What is Hatha Yoga?

Hatha Yoga Class

Hatha yoga is one of the most popular types of yoga practiced today. It is often used as a catchall term to cover the most common forms of yoga taught, or the types of yoga that focus on posture and breathing. Specifically, Hatha yoga is all about balancing the mind and the body—it builds strength and flexibility while promoting relaxation and mindfulness.

Hatha yoga combines slow, deliberate poses (asanas), controlled breathing (pranayama), and meditation (dhyana). This type of yoga allows you to move your body more slowly and deliberately with longer static holds in between posture changes. Poses are usually held for several breaths before moving into the next. Hatha yoga is a great place to start if you are new to yoga or if you want to deepen your practice since it gives you plenty of time to become familiar with poses.

There are three major elements to Hatha yoga classes:


Breathing is essential to movement and life, but we often don’t think consciously of breathing. In Hatha yoga, we bring attention to our breathing to balance the mind and body. In particular, yoga breathing techniques help anchor the mind and take our attention away from normal thoughts. Instead, our attention is refocused on the physical postures of yoga. As a result, we can let go of anxiety in the mind and tension in the body.

Most Hatha yoga classes practice Uijayi breathing, which loosely translates to “victory” breathing. However, this is not to say that the quality of your breathing should be aggressive, but rather that there should be steadiness, resonance, and depth in your breathing. This type of breathing is often said to sound like the ocean. It is practiced by deeply inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the nose.

Yoga Poses

Once you are warmed up, you will begin moving through a series of yoga poses, which can range in difficulty. Hatha yoga poses may include:

  • Laying down or seated poses
  • Standing poses
  • Restorative poses

If you ever find that a posture is too difficult, let your instructor know, and they should be able to provide you with a modification that meets your needs.


Meditation and mindfulness are important aspects of Hatha yoga. Typically at the end of class, students will participate in a meditation. It helps students reflect, find stillness, and relax in their mind and body. Depending on the instructor of the class, students may be walked through a guided meditation, participate in chanting, or listen to a relaxing sound bath.

The meditation aspects of Hatha yoga helps us remember that yoga isn’t about nailing the perfect pose—but about relaxing and calming the mind and body.


Hatha yoga boasts many benefits, both physical and mental. For many, it has improved sleep, enhanced flexibility and mobility, developed better posture and mobility, strengthened core muscles, ease back and joint pain, improved balance, and encouraged mental positivity.


Are you ready to give Hatha Yoga a try?

Starting in January 2023, Natalie Courtney’s current Chair Yoga class (Mondays/Wednesdays 3:30pm-4:30pm) at the Life Enrichment Center will become a Hatha Yoga class held on Tuesdays 1pm-2pm via Zoom only.

Email us [email protected] if you have any questions!

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