May 17, 2017

What Are the Benefits of Hatha Yoga?

Hatha is a yoga practice that focuses on Asana (postures) and Pranayama (breathing). As such, it is quite the generic term that is synonymous will all forms of yoga that link physical postures to breath.

5 Benefits of Hatha Yoga

Yoga generally involves unifying the mind and body with the spirit and the word hatha’ literally refers to the force that allows one to achieve this using yoga poses. For any yogi who decides to practice Hatha yoga, you’d be doing a lot of bending, twisting, balancing, reaching and squeezing of your body parts. The very physical aspect of Hatha, often differentiates it from other yoga practices that also require breath work and meditation.

When you put your body in Hatha positions, this form of yoga has the potential to be good for your body organs, muscles, joints and most importantly, your mind. In Hatha yoga, you will encounter dozens of poses that are diverse enough to keep it interesting the whole time but also work great to promote better overall health.

Here, we’ve put together a list of five of the amazing benefits you’ll get from practicing Hatha yoga.

The Many Benefits of Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is well-known to be a thorough exercise that works both physically and mentally. The total body experience allows hatha yoga benefits to be notably plentiful and long-lived. Some of them include:

1. Improves Heart Health

Hatha Yoga is able to really get one’s blood moving as well as make the heart pump faster.

Regular hatha yoga will help reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and alleviate the symptoms and episodes associated with high blood pressure and poor functionality of the heart. Like in other forms of yoga, research has shown that hatha yoga benefits the heart through exercise that increases heart rate and allows blood to flow to and from the heart efficiently.

2. Helps Gain More Flexibility and Joint Mobility

With a job that may have you seated at a desk most of the day, this can quickly lead to stiffening of the muscles and limiting of body movement as you grow older. Hatha yoga helps put your joints to a higher range of motion, conditioning them and increasing flexibility and motion range.

By working your joints in multiple directions, you would find that hatha yoga benefits mobility, especially in the spine.

In 2015, a study published in the journal of Physical Therapy Sciences showed findings that 90-minute yoga sessions once a week helped older women (from the age of 50-70 years) to increase back and overall joint mobility.

Practicing Hatha yoga frequently with correct postures will allow you to stretch, elongate and strengthen your muscles regardless of your age.

3. Acts as A Stress Reliever

As with other forms of yoga, Hatha helps in reducing stress and anxiety by relaxing both the body and mind. By paying attention to your breath work as you do the Hatha poses, you will detoxify the mind and relieve the body of tensions.

Try it after a tiring day at the office or school, using one or two repetitions of Sun Salutations (also known as Surya Namaskar) and following this up with deep breathing.

This will immediate create a sense of calmness by increasing your mindfulness and focus. Additionally, hatha yoga benefits the mind by helping you shun negative thoughts that may be running through it and raising your stress levels.

4. Teaches Better Balance and Posture

Hatha forces you to concentrate on the space you are in, and be fully aware of how you occupy it. The poses you engage in with hatha yoga can improve your ability to use spaces better, that is through balance and posture movements.

Good balance can in turn keep you from being a klutz and potentially causing self-harm or bodily injuring. Hatha yoga benefits those struggling with confidence as well, helping those who practice it to stand taller with better balance and proprioception.

5. Build Muscle Strength and Bone Density

Hatha yoga generally boosts your overall health by revitalizing the body. One of the ways it does this is by building density in the spine and femur. Some weight-bearing yoga poses like tree, triangle, side angle, warrior I, II and III, can help losses in bone density for those suffering from conditions such as osteoporosis and osteopenia.

In addition to stronger bones, hatha yoga allows one to move the body freely and keep it strong and active even in your older years. Using hatha to build muscle strength will ensure your muscles and joints stay in good shape and even helps prevent ailments like arthritis.