To beginners, there may not seem to be a huge difference between the different forms of yoga. Each of them will involve controlled movements and learning when to breathe and stretch.
The more you practice yoga, the more you should be able to discern the minor differences between each type. That includes hatha yoga, even if it is used as an umbrella term for many modern forms of yoga.
In this guide, we will look at the difference between typical yoga and hatha yoga, what is hatha yoga, the benefits of hatha yoga, and why hatha yoga may be the right form of yoga for you.
The Difference Between Typical Yoga And Hatha Yoga
When you consider that hatha yoga is typically seen as an umbrella term for a lot of various modern types of yoga, there may not seem to be that many differences.
However, hatha yoga is its own type of yoga which should be known before you step into a hatha yoga class.
Put bluntly, hatha yoga is a reference point for all physical yoga practice so you can include vinyasa yoga, iyengar yoga, and ashtanga yoga in that but not all yoga should be classed as hatha yoga.
What Is Hatha Yoga?
Hatha means forceful in the poetic sense of making an effort with your body.
When you think about hatha yoga, it should be considered more of an umbrella term for a lot of the common types of yoga that are taught in the West.
Hatha also refers to those practices of the body, so yoga postures should be thought of as hatha.
That means moving the body slowly and confidently into various poses that should challenge an individual’s strength and flexibility.
Hatha yoga also includes a focus on mindfulness and relaxation, which should mean that the practice reduces stress. There is a certain emphasis on control when it comes to hatha yoga, specifically on posture and breathing.
To improve posture, hatha yoga should help an individual build their core strength which should mean other yoga practices become more accessible too.
Before moving on to other types of yoga, there are literally hundreds of poses that are involved in hatha yoga.
This range of poses includes some of the most well-known ones, including Standing Forward Bend and Downward-Facing Dog which are held for a few breaths each time.
The Benefits Of Hatha Yoga
With a focus on mindfulness paired with an emphasis on posture, breathing, and meditation, hatha yoga is a great way to raise a low mood, lower stress, reduce depression and anxiety as well as improve an individual’s posture.
If you are anticipating a stressful day or need to get over one, then a hatha yoga practice can work really well for you.
With that focus on mindfulness, a session lasting 90 minutes can make a huge difference in your stress levels.
Should you want to come out a new person ready to face the day or calm down then a hatha yoga practice can do just that.
Reducing Depression And Anxiety
You may only need to have completed a few sessions to see a real difference in your mood from hatha yoga.
Research has shown that regular hatha yoga practices can significantly reduce the levels of depression and anxiety.
By focusing on an individual’s core in controlled movements, hatha yoga boosts abdominal strength. Over time, and perhaps within a month, an individual’s balance can improve with regular practice.
Hatha yoga can also help an individual’s flexibility with their posture, specifically in the spine and hamstrings.
Why Hatha Yoga Might Be The Right Form Of Yoga For You
For anyone new to yoga, learning the basic forms of yoga is a good place to start, so hatha yoga may be ideal.
The classes typically include a slow pace in a relaxing environment so you can learn at your own pace.
For females, hatha yoga could even make menopause easier to improve the symptoms of sleep issues and hot flashes.
For early risers, hatha yoga is a great way to start the day. If you have a stressful job, a hatha practice can help combat morning stiffness and introduce some relaxation and mindfulness to begin your day.
Hatha yoga has also been beneficial for anyone suffering from blood pressure, blood clotting, and issues with their immune functions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Yoga Is More Difficult To Practice, Hatha Or Vinyasa?
If the two variations of yoga were compared next to each other then vinyasa should be more physically demanding than hatha.
There is more to think about with vinyasa yoga, too so it should be deemed as more mentally demanding too.
Vinyasa yoga should also be much more intense than hatha yoga as it typically increases blood flow and creates heat by working the cardiovascular system.
Which Type Of Yoga Practice Is Ideal For Beginners?
Due to the slower pace, hatha yoga should be ideal for beginners to yoga who want to be eased in.
With less of physical and mental demands, hatha yoga can instruct an individual on how they can learn to control their breathing.
Once hatha yoga has been learned, there are significantly more demanding yoga practices to move on to.
When you consider the difference between hatha yoga and typical yoga, it is worth considering that all physical forms of yoga are hatha, but not all yoga can be considered hatha yoga.
As an umbrella term, hatha yoga covers the likes of vinyasa yoga, Iyengar yoga, and ashtanga yoga.
The term covers the practices of the body and the postures that are taken up.
That makes hatha yoga a great starting point for learning yoga and once you have worked out the basics, you can move on to more specific practices.