smoothly.
Lastly, everything comes down to having a relaxed and calm state of mind. Hatha yoga plays a therapeutic role in reducing stress. The balance attained by practicing the asanas helps soothe out anxiety and depression which comes along the hustle of today’s demanding lifestyle.
15 Hatha Yoga Poses for Beginners
As mentioned before, there are a lot of gentle and easy poses especially for beginners to start their Hatha Yoga journey. These poses are very effective in bringing correct alignment to the body. Below is the list of fifteen such poses which a beginner can start practicing right away!
1.Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
It is the foundational pose for beginning standing exercises. How simple it may look, it is very effective for inducing balance in the body.
2.Tree Pose (Vriksasana)
It is an important pose to improve balance and strengthen the calves, thighs and ankle muscles.
3.Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
It is a sitting pose which focuses on strengthening the abdomen and pelvic region. This pose is considered a boon for women as it eases the menstrual flow.
4.Hero Pose (Virasana)
Perform this pose to get instant relief from sore legs. Also, this pose works wonders to improve digestion.
5.Cow Pose (Bitilasana)
Like the cat pose, this pose also improves the posture and balance, while simultaneously stimulating the belly organs.
6.Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)
This pose is effective in stretching the torso and neck. It is an amazing warmup for your spine.
7.Child Pose (Balasana)
This pose has very soothing results such as release from fatigue and increased blood circulation. It is often recommended to people suffering from insomnia.
This pose is very effective for people who have to sit for long hours throughout the day. It helps open up the thighs and maintains a healthy lower body.
9.Warrior Pose I (Virabhadrasana)
This pose is effective in improving circulation in the body. It induces balance and stability.
10.Warrior Pose II (Virabhadrasana II)
It is a slight alteration of the Warrior Pose 1 and this pose also helps in opening up hips and chest, increase circulation and improve respiration.
11.Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This is a versatile pose that targets the upper and lower body at the same time. It strengthens and stretches various limbs in the body.
12.Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
This pose is very effective for reducing the stiffness in lower back. It strengthens the shoulders and chest.
13.Plank Pose (Phalakasana)
It is the perfect pose to tone the entire body and improve balance. It specifically works at strengthening the arms and wrists.
14.Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
This pose opens up the hips, shoulders, and neck. It also relieves stiffness of the spine.
15.Corpse Pose (Shavasana)
This is an amazing pose to relax and let go off any negative energy or thoughts. This is usually the closing pose for most routines.
We’ve been blessed with a beautiful life but most of us hardly experience it to the fullest. The capabilities of being human are still unexplored. Hatha Yoga is a method to go beyond our physical and mental barricades to align our mind and body for an elevated spiritual experience.
If you are willing to take your first step into the beautiful world of Yoga don’t forget to check out our specially crafted programme for beginners at of beginner programme at Rishikesh yogkulam.